A Ginsberg Class at Naropa – Parodies – Various Student Assignment Poems

Today’s installment from the on-going transcribed Allen-Ginsberg-at-Naropa lectures, shows Allen working directly with the students (he had assigned them to make their own versions of one of the early lyrics he’d been teaching, either “I Syng of A Mayden” or “Lyke Wake Dirge“). The results, regrettably, while vigorous, are a tad sophomoric (Allen will remark on this later)

AG:I made some kind of a copy of “I Syng of A Mayden,” I made my own. Has anybody else got a sample here? Has anybody else done theirs? their homework? I think Rizzo (sic – one of the students) is still in Lake Tahoe [to (another) student] Do you have one? –

Student: Yeah, but I think you’ve blown that to the sky now.
AG: No, you know, because I didn’t know how to pronounce it [the poem] properly, (so) I’ve got to be going and do mine all over again, and put my music (in) all over again, while listening to his proper pronunciation. So let’s see what you did, let’s see what you did.

Student: It’s called “I sing of a hooker”!
AG: Everybody… To each his own!

Student: “I sing of a hooker that’s a rip-off/ Whore of all whores, I did say suck off/ I came in her where her gold teeth was/As any man should, well, just because/I came in her good as my crotch exploded/As any man should, whether straight or loaded/I came in her good with my full-squirt load/As any man should/ And then hit the road/ Harlot and hooker was never one as she / Quite well does such a hooker give orgasm to me.”

AG: Pretty good (parody). Did you make a little rhythmic paradigm, to figure that out too? – Does it fit?

Student: I have it on my (rough) copy, but..

AG: Okay, when you turn it in, why don’t you make a paradigm with yours. Let me compare it, compare it to the … My paradigm (paradigm means outline). My outline is not inevitably final, fixed. If you’ve got a different interpretation, lay it on. Anybody else got one?

Student: I did mine to the other one – a Lyke Wake Dirge?

AG: Okay, We’ll get to that next then – Does anybody else have one to ” I Syng of A Mayden”?

Student: I’ve one. It’s called “I Crave A New Pleasure”

AG: (Go)

Student: “I crave a new pleasure/ one to satisfy the deepest of my cravings/ like a sponge I search/I crave also better a bowl of fresh meade/Things so particular silence my greede/ I crave also better a cake of great (sweetnesse)/ things so particular to shame great (neediness)/ I crave in particular/ an ale of great taste/things so particular such to soften rough day/ Searching and (eating), (Can it be) a noble fight?/When I’m hungry, tantrums/ne’er to see the light.”

AG: Does yours follow any kind of a basic pattern?
Student; I don’t believe so. (I just put the words where I have them, somewhere).
AG: Yeah, Well, one thing, if you do one (because everyoneshould do one), one thing you should figure – it’d make it a lot easier if you count the number of syllables line by line, to follow the syllabic number, the number of syllables too. Do it, “down to the last syllable (of recorded time)”. In other words, as you’ll notice, I’ve got the syllable-count there – six-five-six-six – “I sing of a mayden” is six, “that is makeles” – one, two, three, four, five. Anybody else? [to Student] – Got a specimen?

Student:“Trash and Play”
AG: Pardon me?
Student: Its called“ Trash and Play”

AG: “Trashing Play”? – good title

Student: (Securing the trash, the flag is useless/Trash is abuse of the world of play/If the world has its trashed flags’ imperialism/ For this they are news, this scrutiny will bear/The flag always will, with its amount of skill,/ outweigh the trash if rightly it is held/The flag can be stretched and the trash (will) stay/the stains in the cloth remain, red white and blue /People are trashing flags, in the world of flags/Create trash and flags/ finally dead for more.)

AG: (“Having bodies dead for more”?) – Uh huh – Does that follow? More or less precisely? I mean, I can’t tell by ear completely.
Student: I don’t have the things like “Aprille” – that I left out by accident at the end because I did this before the class session…

AG: Yeah. Okay. It’s really worthwhile working on this because this is, in a sense, the earliest, most archetypal, poem that we have, and almost all poetry comes out, all English poetry sort of slowly comes out of this, like, you know, like something out of the seed, a tree growing out of the seed. Yeah?

Student: I’m pretty sure that mine comes down to the syllables, but, as far as the accents go, to coordinate that, it’s very subjective

AG: Yeah, Well, most of the (accents), except for one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, about twelve accents are subjective and I think all the rest are pretty much marked out and clear – “syng”, “mayden”, ”mak”, “king”, “kinges”,” here” ,”ches”, “cam”, “stille”, “moder”, “was”, “dew”, “Aprille’, “fall” “gras”, “cam”, “stille”, “moderes” ‘bower”, “dew”, “Aprille”, “fall”, “flower”, “cam” “stille”, “moder” ,” “lay”, “dew””Aprille” , “fall”, “spray”, “moder”, “mayden”, “non“, “che”, “wel”,”lady” “Godes” , “moder” , “be” – most of, almost all of, those are pretty fixed . I tried one going all through them and trying to stick with it. Anybody else got one?

I sing of a maiden
That is makeles
King of alle kinges
To here sone che ches.

He cam also stille
Ther his moder was,
As dew in Aprille
That fallith on the gras

He cam also stille
To his moderes bower,
As dew in Aprille
That fallith on the flower,

He cam also stille
There his moder lay
As dew in Aprille
That fallith on the spray

Moder and maiden
Was never non but che,
Wel may swich a lady
Godes moder be

Student: Yeah“I sing of a dildo most insensate/That can do naught but grow, finding no fit mate/ When the (heat has) begun, it /can get very hot/It can come for no luck, frustration’s its lot/For when it has begun another to make/ it can come for no-one, joy it cannot take/For when it has begun to fulfill its lust /it can come for no-one, it’s balls will not bust /With tears overladen most often it seems/ This dildo’s ambition is never to be”

AG: Next-to-last.. next-to-last stanza – What’s the last line?
Student; “Is never to be”.. It doesn’t quite (rhyme)
AG: And that’s a six-syllable line in the original – “that fall’th on the spray”..
Student Yeah
AG: ..is now made to be five, yeah? Are most of yours five syllables?
Student: Yeah
AG: Well, you see, most of the poem is six syllables
Student: It’s not right according to the…
AG: Well, actually, you don’t have to (match) exactly. The point of the exercise is just to get the measure of the footstep here, of this giant footstep forward. But the closer you get your measure, the more sensitive you’ll be to how delicate the measure is, the closer you try to imitate it.
Anyone else? Anyone else? Some even more filthy?

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-two-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty nine-and-a-quarter minutes in. The audio is not especially clear in the above-quoted student poems so there might be a few brief errors of transcription. Readers are invited to make amendments wherever they feel necessary]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.