Mind, Mouth and Page – 50 (Song of the Exposition)

AG 1975 lectures on Williams continues
AG: I want to take a break from Williams now and go back to some other sources similar to his – Whitman again. I did a little Whitman before, but, there’s a very funny poem called “The Song of the Exposition” , in which it’s his statement, pre-figuring Williams, about the need for the invention of a completely native art for the United States. So this was for “the Exposition” (what Exposition, I don’t know, actually – there’s probably a note – probably the Chicago Exposition of 1868, or (18)72, or whatever World’s … Read More

William Carlos Williams’ Birthday

Ken Kesey (1935-2001)

[Ken Kesey’d come to New York to perform his Bear myth cantata at Lincoln Center, I visited at midnight his room Hotel Excelsior 81’st Street near Planetarium, he held still a second in lamplight, said he had second thoughts about his former Monotheist faith after bus-crash demise of his athlete son – December 14, 1989. (Ginsberg caption) c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]
Ken Kesey, novelist, counter-culture icon, “Merry Prankster”, was born 77 years ago today.
Alex Gibney and Alison Elwood’s film “Magic Bus – Ken Kesey’s Search For A Kool Place” is obviously a must-see. Here’s the trailer:
and a
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Jack Kerouac – The French Connection


[Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)]
Yesterday, we mentioned Joyce Johnson’s book (on Jack Kerouac’s Franco-American roots), and last week we had earnest French (documentary film) seekers, and this week, here’s another French documentary, courtesy the National Film Board of Canada – Jack Kerouac’s Road – A Franco-American Odyssey.
“Part documentary, part drama, this film presents the life and work of Jack Kerouac, An America writer with Québec roots who … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 91

Joyce Johnson‘s long-awaited Kerouac biography, The Voice Is All – The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac was published yesterday – “Looking more deeply than previous biographers into how Kerouac’s French-Canadian background enriched his prose and gave him a unique outsider’s view of America, she tracks his development from boyhood through the phenomenal breakthroughs of 1951” (her narrative, intriguingly, stops there with him, poised with the composition of Visions of Cody and On The Road). Early reviews have been extremely enthusiastic – “Quite simply the best book on Kerouac and one of the best accounts of any writer’s apprenticeship … Read More

Paul Blackburn

[Paul Blackburn photographed by Elsa Dorfman]
Poet, translator, pioneering audio-phile, Paul Blackburn (1926-1971), is celebrated today with a whole slew of Blackburn links. One might begin, perhaps, with the EPC collection (poems, translations, articles on line, sound files, secondary material (“about the author”)). Singularly, “about the author” is a feature put together, posthumously, in October 2000, for Jacket magazine. Modern American Poetry (courtesy Cary Nelson) is another portal to relevant Blackburn sites. Edie Jarolim’s wonderful The Collected Poems of Paul Blackburn (from 1985) is obviously the text to have at hand, but it’s not so easy to … Read More

Arkardi Dragomoschenko (1946-2012)

Sad to report news, just in, of the death of Arkardi Dragmoschenko – the pre-eminent Russian experimental poet, (the link between the contemporary avant-garde and the American “Language” poets). Here‘s Charles Bernstein (his friend and colleague)’s note in Jacket2 . Here, as he points out, are the plethora of links available at PennSound (including a conversation with University of Pennsylvania students that aired 2010 on Bernstein’s “Close Listening” program). Jerome Rothenberg includes a translation of Arkardi’s poem “Paper Dreams” and remembers his friend, here. A Russian farewell note (for those of you conversant with the Russian) … Read More

Allen Ginsberg & Robert Lowell

[Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St Mark’s Church, New York City, February 23, 1977. Photo:  Martin Wechselblatt]
Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell – two distinctive and contrasting loci on the 20th century American poetry landscape – the raw and the cooked, the “outrider” and the academic, the Jewish “Beat” and the Harvard “Wasp”, initially they might be seen as the most unlikely of “bed-fellows” (sic). However, on the night of February 23, 1977 in New York, at The St Mark’s Poetry Project…
Matthew McNees discusses the occasion at length in “Suffering and Liberation: The Personal Poetics of Robert Lowell Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 49

                                                     AG: (William Carlos) Williams, continuing on this theme [of  Eliot’s “To purify the dialect of the tribe..”] – “The Cure” – page 23 – [Allen reads Williams’ “The Cure” in its entirety] – “Sometimes I envy others, fear them/ a little too, if they write well./ For when I cannot write I am a sick man/ and want to die. The cause is plain./ But they have no access to my

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Mind, Mouth and Page – 48

Allen, continues his August 1975 remarks on the Later Poems of William Carlos Williams.
AG: And so his “pre-art” comment to that
[Williams in his “Introduction” to “The Wedge” – “It could be that my interests expressed here are pre-art”]

is the first poem of this book [The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams], “A Sort of Song” – a sort of song, so this is “pre-art”, even the title – [Allen reads in its entirety “A Sort of Song”] – “Let the snake wait under/ his weed/and the writing/be of words, slow and quick, sharp/to strike, quiet

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