[Allen Ginsberg in Jerusalem, 1988, praying by the Western Wall. Photograph by Steven Taylor]
Allen Ginsberg in Israel.
This interview with Elazar Larry Freifeld was conducted at Tel Aviv University in 1988, and published in Moznaim (in Hebrew). It appeared a year later (In English) in The Tel Aviv Review, and most recently in the Jerusalism Review.
LF: Welcome to Israel, Allen. You come at a very troublesome time [civil war in Lebanon].
AG: Ah, it’s the same all over the world. Everyone has their own tsurus [“trouble”, in Yiddish]. In Nicaragua, the CIA is fomenting trouble, in Columbia … Read More
AG:…..in that Williams was still preoccupied by some kind of modernism, some kind of Cubist abstraction, whereas Cope was really direct, (writing) just simply directly, writing out of his… ( – Allen is distracted – is that gone around all the way, this paper?)….whereas Cope was directly writing out of his eyesight and his… I think he’s more close too … Read More
Student: (I think) his style (David Cope‘s style) puts forth the position of being an observer rather than it being (creative). Instead of things coming out of the mind, the poet simply reflects what he sees..)AG: I think it’s a semantic question, actually. I mean, you know, he doesn’t simply reflect what he sees because, you see, you have to pick out something to see, or something is picked out to see. You don’t write about everything you see, otherwise you’d have thousands and thousands of pages all the time. It’s only those selected moments of perception that are … Read More
AG: Now, I want to skip on to a modern poet called David Cope, who’s about thirty years old [Editorial note – this is in 1980] who writes, very much, specifically in this tradition of “minute particulars”, specificity, ordinary mind reality. And I have.. For various reasons, I’m reading through all of his poetry right now, (which consists of little, funny, hand-made, home-made mimeographed books of poems that he’s put out). The first one that I got was…
Student: Is that Cope – C…
AG: … Read More
Jack Kerouac, Charles Reznikoff and William Carlos Williams
Allen’s 1980 Naropa Basic Poetics continues
Student: Is that the only valid poetry then, citing particulars?
AG: Well, that’s a generalization.
AG: All I’m saying is there’s lots of poetry like that, you know, an enormous amount of poetry is like that. For us beginning students (including me), let’s begin in somewhere real where we can begin, instead of somewhere up in the air where we can’t begin at all. Because, if we have nowhere we can stand, then there’s no point in my standing here. I … Read More
Student: I was wondering if you were (suggesting poetry and meditation) in the same (breath as) functions of the mind? I was wondering if you are saying that – that poetry is a function of the mind?
Student: You expanded on (Jack) Kerouac‘s…
AG: …if you write it down.
Student: Can you expand on Kerouac’s “If the mind is shapely, the poetry … Read More
AG: Okay, so those were his (Charles Reznikoff’s) short things. I’ll finish with some of his longer matters from Volume 1 of his Collected Poems, because I think I mentioned them to you… – (66) – “If there is a scheme..” – [did I read this before here? no?] – “If there is a scheme/ perhaps this too is in the … Read More