EBSN Conference 2014

November is,  admittedly, some ways away, but no harm in announcing the European Beat Studies Network‘s Third Annual Conference ( this year to be held in Tangier, Morocco, November 17 to 19, at the Hotel Chellah).  “The well-established Beat-Tangier connection makes it a natural home”, the organizers write, “for a EBSN conference – above all, (fittingly) in 2014, the centennial of William Burroughs..”  “Geographically and historically, (it) is an East-West crossroads”, and the conference.. (intends to explore).”cultural hybridity and conflict”, “both before and since the Beat 1950’s and (19)60’s”.  “The psychogeography of (Burroughs’)  “Interzone”.. is “uncannily … Read More

Expansive Poetics 92 – (Verlaine – Chanson D’Automne)

[Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)]

[Marlene Dietrich reading Paul Verlaine’s “Chanson d’automne c.1945]

That’s a very delicate little thing (Apollinaire’s “Le Pont Mirabeau”) That’s in a great French tradition of purely musical lyric, with a lot of Heraclitan impact, that is to say, you can’t step in the same river twice. Similar.. It’s a tradition of pure sound in French, also, melodious sound, which is (a) very good background for somebody trying to write an open-form poem like “Zone”, a tradition that Rimbaud’s friend, (Paul) Verlaine was also great at. I don’t know if you know … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 91 Apollinaire – Le Pont Mirabeau)

[The voice of Guillaume Apollinaire, recorded at the laboratory of Abbé M. Rousselot, December 24th, 1913, reading his poetry – “Le Pont Mirabeau” and “Marie”]

AG: Incidentally, there’s a recording of (Guillaume) Apollinaire‘s voice. I don’t have it  [Allen is speaking in 1981]-  The only place I ever heard it was the Musee de Sonore [maybe the Archive de Parole?] – the Sound Museum in Paris, where there’s (also) a recording of Count Tolstoy, the writer – Tolstoy and Apollinaire – that far back – those do exist (just as the recordings of (Sergei) Esenin and (Vladimir) Read More

Happy Birthday John Ashbery

[John Ashbery, iconoclast, with a baseball-bat, from Rudy Burckhardt‘s Mounting Tension (1950); painted by Larry Rivers (“Pyrography: Poem and Portrait of John Ashbery II” (1977); photographed by Lynn Davis (c.1986); “L’Heure Exquise – collage by John Ashbery (1977); presentation of 2011 National Arts and Humanities Medal, February 2012, by President Barack Obama]  

Today is the great American poet John Ashbery‘s 87th birthday We thought to celebrate with this – a vintage reading from 1963 in New York at The Living Theatre (reading from Rivers and Mountains, Some Trees, and The Tennis Court Oath, with … Read More

Expansive Poetics 90 – (Apollinaire and TS Eliot)

[Allen Ginsberg’s Annotated Copy of The Waste Land]

AG: The comparison to “The Waste Land” of this (Apollinaire’s “Zone”), particularly, “You are alone the morning is almost here/The milkmen rattle their cans in the street” ( “Tu es seul le matin va venir/ Les laitiers font tinter leurs bidons dans les rues”) – does that remind you of (T.S.) Eliot? – “Wipe your hands across your mouth and laugh,/ In the vacant allotments women gathering garbage“,  or something. Do you know the line? [Editorial note – Allen is quoting here, (slightly misremembering), the concluding lines from Eliot’s “Preludes” – … Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s Proust Questionnaire

  [Allen Ginsberg – Photograph by Michael Tighe]  

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire named after the one famously responded to by Marcel Proust (he actually took the questionnaire twice (once in 1885-86, when he was only a teenager, and again in 1891-92, with a different set of answers). Modern (twentieth-century evocations have included those by French tv host, Bernard Pivot, and, more recently, American tv presenter, James Lipton, and, as a high-point in the register of popular culture, for many years now, as a regular feature in the magazine, Vanity Fair. It’s from the latter (the March 1994 … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 183

Jahweh and Allah Battle“. We thank our good friend Steve Silberman for his reminder about Allen’s “eternally prescient” 1974 poem

Jaweh with Atom Bomb Allah cuts throat of Infidels Jaweh’s armies beat down neighbouring tribes Will Red Sea waters close & drown th’armies of Allah?

Israel’s tribes worshipping the Golden Calf Moses broke the Tablets of Law.

Zalmon Schacter Lubovitcher Rebbe what you say Stone Commandments broken on the ground Sufi Sam whaddya say Shall Prophet’s companions dance circled round Synagogue while Jews doven bearded electric?

Both Gods Terrible! Awful Jaweh Allah! Both hook-nosed-gods, circumcised. Jaweh Allah which

Read More

Alex Katz


[Alex Katz –  Allen Ginsberg 1 [study], 1985. Oil on board. 20 x 16 inches.]

The American artist, Alex Katz turns 87 today – 87 years young
 From an interview with Alex Katz by Richard Prince – for Journal of Contemporary Art Richard Prince: What are some of the things in your life that you saw or heard or came on and you thought, “Yeah, now that’s new”?Alex Katz : Lester Young. Billie Holliday. Be Bop. Stan Kenton. Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Charlie Parker. Stan Getz. Miles Davis. Sonny Rollins’s Read More

Expansive Poetics – 89 – Guillaume Apollinaire’s Zone

[translated in 1950, this is the cover to the 1972 Dolmen Press, Dublin edition of Guillaume Apollinaire‘s Zone translated by Samuel Beckett, the first seperate appearance of the text to appear in print]

[Illustrations pour

[Pierre de Gasztold – illustration from   “Les poètes voyagent de Baudelaire à Henri Michaux” –  Henri Parisot,  Delamain et Boutelleau, Paris, 1946]

AG: (So) then we have (finally) “Zone” – “You are tired at last of this old world/ O shepherd Eiffel Tower the flock of bridges bleats at the morning/ You have had enough of life in this Greek and Roman antiquity/ Even … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 88 – Jules Laforgue

[Jules Laforgue (1860-1887) – (Photo – Portrait -aged 25)]

AG: So enough of this bullshit, now to “Zone”, and it’s his (Apollinaire’s) greatest poem, and it’s spoken of as the first modern poem of the (twentieth) century. But, before we get to “Zone”, we’ll go back a little bit to another poet who turned the Modernists on, Jules Laforgue (also an enormous influence on T.S.Eliot  – (as well as on) Apollinaire).  I’ll read a brief poem (well, not so brief) called “Sentimental Blockade” (“Blocus sentimental!..) [actually, it’s entitled “The Coming Winter” (“Winter Coming On”) (“… Read More