KK: There’s an awful lot in my poems that I don’t understand at the time of writing them and if I understand them as I write them it’s usually a bad sign but I don’t think that’s ever happened.
“There are certain constants in my work and one is this interest in juxtaposing one thing against another in such a way that it’ll be dramatic and beautiful and funny and interesting. Incidentally, my work … Read More
Vintage WNET USA-Poetry continues. This weekend – Frank O’Hara and Ed Sanders (starting with Frank O’Hara) . This priceless footage (O’Hara died a few weeks after the shooting of the film) includes footage of him reading his ebullient, witty poem for Allen – “Fantasy (dedicated to the health of Allen Ginsberg)”.
The film begins, however, with a reading of “Mozart Chemisier” – (“Mozart Chemisier” is a poem I wrote after visiting David Smith, the great American sculptor, in his house in Bolton Landing and it’s really called.. (Chemisier”) and the Mozart comes in because he was his favorite … Read More
[John Wieners in Gloucester, MA – Photograph c. Jim Dunn]
It would have been John Wieners’ 80th birthday today. For previous Wieners birthday shout-outs, see here and here. See also this posting, and here and here.
A guest posting today from poet, Jim Dunn, our friend and John’s long-time friend and companion:
It is fitting today, on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the Epiphany, the Visitation of the Three Kings, we commemorate John Wieners’ 80th birthday. It is fitting considering his Irish Catholic Jesuit upbringing and his belief in the spiritual quality of poetry. Although he
[Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia, John Wieners, and David Meltzer in North Beach, San Francisco, 1958 – Photograph by Gui de Angulo (included in “Literary San Francisco – A Pictorial History from its Beginnings to the Present Day” (edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Nancy J Peters), 1980]
Today, from 1982 and Allen’s “Literary History of the Beat Generation” Naropa class, Allen on John Wieners (tho’ he begins with a somewhat lengthy background-setting, Frank O’Hara, the Cedar Bar, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Yugen.. Given the length of this piece, we’ve decided to (somewhat arbitrarily) split in … Read More
[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
Ted Berrigan‘s birthday. Ted adored Allen. Alongside the late-lamented Frank O’Hara, he was the one. Ted had this embarrassingly patriotic poetic tribal conceit, and in that context Allen was “the President” of Poetry (analogous to Allen’s own gleeful imaginative “shadow cabinet” – “Vachel Lindsay Secretary of the Interior/Poe Secretary of Imagination/Pound Secty. of Economics..” (Death to Van Gogh’s Ear)
Yesterday, posted on You Tube was remarkable footage (by Jonas Mekas) of Allen, Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones) Ray Bremser, and Frank O’Hara, famously reading together, in 1959, in New York City, at the Living Theatre, at a benefit for Yugen magazine (you’re perhaps familiar with Fred McDarrah’s iconic photo taken on that same occasion (see below)
The footage is silent, but Jonas added a soundtrack, a recording he made of Allen the following year, 1960, reading from his classic “Sunflower Sutra” – “..my sunflower, O my soul, I loved you then!..”
[2014 update – Regrettably, … Read More
AG: There’s another development, in the 20th Century, of social poetry, in Russia, with Mayakovsky – poetry that was meant to be read in communal circumstances, like in factories. In Russian, the rhythms and the rhymes are more obvious, and sometimes as strong as Vachel Lindsay – particularly in Mayakovsky. There’s one poem (of his) called “At The Top Of My Voice”, which I’d like to read. This is (in) a translation by a fellow named Herbert Marshall. I’ve had it on the reserve shelf (in the library) and it’ll be there for the … Read More
AG: I got turned onto that partly by Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues, which were divisions of thought into the spaces of a notebook page, but for larger draughts of thought, or larger breaths of thought, I got turned on to this form of open-page broken phrasing arranged in series out on the page by a long poem called “Leave the Word Alone” by Edward Marshall, which is [was – sic] in the Don Allen anthology, and was, I think, the first, about 1958, breakthrough of this kind of block form, where thoughts were spread around on the page … Read More