Spontaneous Poetics – 52 (David Cope)


[David Cope, Ann Arbor, Michigan, February 1995 – photograph by Allen Ginsberg c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

AG: [Allen reads from the then freshly-published poetry-collection, The Stars by David Cope] – “Nada Press, Big Scream, 698 48th Street, South East, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49508 – The Stars by David Cope, copyright 1976. All rights reserved for the author. Acknowledgements – Some of these poems have appeared in Big Scream, Windows in the Stone, and in two previous collections – Neon Eyes and The Clouds – So this is, like, coming out of the sidewalks of… “Walking, driving, everything is business, … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 51 (Revisiting Reznikoff – 2)

[Charles Reznikoff, circa 1975, reading as part of the New York City “Poetry In the Parks” Program, courtesy the Archives of The Academy of American Poets]

AG: [surveying The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff] –  I’d like to read through a lot of these actually, because they’re so good. There are too many to read, because I (also) want to go from him to (William Carlos) Williams, and then from Williams, retrospectively, back to (William) Wordsworth, and see Wordsworth’s sharp focus of perception, if we have time.

“The shoemaker sat in the cellar’s dusk beside his … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 50 (Revisiting Reznikoff – 1)

[Charles Reznikoff  (1894-1976)]

  We continue with our transcription of Allen’s June 23 1976 Naropa class. He moves on from haiku (see here) to a discussion of one of his favorite ‘”close attention” poets, the Objectivist, Charles Reznikoff. We’ve featured Allen on Reznikoff extensively before (here, here, here and here), but (duplication notwithstanding) feel absolutely no compunction in featuring him again. 

AG: Well, that concentration of perception in Japan, or in that kind of meditative Oriental style, we have an equivalent of that in English, and so, fast, skipping through, a couple (sic) of Americans … Read More

Allen Ginsberg – Haiku

From Allen’s Journals (Fall, 1955):

“1) All conversation – “I need a spoon to eat soup” – is bridging Ellipse, all my talk is haiku 2) The Western image (metaphor the apt relation of dissimilars – Aristotle) is compressed haiku 3) Study of primary forms of ellipse, naked haiku, useful for advancement of practice of western metaphor 4) Haiku = objective images written down outside mind the result is inevitable mind sensation of relations. Never try to write of relations themselves, just the images which are all that can be written down on the subject (conversation w/ [Peter] Du Read More

Friday Weekly Round-Up – 117

The Line Has Shattered Robert McTavish’s hour-long documentary on the legendary 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference premieres next Thursday in Vancouver at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Arts Center (Simon Fraser University). The film, narrated by poet Phyllis Webb, will be introduced by original conference participant (and Canada’s current Poet Laureate), Fred Wah.

Allen’s famous group-shot of several of the key participants (with him at the center, and, significantly, absent Denise Levertov and Robert Duncan) may be viewed below:

[Jerry Heiserman (later Sufi “Hassan”), the late “Red” a poet, Allen Ginsberg, Bobbie Louise Hawkins Creeley, Warren Tallman, Robert Creeley … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 49 – A Brief Survey of Haiku


This [Allen hands out a home-made xerox-ed collection] is a little anthology of choice haiku taken from the four-volume set of haiku in the library collected by R.H.BlythSpring, Summer, Winter, Autumn. How many have looked into that, or know that collection? It’s a collection that (Jack) Kerouac used and Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen all used as a sort of poetics reference encyclopedia handbook inspiration text around 1955. I was reading haiku, then, in those books and chose the best ones, or the ones that stuck in my head, about twenty or thirty,

Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 48 ( Shelley and Hart Crane 2)

June 23, 1976, (Naropa Institute), a new class. Allen picks up from the previous class, with a discussion on Hart Crane and Shelley and a poetry that might be life-affirming and “speakable”.

AG: I guess I’ll begin. There’s going to be a poetry reading tonight – John Ashbery and Dick Gallup. That’ll be after this class. And tomorrow night, there’s going to be (a) (Chogyam) Trungpa discourse – “Sutra” (which will be open, free, to all members of the student body). So if anybody hasn’t picked up on Trungpa’s taste or vibration, tomorrow night everybody’s invited. It’s … Read More

Jack Kerouac’s Birthday

[Jack Kerouac – 1942 Naval Reserve photograph – courtesy The Archive – Sketches on Kerouac]

[Jack Kerouac – Staten Island Ferry Dock, New York City 1953 (Photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Jack Kerouac’s birthday today! – Happy Birthday, Jack! – Had he lived, he would have been (strange vision!) 91 years old.

Here are some of our more choice Jack Kerouac posts from the Allen Ginsberg Project:

Here‘s Allen reading from Dharma Bums, here‘s Kerouac reading from American Haiku (for more vintage Kerouac recordings, check out these resources here). Here and here are the (video) record … Read More

Jack Kerouac Peggy Lee and Billie Holiday

Jack Kerouac’s Birthday tomorrow. We thought we’d begin the celebrations with this. Jack, goofy and happy, singing a pretty free-form (actually, a seriously free-form!) rendition of (the “Roaring Twenties” classic) “Ain’t We Got Fun” (“the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” – “the rich get richer and the poor get laid off” – “the rich get richer and the poor get.. children”!) We thought it’d be interesting to trace the song (music by Richard Whiting, lyrics by Gus Kahn and Raymond Egar) through it’s various manifestations – from this and this and this (all 1921 versions) to … Read More

UMass Kerouac Tapes & Lowell Portfolio


[Jack Kerouac in Fred W. McDarrah’s apartment, Dec. 10, 1959. Copyright: Fred McDarrah/Getty Images]

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, is increasingly becoming an important Kerouac nexus, and a visit to their Kerouac Center For Public Humanities web-site is well worth the time, not the least for the invaluable streaming-audio clippings there-contained (William S Burroughs on “Jack’s French” and (on) “Outcast Migrations” – Allen, with at least 8 clippings, including this (transcription of which follows) – Allen on Jack and.. “Visions” –

(see also Allen-on-Jack here, at the 1973 Salem State Kerouac Conference)

AG:  …The one thing I got.. … Read More