Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Sing-Song

[Angel Playing Lute – detail from Presentation of The Temple, Vittore Carpaccio (1466-1525) ]

AG: So what’s next? – Another funny thing.. Well, there’s some (Sir Thomas) Wyatt here. Let’s just take one bit – a fast-forward look at Wyatt, find something of Wyatt that sounds good, way on ahead (rustling through anthology) but Wyatt is what? seventeenth-century? – Page 150? – 115 – yeah – no, he’s much earlier. We’ll get to Wyatt later. I just wanted to find one sing-song poem of Wyatt’s… Well, for his.. for a.. that same tetrameter, iambic tetrameter –

“My Lute Awake” page … Read More

Sing-Song in “Lament For The Makers”

Allen continues his observations on William Dunbar’s “Lament For The Makers” – see also here)

AG: The other thing that I was digging in this poem (Dunbar’s “Lament For The Makers”) was..this is, I guess, the first that we’ve had of.. basically..iambic, right? – [Allen moves to the blackboard] – “No state in Erd here standis sicker” – basically, iambic (light and heavy symbols) – Is this iambic?…yes…I was picking it up as basically iambic (which is light-heavy, light-heavy, light-heavy, light-heavy) tetrameter (four beat line, four accents to the line). So this is the first time … Read More

Source of the Glamor

[Thirty-Fourth and Broadway (Herald Square), New York City c. 1939 – Photograph by Rudy Burckhardt]

Student: What if you live on Broadway?

AG: Well broad/ way, you’ve got it, you got it made! If you live on Broadway, (you write) “I went walking down Broadway”. The trouble is if you live on Twenty-Fourth Street!

Actually, I wrote a poem when I was twenty-two about living… I came down from my furnished room on Fifteenth Street – a ballad – (which is in the correspondence – I never published it other than in the correspondence – with Neal Cassady – … Read More


Ginsberg/Podhoretz – Allen versus his arch-nemesis – “When Norman Podhoretz Spent The Night With Allen Ginsberg,” Tablet Magazin this month featured a lengthy excerpt from Daniel Oppenheimer‘s new book Exit Right, “a compelling and beautifully written work of political history”, as the author Jason Sokol has described it – “By tracing the stories of six individuals [Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Norman Podhoretz, Ronald Reagan, David Horowitz and Christopher Hitchens] Daniel Oppenheimer not only gives us a nuanced look at America’s rightward turn, he also tells a more elemental story about political action – about who we are and … Read More

Ginsberg-Orlovsky-Taylor, Wuppertal, Germany, 1983

Allen Ginsberg Back to Wuppertal 1983

Back to Wuppertal” is the title of the poem Allen Ginsberg scribbled into the guest-book of the Forum for International Poetry one hour after his arrival in Wuppertal, Germany, on February 16, 1983, where the final performance of a three-month tour through Northern Europe was to take place. Joachim Ortmanns & Wolfgang Mohrhenn’s video records a few select moments from that visit.

“Back to Wuppertal in a car through snowy forest, Belgium to Köln / and the highway filled with trans-European trucks,/ Peter bare-footed, toes on the dashboard/ I was humming bass thump part … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 255

[Bernie Sanders and Allen Ginsberg, Burlington Vermont, 1983 – Photograph © Phyllis Segura.1983]

This week, do we need to run again the Ginsberg Bernie Sanders poem? (see above a picture of their 1983 face-to-face) Allan M Jalon discusses the meeting of their two minds (and interviews Eliot Katz and Bill Morgan) today in the Jewish Daily Forward Here’s an earlier (vintage) picture of Allen (from the remarkable SUNY Buffalo University Archives)

[Allen Ginsberg at the State University of New York at Buffalo, 1966 – Photograph © University of Buffalo Archives]

And here (for no particular … Read More

William Dunbar’s Lament For The Makers – 2

[detail from “The Triumph of Death” (c.1562) – Pieter Bruegel, the Elder (1525-1569), in the collection of the Museo del Prado, Madrid]

continuing from yesterday

AG: Well there are two things I wanted to derive from this. Did everybody follow along the sense of the poem [William Dunbar’s “Lament For The Makers”]? Did… For the complicated words, Middle English words, there were obviously little footnotes on the bottom of the page and on the side of the page so you can look those up. The only one, rare one, that I noticed that was not noted – “That … Read More

William Dunbar’s Lament For The Makers – 1

[William Dunbar (1460-1520)]

AG: (searching through his anthology) (Is (Robert) Creeley ….in the Norton book?… yeah, one-two-two-five..yeah, I think that might be… One-two-two-five, that might’ve been it?…No. I’ll find it, there is some poem of his that’s like that.

So we have (William) Dunbar’s “Lament for the Poets” or “Lament for theMakers” – You remember poesis was making, making – “makeles” here – 15th-16th century. It’s (this poem’s) like my own poem, “Howl”, in theme and subject . It’s a lament for all the poets that he knew that lived and died, that he knew … Read More

Alliterative Verse (The Kalevala – 2)

[ Väinämöinen – Robert Wilheim Ekman (1808-1873)]

[Allen continues his reading from >Francis Peabody Magoun’s >translation of The Kalevala.]

AG: Then he (Joukahainen)’s going to give him his lands from home, “fields of sandy soil” Väinämöinen refuses those, says he’s got better fields than that-“ fields in every direction, windrose in every clearing.”

“I’ll give you my windrose back home, surrender my fields of sandy soil to free my own head, to random myself”. / Old Väinämöinen spoke, “I don’t want your wind rose, useless person, nor your fields of sandy soil./ These too I have, fields in every direction, … Read More

Alliterative Verse (The Kalevala – 1)

[Inside front title page of the “Old” Kalevala, Finnish, national epic, collection of old Finnish poems, by Elias Lonnrot. First edition – Volume 2, 1835. Page text reads “Kalevala or the old Karelian poems about the ancient times of the Finnish people, 1st part in Helsinki 1835 Printed J.C.Frenckellin Son’s & Co.]

Allen’s January 1980 class continues

AG: Before we get onto A Lament for the Makers” , William Dunbar’s “Howl” of the 15th Century, I wanted to give out one more sample of alliterative verse. From the Kalevala?..who’ll pronouce it correctly for me? – Kavela? Kavela? … Read More