Ginsberg (and Corso) and Burroughs in conversation continuing from here
AG: ..So – oh, yeah- so Gilmore had a notebook that Auden had kept in which Auden wrote poems including the great classic “Lay your sleeping head, my love/Human on my faithless arm /Time and fevers burn away/ Individual beauty of thoughtful..” children?
Does anybody know how that goes? – “Time and fevers burn away the thoughtful beauty of individual children.. /But in my arms till break of day/ Let the living creature lie/ Mortal, guilty but to me/ The entirely beautiful.” – (“Lullaby“) – It’s one of Auden’s great poems.
WSB: No, oh you mean this is something that he found that Auden had written?
GC: Right right, right
AG: This is one of Auden’s classics
WSB: Oh – uh-huh – in his notebook?
AG: He had the original – and Auden had written out in a notebook and had given it to (Bill) Gilmore (enclosed with a letter from Marianne Moore) saying.. admiring Auden’s recent poetry. That was like the first big-time literary manuscript I ever saw. I was really impressed by that, actually. Gilmore was still cherishing it and he knew that it was of value, actually. which would be 19..? just a few, just a few years later from the time that you met Auden.
WSB: I should imagine, yes, around there
AG: What is that? (19)38? 39?
AG: So this is maybe six years later. What kind of influence did Gilmore have on you?
WSB: Oh, not very much. We were quite close one time. We saw a lot of each other at dinners and so on.
AG: He seemed a peer. Of course, I was much younger, but Gilmore seemed a peer. How did he get along with.. Did he knew Kells Elvins and did they know each other?
AG: Never intersected?
WSB: They never intersected
Ted Morgan: Kells Elvins was?
AG: Kells Elvins was Bill’s..
WSB: … (a) very good childhood friend of mine, who was a collaborator in the “Twilight’s Last Gleamings“, (which I’ve used in many readings and a version of which appeared in Nova Express). But, no, he had nothing to do with, he never intersected Gilmore.
AG: “Twilight’s Last Gleamings” is, for those of you who don’t know, a central piece in Bill’s mythology and texts, the earliest text from Harvard, I think – You made it up in Harvard?
WSB: Yeah, it was written with Kells.
AG: The sinking of the Titanic as a parable of the sinking of the American ship of state was..
WSB: Well the Titanic, no, the Titanic and the..
WSB: ..and the Lusitania, and the..what is it? Morro Castle (that’s the one that burned off Jersey Coast and the first mate was in the first lifeboat ). But there was a steward on the Titanic that got in women’s clothes and escaped, yes!. – “A cur in human shape” says the.. The account was “A cur in human shape” – “Surely he was preserved to show the lengths to which , the depths (to) which humans can sink!” – But the weird thing is that he was discovered by a boat-full of women and, you know, you’d expect he’d been torn to pieces by these harpies but…
AG: They let him off?
WSB: They did.
AG: So why did that appeal? – that seems to be one of the central metaphors.
WSB: Well, it was certainly the outrage, the outrage, the ultimate outrage – the captain in women’s clothes in the first lifeboat. But, on the Morro Castle, the first mate.. (you see, the Captain had died of..yes..the Captain had died of a heart attack the night before the fire).. So the first mate took over and he was in the first lifeboat that left the Morro Castle – the acting Captain. Outrageous!
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-nine-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-seven-and-three-quarter minutes in.