Reading Out-Loud – A Diversion 3

Allen continues his June 25 1981 disquisition on the performance and the reading out loud of poetry.

 AG: One problem is that some people have an idea of poetry which is mono-tonal. Like Richard (Poe),who (originally) asked the question, reads poetry in a monotonal (way), one tone – and a lot of people do, Somehow when you fall into reading poetry you just get into some kind of half-chant, half-croon, half poetical-sounding trance voice (which is not exactly a trance voice but just a conventional voice for poetry) and you get stuck there. One reason people do that is … Read More

Investigative Poetics – 6 (Pound and Paranoia)


File:Museo del Prado - Goya - Caprichos - No. 43 - El sueño de la razon produce monstruos.jpg

[Francisco Goya (1746-1828) – El sueño de la razon produce monstruos” (“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”) – Plate 43 of  “Los Caprichos” (“The Caprices”), (1799), etching and aquatint on paper 8.4 x 5.9 inches –  in the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain]

AG: (tape continuing in media res, after brief pause)  …a big paranoiac projection – got that down on tape? – The whole study, finally, leading to the conclusion that it was just a.. big paranoiac projection, and that maybe you’re crazy (or, maybe, they‘re crazy – or maybe you’re all crazy together!  And

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Ezra Pound’s Birthday

Above, courtesy the singular trove at Yale’s Beinecke Library, a five-dollar cheque written by Ezra Pound to Louis Zukofsky. Today is Ezra Pound’s birthday. Our extensive (and popular) 2011 Pound Birthday posting can be accessed here (our last year’s, 2012, update can be found here) – “To have gathered from the air a live tradition/or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame/This is not vanity” – “What thou lov’st well, shall not be reft from thee” 

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti on Ezra Pound at Spoleto]… Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – (W.B.Yeats – 7)

William Butler Yeats, by Lady Ottoline Morrell, 1935 - NPG Ax143873 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

[W.B.Yeats in 1935 – Photographed by Lady Ottoline Morrell – Copyright The National Portrait Gallery, London]

AG: There was one four-line piece in the middle of “Nineteen Hundred And Nineteen”, which I always liked. It typified the intellect at Columbia University when I was there. – “We, who seven years ago/Talked of honor and truth,/Shriek with pleasure if we show/The weasels’ twist, the weasel’s tooth”. (And) did we do “The Friends of His Youth” – “Laughter not time destroyed my voice..”

Philip Whalen: No, where is that?
AG: Want to try that? It’s (page) 221, it’s a little … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – (W.B.Yeats – 3)

Philip Whalen: Another one of the down poems (of W.B.Yeats) is the one that I was trying to find a while ago – [PW reads “The Witch” –  “Toil and grow rich/What’s that but to lie/With a foul witch/And after, drained dry,/ To be brought/To the chamber where/Lies one long sought/ With despair?”  – followed by “The Peacock” –  “What’s riches to him/That has made a great peacock/With the pride of his eye?/The wind-beaten stone-grey/And desolate Three Rock/Would nourish his whim/Live he or … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics (W.B.Yeats – 1)

File:William Butler Yeats by George Charles Beresford.jpg

[William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), July 15, 1911 – Photograph by George Charles Beresford, from the collection at the National Portrait Gallery, London]

Philip Whalen and Allen Ginsberg, at Naropa Institute in 1976, discussing W.B.Yeats

PW: I found that one, that poem about your dewdrop
AG: Where?
PW: It’s right here.
AG: What page?
PW: Page two-four-nine.
AG: Yeah. (Do) you want to begin with that, or do you want to begin with your…
PW: I want to start at the beginning
AG: Okay, let me tear (off) a piece of paper..[for a bookmark]
PW: Yeah. (S0) … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 105 – The Blues Intro – 3 ( & Come All Ye’s)

[“Crazy Blues” – Mamie Smith, (1920) – “the first recording of an African-America singing the blues”]

AG: Well it was the dream, it was the possibility of actually saying what I thought. Well, in any kind of poetry, like in “Howl”, or “Kaddish”, or later poems, but also in the Blues form. since, especially since, there’s a tradition with songs like that, of expressing your most private feelings with humor and melancholy – so that kind of song has always been a vehicle for some kind of outlaw feeling – and there’s also a genre of ballads, which are Outlaw … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 75 (“This Is Just To Say”)

[William Carlos Williams’ poem, “This Is Just To Say”, displayed as a tattoo]

July 2, 1976, Allen’s summer lecture at Naropa continues

AG: I’m going to continue with the different considerations of mindful arrangement of open verse forms, the original subject I was on before, which is how you arrange your mind on he page. We have covered the echo of syllabic count the impulse of accents, the tone-leading of the vowel, the breath-stop as a measurement of the line, measurement of units of phrasing from the mouth as a division of line, divisions of mental ideas (as parts of … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 71


AG: But our main theme at the moment is, what form does thought arrive in the brain? and, to what extent does that determine your method of transcription? To what extent does that mean you have to be a painter or a poet, or to use the typewriter, or a notebook carried around all the time, or, can you sit down at the typewriter between 6 and 9 in the morning?, or what? How do you write? It all depends on how your brain works, how your physiology is.  These are considerations in my own verse, which I’ve noticed … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 57 – (William Carlos Williams 1)

[William Carlos Williams c.1948 –  photograph by Constantin Joffe]

AG: We’ve gone all the way to the other end again. Now (we’ll) come back to- something like haiku, like Reznikoff William Carlos Williams. Most people here have read Williams, I guess. How many have not at all [Student raises his hand] – just one? – [to Student] – you’ve not read Williams, that’s right? – Okay, so for those who haven’t, Williams is the clearest and simplest and most direct, (He’s) trying to tie the mind down, bring the imagination down to earth again, and put all of … Read More