Proverbs from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell – 8

Anatole Broyard (1920-1990)

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake continues

AG: This is… th(is) next one is appropriate to literary criticism – “As the air to a bird, or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.” – There’s a guy on the New York Times that’s constantly putting put-down reviews of (William) Burroughs and (Jack) Kerouac books. He knew Kerouac when he was young. The reviewer…

Peter Orlovsky: Anatole Broyard

AG: Anatole Broyard. A sort of city-slicker, high-tea-cup fop. To whom contempt is the air that he breathes, or the genre with which he works (because he’s a book-reviewer and he thinks that’s the mode of critique – the main mode is contempt, put-down. So, “as.. air is to a bird.. so is contempt to the contemptible”.

“Exuberance is Beauty” – next (sixty-four). That’s about.. That really does cover a lot, because that’s a.. “Exuberance” means so much there. “Exuberance is Beauty” is really quite a bit, but there’s the exuberance of straight back and clear eyes brimming, the exuberance of “He whose face shows no light shall never be a star”, (“He whose face gives no light shall never become a star”), the exuberance of the horse rising up in the wind in that little drawing of the horse, the gothic continuous creation, following out the curves to the end. The exuberance of the continuing unimpeded inquisitiveness of Imagination (totally exuberant) – movement. So, actually it’s a whole system he’s got in those three words – “”Exuberance is Beauty” – a system, that is to say, which would accommodate to Imagination, Imagination as the deus ex machina, the god outside of the machine that saves the show. When body, mind and heart are having nervous breakdowns, heart attacks, breaking out with the pox, there’s still Imagination to be exuberant and overflow the banks (like the fountain). The fountain is exuberant.

Audio for the above can be heard here beginning at approximately fifty-four minutes in, and concluding at approximately fifty-six-and-three-quarter minutes in

Spanish Fountain (1912 ) – John Singer Sargent – watercolor and graphite drawing, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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