Composition and Condensation – 3 (Classroom Notation)

“Rhythmic twang of steel cords slapping against the flagpole”

continuing from yesterday

AG: Then, the other thing we came to, she [sic] had a poem that was a discrete series of code-word observations, one after another in a row, and it sounded, like, too choppy, or much like she was doing an exercise sketch of the ….”One lady lifts up her big leg over the…or big boot, and takes it off” – [ to Student] – What are the three images? – What’s the first one? there was…

Student: “Holding the attention”,,

AG: What?

Student: “Holding the attention..riding a bicycle, a woman, wearing a trenchcoat”..

AG: Okay.. (but, speak up) nobody can hear (you)..

Student: “A woman wearing a trench coat riding her bicycle under a billboard”

AG: Okay – just a statement -“A woman in a trench coat riding a bicycle under a billboard” . – Period. without a verb even, probably? – Then, that’s the code thing, if you get the verb. You could say, “A woman in a trench coat rides a bicycle under the billboard”. – And the second?

Student: Oh – Rhythmic twang..” “Rhythmic twang..”.

AG: Yeah, that was great – “Of rope slapping against the flagpole”?

Student: …”Steel cords”…

AG: “Steel cords slapping against..” – That was interesting. “Steel cords slapping against the flagpole” – “Rhythmic twang of steel cords slapping against the flagpole” – So that’s solid.. That’s almost vivid and sharp like (William Carlos) Williams. Then?

Student: “Rhythmic twang of steel cords slapping against the flagpole”

AG: Yeah.

Student; “Pink faces lit by the sky…”

AG: Yeah

Student; “The line of lamp posts in the courtyard turned on”.

AG: ” The line of the lamp posts in the courtyard turned on”. So, dusk. That’s why the “pink faces were lit by the sky”… except it’s in some kind of funny order, they don’t really connect. It’s like, shot, shot, shot, shot, and how do they fit? – and what I was noticing was the code (do you know what I mean by code?) the code-style of notational hinayana poetry, like bare facts, bare presentation of facts, “no ideas but in things”, condensation has arrived at a point where people are not even making sentences out of it . but just making suspended fragmentary note. jottings. But I was comparing that to Williams’ method where he takes those fragmentary jottings and weaves them together into one single sentence that makes one flash, and so he comes to some kind of interesting syntax, trying to say, “While the lady bicycles under the billboards…”, “The lady bicycles under the billboards while rhythmic.. while rhythmic twang of steel cords slap against the flagpole, as the lady removes her heavy boots – comma – their pink faces lit by the sky, and as… whatever

Peter Orlovsky: Courtyard lamps..

AG: And, yes, and as, some other thing, or, thus, the courtyard lamps light up. In other words, Williams weaves it all together in one single long interesting intelligent sentence, generally, in his poetry. You’re familiar enough with Williams to know that style? _ “The shoes which lately were called my wife’s I have put on the porch where they sat filled with leaves for the autumn until glancing as I wallked up the steps from my day at the hospital one dusk seeing the withered leaves I realized it was time to throw them out” – Something like that, you know, where he’ll have six different things but they’ll all get woven together. Then, the thought arised, the thought came over, we were talking about it , was that, in the course of trying to tale these disparate, discrete perceptions and put them together as one single sentence, what you would be doing would be finding the right logical order for them and hanging them together syntactically logically, so that they would lead to the epiphany or insight that you started out with, when you first got them all together, when you first thought, “Jesus, something interesting to write about”. In other words, it’s the action of one lady,, the action of the other lady, the pink faces lit by the sky, the steel rope twanging against the flagpole, and suddenly all the lights go on along the courtyard, because night’s officially started. So, in other words, rather than leaving the fragments, if you try a single-sentence syntax, putting them all together, weaving them all together, you’ll likely arise.. In the attempt to construct a sentence, you’ll have to shift the elements around, so that they hang from each other, or depend from each other, in the right order. And if they do hang from each other, or depend from each other for the right order, they’ll also work out logically to give you the explosion at the end. – Does that make any sense? Are you following what I’m talking about?

Student: Is that….

AG: Is there anybody not.. ? Am I talking abstract words that don’t make sense to anybody here? Are you following at all? – Does it make sense? Does it make sense to.. (you, Lloyd (sic)).. ? – Are you sure now?

Student: Yeah, fine.

AG: You know what I’m talking about? . You know Williams’ funny odd style..

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

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