Composition and Condensation – 1

[Basil Bunting tries his hand at editing Shakespeare]

AG:  And then there was another thing.. I was talking with…Rachel [sic]…with Rachel..and we were talking about composition and condensation of poems and ..some ideas crystallized that might be useful. I’ve talked about it before I thought but apparently I had never said it around Rachel (tho; I thought I said it in any number of..over a dozen classes) there was that idea of Basil Bunting‘s, which (Ezra) Pound handed on, which was that poetics was condensation – and I think I’ll talk about that – and I’ve applied it in … Read More

Harold Norse 1980 Naropa Reading

                                                        [[Harold Norse (1916-2009)]


[continuing from yesterday]

AG: Okay –  Are we about ready for Chapter two of the evening ? – Shall we go on now? –  Harold Norse is a classic Bohemian figure on the (North) American and European poetry scene, We first met, myself and Harold, in.. on the New York subway, around 34thStreet, in 1944, around Christmas-time, when I came down from Columbia University to visit Greenwich Village all by myself for the first time with a copy of Rimbaud and a red handkerchief tied around my neck. I think I had just met William

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Horace – 3


Picking up again on Allen’s 1980 “Sapphics” class, going through his classoom anthology  AG: So that was..  [Horace and Thomas Wyatt (bemoaning wasted opportunity)]  Okay..also, there’s a great poem by Francois Villon  about an old.. It’s called “Ballade de la belle  Heaumière  aux filles de joie”“The Complaint of the Fair Helm-Maker Grown Old”). It’s a real meticulous description, like her lacking her teeth, and the rheum matter of her eye, and the sagging belly collapsed –  a really horrific description!  This also refers a little bit to the Catullus that we just passed by, that we … Read More

Horace (Latin Sapphics)

AG: Then Horace. Now Horace was the next of the Romans that picked up on the Catullun line and from Sappho. And we didn’t actually get to that, did we, at all? – did we ever bring up Horace, yet?  [to “Mike”] –  Do you have any Horace that you’re prepared to chuck out? or is it too sudden? – We have some in here [pointing to the classroom anthology],  so maybe do one (from) in here? – Can we find the first page of Horace translations? It’s abour half-way through.. half-way..a third of the way down maybe.. … Read More

Catullus (Latin Sapphics)


Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84 – 54 BC)

AG: So shall we go on.. [to John Burnett, Naropa student] – [did you prepare (φάινεταί μοι κῆνοσ ἴσοσ τηέοισιν) the phainetai moi (a) second Sappho poem)  too?] Student (John Burnett): No.. AG: Okay. Lets get on (then) to the…Catullus. On your way to the Catullus  [in your xerox Sapphics anthology} you’ll run across (Louis) MacNeice , after about eight pages or so – you see that MacNeice? – and Vernon Watkins? , two pages, about eight pages in –  June Thunder…. you see that? Everybody … Read More

Ginsberg’s Catullus



Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84 – 54 BC)

Allen to his brother Eugene, August 14, 1954: “You would love Catullus. I read a collection of translations edited by an Aiken [The Poems of Catullus – edited by William A Aiken (1950)], and am reading him in Latin now with aid of a pony. Selections in anthologies won’t give you the idea. Get a book of translations from all times, from library. The Aiken book is good, includes translations by Ben Jonson, Byron, Landor, Campion, etc”

And a few months later, to Jack Kerouac – “Dear … Read More

Peter Orlovsky’s 1975 Naropa class (Poets Who Have Influenced Me)


Image2.jpg (66741 bytes)

[Peter Orlovsky with mama goat (“Shiva”) and her baby, Cherry Valley Farmhouse, Cherry Valley, New York State – Photograph by Gordon Ball – Copyright Gordon Ball]  

An “unusual” transcription for this weekend. From the very early days of Naropa (August, 1975), Peter Orlovsky’s Naropa Class – “Poets Who Have Influenced Me”. He concludes, “Well, I’m sorry I wasn’t prepared. Maybe next year I’ll be better prepared”, but it is precisely the spontaneous un-prepared nature of the conversation (and the reading) that’s so interesting. If you’re listening to it on the audio, be prepared for several ponderous silences, rifling … Read More

Allen Ginsberg – 1994 Greek TV Interview

Here’s a find – courtesy “redfox60” and “Daily Motion”. Allen in 1994, in performance and being interviewed (lucid as always), on Greek tv – the presentation, by one Giorgos Kappa (a film with Greek sub-titles). Please excuse (we know you will) the fact that it’s not exactly synch-sound, but.. more than made-up for by substance. (excuse also the possibility of a little advertising sneaking in at the beginning there!)

The piece opens with black-and-white footage of Allen with his harmonium performing “Father Death Blues”, also fleeting shots of New York City, and then the first segment of the interview.  … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) – 27

[Walter Ralegh (1554-1618) aged 34 – portrait via National Portrait Gallery]

Allen’s Spontaneous Poetry (Ballads) lectures, given at the Naropa Institute, Boulder, Colorado, in July and August of 1976, continue. This particular section continues the June 16 class.

AG:  “The Lie” by Sir Walter Ralegh – Moving now from ballad to song, staying around the same time. We’re still before and after Shakespeare. There are a number of classical pieces of rhythm and imagery that those of you who are interested in poetry  just as beaming mind-eye movies should know. And those of you who are writing

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