Expansive Poetics – 101 (John Ashbery & Purposeful Disjunction)

The climax of that method (applying Abstract Expressionist techniques to poetics) is a poem called “Europe” by John Ashbery, which was published in Big Table in 1961 or so, and then reprinted often, because it was his attempt completely to dissociate the language from representation, and to make something like (Willem) de Kooning, or Jackson Pollock, Jackson Pollock more, with a scattering of words on the page arranged in an odd way, floating around on the page, so that you would not be able to join the words. You’d have … Read More

Expansive Poetics 100 – (Andre Breton 5 – Andre Breton’s Poetry of the Marvelous)

Andre Breton

AG: So (Philip Lamantia),  (Andre) Breton and the Surrealist school wanted a poetry of marvelousness, not any old plodding (like) the plums (that) you left in the ice-box (“This Is Just To Say”)  – (“I have eaten/the plums/that were in/the icebox/ and which/ you were probably/ saving/for breakfast/ Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold.” – which is (William Carlos) Williams), or the chewing-gum – (the little black mushrooms growing on the subway platform when I looked at them they were used chewing-gum) – [Allen is quoting from (Charles Reznikoff here – “Walk about a

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Expansive Poetics – 99 – (Andre Breton – 4 – Andre Breton’s Surrealist Precursors)


AG: Let’s see what else he (Andre Breton) says (in his first Surrealist Manifesto) – “…(the) omnipotence of the dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends definitivly to ruin all the old psychic mechanisms and to take their place in the solution to the principal problems of life” – [(In other words, inspired automatonism as a response to a burglar or policeman or war) – After remarking that a number of poets from Dante to Shakespeare ‘in his best-days” (sic) might be looked on as “super-realists” (Surrealists), on genius, he says] –  “In the … Read More

Ed Sanders on Harry Smith

In anticipation of Ed Sanders’ seventy-fifth birthday tomorrow “Ed Sanders, poet and founding member of The Fugs, recalls his deep friendship with Harry Smith, compiler of the highly influential Anthology of American Folk Music. (Smith produced the Fugs’ first album in 1965) for Folkways Records“) “The recording sessions for Folkways Records resulted in the 1965 album “The Village Fugs Sing Ballads of Contemporary Protest, Point of Views, and General Dissatisfaction.” The album was reissued in 1966 as The Fugs First Album by the ESP-Disk Label, followed by several reissues with additional tracks”

[Harry Smith (1923-1991)]

(For more

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Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 186

[Ed & Miriam Sanders photographed in Woodstock by Allen Ginsberg, April 18, 1983. c Allen Ginsberg Estate]

This coming Sunday from 6 to 8.30  in New York City at the Bowery Poets Club, “Poets, musicians, friends and family are gathering to celebrate the three-quarter of a century mark in the life of .. formidable poet, author, Yippie activist, Pentagon exorcist and founding Fug, Ed Sanders“. Among those participating Steven Taylor, Coby Batty, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Sparrow, Penny Arcade, John S Hall.. and (guests of honor) Ed and Miriam Sanders. 

John Tytell‘s … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 98 – (Andre Breton 3 – Andre Breton and William Carlos Williams)

[Andre Breton and William Carlos Williams]

Student (CC): (But) aren’t there dream-like qualities to each of those poets?

AG: Whom?

Student (CC): ((Tristan) Tzara), (Andre) Breton and (William Carlos) Williams

AG: Yeah, but Williams’ main method was literalistic – pretty much pragmatic Yankee literal, trying to correspond to reality, and Breton and Surrealism had as their aim to  liberate men from reality, or what was supposed to be reality, and put them on another plane of totally free imagination where there was no anchor-drag back to the forms that are perceived by reason. So they wanted something anti-rational. Maybe … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 97 – (Andre Breton 2 – Free Union)

[Andre Breton – Portrait by Man Ray, 1929]

Andre Breton (was) born (chronologically, a little) later (than Tzara) (and is) actually considered by the French to be a great writer and theoretician. I find his own writing, actually, a little bit wooden and his prose arid, but that’s, apparently, a solitary opinion, because many French speakers say that Breton is very brilliant as a writer. There’s a funny tone that he’s got of imperious insistent proclamation and manifesto stubbornness, which is interesting, and which carries over into the work of a (contemporary) American Surrealist – Franklin Rosemont, … Read More

Tuesday August 12 – (William Blake’s Passing)


“Lest you should not have heard of the death of Mr Blake I have Written this to inform you – He died on Sunday night [August 12 1827] at 6 o’clock in a most glorious manner. He said He was going to that Country he had all His life wished to see and expressed Himself Happy hoping for Salvation through Jesus Christ. Just before he died his countenance became fair – His eyes Brighten’d and He burst out in Singing of the Things he saw in Heaven. In truth he Died like a Saint as a person who was … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 96 – (Andre Breton – 1 – Breton & The List Poem)


[André Breton (1896-1966) aged 28]

AG: ..Those of you who have the anthologies, please turn to Andre Breton French (born) 1896, we’ll cover French. We’ll finish up with the French twentieth-century today (August 13th) and move on to the English for our final (August 18th and 29th classes)..

Student: Are you giving a lecture at the (Boulder Public) library tomorrow?
AG: Yeah, tomorrow afternoon, three o’clock. I’ll try and cover what we don’t cover here, and some overlapping on the French writers, on the Portuguese, Greek, Spanish, smatterings of things that we didn’t get into here
Student: When?
AG: … Read More

Saluting Neal Cassady – The WFMU 1993 Neal Cassady Memorial Marathon

[Neal Cassady]

Neal Cassady is our focus this weekend (perhaps more accurately, the influence of Neal Cassady) and, via the incomparable WFMU (out of East Orange, New Jersey) and their audio archives, four-and-a-half hours of live radio! – the occasion, February 7, 1993, at the Fez under Time cafe in downtown Manhattan (on the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones) – Nicholas Hill‘s show, “The Music Faucet” – a live broadcast (one day before what would have been Cassady’s sixty-seventh birthday) of their Neal Cassady Memorial, hosted by the super-ebullient and irrepressible Merry Prankster, Ken Babbs.

[Ken Babbs in … Read More