William Carlos Williams Birthday

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

Williams, The Haiku, and the Natural Sequence

[William Carlos Williams – Collected Poems – published by The Objectivist Press. 1934, Williams’ first “collected”  edition]

continuing from yesterday

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

Composition and Condensation – 3 (Classroom Notation)

[“Rhythmic twang of steel cords slapping against the flagpole”]

continuing from yesterday

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”,,

AG: What?

Student: “Holding the attention..riding a bicycle, … Read More

Composition and Condensation – 2

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”

AG: … Read More

Composition and Condensation – 1

[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

Breath Poems

[Zephrus. God of the winds (detail from “The Birth of Venus,” Sandro Botticelli]

AG: .. ..(I cited some lines)  from Hart Crane’s poem “Hurricane” as an example of dochmaic meter… and the whole poem is really interesting, and it’s just in the sequence of poems I’ve been referring to, one time or another, like William Carlos Williams’ poem about Thursday  (air – coming in and out of his nose) , Shelley’s “Ode To the West Wind – (“Make me thy lyre even as the forest is’”… “Be thou me spirt fierce (the wind)”, or, “The breath whose might I have … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading at St Marks Poetry Project 1977

[Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell, St Mark’s Church, February 23, 1977. Photo: Martin Wechselblatt]

We featured one, from the extraordinary trove of recordings of Allen readings, last week, from PennSound (from the Robert Creeley collection – 1971 at Intersection, San Francisco). Here‘s another, six years later- from the St Mark’s Poetry Project in New York. The occasion was a now-legendary coupling of Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell (it was on this occasion that Lowell was memorably heckled by Gregory Corso). Allen reads a variety of works, referencing his recent visit to Australia, his Vajrayana Buddhist Read More

Syllabic Poetry – 3 (Ginsberg)

[“I learned a world from each/one whom I loved…”]

AG: I used a lot.. I used a method..I used that in a lot of early poems that I was doing, imitating (William Carlos) Williams, just little free-verse poems, but I would rearrange them from prose, and arranged them into balanced little five-syllable, three-syllable, five-syllable, three-syllable, whatever – ” I learned a world from each/ one whom I loved/ so many/ worlds /without /a Zodiac” –  [from his poem “The Night Apple”] – six-four, six-four. I mean, I had written it down in prose on the paper, in … Read More

The 1973 Glasgow Review Interview

 [Allen Ginsberg at his 1973 Glasgow Press Conference]

We featured here last week, Allen’s interview in 1973 in Scottish International. Featured today is a companion piece from The Glasgow Review  (drawing from the same press conference).  The piece was initially titled “Of Burns and Watergate” (referring to the two main topics).

Interviewer; What do you think of the present state of the Watergate affair?

AG: Well what the underground both in America and England have been saying for a long time now has become accepted currency in the minds of the above-ground, middle-class media. The specific conceptions that are … Read More

Allen Ginsberg at Cheltenham 1993

Allen Ginsberg, in 1993, reading at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in England. The feature today on The Allen Ginsberg Project. Allen reads a selection of poems, (mostly from White Shroud and the, subsequently-published Cosmpolitan Greetings

Introduction: Good evening everybody and some of you I’m sure came to the event where Allen Ginsberg was being interviewed by John Calder here today and will have suffered as Mr Ginsberg did the problems of the weather and British Rail. Years ago Allen Ginsberg wrote of Jack Kerouac that he was the sole full-moving thing, earlier today I’m afraid Allen Ginsberg was the sole … Read More