Spontaneous Poetics – 44 (George Herbert)

[George Herbert (1593-1633)]

AG: On George Herbert, there are a few poems which.. I mean, there is a great deal to read. Has anybody read any of Herbert? How many have read Herbert? And how many don’t know any of his poems. Raise your hands. So I’ll just get a couple in. He was a priest, and “God” ‘s in and out of his poetry, plus a funny kind of personal eccentricity and crankiness, which makes him interesting now because he’s a strange goof. [Allen begins by reading George Herbert’s “The Collar” – “I struck the board and cried, … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 43 (Robert Herrick)

[Robert Herrick (1591-1674)]

AG: How many have read any (Robert) Herrick?  Raise your hand? And how many have not read no Herrick? How many haven’t read Herrick? Come on, raise your hands. Okay, so I’d be encouraged to read it. So this is “The Argument of His Book”, or the proposition (that) he has. There is a book you can buy (I think Everyman has a complete Herrick, Everyman’s Library), the argument, or proposition, or subject-matter of his book. [Allen begins to read] – “I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers,/ Of April, May, of … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 42 (Ben Jonson)

[Ben Jonson (1572-1637) – portrait by Abraham Bleyenberch (c.1617), oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, London]

AG: I want to move on to Ben Jonson, who’s not so read as a poet among lowbrows like ourselves. On a little elegy on his first son, who died. A few little poems of Jonson. What I’m following now are, like, those rests or caesuras or the time. I’m reading poets for their good time, or for the lyric poets that I am reading, (all) have a very sweet sense of rest in-between words, or little gaps in-between words which are … Read More

Yugen & Jed Birmingham’s Call To Beat Scholarship

Jed Birmingham‘s bibliographic work over at the Burroughs-centric, cannot-recommend-it-too-highly, Reality Studio is truly amazing. This past December, he published a sensitive screed against all-too-complacent academic Beat scholarship – We’re going to call it essential reading. “When will the Beat Generation generate the criticism it deserves?”, he writes. “Verdict – Enough of this shit. I get it. Beat studies is not accepted in the academy. But enough of a Beat Criticism that has to present a grey flannel suit of accepted academic jargons and buzzwords. This is CV padding and the donning of the university tie required for interviews with tenure … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 114

[Neal Cassady & Natalie Jackson, San Francisco, 1955. Photo c Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Another notice (see the flood of notices last week) of Allen’s photographic Beat Memories show – Tim Keane (on Hyperallergic) – “”I Noticed My Friends” – Allen Ginsberg’s Photography” – “At best these pictures are a celebration within a rite of mourning”, Keane astutely notes. “And if photography prolongs a lived moment that vanishes as soon as it arrives,  [and surely it does] Ginsberg sensed how better suited [perhaps?] photography than writing can be to that impulse..” [Tho’ he was hardly a slouch, we might … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 41 (Campion’s Music)

AG: George [sic -a Naropa student], were you ever able to figure out the music? There’s a book of (Thomas) Campion in the library, with his own music. And those of you who are interested in music and can read music might check out the book because Campion has an essay on poetics, an essay on rhythm and rhythm in relation to music, on how to write songs, 1600, the best ear possible. [Allen is presumably referring to Campion’s Observations in the Art of English Poesie (1602)]

George [holding guitar]: All you have to do..

AG: What do I … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 40 (Marlowe & Raleigh and Campion)

[Shepherd and Shepherdess Reposing – François Boucher, 1761]


[ The tape begins in media res, Allen is reciting Christopher Marlowe’s “A Passionate Shepherd To His Love”]

AG: “…Fair lined skippers for the cold/ With buckles of the purest gold,/ A belt of straw and ivy buds,/ With coral clasps and amber studs;/ And if these pictures may thee move,/ Come live with me and be my love… ” –

And then Sir Walter Ralegh, about a year later registered a reply and answered (with) “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” [Allen recites this poem, in its entirety … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 39 (Reading List 10) (Shakespeare and Webster)

[The Shepherd (1886) – Edward Frederick Brewtnall ( 1846-1902)] 

AG: I wanted to get on to.. having run through all this (reading list)..to go back slower, just in case people don’t know a couple of the Shakespeare songs. From “Love’s Labour’s Lost”, there’s one poem, a “Song”, that combines song with absolute precise detail, which is, I think, a model for any kind of poetry, whether free verse or formed, formalistic.. – [Allen begins reading – “When Isciles hang by the wall, And Dicke the Shepheard blows his nail..”] – It’s just “And Dicke the Shepheard blows … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 38 (Reading List 9) (Charles Olson, Pablo Neruda)

[Charles Olson (1919-1970)]

AG: I was thinking originally, when I came in to move on from ballads to those songs – (Thomas Nashe, James Shirley – and I will get, I think, to Shirley at any rate), but I want to just finish off with this list up to, let us say, Charles Olson, because it’s up to that point that, after (Robert) Creeley, from Creeley on up, at least half the class has read something, so I’ll leave any further suggestions to a written list that I’ll make up. But of Olson, I‘d suggest the

Read More