AG: I want to finish (these recent discussions on Charles Reznikoff) right now with a little last poem of (William Carlos) Williams, sort of summing it up, summing up the effort that both of them were making- “Birds and Flowers”. So, suggesting a still life, or suggesting the subjects he might write of, (or) that he might notice.
[Mohammed Mosaddegh, deposed Iranian Prime Minister breaks down in court, Tehran, December 1953]
It’s the anniversary today of the 1953 coup in Iran, when the democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mosaddegh was overthrown by a coup d’etat organized by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom and the United States (an extraordinary important historical occasion with ramifications that are still being felt, right up to the present day).
AG: His (Charles Reznikoff’s) poetry is immortal – The subway (his subject) will last for fifty years, if lucky. But then, there’s that other thing, what’s going to happen when the subways vanish into dust?
Student: They (the poems) will end up like the graffiti in the subways.
(Second) Student: Horseshit!
AG: Come on!
Student: Poems’ll last?
AG: See, what is going to happen to these poems?. I mean, consider all these poem-objects (that) we’re making? What is going to happen to these poems when the subways turn to dust? What we’ll have left are these little artifact-like … Read More
Well, (at the) same time, same mental station, same movement as the Imagist people, basing their practice on direct observation of the image (were) the Objectivists. (Imagism) grew into the Objectivist movement, where people also included their thoughts or feelings as part of the hard data of the moment. (Yet) another group was called (the) Activists and that was because they were trying to use language that was active, rather than passive. They were trying to use language that was precise and clear and clean. So they called themselves “Activists”. So, Imagists, Objectivists, Activists – various metamorphoses … Read More
AG: The poem I like best to illustrate his (William Carlos Williams’) point, his method, is something that he told me, I think, was simply, literally a note left for his wife (Floss), which, when he reread it in the morning, he picked up (on) and put in the book as another poem. “This is Just to Say” is the title. [Allen reads “This is Just to Say” in its entirety] – “This is just to say” [title] I have eaten/ the plums/ that were in/ the icebox/ and which/ you were probably/ saving/ for breakfast/ Forgive me. … Read More
[William Blake (1757-1837) – portrait, 1820, by John Linnell (1792-1882)]
Today (Sunday August 12th) is the 185th anniversary of the death of the great poet and visionary, William Blake We, here on The Allen Ginsberg Project, of course, couldn’t let that go by, without at least some acknowledgement/recognition. Here’s Allen in Olomouc (the Czech Republic), in 1993, singing the wonderful crowd-pleaser (from the “Songs of Innocence and Experience), his setting of “The Nurses Song” – “And all the hills echo-ed.. And all the hills echo-ed..”