Ginsberg-Blake continuing – 1 (Preliminaries)

We pick up today on Allen Ginsberg and William Blake, specifically Allen’s survey of Blake’s “America – A Prophecy”. We pick up on his February 26, 1979 Naropa Institute class. The class takes a little while to settle. So today is taken up with preliminary announcements.

AG:  (tape begins in media res):   … tomorrow.  And Gloria Gilbert’s going to come by and pick us up. [Editorial note – surely not this Gloria Gilbert?}

Peter Orlovsky:  (I thought it was) Wednesday.

AG:  No, that’s tomorrow.

PO: I thought it was Wednesday

Student: No, it’s tomorrow, dude

PO:  Tomorrow.

AG:  No, Shambhala Day.

PO:  Oh, Shambhala Day.

AG:  Have you heard about that?

PO:  What time we gotta get up?

AG:  Well, I’m getting up.  You don’t have to get up.  I’m getting up at five-thirty.  Five-fifteen.

PO:  And do what?

AG:   To go sit at Karma Dzong.

AG:  Alright (I’m handing out) an analysis of all the meters out of Greek and English, because when we do some of Blake’s shorter songs and poems it might be interesting to have that as armament.  So just save (it up for later).

Then, Albert M (sic – Student) gave me his prophetic book (assignment) – seven pages.  So does anybody (else) (have) theirs ready yet?

Student:  Yeah.
AG (to Student):  You do.
Student:  Seven?
AG:  Okay, So, give it to me before we leave, so we can put it out.

AG (continuing) : Does everybody (have) one of these?

Student:  I missed it.

AG:  And if anybody doesn’t pick this up today, (or if any of you know anybody that doesn’t pick one of these up today), just tell them later to get one.

Alright,  So are we ready to fly on into “America”.   You can put away that metrical thing.  Get it later.

Does anybody remember exactly where we left off?  Because I was looking it over and I can’t, exactly.  Does anybody know what plate, what line, we left off at in “America..” – [(Someone arrives late – a Student?)  Hi!] – Nobody? –  Is everybody spaced out on it?  Come on.  Because if you don’t I’ll just go over it all over again, by rote.

Student: Nine.
AG: Pardon me?
Student:  Nine.
AG:  Nine, okay,  That’s all we got to? “Sound! Sound! My Loud War-Trumpets.” Okay –   That’s Plate 9,  of.. [Editorial note – Plate 11, actually], of “America”.  Around nine, anyway, probably.  (We’ll) zap through it, more or less.  We can stop here and there, hit the high spots and make the major explanations.

 Does anybody have any explanations of information as we go along that they can contribute on the basis of their own readings that we assigned?

Remember, some people are reading (from some things), some people are reading Northrop Frye.   (to Student) Did you ever find Northrop Frye?

Student:  No, I haven’t found him yet.
AG:  I have a….
Student:  They’ve got it at C(olrado) U(niversity). though.
AG:  I’ve got it.
Student:  Oh, you do.
AG:  I brought it back from New York.
Student:  Great.
AG:  If you want it, you can borrow it.

And people can move up if they want to fill the chairs now. John (sic), if you want to get closer.

So, where are we?  In the middle of Plate 9.  Let’s see.    Let’s get oriented here.

Okay, we’ve got the newborn child in the illustration on page one-four-seven of (The Illuminated) Blake).  You’ve seen that already. In the wheat..

(Class continues to take some time to come to order)

Are we all settled?

to be continued

[Audio for the above can be found here, beginning at the beginning of the tape and concluding approximately four-and-a-quarter minutes in] 

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