Allen Ginsberg’s comments on John Donne’s “The Ecstasy” continues.
AG: So…. “That abler soul which hence doth flow/Defects of loneliness controls” – (controls the defect of being lonely – it’s just an inversion in the syntax there that makes it a little confusing – that love, that the abler soul controls loneliness’s defects ) –
“We then, who are this new soul, know” – (in other words,, they get smart,, they … Read More
AG: Yes, some are. Some of them are very complicated. Well, not necessarily rhymes. I don’t think that Homer is rhymed, is it? – Homer ain’t rhymed, (but) Homer is just as complicated and different in other ways (Homer’s measured by the vowel-lengths of things – hexameter) – but it’s longer No, (Sir Philip Sidney’s) “Astrophel and Stella”, I think, is a longer Sonnet sequence, possibly.. Others.. There’s ones that mention … Read More
[Allen Ginsberg at the Atheneum Bookshop, Amsterdam, November 1979. photo: Hans van Dijk / Dutch National Archives]
Allen Ginsberg Reading At Warwick University, 1979 (continuing from yesterday)
AG: I’ll begin since – oh we were discussing the subject . I’ll begin with a song dedicated to another fellow in prison, David Solomon who’s in Brighton…in Bristol jail, as he was sentenced to ten years as part of that big LSD conspiracy bust about a year or two ago – what was the name of that? Julie Operation Julie
[Allen sings a version of “Dope Fiend Blues”- “Dope Fiend Blues Shuffle”]… Read More
AG: As respiration, inspiration, spiritus, Holy Spirit! (the holy breath)…let me see what it says here [Allen points to his book (a dictionary)] – I don’t think this is etymological.. it may be…let’s see.. “spiritus” – How many did not know spirit meant breath, breathing? – and how many knew? [show of hands] – That proves it. Most knew. In other words, it’s known.
[Holy Poet-martyr St Robert Southwell And The Burning Babe (detail), William Hart McNichols 2015]
AG: How many were not here last time?. Well, okay.. Gordon Ball’s here and wants to take some pictures so if you don’t mind flashing.. lightning-bolts.. .burning babes… The last time, we dealt with “The Burning Babe” – Robert Southwell’s poem, (page) 186. I think I had assigned it so for those of you who haven’t read it, you can read it later, but the idea was that there was this weird image of a burning babe (how many were here then?), burning babe, … Read More
William Blake – title-page of America a Prophecy copy A (printed 1795) – collection of the Morgan Library
Allen, writing, prophetically, in 1959:
AG: “Recent history is the record of a vast conspiracy to impose one level of mechanical consciousness on mankind and exterminate all manifestations of that unique part of human sentience, identical in all men, which the individual shares with his Creator. The suppression of contemplative individuality is nearly complete…”
“Because systems of mass communication can communicate only officially acceptable levels of reality, no one can ever know the extent of the secret unconscious life. No one … Read More