Our focus today – Eric Mottram, (1924-1995), author of (among many other titles) the brief survey, Allen Ginsberg in the Sixties – a poet, critic and scholar, a central figure in the English/transatlantic connection, one of the earliest, most astute and most passionate, readers and observers and commentators on Allen’s work.
Mottram on Ginsberg, from a lecture, given at Kings College London, circa 1970
“He [Allen]’s very conscious now of finding strategies for being very very private in public.”
He goes on:
“But if you are going to say, “okay, private life is primary, the body is primary, … Read More
“Dear Kay Boyle….. There is no workable poetic form extant among us today..Joyce and Stein have..gone out of their way to draw down the attention on words so that the line has become pulverous instead of metallic – or at least ductile…For myself I have written very little poetry recently. Form, the form has been lacking. Instead I have been watching speech in my own environment from which I continually expect … Read More
Continuing with our spotlight on the videotapes in the Stanford University Archives (we’re coming to the end of it). Today’s feature (like last week’s) is nuggets extracted from a broader swath. In 1987, Sander Zulauf made a selection (on two tapes) of readings that took place between 1976 and 1985 at CCM, the County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey – The First American Poetry Disc – An Introduction to Poetry, which featured over a dozen American poets, (most, if not all, of a decidedly academic bent – The undeniably stand-out reader/anomaly here was Allen (who, accompanied by … Read More
[The participants begin, caught in conversation, in media res]
JS: Oh. – My name is Joe Stanco and I’m talking today with Allen Ginsberg and, at the moment, we were discussing Ezra Pound who’s certainly..in fact you said, at one point, “the most important American poet since Whitman”
AG: I guess. Yeah. Well… (Because ) he had more effect … Read More
William Carlos Williams birthday today. We celebrate with his reading on January 27, 1954 in New York at the 92nd Street Y.
We begin with the poem that leads off the 1956 Collected Later Poems – “A Sort of Song” – “Let the snake wait under/his weed/and the writing/be of words, slow and quick, sharp/to strike, quiet to wait,/sleepless./– through metaphor to reconcile/the people and the stones/.Compose. (No ideas/ but in things) Invent!/Saxifrage is my flower that splits/the rocks.” – followed by “Burning the Christmas Greens” ( “Their time past, pulled down/cracked and flung in the … Read More
AG: So, now , the reason I was coming on to all of this was that the short form of the haiku or the long form of the (William Carlos) Williams sentence all say the same thing, which is – if you try to weave a series of discrete haiku-like perceptions in (Jack) Kerouac -ian-sketchy-sketch style, if you try to weave them in to one single continuous cadence of breath and a single continuous syntactical order, you’ll have … Read More
AG: Then, the other thing we came to, she [sic] had a poem that was a discrete series of code-word observations, one after another in a row, and it sounded, like, too choppy, or much like she was doing an exercise sketch of the ….”One lady lifts up her big leg over the…or big boot, and takes it off” – [ to Student] – What are the three images? – What’s the first one? there was…
Student: “Holding the attention”,,
Student: “Holding the attention..riding a bicycle, … Read More
AG: Then another thing formulated with Rachel today [sic] was, in terms of condensation, if you can find three or four different ways of saying, of arranging the same words, generally, the spoken arrangement that is the shortest has the best rhythm and is the most vivid. [To Rachel (sic)] – Do you happen to have that poem with you? that one poem where we really discovered it. You remember the line?
Student (R)…”There’s not enough time to..”
AG: What’s the next line? There’s not enough time
Student (R) …”There’s not enough time to write all the notes down”
[Basil Bunting tries his hand at editing Shakespeare]
AG: And then there was another thing.. I was talking with…Rachel [sic]…with Rachel..and we were talking about composition and condensation of poems and ..some ideas crystallized that might be useful. I’ve talked about it before I thought but apparently I had never said it around Rachel (tho; I thought I said it in any number of..over a dozen classes) there was that idea of Basil Bunting‘s, which (Ezra) Pound handed on, which was that poetics was condensation – and I think I’ll talk about that – and I’ve applied it in … Read More