AG:Does anybody know the difference between accentual prosody and quantitative prosody? Is that something that ever came through? Does anybody know what quantitative prosody (is)? – as distinct from accentual? One, two, three (and some of the poets (here) maybe? [W.S.Merwin, Lewis MacAdams, Anne Waldman]). Could you [to student] explain it?, or, what’s your version?
Student: Quantitative is the number of consonants and vowels, and accentual is the number of accents in a particular line.
AG [to second student]: And what was your understanding?
[Thomas Nashe (1567-1601) in a satirical contemporary pamphlet, depicted in leg irons, c.1597]
AG: (A) little tiny song by George Peele I’m reading these because I guess half the class doesn’t know these things which, in former days, were considered touchstones of English literary poetry, or , what was the word, you know, standard exquisiteness, exquisities, or something –
“When as the Rie reach to the chin,/ And chopcherrie chopcherrie ripe within,/ Strawberries swimming in the creame,/ And schoole boyes playing in the streame;/ Then O, then O, then O my true love said, / Til that time come … Read More
[Allen Ginsberg reading for the Library of Congress, NYC, April 28 1988]
Our series “Annotated Streaming Videos” continues with these notes on Allen’s April 28 1988 Library of Congress reading (recorded in New York City). Allen, dapper in red shirt (and tie), crossed legs, sitting on a mattress. Steven Taylor, with guitar, immediately off-camera.
Allen: “I had an encounter in my dreams with an old friend, a lady who was dead [Joan Vollmer], who had been married to William Burroughs, the novelist, who was one of my teachers. And she had died in Mexico City and was … Read More
Our thanks to David Shook, on the web-site, Molossus, for his presentation this week concerning “Allen Ginsberg’s Recycled Erotic Manuscript” (note on the one side from Allen, porn-text on the verso (“”Now, lick it”, I ordered her”) singularly not from Allen, a line briefly drawn through it and “recycled” scribbled in the margin). Here’s the text from the recto page:
” 6/18/89 -Dear Mrs Ashby, I don’t think “Godhead” is conceivable in Zen. Buddhism is non-theistic, so far as I know it, to use common words. Zen means sitting, experience sitting practice of meditation. The “ideas” are … Read More
William Hogarth (1697-1764) – The Interior of Bedlam (Bethlem Royal Hospital) from The Rake’s Progress – Plate VIII – The Rake In A Madhouse, engraving published 1763
Allen’s “History of Poetry” class continues:
AG: “Around his (Shakespeare’s) time there was a lot of great language and song. So I want to run through some of the short songs, or short poems or lyrics of (the) 16th Century, 16th, and maybe 17th, Century. I don’t think I put it on the reading list but one very good anthology, or one very good survey of all the poetry in the English language, … Read More
[“Turned at door to say good -bye to Julian Beck, Medical Arts Center West 57th street Manhattan, October 1984 wife actress Judith Malina and trouper Hanon of their Living Theater by his bed. Cancer of abdominal wall, yet he rose for another year of stage works, grave in Zurich to declaim the latter’s statement of the state as jail of human spirit, smoke a joint and break the laws of death.” (Ginsberg caption.) photo c Allen Ginsberg Estate]
AG: Now how many here have read Shakespeare? How many have not read any Shakespeare at all? You haven’t?
Student: Not much
AG: Okay. Great. A live one! How many here have not read “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare? High, raise your hands. How many have read “The Tempest”. So it’s about half each. So I want to read a few lines from “The Tempest” (jumping from Anglo-Saxon!). “The Tempest” is considered by most people, or some
AG: …Was it alright?… It wasn’t a total bore? – So I’m going to go back, since there is some empty space, since people don’t know some earlier poetry, I’m going to go back and do a fast shuttle through my favorite early poems, in English. Later on, we might go back further and get to Anacreon, but I want to start with “The Seafarer” Anglo-Saxon, originally. So when would that be? When … Read More
Quotidian domesticity – Life on East 12th Street in the ’80’s – Steven Taylor and Allen’s Household Affairs remains one of our most cherished documents, not the least for the starring role played by the ever-canny Julius Orlovsky, on furlough from the mental hospital and staying temporarily in the apartment (the sparring between him and Allen (and him and his brother, Peter, for that matter) is one of the key features in the film). In 1987 Sony Corp had the innovative notion of giving away a bunch of High 8 camcorders to selected artists and writers with the caveat/request … Read More
[Allen Ginsberg in Tompkins Square Park, New York, 1966 – photograph by Charles Gatewood, courtesy Robert Taft Gallery]
Denise Levertov, William Carlos Williams… that’s as close as it gets. The United States Post Office is honoring ten poets in 2012 (a, primarily, academic bunch), placing their faces on postage stamps. Williams but no Ginsberg? – not even a Howl stamp? We at The Ginsberg Project feel we’ve been dissed! – Just as well, maybe..