Happy Birthday Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire with his wife Jacqueline Kolb, Paris, 1918 – photo: via Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris

Apollinaire by Picasso

26th of August. It’s the birthday today, anniversary today, of the birth of the great Guillaume Apollinaire.  Previous birthday postings can be found here and here

Check out Allen’s 1975 Naropa class – here.

Apollinaire has also featured elsewhere in The Allen Ginsberg Project. There’s the much-loved, ever-popular “Le Pont Mirabeau”, there’s the design-experiments (Calligrams) and the modernist masterpiece  “Zone”. John Godfrey ruminates on a single poem of his, “Ombre”, and Allen looks at Poem Read at the Marriage of Andre Salmon” (Poème Lu au Mariage d’André Salmon).

From Allen’s classic 1958 poem, “At Apollinaire’s Grave”

“..looking for the lost address of a notable Frenchman of the Void
to pay our tender crime of homage to his helpless menhir
and lay my temporary American Howl on top of his silent Calligramme
for him to read between the lines with Xray eyes of Poet
as he by miracle had read his own death lyric in the Seine…”

“…Ah William what grit in the brain you had what’s death
I walked all over the cemetery and still couldn’t find your grave
what did you mean by that fantastic cranial bandage in your poems..”

“..Guillaume Guillaume how I envy your fame your accomplishment for American letters
your Zone with its long crazy line of bullshit about death
come out of the grave and talk thru the door of my mind…”

“..Oh Guillaume the world so easy to fight seemed so easy
did you know the great political classicists would invade Montparnasse
with not one sprig of prophetic laurel to green their foreheads..”

“..Came back sat on a tomb and stared at your rough menhir
a piece of thin granite like an unfinished phallus
a cross fading into the rock 2 poems on the stone one Coeur Reverse
other Habituez-vous comme moi A ces prodiges que j’annonce Guillaume Apollinaire de Kostrowitsky
someone placed a jam bottle filled with daisies and a 5&10¢ surrealist typist ceramic rose
happy little tomb with flowers and overturned heart
under a fine mossy tree beneath which I sat snaky trunk
summer boughs and leaves umbrella over the menhir and nobody there..”

“…Et quelle voix sinistre ulule Guillaume qu’es-tu devenu
his nextdoor neighbor is a tree
there underneath the crossed bones heaped and yellow cranium perhaps
and the printed poems Alcools in my pocket his voice in the museum
Now middleage footsteps walk the gravel…”

Guillaume Apollinaire ( 1889-1918)

“At Apollinaire’s Grave”

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