More Vancouver Video – Ginsberg, Orlovsky – Anne Waldman, 1979

Another video tape from the Lenore Herb Archive held at The Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver. For our previous posting – see here.
This one is an unedited mix so bear with a few moments of sound loss and roving camera-work but gems abound. Mostly this features a 1979 reading by Anne Waldman  (at the “Poetry In Our Time” poetry conference) but Anne is just one person featured on stage alongside Allen, Peter Orlovsky and two accompanying guitarists (Gary Cramer and Mike Beddoes)   The tape begins with Allen, pre- a Blake reading (“Spring” from “Songs of Innocence”, and later, “The Tyger”), testing the sound levels. (“Merrily we need to make it come any louder? Is this sufficient to hear the harmonium in the back?/ raise your hands if you can hear the harmonium alack – if you can’t raise your hand if you cannot hear /Merrily merrily we welcome in the year”)

Allen Ginsberg

The audio on the tape appears properly approximately two minutes in, soon after the beginning of (“with aboriginal songsticks”), a spirited performance of  “Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag” (“Don’t smoke…don’t smoke”)

“Next, a blues, a sort of walking blues – “Dope Fiend Blues” – [Allen to guitarist(s) – you wanna try that? page sixty-nine, “Dope Fiend Blues”..I think we’re doing it in “A”] –
To cover all bases, we’ll deal with, well, “Control of Passion, Aggression and Ignorance”  (“Don’t Smoke”) , “the Apocalypse” (”Merrily, merrily, we welcome in the year” – welcoming in the Great Year), and now, covering “Dope, before we get into “Meditation” (“Yes, I’m a dope fiend I don’t believe your laws….”…”everybody ride a big white horse”)” [Here and elsewhere, Allen gleefully improvises]

“(To) continue with Blake “The Nurse’s Song”. That has the vision of the.. a.. symmetrical universe echoing, symmetrical universe created by our senses. They are our senses echoing back, the external phenomenal universe being a projection of our own mind. (with) the Nurse, telling the little kiddies to come back in from the field. So it’s “The Nurse’s Song” (from the “Songs of Innocence” by William Blake).  Blake sang the songs (that’s why they’re called “Songs of Innocence of Experience”) (“When the voices of children…”… “all the hills echo-ed”)”

“I’ll end my set of music with a recent poem called “The Rune”, celebrating the transitory nature of human existence,  and rock existence, and echoing existence, musical existence, Vancouver existence, Ginsberg existence, Buddha existence, (music-stand existence) – transitory, empty, (but with some element of uneasiness and suffering) – “The Rune” (“Where the years have gone…”)

Peter Orlovsky

At approximately twenty-and-three-quarter minutes in,  Peter Orlovsky begins, with banjo accompaniment, singing/performing “Feeding Them Rassberres (sic) To Grow” –  (“Five years ago up in New York State…”… “on the radi-o”)
This is followed with guitar accompaniment  –  “Around The Garden” – (“Well I’m going out to the garden now – tell me what you want me to bring you back?”…. bring them back right away”) –  (and) “You Are My Dildo”  – (“I sleep till dawn…You are my dildo/dildo/ha ha ha homy sweet dildo”…   “…white cold water”)

Thank you.  [The artists  leave the stage, a lecturn is brought in, and, at approximately thirty-one-and-a-quarter. minutes in, Anne Waldman begins reading]

Anne Waldman

This first piece is a chant written for a demonstration at Rocky Flats Plutonium plant, about thirteen miles, south, outside of Boulder, Colorado, a little combination of chants  (“Mega-Death Chant” (“Mega-Mega-Mega-Mega-Mega-Mega…”.. “…Death Bombs Enlighten”) and “Plutonian Poem” ( “Fuck Plutonium! Love It? Hate It? ..”… “… poor, sad, monster eyeballs, reincarnated for a quarter of a million years!”

This is called “To A Young Poet” (To A Young Poet” – Never forget you are what you’re making…”…”…You will stand up and sing”)

So, a couple of little travel pieces – This is a story that.. a little story that appeared in Daphne Marlatt’s magazine,  Periodics”Andreas” – (“I could tell right away he was German from his gruff Italian…”…”..and hate that which is not perfect”) – [sound drops out briefly for a few moments in this recording]

A couple more poems from Germany. This is a sort of reggae poem (“Anarchy Reggae“) – (“Anarchy, anarchy, anarchy, anarchy….” ….”many dark colors”). This is called “Contraband”,
another little travel story – (“Just after we’d boarded the Orient Express in Venice….”…”music, she said seriously, one is Rod Stewart!’) – true story! – [she continues] – “And this is another Orient Express sestina called “Trains and Clouds” – And the six words that repeat in the six verses (I’m not going to explain what a sestina is) but the six words that keep reappearing  are “Dmitrovgrad”,  “1949”,  “about”,  “me”,  “ambassador”,  “fights” and “clouds” – (“We’ve just arrived in Dmitrovgrad….”..  “…I love exotic trains and clouds”)

  1. This is a little poem from Wales – “Aberystwyth” (“It’s so great out here/ We should invent cocaine./ To sniff from this little shell/ It could be a powder to get you high” .  This is “Welsh Words Song” – (“Trearddur” – a sandy beach, “darn”, a stretch or reach”, “bôd, a dwelling place”).
    And this is after a… this is called “Two Hearts,” after a poem by Sir Philip Sidney. You all know his works out there? – “Two Hearts” (“She’s got my heart and I’ve got hers…”…”We’re stuck with each others hearts now”)        

This is called “Joanne” (for Joannne Kyger)  (Joanne – “She suffers even in medicines, idols, refuses cool guys though they be gallant…”…… a long skill in quixotic luxury singing”)

And this is.. this is a piece of sympathetic magic for a friend who was undergoing a liver transplant at Denver hospital several years ago – “For Billy Burroughs Junior” – (“William Burroughs Jr,) (“Billy work peyote Keep it moving Billy “…”  moving Billy, moving, keep it..”

This is a “Dialogue between the Self and the Soul”. I’ll read this for Robin Blaser, who I had the great pleasure of really meeting for the first time tonight.  It starts with the Soul speaking  – (“Soul: Within your delight, I’m warm, exquisite, take pride in your scale..”… “I join myself to the great silence or soar when you do.”)

There’s just a couple more. This is a true story of being at the pool. This takes place in Boulder Colorado – “True Story of Being At The Pool”  (“It was so hot, although I didn’t have much time I went to the pool..”…. “”…. she lives in a sack!” they all chorused, uproariously”)

Okay, two more pieces (sic)  this is called “Matriarchly”. It’s a kind of journal and dream piece and I’ll dedicate it to all the women in the audience and to Gertrude Stein. (“I gave this part away from me…. & does it come back to me, does it, does it..”..”…going on and in like a point of view singing cinematically…  [tape concludes before the ending of the poem]

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