Ezra Pound’s Birthday


 [Ezra Pound (1885-1972)]

We featured a couple of days ago, the early English lyric, “Summer is Icumen in” (commonly known as “The Cuckoo Song”) Ezra Pound made a playful parody of it AG:    …And I forgot there’s this little paraphrase by Ezra Pound of “The Cuckoo Song”. Has anybody heard that or seen that?..How many know of Pound? (It’s) called “Ancient Music” – So let’s go back to that. where is that? ” The Cuckoo Song”? – ” Sumer is Icumen in,/Loudly sing, cuckoo!/Grows the seed and blows the mead,/And springs the wood anew.”  (and Pound):

“Winter is … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 242

Just out this month, from Blackberry Books, Franco Beltrametti’s posthumous collection, From Almost Everywhere Gary Snyder on Franco Beltrametti: “Franco Beltrametti’s smooth-barked Muse leads him across the grids of latitude and longitude to the source of good medicine poems. A suavity masks these elemental songs – or rather, gives these elder faces a modern “human” mask. Civilized in the best sense”.and Joanne Kyger: “From “a crowded place called “future” Franco Beltrametti arrives, once again, with subtle eloquence to surprise us with his unexpected nuances and turns. These poems give us his presence….calling up poets and ancestors … Read More

“The Bishop, Lawless” and “All Night By The Rose” (Early English Lyric – 2)

AG: I read this about a year ago and understood it for the first time and really dug it. “The Bishop, Lawless”? – without law?, without any learning?.. You got it? – Page six. Bishop lawless,/ King guideless,/ Young man reckless,/Old man witless,/A woman shameless – I swear by heaven’s king,/These be five bitter things.”    evil things – bitter/evil – it’ll be five evil things –  “I swear by heaven’s king,/ These be five evil things.”It’s a pretty interesting set-up as like now. The bishops, without learning; kings, without any common sense counsel,”young man reckless, old man witless”  (old man witless, it’s just … Read More

The Cuckoo Song (Early English Lyric – 1)

[“Sumer is icumen in” (also called “The Cuckoo Song” or “Sumer Canon” or “thr Reading Rota”) – Anonymous (speculated to be W. de Wycombe) – early English ms  (copied c.1262) – British Library, London, MS Harley 978]AG: So, let’s get on to the 13th Century. Now let’s get back to some pretty poetry, after all that. Do you know The Cuckoo’s Song ? – that’s page three [of the Norton Anthology], the very beginning. Does anybody know this stuff? Has anybody read these before? – Cuckoo? – Yeah – Where?

Student: At school.AG: Which school?Student : … Read More

A Detour (Exuberant Shakespearean Parody)

Student:  I have two questions, one is this – that the first time at a poetry reading, (which you’ve referred to here), when you get into writing poetry, do you think that first type of flowery, primary thing… I think, that anyone can, if they want to write poetry, can follow up and get naturally into that, you know. And if you’re crummy at it, it sounds like greetings cards…

AG: YesStudent:  …and if you’re good at it, it sounds like (Ken) Kesey gets into on grass here, when he’s doing all those Shakespearean rants and stuff. And the second thing is.. the second thing you’re referring to is … Read More

The Tradition of Reznikoff & Williams

                             [William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)  – Photograph via University of Pennsylvania Archives][Allen continues with his 1981 Naropa class, drawing distinctions between the poetry of  David Cope and that of  William Carlos Williams, placing him closer to Charles Reznikoff’s work] AG:…..in that Williams was still preoccupied by some kind of modernism, some kind of Cubist abstraction, whereas Cope was really direct, (writing) just simply directly, writing out of his… ( – Allen is distracted – is that gone around all the way, this … Read More

Jack Kerouac’s Funeral

[Allen Ginsberg at Jack Kerouac’s Funeral – Photograph by Jeff Albertson]

October 24, 1969. It was a Friday. Forty-six years ago. Lowell, Mass, Jack Kerouac‘s funeral –  Archambault Funeral Home to the service at St. Jean Baptiste Church (presided over by Father Morissette) then off to the leafy graves at Edson Cemetery.  Bill Tremblay‘s perceptive poem about the occasion can be read here Here’s Allen with John Clellon Holmes at the grave-site  (and, on the right, in shadow, Gregory Corso)

and another of Jeff Albertson‘s evocative shots (Gregory, with Allen in the background)
Allen … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 241

The European Beat Studies Network’s Annual Conference next week. This year – in Brussels. Among the explicitly Ginsberg-centric presentations: the whole first (Wednesday morning) opening panel – “Cross-Fertilizations From East & West – 1 – Searching For Which Ginsberg Legacy?” (chaired by Jaap Van Der Bent)Robert Holton on “Ginsberg’s Performative “Howl”, Trevor Carolan – “Asian Wisdom Traditions, Ecological Poetics and Allen Ginsberg”, Paul McDonald – “Cosmopolitan Comedy – Allen Ginsberg’s Humour and the Challenge to Superiority Theory”, and Franca Bellarsi – “Ginsberg as Mediator Between Anglophone and Francophone Poetry” – and, that afternoon, (on the “Cross-Fertilization between the … Read More

Ginsberg in India

Jeet Thayil‘s radio documentary, Ginsberg in India, currently available here
provides the occasion for a brief review of that always-intriguing subject. 
American poet, Bob Holman (along with producer-editor-director, Ram Devineni), a few years back, made a film-documentary, Ginsberg’s Karma
(This may be seen in its entirety here
Deborah Baker‘s authoritative book, A Blue Hand, we’ve already featured (along with notice of the remarkable symposium that took place at the Asia Society in New York, in 2011, following the publication of that book). 
And, of course, there’s the primary source, Allen’s own published Indian Journals Read More