Allen Ginsberg reading at Warwick University 1979 (continues)

De Amerikaanse dichter Allen Ginsberg in 1979 in de Gentse Poëziewinkel.

Allen Ginsberg at the Ghent Poetry Shop, 1979, photo: Michiel Hendryckx

Allen Ginsberg reading at Warwick University, November 1979

continuing from here

AG I’ll begin with a recent song, similar to what we started with, in the sense that it has a rest in it, like “Lie Down you lie Down”. Actually I was thinking, while writing this thing, of Thomas Campion in his measure of vowels and the rests, where he breaks time, like dancers

[Beginning at approximately forty-two-and-a-half minutes in (with harmonium accompaniment and with an extended sequence of nonsense syllables – baddadum-bom-ba – and with Steven Taylor & Peter Orlovsky‘s vocal accompaniment), Allen sings  The Rune” (“Where The Years Have Gone..”… “….return where all beauties rest… “)

I thought it would be interesting to read poems chronologically, from early poems in the (19)40’s to work written this year. So a book based on teachings of William Carlos Williams, actually imitations of his work done in the late (19)40’s and early (19)50s. Williams was, to me, a teacher of economy and precision and directness, writing close to the nose, grounded, “No ideas but in things”, mind clamped down on objects, paying attention to ordinary speech (so the rhythms of my own speech). So he was a teacher to me, in the same sense as you have with Basil Bunting teaching Tom Pickard, and I’m really happy we were able to read with him, beginning on this level, common speech, groundedness. {Allen turns to Tom Pickard } – I think you were fortunate in having each other here – and I think we’re fortunate in having him (Tom) here – because he does have connection with a great and ancient tradition of teaching of poetry (Bunting being perhaps the senior and most elegant and most deep consciously-vowel-ed English poet).  So from the same lineage of modern speech..

“After All What Is There To Say?” (“When I sit before a paper writing, my mind…”…. “…not declaiming or celebrating yet but telling the truth”

“The Trembling of the Veil” – a title you’ll recognize perhaps from (W.B.) Yeats, so the trembling of the veil of perception. So the trembling of the veil of perception by close attention to present external phenomena (“Today, looking out of the window, the trees….”when the wind pushed them”)

And I tried writing down dreams…but trying to do it as literally as I could, not rejecting any emotion or image within the dream (and some were really far-out! – In other words , in the human mind, nothing inhuman, alien – “In Society” – This was , I guess, the earliest poem, about the earliest poem I have published, called “In Society”, written when I was a student at Columbia College, so it was just a transcription of something I (had) dreamt with student anxiety – “In Society” (“I walked into the cocktail party room”….”…inspired at last dominating the whole room”) –

That would be about 1947, and about six years later, 1953, the same precision of language but applied maybe more romantically through an address to a friend of Jack Kerouac and mine, Neal Cassady “The Green Automobile” – I was living in New York and I was dreaming about going off on the road. I was living in New York, working after getting out of college and trying..trying to live a normal clerkish life . So this is a clerk’s fantasy, a clerk daydream – “A Green Automobile” (“If I had a green automobile, I’d go find….”…. “,,,return to New York”)

then,  1950 ..– jumping ahead …that was (1953) so 1955 an attempt to do sketching, like, I was reading.. I had read a lot of  (Paul) Cezanne’s letters and read a lot of criticism by (Ezra) Pound and Kerouac had just written Visions of Cody, an immense, almost epic series of divine-eyed sketches of automobile fenders shining in Bowery street lamp reflecting trucks seen through window-like store-fronts – very complicated sentences but actually just reflecting the simultaneity of events that we encounter. So this is…“Transcription of Organ Music” (the sense organ) – “Transcription of Organ Music” (“The flower in the….”……”.. so as not to cheat me of his yearning for him”)

And I’ll read a poem written in 1956 – yes? – a poem written in 1956 ( to be echoed, mirrored by a poem written in 1979 here – America 1 & America 2 – I guess I’ll read the second one in the second half) – [At approximately sixty-three-and-a-half minutes in, Allen reads his famous poem, “America] – (“America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing..”  (including the improvised line “America, pay attention to that Jarrow March”)….”putting my queer shoulder to the wheel”)

One song. Then finish for a break –a recent song – (Allen ends with a lively version of) “an anti-smoking non-commercial called Don’t Smoke (if you can help it)”. It takes care of the distinctions, the proper distinctions between one form of dope and another …

Allen & Peter & Steven Taylor perform “Don’t Smoke (Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag“) -(“don’t smoke, don’t smoke, don’t smoke….”)

We’ll take a break and then continue for another hour or so. …I’ll be reading..reading more recent work, Peter will be reading and singing more songs and Tom will be reading also

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-two-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at the end of the tape]

to be continued

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