Expansive Poetics – 58 (Mayakovsky – Conclusion)

[History of the Russian Revolution – From Marx to Mayakovsky (1965) – by Larry Rivers (1925-2002)  – wood, oil, charcoal, serigraphs, and photo-mechanical reproduction on canvas, wood, paper, metal, plexiglass, glass and fiber-board, 169 1/2 x 399 1/4 inches]

AG: “First Prelude to A Poem of the Five-Year Plan” – [Allen prepares to read 

Mayakovsky’s famous poem, [ВО ВЕСЬ ГОЛОС]  “At the Top of My Voice”]  And what I’ll do is, there’s certain rhythms in here, which are interesting in English, (but) which are perfect and exact in Russian, so maybe I can stop occasionally, … Read More

Expansive Poetics- 57 (Mayakovsky – At The Top of My Voice)

Vladimir Mayakovsky

[Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)]

Ann Charters: So we’d like to do a few more things before we end, and the poem which you have in your anthology, “At The Top of My Voice“, which was written a few months before the suicide, in January 1930.

AG: Should we have that in Russian first? Ann Charters:  Yeah AG: You want me to read it in English first? – or do you want to do it in Russian first? Richard Poe has prepared the Russian. Student (RP): Can I go first? AG: Pardon me? Student (RP): Can I go first? AG: … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 56 (Mayakovsky-The Bedbug)

Vladimir Mayakovsky Ann Charters: How much time do we have?
AG: We actually have have half an hour, but what I would like to do is get a piece of that [“The Bedbug”]  then go to “..At The Top of My Voice” (which Richard Poe has prepared in Russian, and we have in English). Then, if we have time, I’d like to get three short poems of (Osip) Mandelstam which comment on Mayakovsky‘s themes..and then I’d like Peter (Orlovsky) to read (Sergei) Esenin’s “Confessions of A Bum” (because we talked about Esenin, but nobody has heard any … Read More

What Keeps Mankind Alive?

What Keeps Mankind Alive? The text – Ralph Manheim and John Willett‘s translation, from Bertolt Brecht‘s original German, of the second finale of Brecht-Weill’s classic “Threepenny Opera” (Die Dreigroschenoper) (1928):

A rare photograph of Brecht and Weill together

[Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) & Kurt Weill (1900-1950)]

“You gentlemen who think you have a mission/To purge us of the seven deadly sins/Should first sort out the basic food position/Then start your preaching, that’s where it begins/ You lot, who preach restraint and watch your waist as well/Should learn, for once, the way the world is run/However much you twist, or whatever lies that you tell/Food is the first … Read More

More Burroughs Music Collaborations

Last weekend we featured a couple of William Burroughs‘ rock collaborations. Here’s a few more, starting with his rendition of a poem by Jim Morrison (from the tribute album, Stoned Immaculate – The Music of The Doors) – “Is Anybody In?”













[Jim Morrison (1943-1971]

Turning the heat up (more than) a little, there’s his collaboration with Ministry on what is now a bona-fide “heavy-metal” classic – “Just One Fix”  (The more immediate, more palatable, more obvious Ministry-Burroughs collab, A Quick Fix – can be heard … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 174


Wild in Denver – Neal Cassady’s Teen Years by Charlie Hailer

News from New York – it seems that this summer’s regular Howl! Festival won’t be happening this year.  More on that story here – and here  No HOWL! this spring. News from the HOWL! Festival Board:Due to circumstances beyond our control, HOWL! Festival 2014, originally scheduled for May 30 thru June 1, has been postponed. New dates will be announced as soon as available. Steve Cannon will continue as Poet laureate and will rule at the next HOWL, whenever that is. It’s Tompkins Sq Park bureaucracy, IMHO — HOWL has never been supported like the Treasure that it is. In memoriam –  here is a group reading of “Howl” (from the 2010 Howl! Fest) and here is “Plutonian Ode” (from the following year, likewise ensemble).

File:Harry Smith 1985.jpg Amanda Petrusich (from a forthcoming book) on Harry Smith and the legendary American Folk Music anthology

Next Thursday, Thursday May 1st, at London’s Horse Hospital, a book launch for Joe Ambrose and A.D.Hitchin’s Read More

Expansive Poetics – 55 – (Mayakovsky and Tatiana)

[Tatiana Yacovieff du Plessix Liberman (1906-1991)]

Ann Charters:  Well, again, with Mayakovsky, this his public declaration – “Conversation with a Tax Collector About Poetry“ [“Разговор с фининспектором о поэзии] – was followed shortly on by another private experience that actually marks the end, or the beginning of the end, of his life.  On a trip to Paris he fell in love with another lady, the first lady he truly loved after Lili Brik. And what this meant was not necessarily the end of Mayakovsky, except that the woman he chose to fall in … Read More

Expansive Poetics 54 – (Mayakovsky – Public Poetry)


AG: What did we have? What is the next thing we were going to do? Because I have an idea. Ann Charters; Well, I was going to talk (next) about his (Mayakovsky‘s) work for the Party. I mean, what does a poet do who’s taken up by the Communist Party? AG: Okay Ann Charters: Yeah? AG: That’d be interesting,  yeah. Ann Charters: Interesting? No kidding! Very interesting! – I mean, before he kills himself, right?.  In 1926.. okay, I’m skipping over the part where Mayakovsky has his trip to America, because we’re going to have a … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 53 – (Mayakovsky and Lili Brik)

 [Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lili Brik]

Lili, drawing by Mayakovsky, 1916 [Lili Brik, drawn by her lover Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1916,one year after their meeting] 

Ann Charters: So about this, this is a long, long, poem, which, is in my feeling one of his (Mayakovsky‘s) masterpieces – to Lili (Brik) – it’s a Surrealistic poem, (it’s a poem like the “Backbone Flute“, by the way, the poem about his suicide..) AG: “Spine Flute” or “Backbone Flute” – weird title! Ann Charters: Yeah, right – not “A Cloud in Trousers” but a “Backbone Flute”, the one we talked about.. AG: Uh-huh Ann Charters: But … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 52 (Mayakovsky and Mandelstam)

File:Lenin CL.jpg


[Vladimir Ilych Lenin (1870-1924)]

transcription from Allen Ginsberg’s “Expansive Poetics” Naropa Class continues

Ann Charters:  So okay. And with this poem of “Lenin”,  Mayakovsky (this is first read on October 18th, 1924) pledges his loyalty to the Bolsheviks with this poem eulogizing a great man – and Lenin was a great man. I mean, the camps hadn’t yet begun, and so forth. And he decided, or he said to the world in this poem,”Lenin”, that he was turning away from personal lyricism – you remember that line in “ At the Top of My Voice”..

AG: Yeah … Read More