Ginsberg-Corso continuing – 6 – (San Francisco Painters)

“Morris Graves in His Leek Garden,1973” – photo by Imogen Cunningham © 2020 Imogen Cunningham Trust

GC: Do you remember when the New York City, (which we’re from), when, in the old days when Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch.. They also had great painters around them, you know, they benefited each other. Did we have anybody, you know,in San Francisco, when the poets got together in San Francisco have any painters around there?

AG: Well, actually, there was Robert LaVigne. Remember he did the illustrations for John Wieners and The Hotel Wentley Poems ?

John Wieners – illustation by Robert LaVigne

GC: Yes, but I’m talking about the guys up there, lets say, like (Morris) Graves, or…

AG: (Kenneth) Rexroth knew Graves and had arranged..

GC:  ..and all those guys, right?. And there was another guy who was doing things. What was his name?

AG; There was Clyfford Still  who was around…

GC: Clyfford Still, that’s the one, right.

Clyfford Still (1904-1980)

AG: ..who was a friend to a lot of the poets there, and then Jay Defeo and Wally Hedrick

Jay Defeo

GC …and Marin Mar-in? M-A-R-I-N?   John?

AG: (No,, I think he was out of New York, he was several years ago) – Then there was Jess, right?  Robert Duncan’s friend

Jess (Collins) (1923-2004) – photo (c) Jess Collins Trust

GC: Big Jazz?  Jess? –  right – Jazz – but (the) jazz scene was bigger then in New York in a way, but (then) in San Francico, right? with The Cellar?  Brew Moore?

AG :  Yeah.. all those guys…

GC:  Rexroth regularly

AG:  ..recorded-jazz was going on.

GC: You mentioned before that you were gonna read with jazz but what difference – you said you it’s different– what difference say from the time that Rexroth or Kenneth Patchen would read and they’d have a bass behind him and a piano and a drum, What would be the difference now?

AG: I think now the musicians start with the text and compose around the text, specifically tailored toward the text rather than noodling, or separated, or background music, or impressionistically contrived on the spot

GC:  Yes..ok.. They know more

AG:    so their attending to it like sprechstimme, actual speech with the music underlining it

GC: Sprechstimme?

AG:  Yeah

The best thing we did was (I don’t know if you’ve heard on my record [The Lion For Real])  there is a good version of “Aunt Rose”  and there’s a really elevated, noble “King of May” version. Oh, and then we have a great little tiny poem called “Fuck me and  spank me” ‘(“CM’on Jack”)

GC  “Fuck me and spank me”

AG: …which..

GC: It’s not the Master, “Please Master”, one?

AG: No, but it’s a mini version of it and it’s really a funny poem that I was really ashamed (by)…  Steve Swallow picked it (he’s one of the major people working on the record and he made this laid-back version of this extremely hot little poem (which I liked because it was so genuinely hot and so representative of a moment of a moment of ecstasy).

GC: Right.

AG: ..but he made a very laid-back disco version, so that’s going to be on the CD. I don’t think we’ll put it on the..

GC: Oh no, but that’ll be good. The idea of the disco rhythm and just saying “fuck me”  (but probably they wouldn’t understand the lyrics..)

AG: “Fuck me and fuck you, da-da da-da da”.  No, they’ll understand the lyrics very clear very clear!

GC:   They could try it out

AG: Yeah, wait till Jesse Helms hears that one!  – or Tipper Gore  that’ll be on a CD, it won’t be on a regular record or cassette.

It’s coming out as a regular record.. There’ll be long liner notes..

to be continued

One comment

  1. Well they missed all the Black Mountain College people in S.F. didn’t they—-memory gone bad or what? -Britt Peter

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