Ginsberg and Pasolini – Ginsberg and Pasolini first met in New York in 1966 on his first visit there. The following year, as Fernando Pivano recalls – “Ginsberg spent a few months in Italy and we were very happy to host him…In order to introduce him to some Italian intellectuals, I took him to meet (Eugenio) Montale and (Salvatore) Quasimodo at my house, I introduced him to Umberto Eco and Enrico Fillipini. One day Pasolini happened to be in Milan and the two poets met, on October 17),in the sumptuous house that the architect Nanda Vigo had decorated for the businessman Spaggiari. The two writers needed an interpreter, we sat on a stone bench and for a couple of hours I felt like some kind of simultaneous translator, without the skills that these professionals have. From that meeting a beautiful friendship was born.“
The next day, Pasolini wrote Allen a note – Milan, October 18 – “Caro, angelico Ginsberg..” (“dear angelic Ginsberg”)
…..Caro, angelico Ginsberg, ieri sera ti ho sentito dire tuto quello chi ti veniva in mente su New York e San Francisco, coi loro fiori. Io ti ho detto qualcosa dell´Italia (fiori solo dai fiorai). La tua borghesia è una borghesia di PAZZI, la mia una borghesia di IDIOTI. Tu ti rivolti contro la PAZZIA con la PAZZIA (dando fiori ai poliziotti): ma come rivoltarsi contro l´IDIOZIA? Ecc. Ecc. Queste sono state le nostre chiacchiere. Molto, molto più bellele tue, e te l´ho anche detto il perché. Perché tu, che ti rivolti contra I padri borghesi assassini, lo fai restando dentro il loro stesso mondo… classista (sì, in Italia ci esprimiamo così), e quindi sei costretto e inventare di nuovo e completamente – giorno per giorno, parola per parola – il tuo linguaggio rivoluzionario. Tutti gli uomini della tua America sono costretti, per esprimersi, ad essere degli inventori di parole! Noi qui invece (anche quelli che hanno adesso sedici anni) abbiamo già il nostro linguaggio rivoluzionario bell´e pronto, con dentro la sua morale. Anche I Cinesi parlano come degli statali. E anch’io – come vedi. Non riesco a MESCOLARE LA PROSA CON LA POESIA (come fai tu!) – e non riesco a dimenticarmi MAI e naturalmente neanche in questo momento – che ho dei doveri linguistici.…..Chi ha fornito a noi – anziani e ragazzi – il linguaggio ufficiale della protesta? Il marxismo, la cui unica vena poetica è il ricordo della Resistenza, che si rinnovella al pensiero del Vietnam e della Bolivia. E perché mi lamento di questo linguaggio ufficiale della protesta che la classe operaia attraverso i suoi ideologi (borghesi) mi fornisce? Perché è un linguaggio che non prescinde mai dall´idea del potere, ed è quindi sempre pratica e razionale. Ma la Pratica e la Ragione non sono le stesse divinità che hanno reso PAZZI e IDIOTI I nostri padri borghesi? Povero Wagner e povero Nietzsche! Hanno preso tutta loro la colpa. E non parliamo poi di Pound!
An English translation made by Allen (in collaboration with Annette Galvano) appeared (posthumously), in the late ‘Seventies, (1979), in Lumen/Avenue A, a small and obscure New York poetry magazine (a partial, and, has been noted, less than perfect translation)
Dear angelic Ginsberg. Last night I heard you say everything that came into your mind about New York and San Francisco, with their flowers. I have told you something about Italy (flowers only to be found in flower shops) flowers. Your bourgeoisie is a bourgeoise of INSANE people, mine of IDIOTS. You rebel against insanity with INSANITY (giving flowers even to policemen), but how can one revolt against IDIOCY? Etc. etc … Because you rebel against the bourgeois assassin fathers by staying within their world and you are therefor impelled to invent your revolutionary language anew and completely – day by day and word by word…We here instead (even those now sixteen years old) already have their revolutionary language, pre-fabricated and with its own ethics behind it…And I can’t forget NEVER and of course not even at this moment that I have linguistic obligations . Who provided us (young and old) with the official language of protest? Marxism whose only poetic vein is the memory of the Resistance now recalled by the thought of Vietnam and Bolivia….. I cannot MIX POETRY AND PROSE (as you do). .And why do I complain about this official language of protest that the working class through its (bourgeois) ideologues gives me? Because it is a language that never disregards the idea of power, and it is therefore always practical and rational. But aren’t Practice and Reason the same divinities that made our bourgeois fathers CRAZY and IDIOTS? Poor Wagner and poor Nietzsche! They took all the blame. And let’s not talk about Pound!
“Io amo Ginsberg – era tanto che non leggevo poesie di un poeta fratello” (“I love Ginsberg –
I have not read poems from a brother poet for a long time..”), he writes in the posthumously published “Poeta delle ceneri” (Poet of the ashes), ” Egli e una vivente contestazione (He is living protest”)
There was a simpatico with Allen – the same struggle (as he perceived it), but coming with markedly different strategies. In an interview with Oriana Fallaci, towards the end of his life, he includes Ginsberg in the extremely brief list of American authors that he appreciates –
“I don’t like (Ernest) Hemingway, nor (John) Steinbeck, very little (William) Faulkner – from (Herman) Melville I go straight to Allen Ginsberg”.
Città Pasolini – Pasolini City – a slew of Pasolini celebrations are planned across Italy, first and foremost in Bologna, where a major exhibition opened this past Tuesday, “Folgorazioni Figurative,” (“Struck by Images), focusing on his formative years at the University in Bologna, where he studied with Italian art historian and critic Roberto Longhi.
A note on celebrations in Florence
Tonight in Hamburg, Germany, a public reading
Elsewhere around the world, Barcelona, in May, will host the large exhibition, “Pasolini Roma” comprising original manuscripts of poems, novels, essays and articles, letters, screenplays, storyboards, drawings, paintings, sequences from Pasolini’s films, interviews, documentaries, photographs and installations.
Mariani, interviewed shortly before the publication of the book:
“We miss his clarity and his testimony with soul and body – Pasolini lived his ideas and feelings with passion, his criticisms were not cold laboratory analysis. What is most striking about him is the fact that his testimony was not only an intellectual but involved the whole person, his was not a formal but a substantial criticism, I would even say corporal, without a doubt spiritual – he put his whole self on the line and for a bigoted and fearful society this was unbearable. His was a vital testimony, in the proper and full sense of the term “.
“I would like him to be remembered, first of all, for his poetry, so innovative and so original, having known how to harmoniously unite social commitment with aesthetic elegance and musical rhythm. Secondly, I would like him to be remembered for the interest and care he showed for the time that he had had to live, as well as by the world of the excluded and the rejected. His was a Christian feeling impregnated with a modern spirit.”
More on Pasolini:
Domus (Italy) – an Italian Centennial over-view. (and the strange fate of Pasolini’s first house)
Pasolini in Germany
Pasolini celebrated in Cuba
– just a sprinkling (a random sprinkling) from the world’s press
Pasolini’s death, his brutal murder, has somewhat overshadowed his life – Who Killed Pasolini – and why? – We still don’t know. The arrest and imprisonment of 17-year-old hustler Pino Pelosi led to an all too swift neglect of further leads, further investigation. Mariani is among many who believe that “if it (the murder) had been properly investigated we would know who killed him” – Pelosi’s 2005 recantation invoked “three unnamed men with Sicilian accents” – Who were they? who were they working for? – He, Pasolini, had clearly made enemies. The provocation of his art was clearly viewed as a threat by the country’s right-wing Christian Democrat-dominated establishment – and Pasolini had enemies on the left – a political assassination? – a more intimately personal hit? – Since his death there have been a multitude of theories but no clear-cut answers.
Our previous 2013/2016 Pasolini posting can be found here
Pasolini as filmmaker – from “The Lost Interview”, his penultimate interview:
Interviewer: You are a poet and a filmmaker. Is there a relation between these two roles?
Pasolini: As far as I’m concerned, there is a profound unity between the two of them. It’s as if I were a bilingual writer”
Like Fellini and Antonioni...”one of the great Italian filmmakers of the 1960s and 70s” (it needs hardly be said). “His films, writes film critic, Chris Fennell, reflect the contradictions and complexity of a passionate but tragic life”.