Alice Notley on Allen Ginsberg – 4

[Allen Ginsberg observing a plaster model of the young Alice Notley, (part of an installation), modelled for the artist, George Segal]

Alice Notley talk on Allen Ginsberg and his exemplary internationalism continues and concludes today

Poem 6 is a song, “Industrial Waves,” that is to be sung (and I don’t know the tune) – “And I know Allen will follow me tound the world with his terrible singing voice” Ted (Berrigan) wrote, but it wasn’t that terrible at all.  “Freedom for Indonesia to murder half a million/ Freedom for South Africa to stabilize the Bullion/ Freedom … Read More

Alice Notley on Allen Ginsberg – 3

Alice Notley on Allen Ginsberg’s internationalism continuing from here

AN: I will now totally speed up with my list. But first I will go to sleep and dream I lose my purse (I learned to record my dreams from Allen and Jack Kerouac) but then I realize I am dreaming so I haven’t really lost it with all my bank cards and such – do I still have my identity, and my credit? (I in fact don’t have a credit rating.) Thus having awkened, in the dream, I am now sitting talking to a woman whose vocation is to … Read More

Alice Notley on Allen Ginsberg – 2

Alice Notley on the internationalism of Allen Ginsberg continued from yesterday

AN: The second poem selected by chance (I am opening the book randomly, plonk, trying to be vaguely chronological is “Going to Chicago” – dated August 24, 1968, so this is on the way to the famous Republican convention in Chicago nominating (Richard) Nixon [editorial note – the 1968 Republican Convention was at Miami Beach; the Democratic Convention in Chicago took place a few weeks later] and characterized by violence on all sides, street … Read More

Alice Notley on Allen Ginsberg – 1

[Allen Ginsberg – ink drawing by Alice Notley]

[Alice Notley in Allen Ginsberg’s New York City kitchen, September 1986 -Photo: Allen Ginsberg]

The feature this weekAlice Notley‘s keynote speech at the Allen Ginsberg Symposium, this past May 5th, at the St Marks Poetry Project in New York – on Allen Ginsberg’s internationalism

Allen Ginsberg – An International Poetry, Its Genius and Its Particles 

to Bobbie-Louise Hawkins, tonight in the air above us

That Allen Ginsberg is thus far the one truly international poet that has ever lived. I mean making of his person or speaker or … Read More

More Blake Notations

[William Blake by Luigi Schiavonett – published by Robert Hartley Cromek, after the Thomas Phillips etching (1807-8)]

AG: So, “(G)enius finds thought without seek(ing).”  Blake is on that edge of mind, also.  “(G)enius finds thought without seek(ing) & thought thus produced finds sense.”  “Oh, I did it!  Is that what I meant?” or, “I did it – how much sense it makes!.” Like “I got married and, boy, forty years later, that was a good idea.” – Thought does produce fine sense.  Action thus produced finds sense.

AG: “O that men would seek immortal moments”  – that’s on number … Read More

Jack Kerouac (No Turning Back/Spontaneity)

[Charlie Parker’s saxophone]

Student: What I really love about that book (Mexico City Blues) is the way he (Kerouac) looked upon himself like a Charlie Parker or a Lester Young

AG: Hm-hmm.

Student: … writing, instead of playing a trumpet, a sax..

AG: Yeah.  Well, the notion there is that once you have fixed in your mind your theme, or once you have your theme and observe a basic form fixed in your mind, then you just blow.  And anything you blow is what you blew — anything you play on the trumpet or saxophone is what … Read More

On Jack Kerouac’s Spontaneity

AG: (Sense seeks and finds the thought” (William Blake) ) So “genius finds thought without seeking & thought thus produced finds the sense.”  Is that clear?  Is that clear?  I mean, does anybody not understand that reversal?  Because the sort of squarer, more rationalistic or literalistic thought is that you’ve got to know what you say before you say it. So, as Robert Duncan says, “How do I know what I mean until I say it?” Or how do any of us know what we think until we say it?  And actually the whole poetic process shares that.  … Read More

William Blake (Annotations to Lavater)

AG: Now, (William) Blake had books and did a lot of reading, and he was reading the books of his day, including a book called the Aphorisms on Man   translated by (Henry) Fuseli a friend of his, from the original manuscript of the Reverend Johann Kaspar Lavater, citizen of Zurich, London, printed for J. Johnson St. Pauls Churchyard, 1788.  So Blake had a pre-publication copy of the proofs of this book and he went over it and he made little notes in the margins (of) what he had to say.  And this was done in 1788, probably. So I’ve … Read More

Contextualizing William Blake

 title-page illustration to William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790) –  “Lo to the vault/Of painted heaven”

Allen Ginsberg continues and concludes his first (Jan 8, 1979) Naropa class on William Blake (and his Poetic Sketches) here

AG: Well, you can already see at the age of fourteen what an ear (William) Blake had . So  he knows what he’s doing.  It isn’t as if “Mad Blake” was some kind of self-taught genius that wasn’t really very sophisticated in Augustan rhythms – (that is, “Augustan”, meaning that was the age in which he was growing up, which was … Read More

William Blake (“Mad Song” & “To The Muses”)

[William Blake – “Mad Song” – the page from the first publication, 1783, with the pencil mark attributed to the poet]

Allen Ginsberg’s 1979 Naropa class on William Blake continues

AG:  … This “Mad Song” is not too well-known, but I think it’s psychologically interesting, so I’d like to lay it out.

The wild winds weep,/And the night is a-cold;/Come hither, Sleep,/And my griefs infold:/ But lo! the morning peeps/Over the eastern steeps,/And the rustling birds of dawn/The earth do scorn.

Lo! to the vault/ Of paved haven,/ With sorrow fraught/ My notes are driven:/ They strike the ear of … Read More