A Brief Anthology of English Lyric

Allen at Naropa on “Basic Poetics” continuing from here
AG: So we’ll go back to Edmund Waller or do a bit more of (John) Milton. But I would like to get to Edmund Waller for a while, for a brief while. Is that alright? Is that… “Go, lovely rose”  (on page three-oh-five). And I’ll read that, and see how it works. I think of all the little lyrics we’ve gone over, this was the one like “Ask Me No More..” and “scepter and crown” (“Ask me no more..” was Carew)  – “Scepter and crown/Must crumble down/ And … Read More

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

Chaucer – Merciles Beaute

Merciles Beaute 

Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,   I may the beautè of hem not sustene,   So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.   And but your word wol helen hastily   My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene,         Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,   I may the beautè of hem not sustene.   Upon my trouthe I sey yow feithfully,   That ye ben of my lyf and deeth the quene;   For with my deeth the trouthe shal be sene.    Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,   I may the beautè of hem not sustene,   So woundeth hit through-out my … Read More

Kerouac / Shakespeare


Allen’s  1979 Naropa  class on Basic Poetics continues. He continues surveying the early English poems in the Norton Anthology     AG:  “Merciles Beaute” by Chaucer – (page)  53  –  What I’m hitting are the prettiest.. the prettiest rhythms, prettiest rhythms and images that I remember, that I’ve learned when I was going to high school and college. Apparently, (except, to say. maybe in Canada), most of these texts are no longer taught, even in college, so that most of you who have gone through some sort of schooling haven’t run into them. What really got me was, the first year … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) – 29

[Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) via the National Portrait Gallery, London]

AG: So, anyway, the reason I got off into quantity was.. [back to Sir Walter Ralegh’s “The Lie” – Allen sings, to harmonium accompaniment, the first two stanzas of the poem – “Go Soul, the body’s guest,/ Upon a thankless errand/ Fear not to touch the best;/ The truth shall be thy warrant..”] – I guess you could do it that way, easy enough. It was something relevant to another conversation several days ago (about a poet) of this era, Sir Philip Sidney. Some students were asking if … Read More

On Michael McClure’s Birthday

[Michael McClure at the Hartford Street Zen Center, where Philip Whalen was Sensei, August 28, 1991. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

From Ghost Tantras in 1967 to Of Indigo and Saffron – New and Selected Poems (2011) (and, indeed, from way before that, and stretching on), Michael McClure‘s muse has been distinctive and remarkable. Michael-McClure.com is the portal but we’d also recommend the Karl Young and John Jacob site, Light and Dust, which features a fine selection of poems and essays by Michael and “considerations” (“the first tier of this gathering appeared in “A Symposium on Michael … Read More