Comprehensive Reading

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

AG: Edmund Spenser is a colossus, and he’s so big that I think we’ll go around him Except, maybe, one or two, one or two little short things – the Epithalamion – a big Leviathan poem here, marriage poem. What I would suggest is that you go home and read it. It’s got a great stanza form, it’s got a great rhythmic form. So what we might do (here) is read just the first and last stanzas, just to get the stanzaic form get a taste..  Page 162 – I’m sorry..

Well, he’s very brilliant in, you … Read More

Rose-Cheek’d Laura’s Centrality

[Ezra Pound, Basil Bunting, Louis Zukofsky, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore]

AG: So you’ll find in the twentieth-century,  (Ezra) Pound, (Basil) Bunting, (Louis) ZukofskyRobert Duncan, some of (Robert) Creeley, all derive from this poem or from the practice of this poem. It’s sort of like the secret inner measure of their work, the kind of attempt that Campion is getting into here or the territory he’s getting into. And that was related to the idea of William Carlos Williams of finding a measure that would be an American … Read More

Campion’s Rose-Cheek’d Laura – 2

“Rose-cheek’d Laura, come/Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty’s/Silent music..” (Thomas Campion)

AG: (Basil) Bunting would probably do it [Campion’s “Rose-Cheek’d Laura“] much slower – “These dull notes we sing..” Discords need for helps to grace them” – The form here is.. what? Sapphic?  Anacrenotic? – or something like that, some Greek form

Student (Pat): No this is what he calls the English iambic (curiously enough, since it’s trochaic)

AG: ….da-data-data-data – counted by four, counted by accent..

Student (Pat): (These are) experimental.pieces from the Observations in the Art (of  English Poesie)

AG: Okay, now.  So this … Read More

Basil Bunting continued – (Bunting reads Campion)

Basil Bunting (1900-1985)
Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

A fresh tape Basil Bunting  in media res reading Thomas Campion‘s “Hark, all you ladies that do sleep!”     

HARK, all you ladies that do sleep!   The fairy-queen Proserpina Bids you awake and pity them that weep   You may do in the dark     What the day doth forbid;            Fear not the dogs that bark,     Night will have all hid. But if you let your lovers moan,   The fairy-queen Proserpina Will send abroad her fairies every one,            That shall pinch black and blue     Your white hands and fair arms   That did not kindly… Read More

John Dowland/Basil Bunting

 

John Dowland (1563-1626)

Allen Ginsberg’s January 1980 Basic Poetics class continues (in preparation for future notes on John Dowland) AG; Apparently, I have.. the “Fine Knacks For Ladies“ that you gave me the recording? – I have some  (John) Dowland around and I had that so I’ll try and bring in a… I was going to try and get Charlie (Ross – sic) to bring in a phonograph today. Were there any others on that  beside the “Fine Knacks For Ladies” ?

Student: There’s Dowland’s setting of “Weep No More Sad Fountains” on that other one.

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Basil Bunting’s Lectures on Poetic Origins – 1

Basil Bunting  (1900-1985)

AG:  Some of the ideas that (Basil) Bunting was laying out, I would like to lay out here because they’re just very interesting. He was saying that, first of all, English poetry was sung up until the 17th century. All the poets wrote for singing including, of all people, John Donne! – Donne was sung. He was put to music by   a fellow named Ferrabosco of that era  (do you know anything about that?) – Well, apparently Donne was actually sung. Donne is usually taught nowadays as if he… you know.. he has one or two

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Expansive Poetics – 31 (WCW & Others)

tape resumes in media res.. class discussion of traditional and modernist metrics AG:…. how many (syllables in the) French alexandrine?

Student: Twelve AG: Twelve. And if you write in eight, eleven, or twelve syllables, pretty soon you develop an automatic body ear for being able to do it. Among moderns, Kenneth Rexroth‘s longer works are done by syllables – you’ll see a long column of poetic lines and they’re all six or seven or eight syllables. A number of poets worked with that. So that was Marianne Moore‘s way. H.D. – Hilda Doolittle was a lesbian and … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 30 (The Spirit of Romance)

AG:  To make a long story short, (Ezra) Pound went to Venice, (and) studied some classical languages and Renaissance, and Provencal poetries, specializing in two areas – one, where the language moved, from Latin to a provincial language, that is to say, where writers made the transition from writing in classical Latin to writing in French Provencal, or troubadour language, or.. what other languages?..in Italy, that was… Student: It’s Provencal in the south of France, and koine for northern Spain and Italy. AG: What was it called? Student: koine AG: [phonetically] ko-ee-nay Student: K-O-I-N-E  It’s a common language.. AG … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 29 (Longfellow’s Metrics)

Autographs:Authors, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Autograph Manuscript Poem Signed."Thou, too, Sail on, O Ship of State!" One page, 7"...

[“Thou too, Sail on, O ship of State..” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) autographed manuscript]

[“The degredation of life in America” – William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) annotated typescript –  c.Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale, Connecticut ]

Student: Did they [the early American modernists] manage to do it? (find a way of measuring American verse)?

AG: Yes, I think (William Carlos) Williams did. There were a number of people working on this problem at the time who were friends – William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle, and Marianne Moore, altogether went to the same school … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 28 – (Pound & Whitman)

So there’s two poems by Ezra Pound – I haven’t got the dates on them but I’m guessing that they’re around 1917, around World War I or before. “Commission” – First is Pound’s address to his own poems (just as Whitman had addressed his poems to go out into the world – “who touches this book touches a man” [“Camerado, this is no book,/Who touches this touches a man”]  “missing me, stop somewhere, you’ll find me under your feet” [“If  you want me again look for me under your boot-soles”…”Missing me one place search another/I stop somewhere waiting for you”]) … Read More