Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970)

Giuseppe UngarettiĀ – from “A Presentation of Allen Ginsberg’s Poems”, in Naples, in 1967, speaking of “Kaddish“:

“The word of Ginsberg is atrocious like no other and it becomes always more angry and ardent as he proceeds in laying bare the road, the long road of human suffering, reflected in the body, in the mind, in the feelings of the mother that dies, in the events of life of a victim of the mother that dies. Listen..”

“This album also documents the liason between Ginsberg and the founder of the Italian “hermetic” school of poetry, whose poems are here translated and declaimed by the American guru. Ginsberg…(was) listened to carefully by the authorities and then charged with accusations of violating the Italian penal code. His response was to show up at the police station carrying a bouquet of flowers and gesturing a mudra over the police officer’s head to expel demons..”
from the sleeve notes to the LP recording, Ginsberg’s Thing” (Transatlantic Records) – side two is given over to “Allen Ginsberg Reading Translations of The Poetry of Giuseppi Ungaretti” reading English translations from “Il Taccuino Del Vecchio” (The Old Man’s Notebook), 1960, in recordings made, July 8 1967, at the Festival of The Two Worlds in Spoleto)

From a letter to Gary Snyder, from London, England, dated July 26 1967:
“Been in London – arrested for reading “Who Be Kind To” poem in Spoleto – opera Bouffe. Since here had great time at Poetry International for British Arts Council, reading as a team with 78 yr. old (Giuseppe) Ungaretti , Italian friend of (Guillaume) Apollinaire – nicest old poet I met since W(illiam) C(arlos) W(illiams)..”

“The technique of simultaneousness introduced in poetry by Apollinaire consists in joining the events, not by giving them an order of place and time but by registering them successively as they come to mind in the presence of a given face, or a given idea, or a given recollection of a person. It has been said in a more elaborate way, by (James) Joyce it has now been used by many, and it is used also by Ginsberg..
(from “A Presentation of Allen Ginsberg’s Poems”

“In a vast hall in the Village, crowded with the curious, Ginsberg and I met in New York to read together, each some of his own poems. I believe I have returned this evening – and I am proud of it – the tribute of brotherly enthusiasm that he wanted then, through his kindness, to offer to me.”

Ron Padgett tells a story – “New York, circa 1965. We (Ted Berrigan and I) saw some amazing things together. We saw the venerable Giuseppe Ungaretti reach down into his pants and pluck out a pubic hair, hold it up and exclain, “C’est blanc!“. Ungaretti was making a contribution to the pubic hair collection being assembled by Allen Ginsberg to give to Ed Sanders, who was selling unusual literary items in his mail-order catalog

Andrew Wylie, Ungaretti’s early translator is now Allen’s literary agent.

Bill Morgan on Louis and Edith (his father and stepmother) and Allen in Venice – “They met Ungaretti on the Piazetta San Marco in the moonlight and it was a spectacular way to end their vacation.”

Giuseppe Ungaretti died 42 years ago on this day.

An over-view (including more readings) by Ungaretti is here

Giuseppe Ungaretti

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