Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 523

Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady, San Francisco, 1963. photo: (c) Allen Ginsberg Estate

More cuts from the essential Fall of America Tribute compilation. ( some delays on the vinyl pressing (bear with us) but the CDs are now available

from Elegy for Neal Cassady

“Can ya hear me talkin?
calling your spirit
god echo consciousness, murmuring
sadly to myself.

Happy as light released by the Day

Spirit become spirit,
or robot reduced to Ashes.

Tender Spirit, thank you for touching me with tender hands
When you were young, in a beautiful body,
Such a pure touch it was Hope beyond Maya-meat,

O Spirit.
Sir spirit, forgive me my sins,
Sir spirit give me your blessing again,
Sir Spirit forgive my phantom body’s demands,
Sir Spirit thanks for your kindness past,
Sir Spirit in Heaven, What difference was yr mortal form,
What further this great show of Space?
Sir Spirit, an’ I drift alone:
Oh deep sigh.

Hadja no more to do? Was your work all done?
Had ya seen your first son?
Why’dja leave us all here?
Has the battle been won?

the world is released,
desire fulfilled, your history over,
story told, Karma resolved,
prayers completed
vision manifest, new consciousness fulfilled,
spirit returned in a circle,
world left standing empty, buses roaring through streets—
garbage scattered on pavements galore—
Grandeur solidified, phantom-familiar fate
returned to Auto-dawn,
your destiny fallen on RR track

My body breathes easy,
I lie alone,
living
After friendship fades from flesh forms—
heavy happiness hangs in heart,
I could talk to you forever,
The pleasure inexhaustible,
discourse of spirit to spirit”

This is Scanner (writing in August of last year)

“I chose this poem at first simply for the name itself, and once I heard the reading was drawn in by the use of repetition and moving sense of intimacy in Ginsberg’s delivery. The affection was clear and I chose to create music that enveloped this in a warm blanket of sound, something reductionist that put the voice upfront. There’s a profoundly moving tone to this poem so tried my utmost to maintain this throughout.”

Gregory Corso – we remain eager and enthusiastic about the forthcoming posthumous volume from New Directions, The Golden Dot – Last Poems by Gregory Corso.
Raymond Foye, Gregory’s close friend and one of the book’s co-editors, writes at length on it, and on Gregory, in a must-read piece in the Summer 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly:

“The Golden Dot” is framed by Ginsberg’s death on one end and Corso’s own death on the other. It is, among other things, the story of a lifelong friendship between two of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. Corso is now alone, left to argue with his mentor and rival, pleading his case and making amends. His insecurities lead him to question the very reasons Allen befriended him in 1950 in a Greenwich Village bar in the first place: Was it just his good looks and street smarts? But he comes to trust and accept Allen’s estimation of his work, so succinctly stated on the dedication page of Planet News (1968), some of the only serious recognition he ever got for his poetry in his lifetime: “Dedicated to the Pure Imaginary poet Gregory Corso,” and once again in Ginsberg’s Selected Poems 1947–1995: “To Gregorio Nunzio Corso, Wisdom Maestro, American Genius of Antique and Modern Idiom, Father Poet of Concision.” Allen always told anyone who would listen that Gregory was the greater poet, and often lamented the lack of serious critical evaluations of Corso’s work…”

“Corso often spent years revising a poem, and in many respects a poem for him was never finished. Friends who had put him up for days or weeks would later find the books of his in their libraries extensively amended. Poetry readings, especially in later years, often consisted of glosses on the poems; he always seemed to be having a running argument with himself or the poem (they were the same thing). But as the end drew near he seems to have realized these endless revisions would not do, and suddenly we have the rarest of articles in his oeuvre: poems written all at once, in a single stream of thought and inspiration, from start to finish. This is indicated to the reader by the date of composition, and sometimes even the exact time (always in the middle of the night). He called these “diary poems” and he was extremely unsure about them. To me they are the capstones of his career, the works that most show off his extraordinary powers as a poet. To read such poems is to fully enter his mind and to witness the very act of creation. In these last poems he has gone back to the candle, at midnight, writing to himself and the solitary reader. The level of intimacy is exquisite and the effect is ethereal.”

Raymond points out that the opening of the floodgates came in 1997 with the death of Allen:

“Following Ginsberg’s funeral at New York’s Shambhala Meditation Center, Corso returned to his small apartment at 26 Horatio Street in the West Village and composed “Elegium Catullus/Corso, for Allen Ginsberg.” It is modeled on a funeral ode by the Latin poet Catullus, as he sits next to and addresses the “unspeaking ashes” (alloquerer cinerem) of his brother. Corso lightens Catullus’s famous final line, Ave atque vale (Hail and farewell), with the salutation he and Ginsberg always used on each other, “Tootel loo”—a bit of ’50s camp silliness. With this short and simple poem, the floodgates opened. Over the next three and a half years Corso rewrote the entire manuscript of The Golden Dot, two hundred-plus pages, beginning that evening with this simple elegy.’

Gregory Corso, “Elegium Catullus/Corso, for Allen Ginsberg,” 1997, holograph manuscript from The Golden Dot. Courtesy Downtown Collection at the Fales Library at New York University& Raymond Foye

Speaking of Gregory and “the classics” – Gregory would have loved this story

Simon Warner gathers together further memorial tributes/testimonials to the late Michael Horovitz – see here  (Warner’s Substack, incidentally, is well worth following – see earlier articles here)

It”s the anniversary today of the birth of the great Scottish Beat, Alex Trocchi (author of the remarkable Cain’s Book).  See Kirstie McKenzie’s “Glasgow writer Alexander Trocchi – the forgotten father of America’s Beat Generation”. See also our posting on Trocchi (from back in 2011) – here

(and more on Trocchi  here,  here and here)

Alex Trocchi (1925-1984) – photo by Sally Child

And to conclude, another from the Fall of America tribute compilation  Hum Bom!  – Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore, erstwhile bandmates in Sonic Youth, cover and interpret this one:

“… Hum Bom most rhythmic anthemic rhyme-song pome of the collection, summoning gods, monsters, anger, indignation and bafflement at Military Industrial menace..”

and more Hum Bom! – here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.