[Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542), Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), and James Shirley (1596-1666)]
AG: Then. – one…. from (Sir Thomas) Wyatt. (on page one twenty-two?) – an imitation of Wyatt. You remember the lines in Wyatt about… (let’s see) where Wyatt is here..? –“My Lute Awake/ perform the last labors…” – “My lute awake! perform the last/ Labour that thou and I shall waste,/ And end that I have now.…” ..do..? …is that it? – Where’s Wyatt (in our books)?.. what page is it? – one-twenty?.. yes, here, at one-twenty…)
A little out-of-order this – but here’s Allen’s George Herbert selection – remember George Herbert?) (and some concluding remarks to his (April 1980) Naropa class)
AG: Okay, so next, I would have… (George) Herbert (page 285), check out Mr Herbert, similar to Herrick, as interesting as Herrick, but it’s a little more laden with God there, but some very amazing emotions come through, particularly, “The Collar”‘ (check out “The Collar”, the form), Check out the form of “Easter Wings” on page 285 as a precursor of shaped poetry, of what do you call it nowadays? the…Concrete…pardon me? – … Read More
AG: There’s a nice, … but then, something that happens now, from here on out. It started. You got a shot of it in (John) Donne with that masochistic religion, and the interiorization of the spirit into some kind of deus ex machina outside, on the other side of the clouds, that’s supposed to come and rape your mind. And then, from then on, there’s all these different varieties..it gets squeezed..English poetry gets squeezed more and more into this … Read More
AG: [reading James Shirley’s “A Dirge”] – “The glories of our blood and state/Are shadows, not substantial things;/There is no armor against fate;/Death lays his icy hand on kings./Scepter and crown/Must tumble down/And in the dust be equal made/With the poor crooked scythe and spade./ Some men with swords may reap the field/And plant fresh laurels where they kill,/But their strong nerves at last must yield;/They tame but one … Read More
AG: Then the next death poem is this great thing by James Shirley which we have in our agenda, page three-hundred, which… this poem is one of my top ten in the English language for really beautiful cadence, for sharpness and abruptness and clarity of idea, and for interesting stanza form. And it seems to be a song from a book by.. I’ve forgot what Shirley’s play was.. I have it somewhere.. somebody look it up, find out where it comes from – (page) four-twenty-seven in Auden, [the Auden-Pearson anthology] he’d give the provenance… [Allen discovers … Read More
Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Naropa class transcript continues
Student; Did you ever do.. have a go [at Echo Poems]?
AG: No, never did one myself but it’d be interesting to do. Should I assign it to class?
Student: You could..
AG: You’re the T.A. (teaching assistant). The assignments.. the class assignments, we have, by the way, I said I’d get to.. was.. are,/ so far,/ .not very profuse, or exact, or neat/, or complete/. You haven’t hammered your stammer/ to make it exact or compact. So, what I would suggest/ would be you be the guest/ of the muse/ and … Read More
AG: My own favorite poem of this genre [song] is one by James Shirley, dated 1659, which I used in travelling with (Bob) Dylan as a key lyric, to set aside his own lyrics, and everybody else’s lyrics, like Joan Baezand Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, or the more amateur musicians who were flying around on the Rolling Thunder Revue (in 1975). I published this in our phantom newsletter, (which was like a mimeographed newsletter, sent out to everybody, (but) for Dylan’s eyes), comparing this to his lyrics to see who beats who. James Shirley is … Read More
Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1661) – Vanitas With A Putto Resting His Head On A Skull, oil on panel 16 3/4″ x 13″
Allen’s June 10 1975 NAROPA class concludes.
AG: It’s called “Dirge”. Now, (James) Shirley‘s 1596-1666, so now we’re getting about half a century later than Shakespeare. So that little airy thing in Shakespeare is beginning to get a little bit lost, but a kind of funny Buddhist Noble Truth logic horror is coming in. A Death’s Head is coming in. It’s perhaps stupidly, in a sense, like, Western mechanistic industrial-minded.. the wheel has been invented or something, and … Read More