Some Elizabethan & Jacobean Recommendations

AG: Okay I would like to move.. I would recommend reading that through (Jonson on Shakespeare). I just don’t want to take up our time now. I’m going to go back to later to Edmund Bolton’s “Palinode” (on page 270) [sic],  but I want to pair it with another poem later, so please read that some time . We’ll get to John Webster‘s, a couple of little lyrics, because they’re really beautiful (that’s on page 272) , But I want to go straight to (Robert) Herrick, to.. in order to “strike the second heat/ Upon Read More

Ben Jonson on Shakespeare

AG: Well ,  I think people should go ahead and read the thing on Shakespeare      [Ben Jonson’s “To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr William Shakespeare”] by yourselves,

I won’t go over it, except a couple of phrases in here – (page 260)  [sic] -It’s a real good poem. It’s an interesting poem, and it’s well-written, and it’s very.. it’s full of energy, at a certain point – “I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!/ The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!” – (he really gets with it)

But.. later on, he has a … Read More

Shakespeare’s Birthday

William Shakespeare’s Birthday today!  – Not quite the hoopla that surrounded last year (the 400th anniversary) – but still..   Much excitement in the Shakespeare community over the discovery a few weeks back (on the t,v; show Antiques Road Show) of a small pocket notebook of Shakespearean commentary written up by a contemporary.

See manuscript specialist, Matthew Haley‘s “trembling” discovery here  (valuing the item as upwards of 30.000 pounds ( approximately 37,500 dollars!)

Ginsberg-on-Shakespeare we’ve featured numerous times on the Allen Ginsberg Project. Try, for example,  here, here, and here, here and here, –  here (Allen thinks … Read More

John Donne – 15 (Conclusion)

Allen Ginsberg on John Donne concludes

AG: There is a poem of (John) Donne‘s which is not in the book which I would like to lay out. I think it may be his last poem or toward his last poem, his last, death, poem – “A Hymn to God The Father”, which doesn’t seem to be in this book, though it’s one of his best, in terms of puns. There is a late poem on death, at the end here (of your book), “Hymn To God In My Sickness, but I’ll read this other one because … Read More

A Post-Valentine Posting

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[Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, San Francisco 1955]

Well, yesterday was Valentine’s Day, let’s make today Valentine’s Day too!.  Here’s a letter from Allen to Peter Orlovsky, dated Feb 15, 1958

Dear Peter: Got your letter yesterday, was so happy to receive it and your sweet sex talk. I had been running around with mad mean poets & world-eaters here & was longing for kind words from heaven which you wrote, came as fresh as a summer breeze & “when I think on thee dear friend / all losses are restored & sorrows end,” came over & over in … Read More

More Shakespeare (Prospero’s Farewell Speech)

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[Prospero (a fragment from “Prospero, Miranda and Caliban” (1789) – Henry Fuseli  (1741-1825)- via York Museums Trust]

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air: And like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,                                                                               The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am … Read More

Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Conclusion)

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Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Naropa class on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, continuing from here, concludes today. 

Student: Are there (Greek) epic poetry rhymes like this? (like Shakespeare’s Sonnets’ sequence)?

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

Shakespeare (Sonnet 144 and 152)

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AG: So, where do we go from there?. Here’s one that’s totally disillusioned. Sonnet 144 – It’s the one that was..later on.. (They’re) talking about the two loves, the dark lady and the boyfriend – “Two loves I have of comfort and despair” (It’s not in the book so I’m just reading it)

Two loves I have of comfort and despair, Which like two spirits do suggest me still; The better angel is a man right fair, The worser spirit a woman colour’d ill. To win me soon to hell,

{interpret “hell” as “cunt”, all through this  (or that’s what … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 129)

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AG: Then the next…He’s gone through all these emotional baths with his boyfriend, and is commenting on his own foolery, his own idiocy in getting involved so deeply and getting himself committed so much to love, that it’s a big trap. So… The way he says it is interesting. It’s a rant. (Sonnet 129) – “The expense of spirit in a waste of shame/Is lust in action” – The expansive breath or spirit in “a waste of shame” (like he was in some S & M scene, slave-master relation, begging, pleading, announcing, trumpeting, prophesying that it was going to … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 116)

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[“Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks/Within his bending sickle’s compass come” (Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116)]

Alle Ginsberg on Shakespeare’s Sonnets continues

AG: Well, let’s get on with a couple more (What time do we have?) – Here’s one that I wanted to get to (we don’t have to do all of them) – (Sonnet) 116 (page 216) – The most perfect examples of logopoeia. Now to get to the heart of the logopoeia – “dance of the intellect among words” or intellection among words – “Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments.” – Does … Read More