Expansive Poetics – 69 – (More Khlebnikov 3)

[Velimir Khlebnikov, aged 30]

AG: Let’s see what else we’ve got. There was one [by Velimir Khlebnikov] that reminded me a lot of Gregory (Corso) (the reason I said some cross between Gregory Corso and (Peter) Orlovsky is the certain strange combination of phrasing that’s similar) called “The Lone Performer” [ОДИНОКИЙ ЛИЦЕДЕЙ]. The first line mentions Tsarskoye Selo [Царским Селом] now Pushkin], which is a little town outside of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) where there was a private school (where (Anna) Akhmatova, his friend, grew up, actually, and went to school)..and which is always referred

Read More

Expansive Poetics – 68 (More Khlebnikov – 2)

[Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922)]

AG: So I’ll read a few more (of Velimir Khlebnikov) that are of later date Thunderstorm in the Month Au   [(‘Groza v mesyatse Au‘)]  Pupu-popo!  That’s the thunder. Gam gra gra rap rap. Pee pee-pee-zee, that’s him. Bai gzo-gzee-zee. Flash of lightning. Vei gzo gzee-va – That’s you. Goga, gago–Majestic rolling. Gago, goga! Zzh. Zzh. Mn! Mn! Nm! Meh-mo-mo-muna. All turns blue. Moa, moa, Me-ah svu. Vei vai eh-vu!  That’s a whirlwind. Vzee-zo-tsern. Vey-tser-tsee. Vra-vra, vra-vra! Vrap, varp, vrap! Howl howlota. Rolling rumbles. Howlota. Gat Gakree. Vuva veh-vo. Ring circles. Tsee-ree-tsee!                                                                                                                                 That’s 1919-1921.     Earlier, 1913:  O

Read More

More Amazing Grace

Following on from yesterday, we thought, why not, why not make it an Amazing Grace weekend –  “Compare and Contrast”, like they say. Here’s a few more renditions of Amazing Grace Here’s the pure unadulterated voice of Judy CollinsHere’s another pure voice, Karen Matheson (singing it in Scottish Gaelic)

and another pure voice Aaron Neville

Here’s Willie Nelson.  Here’s George Jones.  Here’s Al Green.Here’s Jerry Garcia. Here’s Elvis Presley 

Here’s Ray Charles (with a full-piece orchestra)

Here’s Rod Stewart 

Here’s the Dropkick Murphy’s memorable punk versionRead More

New Stanzas for Amazing Grace

“I dreamed I dwelled in a homeless place/ Where I was lost alone/ Folk looked right through me into space/And passed with eyes of stone..” Allen Ginsberg’s “New Stanzas for Amazing Grace”, an up-dated revisioning of an old song, was composed (in April 1994) at the request of Ed Sanders for his innovative project,  “The New Amazing Grace” (new lyrics, old melody), and was performed, in November of that year, as part of an all-star gathering at the Poetry Project (St Mark’s Church) in New York.

Here (courtesy of the soundtrack of the indispensible Jerry Aronson’s Life and Times of Allen Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 176

Allen Ginsberg at the Women's House of Detention. New York. March 1964.

[Allen Ginsberg at the Women’s House of Detention, New York, March 1964 – Photograph by Benedict J Fernandez]


Benedict J Fernandez, the photographer who snapped this iconic shot, is currently being celebrated in the Bronx (in “The 60’s – Decade of Change”) at the Bronx Documentary Center, till July 20.  An engaging interview with him (by Andy Prisbylla) appears hereHere are some selected photographs (“Incredible Images of 1960’s Protests”) on Slate. Further images may be found here. Here is the New York Times profile of his extraordinary photographic career. We finally got around … Read More

Extended Poetics – 67 – (More Khlebnikov – 1 – Incantation By Laughter)

Сурет:Khlebnikov 1908.jpg

[Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922),  in 1908, aged 23]

AG: Now I would like to go back to 1908, a few years before that, to (Velimir) Khlebnikov, who was, for Russian Futurism, the great master of all these mad forms and breakthroughs. We had a little bit of Khlebnikov before, since, actually, you might say, after (Arthur) Rimbaud, he may be the first modern poet. I don’t know who influenced who  – there were the Italian Futurists with (Filippo) Marinetti and there were (the) Russian Futurists, Khlebnikov and (Vladimir) Mayakovsky – and the Russians began their outrageous poetry (in) 1905, … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 66 (Dada Manifestos)

AG: I just referred back to  (Arthur) Rimbaud to check out the tone of the manifesto, of rejecting the old. And here is a Dada manifesto (I don’t know what year that would be? Does anybody know?  [Editorial note – it’s 1918] –  It might have been probably written during World War I, a little bit later than the Futurist manifestos of Italy and Russia. These were composed by Tristan Tzara who was a Roumanian, who went to Paris and then wound up in Zurich during World War I with Hans Arp, Hugo Ball (Arp, the sculptor, Hugo … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 65 ((Rimbaud)

Allen’s 1981  “Expansive Poetics” lecture continues…

AG: Yes. If you want to see where that came from we would go back to the French precursors, the heroic precursors, and check out (Arthur) Rimbaud‘s letters to his teacher. Does everybody know Rimbaud’s letters to his teacher, (Paul Demeny)  Are people familiar with Rimbaud’s early letters here? Raise your hand if you are. Well, how many here have read Rimbaud? [ Allen is presented with a show of hands]  So everybody knows a little Rimbaud, and who he is historically. For those who don’t, he was considered the greatest French … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 64 (“A Slap In The Face of Public Taste”)

AG: So what was lost, or what was the energy that’s lost, it’ll be interesting to read, going back eight years earlier (from 1920) (to) the (Russian) Futurist Manifesto. I think that was the last thing  (or one of the last things) I read in the last term’s class. Let’s see if I can find it. Student: Yes, that was the last thing. AG: Let me see if I can get it. It was called “A Slap In The Face of Public Taste”  Student: … Read More