[Seymour Wyse, Horace Mann School, 1940 (courtesy of Dave Moore)]
Returning to the extraordinary trove of tapes of Allen now in the archives at Stanford University, here’s a recently-discovered gem – Allen, in 1981, at Leicester University, in England, in conversation with the figure who turned on the young Jack Kerouac to a rich and life-long appreciation of jazz, his old Horace Mann schoolmate – Seymour Wyse.
Edie Parker Kerouac (remembering Seymour Wyse, in Boulder, the following year) : “Yeah and he used to scat, and he and Jack used to do this together. And the first time, … Read More
Allen Ginsberg on compositional practice continues from here
Student: Ted (Berrigan) says you write poems when you’re on a retreat.
AG: Sometimes. If I’m somewhere where I don’t have to do anything, then I tend to write. Like, I wrote a lot up in.. when I went up that week for the seminary I wrote a whole… about fourteen little poems. But that was because they had a poetry reading there, and so I wrote something to read. And I didn’t like the way.. their attitude there, so I was trying to reflect on, straightforward, you know, fresh, perception, I’ll … Read More
AG: So, working last night reminded me of something that I hadn’t tried formulating, or vocalizing, which is that to write a work of genius, of any density and thickness and length (except for the little ditties and brilliant pieces that you can write right off, spontaneously, little short poignant things like that “On Neal’s Ashes”, which are, little poignant poems, which everybody has written of their own), the situation arising where you actually get involved in a work and sit continuously at it for twelve, … Read More
AG: “My ambition was to write a sort of Promethean twentieth-century poem, using all of the ancient meters that build up to some kind of grand chorale. And there’s a little sample of that in Journals Early Fifties, Early Sixties, a little thing called “Rhythmic Paradigm”, which goes on for half a page with a series of meters that are more complicated than the ones in “Kaddish” or “Howl” “
from “Rhythmic Paradigm – National Anger”(1961)
Blasted be Congress and doom on the White House and cursed are the works of … Read More
AG: ..And I’m not sure, actually. I’m just posing the question, whether the continuous repetition of a fixed structure and memorization of it will then begin to collect emotions around it, and whether you’ll begin casting your own personal emotions into that slightly different emotional cadence, as in a Sapphic – or, is it possible that a stanza such as the Sapphic is so archetypal as far as breathing and emotional spurt, that anybody might breathe, or thin , … Read More
Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Naropa “Basic Poetics” class continues from here
AG: I took a poem that I had written, that was in an almost-Sapphic style, in 1968, “On Neal Cassady’s Ashes”, (which is a little classic, which is in some anthologies already. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with it) …Yeah…and I re-wrote it last night, also, so it would fit (the) Sapphic form. I had to take out about six words and it all fit, so it goes… And I found it.. I had done it unconsciously already, because the original first line was … Read More