Spontaneous Poetics (W.B.Yeats – 1)

[William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), July 15, 1911 – Photograph by George Charles Beresford, from the collection at the National Portrait Gallery, London]

Philip Whalen and Allen Ginsberg, at Naropa Institute in 1976, discussing W.B.Yeats

PW: I found that one, that poem about your dewdrop
AG: Where?
PW: It’s right here.
AG: What page?
PW: Page two-four-nine.
AG: Yeah. (Do) you want to begin with that, or do you want to begin with your…
PW: I want to start at the beginning
AG: Okay, let me tear (off) a piece of paper..[for a bookmark]
PW: Yeah. (S0) … Read More

The Voice of W.B.Yeats

[W,B.Yeats (1865-1939) Photograph by Howard Coster]

In preparation and anticipation of a whole series of readings from, and remarks on, W.B.Yeats by Allen, (in tandem with the erudite and always entertaining Philip Whalen), here’s Yeats recorded voice (famously available on the old Caedmon records) and continuing into the digital age, and famously beginning with “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,/And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made,/Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee/And live alone in the bee-loud glade”. Here it … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 145

One Hundred Thousand Poets For Change, Michael Rothenberg & Terri Carrion’s extraordinarily ambitious annual global manifestation of poetic solidarity and commitment to cultural transformation, initiated in 2011, takes place again – tomorrow!

Numerous events are planned, world-wide. For further information see here, here, and here.

Among them, as the organizers point out, at least fifteen different events in the San Francisco Bay Area alone (including this one):

& Gary Snyder, Robert Hass, and others will be performing in Berkeley (as part of this umbrella) at the 18th Annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival.

The requisite … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – (Emergency Fund Raising)

Naropa‘s financing in its early days, was precarious, to say the least. We’ve already published an earnest (and also entertaining) fund-raiser/funding appeal – here. Allen breaks off his August 6, 1976 Spontaneous Poetics class with an even more urgent emergency call

AG: And there’s something I wanted to say before we get to any more lifted hands, because we had a big teachers’ meeting yesterday, about money, to consider money – because this whole scene is going to fold, unless we do make enough money to keep it going, and what, apparently, is required, by next Thursday, is … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 141

[Allen Ginsberg and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Macky Auditorium, Boulder, Colorado, May 5, 1972 – Photograph by Bob Morehouse]

AG: Did you have your… Yes?

Student: Yeah, I would like to know, who, besides yourselves, is a contemporary [1976] influence in your writing?

AG: On me? Okay, well, very strongly, Chogyam Trungpa (Rinpoche) at the moment, pushing me towards improvisation, blues, or towards improvisation – like making a poem right on the spot, without relying on a pen, on a piece of paper.

Student; You already have so much, probably, so much clearly-studied discipline, you know, in the back of … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 140 (Rilke)

[Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)]

AG: I (know) a couple of lines (of German) – ” Du bist wie eine Blume/so..schon und..” (Heinrich Heine) Philip Whalen: I’d like to take the Rilke out of .. as much German as I’ve absorbed, totally out of the air, and out of the imagination, and what-not, to look at the Duino Elegies and so on, and get some comfort and charm out of the sound of the things as they go by. But, as far (as).. if you asked me to render a single line, I’d be.. I might … Read More

John Coltrane

[John Coltrane (1926-1967) – live version and sheet music for “A Love Supreme”]

Allen, in Partisan Review, in 1971, [speaking of (William Carlos) Williams):

“The influence was that originality of taking the materials from your own existence rather than taking on hand-me-down poetic materials, speech units, rhythmic units and trying to adapt your life to them – you articulate your rhythm, your own rhythms. The concept of that led, in the ‘forties, to Abstract Expressionist painting and (Willem) de Kooning and (Franz) Kline, it led, in music, to Ornette Colman and all, and uh.. who … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 139

File:Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Tower of Babel (Vienna) - Google Art Project - edited.jpg

[Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526-1569) – Tower of Babel (1563), oil on panel, 44.8 inches x 61 inches at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria]  

  AG: I wanted to find out… Let’s see.. I  took over the space just as Philip Whalen was going to discourse on the languages that he spoke – and read… I butted in. I was interested in hearing.. ((I want to) switch again, just a moment)..because, I was conscious (that), when I began my sentence about (reading) (Federico Garcia) Lorca, [editor’s note, he means Rilke] that I was answering first.  [Allen turns to … Read More

Ginsberg-Cherry-Rowan – Buddhism in Song

[Don Cherry]
[Peter Rowan]
[Allen Ginsberg]

Don Cherry at Naropa in August of 1976. We featured him yesterday, we thought to include him again today, alongside Peter Rowan (who we’ve previously featured here) in a discussion (and performance) of Buddhism–in-song. Audio for the occasion is here

Allen begins with a couple of his songs (Gospel Noble Truths and Guru Blues), beginning first with some spontaneous improvisations on the Prajnaparamita, Heart Sutra
Transcription follows.
AG: ….Do you know “Gate gate, para gate, parasam gate, bodhi svaha” – so I just made up one verse last night when … Read More

Carolyn Cassady (1923-2013)

[Carolyn Cassady (1923-2013)]

Word just reaches us of the death of  Carolyn Cassady.  Brian Hassett has the report here.  She died peacefully, with her son, John Allen, there, in attendance, close beside her. “She was her regular rockin self”, he (Hassett) reports, “up through Sunday, woke up with a tummy ache Monday morning, had an infected appendix and checked out by Friday”…”She was 90 years old and still drank her white wine and smoked her More menthol ciggies every day. That is to say  – she was living the life she chose, on her own terms, in her … Read More