Charles Reznikoff’s Birthday

[(1894-1976) – Photograph by Abraham Ravett, 1975]

It’s Charles Reznikoff ‘s birthday today. We’ve featured him here before, with great pleasure, quite extensively.

Previous “Rezzy” postings on the Ginsberg Project: herehere, here, here and here, here andhere.

Today, the recording of a memorial gathering held for him at St Mark’s Poetry Project, March 20, 1976.

Audio notes from the Internet Archive, via Other Minds:

“A veritable who’s who of American poets, many hailing from New York, read their favorite poems by Charles Reznikoff and others, during a memorial for the … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 141

[Johnny Depp at Allen Ginsberg’s kitchen table, New York City, 1994. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[Harry Smith with Flowers and Cigarette in the kitchen 437 East 12th Street NYC,  August 3, 1986. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[Joanne Kyger, Allen’s kitchen, 437 East 12th St.NYC, November 1989 c.Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[Gary Snyder, 437 East 12th St kitchen table, March 1991. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[Peter Orlovsky 437 East 12th St, New York City, 1996. Photo Allen Ginsberg. c Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Allen’s table. We’ve been contacted about Allen’s kitchen-table, historical hearth and meeting point, also setting for innumerable photos. … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 126 (William Blake)

[William Blake (1757 – 1827) – Jerusalem, Plate 27, “To The Jews…” via Yale Center For British Art, Paul Mellon Collection]

AG: I’d like to finish this quasi-political section with a song by (William) Blake from“Jerusalem”. I’ll sing it, because it has a certain natural music in it.

Student: What part is it?

AG: Perhaps repetitious. It’s Plate 27 of “Jerusalem”, his last work (or his last known work – apparently, some of his work was burned after his death) – [Allen begins reading/singing – “The fields from Islington to Marybone,/To Primrose Hill and Saint John’s … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 125 (Blake – The Mental Traveller)

AG: There is another odder way of looking at it that I always dug, in Blake, in “The Mental Traveller”. Does anybody know that poem? – “The Mental Traveller”? – It’s one of the strangest poems ever written, which (W.B) Yeats, who was a great commentator on Blake, still found indecipherable. It’s somewhat a cycle that comes back to itself – like a long story-poem, like a dream, like our own existence, or like Finnegan’s Wake, a construction that begins somewhere in the … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 124 (William Blake and the French Revolution)

[William Blake (1757-1827)]

We’ll leave (William) Wordsworth for a moment. There was another mind dealing with revolution – (William) Blake, also disillusioned – and there are a couple of brief comments that he made, summaries, of his political changes – that are not too well-known  (The longer, “prophetic books” are difficult to get into, and I haven’t mastered them, so I won’t deal with those, but some brief comments on the French Revolution by Blake. Since we had Wordsworth’s disillusion, this is Blake’s) – A generalization – [Allen recites William Blake’s “The Grey Monk”, in its entirety] … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 123 (Wordsworth – 8)

[William Wordsworth (1770-1850)]

Why don’t I just go through a few little fragments of not-very-well-known poems by Wordsworth, from “Poems of the Imagination”. (I’ll) just pick out a few lines here and there which give a little haiku-like, or direct, perception, examples of direct perceptual.. examples of the activity of his mind. Like (since) we’re talking about the inertness of his mind, we have to balance it.

He has, (for example), a little poem called “There Was A Boy” – [Allen reads “There Was A Boy” in its entirety] – “There was a Boy, ye knew him … Read More

Ginsberg on Kerouac and Kesey and Cassady

1973 Salem State College’s Jack Kerouac Festival – here and here. (We’ve even previously featured an “out-take” here),. Here’s another one, (similarly focusing on the poignancy and tragedy of late Jack Kerouac (and on late Neal Cassady). An audience member asks about Cassady and his legendary cross-country drive, Allen responds.

[This particular tape begins in media res with Peter Orlovsky, having just finished his presentation, and a (more-than-usually) offensive/provocative/drunken Gregory Corso, meditating/theorizing.. on sudden death! – but then, thirty-five seconds in, is the question, and fifty-five seconds in, Allen’s answer]

AG: I can only talk, I would rather only talk, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 140

[Time Magazine cover (Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon) November 12, 1956]

Side-swipes. Time magazine. The voice of “the establishment”. Allen memorably excoriated its pomposity and hauteur in 1956 in his poem, “America” –  “Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?/ I’m obsessed by Time Magazine/I read it every week/Its cover stares at me as I slink past the corner candy-store/I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library/It’s always telling me about responsibility..” Plus ça change, over fifty years later, the snarky caption to a photo juxtaposing Allen andDaniel

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Spontaneous Poetics – 122 (Wordsworth – 7)

[Benjamin Robert Haydon – plaster cast of life mask, 1815, of William Wordsworth (via the National Portrait Gallery, London)]

There’s the famous nostalgic “Ode on Intimations Of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”, which I read to my father, several months ago, on his death-bed – and his comment – it was a poem that he’d always loved and wanted me to read aloud to him – it was the last time he heard it (a poem which he’d heard maybe a thousand times in his life, aloud, or read) – but his final comment was, “It’s very beautiful, but … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 121 (Whitman and Wordsworth Comparison)

There’s an odd “personism” (like in late Frank O’Hara) that you get in Whitman (or Whitman established the personalist, which sustained him. In other words, he was dealing in direct phenomena, observation of his own nature and his own senses and his own thoughts and the thought-forms of his mind, whereas there was a funny solidification in Wordsworth, where it was no longer quite personal but everybody became abstracted and generalized, until, so, finally, he was having to accept or reject ideas, rather than observe the flow of ideas, let us say.

One little later political note … Read More