Expansive Poetics – 69 (Georgi Ivanov)

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[Georgy  Ivanov (1894-1958), aged 27]

AG: Then there’s a remarkable poem, written in 1950 by somebody who was there, Georgy Ivanov – “fought in the First World War and in the Red Army and in the civil war, born in 1896. His early poetry with its cult of heroism owed much to (Nikolay) Gumilev, the Acmeist. In the mid (19)20’s, he was influenced by (Velimir) Khlebnikov and (Boris) Pasternak. Later…    No, I’m sorry. Pardon me. I’m reading…  I’ve got the wrong guy here! [Allen resumes with the correct information] – “1894, Georgi Ivanov, at first a … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 68 (Acmeism)

[Nikolay Gumilev, with his son Lev Gumilev and his wife Anna Akhmatova, 1913]

Allen’s July 30 1981 Expansive Poetics class (with particular emphasis on Russian literature) continues. AG: I thought what we should do is I’ll read you just a few paragraphs about Acmeism now, and then we’ll get right into the poems of (Osip) Mandelstam, which I’ve been slowly circling about.  There’s a description of Acmeism, or a few paragraphs, by (Nikolay) Gumilev, who was a theoretician. I’m not going to be long on this, just so that you get some idea of their approach, … Read More

Expansive Poetics- 67 (Symbolism & Imaginism)

Allen’s Summer  July/August 1981 Naropa class on “expansive” poetry (most especially, early twentieth-century Russian poetry) continues today with some preliminary “theoretical bullshit”

AG:  (So). Going back. I want to go back and remind us of a poem that we had read which was by (Osip) Mandelstam, which is not in our (class) anthologies, and I’ll give you a version of that, and then an echo of that years later. That line, “We shall gather again in Petersburg.” [“B Петербурге мы сойдемся снова”], (because that begins to take on more poignance, when you realize that, by 1930, … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 66 (The Arrest of Osip Mandelstam)

 Allen Ginsberg’s  August, 1981 Naropa class continues 

AG: The confrontation between the extreme Dada group and the Futurists and the actual leaders of the Nazi movement, and the confrontation between the Russian poets and (Josef) Stalin and police bureaucracy in Russia are really totally dramatic situations, which we’ve never (really) had in America completely, so totally so. Dan Berrigan – and a few others – every poet in America has been arrested, at one time or another, on a peace march, or sitting down – Peter Orlovsky was arrested for lying down … Read More

First Party At Ken Kesey’s With Hell’s Angels

A classic Ginsberg poem from the ‘Sixties, first published in the collection, Planet News First Party At Ken Kesey‘s With Hell’s Angels Cool black night thru redwoodscars parked outside in shadebehind the gate, stars dim abovethe ravine, a fire burning by the sideporch and a few tired souls hunched overin black leather jackets. In the hugewooden house, a yellow chandelier at 3 A.M. the blast of loudspeakershi-fi Rolling Stones Ray Charles BeatlesJumping Joe Jackson and twenty youthsdancing to the vibration thru the floor,a little weed in the bathroom, girls in scarlettights, one muscular smooth skinned mansweating dancing … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 179

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[Allen Ginsberg’s signed copy of his Collected Poems 1947-1980) to the Living Theatre (Julian Beck and Judith Malina) – “On With the Show of Eternity!” –  from the Living Theatre Archives – courtesy The Boo-Hooray Gallery, NYC]

Here’s a sweet little snippet of grainy video – Allen Ginsberg, in 1976, in Larry Rivers‘ loft in Manhattan, improvising a twelve-bar blues, recollecting the life-changing experience that he’d had the previous months (specifically, an extended Vajrayana meditation retreat, with his teacher Chogyam Trungpa and students, at a hastily-convened seminary at Land O’Lakes, in Northern Wisconsin)   – “I haven’t been … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 65 (1965 London Albert Hall Poetry Incarnation)

[Ernst Jandl (and Michael Horovitz) at the International Poetry Incarnation at The Royal Albert Hall in London, 1965]

AG: There’s a film actually… Student (CC): Wholly Communion. Yeah, I’ve seen it. It’s around town AG: In fact, we might try and get (it).. because the (Ernst) Jandl is on it, the Jandl (collaborative) piece is on it. Nineteen sixty-five.. Student (CC): It is.. AG: … (a) poetry reading in (London’s) Albert Hall. Then… Student (CC):  Wholly Communion  – W-H-O-L-L-Y Communion Student:  (There’s another one) AG: Pardon me? Student: They had another one, “Poets Against the Bomb”,  at the

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Expansive Poetics- 64 (Sound Poetry – Kurt Schwitters, Ernst Jandl)

[Kurt Schwitters – from the Elterwater (English) “Merz Barn”] (1947-1948 (uncompleted)]  

AG: So this [Allen is referring to the Marinetti-Schwitters impromptu readings – see here] is  (19)32, and it’s already a highly-developed art form – the sound poem.  (Kurt) Schwitters, I would say, is the very best, and actually, there are recordings of Schwitters and his son reading his great poem, the Ursonata – Ur-language, primeval language, ultimate language, earliest language – “Ursonata” – which is a long piece – a good hour, hour-and-a-half – and it’s a huge verbal musical construction, maybe one of the … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 63 (Kurt Schwitters 2)

Allen continues his lecture/remarks on Kurt Schwitters, returning to a singular moment in Schwitters’ biography, (as recounted in Robert Motherwell‘s classic The Dada Painters and Poets – An Anthology)]   AG: Well, I won’t read you the whole thing, but when it gets hot.  The situation is – the disharmony – [Allen begins reading]   “(Lazlo) Moholy-Nagy, (Kurt) Schwitters and I… ” – [(that is Moholy-Nagy’s wife, Sibyl, writing)] – “..were sandwiched between the head of the National Socialist Organization for Folk Culture and the leader of the “Strength Through Joy” movement. The disharmony among the … Read More

“I’m Going To Vote For Ronald Reagan Because…” (Naropa Classroom Improvisation 1981)

Every so often, as part of his teaching practice in his classes at Naropa, Allen would instigate a class poem, a group poem, typically insisting that everyone take a hand at spontaneously completing the words of a given sentence. We’ve already featured a number of these experiments here and here and here. Here’s another one    AG: Everyone knows what a list poem is? Anybody not know that phrase? When you say, “I’m going to vote for Ronald Reagan because I like the electric wires outside”, “I’m going to vote for Ronald Reagan because the light bulbs are … Read More