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: Yes

Student:  …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 your own your own..cut-up” (experiment) like (William) Burroughs (is) talking about.

AG: I don’t… I  haven’t practiced the cut-up.

Student: I don’t quite understand the whole cut-up organization.

AG: Well, it’s a little afield from what we’re talking about. We were just talking about.. I’m, just right now, I think, trying to make the distinction between flowery, rhetorical, hand-me-down, imitative,  traditional-style poetry versus beginning where it’s close to the nose, beginning with your own mind, your own perceptions, with the building  blocks of your own body and your own speech and your own mind. If you’re good at that then you can get flowery like you would (be) Shakespeare or Kerouac

Student; He does it as a put on, He seems like he only can do it best as a put-on, you know, it kind of comes out funny there,

AG: Well, Kerouac does it in Mexico City Blues  imitations of Shakespeare out of sheer exuberance, out of real command of vernacular, so that, after a while, he makes vernacular seem like Shakespeare And for an example of that, take a look at the last chorus of Mexico City Blues (which I don’t have here – I don’t suppose anybody has that around by accident?) – the last verse of Mexico City Blues by Kerouac, where he paraphrases a soliloquy by by Hamlet actually very flowery and pretty and senseless – senseless , sounding..  sounds exactly like Shakespeare. It has a lot of unconscious in it, to put it.. mainly..Shakespearean funny exuberant Shakespearean gibberish. Just for fun.

So, lets get on to the 13th Century..

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately nine minutes in and concluding at approximately eleven minutes in]

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