Czeslaw Milosz



Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg, courtesy the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Allen Ginsberg Collection

TO ALLEN GINSBERG Allen, you  good man, great poet of the murderous century, who persisting in folly attained wisdom I confess to you, my life was not as I would have liked it to be  And now, when it has passed, is lying like a discarded tire by the road It was no different from the life of millions from which you rebelled in the name of poetry and an omnipresent God It was submitted to customs … Read More

Ginsberg on Late Auden


W.H.Auden (1907-1973)

  [Allen (at Naropa in 1980) continues his survey through a xeroxed classroom anthology of the Sapphic form, paying particular attention today to the late work of W.H.Auden] AG: So from that (from Robert Bridges),  we get into, I think you have the Vernon Watkins and the.. Student: Auden AG: There’s Auden (W.H.Auden), and then from the front, mixed up in the front there’s Vernon Watkins and Louis MacNeice .. had rough Sapphics – (it’s way up front, we don’t need it now). Auden, however, is.. funny. So I think I’ll take two brief Auden Sapphics … Read More

Swinburne, Pound and Bridges

[Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)]

AG: Did I do that last time? [Swinburne’s Hendecasyllabics]. If you listen to the way he handles it, it’s a direct transmission from him up to Ezra Pound up to modern days and into this classroom – “In the month of the long decline of roses/I, beholding the summer dead before me,/Set my face to the sea and journeyed silent,/Gazing eagerly where above the sea-mark/Flame as fierce as the fervid eyes of lions/Half-divided the islands of the sunset;/Till I heard as it were a noise of waters/Moving tremulous under feet of angels/Multitudinous, out of … Read More

Ginsberg-Koch-Waldman part 2 – (Anne Waldman)



Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, New Years Eve, 1979 – Photo by Louis Cartwright


Anne Waldman

continuing from yesterday’s transcription Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Koch, and Anne Waldman reading in Denver, Colorado, 1979. Today (introduced by Allen Ginsberg) – Anne Waldman reading Allen Ginsberg: Some of the audience are students from Naropa and some are old friends from Denver and some are strangers. So for the strangers and old friends from Denver, some background here. Actually, all three of us, Anne Waldman, Kenneth Koch, and myself, were in England just a couple of weeks ago and we all … Read More

Ginsberg-Koch-Waldman reading



From the incomporable Naropa University Archives, another vintage audio tape this weekend – (from June 25, 1979)  a reading that took place in Denver, (Colorado), featuring Allen, alongside Kenneth Koch and Anne Waldman Anne’s voice (a brief excerpt from a poem and a brief note of introduction) begins the tape, before Allen speaks)  AG: Thank you Anne, thank you everyone for coming.  When I speak..  The sound-system here is real good, so when I speak, you can hear? everybody?  Justin [sic] you can hear?    every syllable?, every consonant? – Okay. What I’m going to do is mostly … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 237




Herschel Silverman  (1926-2015) – Photo by Jeffrey Weinberg

Herschel Silverman, New Jersey “Beat” legend passed away last Saturday, aged 89, “The Candystore Man”. Allen immortalized him in his poem, “Television Was A Baby Crawling Toward That Death Chamber” – “candystore emperor Hersch Silverman, dreaming of telling the Truth, but his Karma is selling jellybeans & being kind” Here’s a 2000 New York Times article on him Allen on his poems: “There is an inventive energy, New Jersey beauty and charm in his compositions . This writing is marked by soulful perception of life around him and … Read More

Sapphics continued – (Tennyson)



Alfred, Lord Tennyson ( 1809-1892)- Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron

Allen continues with his survey of Sapphics, going through further pages of his xerox-compiled classroom anthology  AG:  [to another late-comer] – You can take one of those that says “Sapphic anthology, two bucks”…and then the bag.. not two bucks for one paper.. And we’re about two thirds down the…(Edmund) Spenser… Okay, We’re on that Spenser page? – Sidney? – (the) (Philip) Sidney and the (Walter) Raleigh? Ok? – So we read those, then I read you aloud Raleigh’s notes on Quantitative Verse. So … Read More

William Blake’s Cottage

Wonderful news!  – the campaign by the William Blake Society to buy back William Blake‘s cottage in Felpham for the nation, to keep it from again falling into private hands, has been successful

Tim Heath, Chair of the Blake Society,  writes:

“We are delighted to announce that yesterday (sic), 21 September 2015, the sale of Blake’s Cottage was completed by the lawyers and the building is now held in trust for the nation in perpetuity.

Our thanks to everyone in the Blake community who have given their work, time and savings to the project. Over half a million pounds … Read More

Horace – 5

[Allen continues with his review of his classroom anthology]AG: And the Sapphic Catullan form was picked up by, as we have in here [in this xerox anthology],  Sir Walter) Raleigh and (Sir Philip) Sidney. So, if you continue turning (the pages of the anthology), you’ll get up to Raleigh. (If you can find that, it’s about three-quarters of the way – okay, let’s find the Raleigh first, then we can pay undivided attention) – about two-thirds down – It was called the perfect Sapphic! … here was are – the perfect Sapphic in English) –  about two-thirds of the way down, at … Read More

Horace – 4


Student: (Did John Burnett [a Naropa student] do [read out loud] any Horace?) AG: Pardon me? Student:  John Burnett? AG: No, he didn’t do any Horace. (So), let’s see, okay, yeah… Student (begins reading)  [Horace Book 2 – Ode XIV]  “Ah, how they glide by, Postumus, Postumus,/ The years, the swift years!/ Wrinkles and imminent/ Old age and death, whom no one conquers -/ Piety cannot delay their onward/ March; no, my friend, not were you to sacrifice/Three hundred bulls each day to inflexible/ Pluto whose grim moat holds the triple/ Geryon jailed with his fellow giants/ Death’s … Read More