Concision – 2

Allen Ginsberg and Basil Bunting

Allen Ginsberg April 1981 Naropa class continues from here (Allen is filling in for Tom Pickard)

Student :  He … Tom said in his opening lecture that the first time he went and showed a lot of his poetry to (Basil) Bunting and Bunting said, “Cut out everything that isn’t active.”

AG:  Yeah.  Is that what Bunting said?
Student (Joel Lewis):  Yeah.   Well, actually, we typed the transcription …
Student:  (William Carlos) Williams said it to you, too.
AG:  Yeah.
Student (Joel Lewis):  …he cited in …
AG:  That’s why….
Student (Joel Lewis):  … we transcribed…
AG:  Okay, now did Bunting use the same word?
Student:  No.
Student (Joel Lewis):  No.  No.
AG:  Oh.
Student (Joel Lewis):  No, he, uh … the…. okay, Tom Pickard used the example …
AG:  That’s kind of….
Student (Joel Lewis):  … (looking through notes)…  I think I know where it is.
AG:  What I’m interested in is what was Bunting’s term for it?
Student (Joel Lewis): (continues looking through notes)  Okay, I could read you … yeah, he’s talking about, uh … okay.  “I went to Bunting with a bunch of poems that he saw.  I’ll read you a brief account of one encounter. Why should I read you, I’ll tell you.  He looked at a poem and crossed out a bunch of lines fairly faintly and gently and looked carefully at the poem and he would rearrange on the page and throw out a lot and maybe leave you with a third, a quarter, maybe two lines out of a big poem and he would say that it was enough, or “That made a poem.”  And I would say, “But that doesn’t really.  That’s not what I wanted to say.”  And he’d say, “Well, it’s not relevant to the poem.  It doesn’t matter to the poem, it’s not important to the poem.”   And he has these..
AG:  That’s sort of pitiless and he’s creating …
Student (Joel Lewis):  Yeah.
AG:  ..this character of the poem over there, that’s independent of you and what you want to do.
Student:  Yeah, he goes on after that…
Student (Joel Lewis):  Yeah.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  Like a chess game..
AG:  I’m not sure I agree, exactly.
Student (Joel Lewis):  Yeah.
AG:  I’m not sure I like that.
Student (Joel Lewis):  And he … he….
AG:  But, anyway, it’s interesting.
Student (Joel Lewis):  And he has the account of you going to …
AG:  Yeah.
Student (Joel Lewis):  … Williams, too.

to be continued 

Audio for the above can be found here, beginning at approximately forty-seven-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty minutes in

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