Ginsberg on Kerouac (Spontaneous Composition – 2) (Lamantia)

Allen continues his discussion of spontaneous composition from here 

AG:  I mean, when you say “spontaneous” it’s basically a seat-of-the-pants (thing) anyway.  Some of the surrealists feel that.. or Philip Lamantia.. I got into a funny conversation with him a couple of years ago.  He disapproved completely of the whole William Carlos Williams-Olson-Ginsberg trip as being rank naturalism.  Materialistic, earthbound, naturalistic, William Carlos Williams imitation of the world.  What he said was that there (was a) specific poetic voice which was the Surrealist voice, which was somewhere between the conscious and the unconscious, which was out of control of the poet, which (you) had to wait to listen for and which only came once a year.  And I never could figure out exactly where the voice was, actually.  But he may have had some mental coordinates.  He may have had some subjective experience of his own that he was relying on that he could locate and point to and that was it for him.

However, I noticed his production of poetry went down when he went into that theory, and he wasn’t able to write for a long time.  Or he didn’t write.  Or he didn’t publish, or he was very chary about publishing, and he also refused to participate with other poets in poetry readings or demonstrations or benefits, like the benefit for Timothy Leary in ’72 that I was trying to organize.  Because he didn’t feel that poetry should be put to any earthly use.  He thought it was an abuse of it, which I sort of agree (with).  It’s an interesting idea.  He didn’t think it should be used like a horse to pull along money for radicals or anybody.  And he thought it should be involuntary.  The poetry should be involuntary.  That it should come from the specialized area of subliminal consciousness.

Audio for the above can be heard  here, beginning at approximately twenty-one minutes in and concluding at approximately twenty-three-and-a-quarter minutes in

One comment

  1. Saw Allen Ginsberg Live and am certainly glad , that he, felt that poetry should be shouted from the rooftops! Have certainly enjoyed calling down His, and other poets lines, when the moment required it. I understand why he would want to keep his musings, private, though…that’s why we have musicians. Thank you for sharing this; and keeping Allen’s torch alive.

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