Syllabic Poetry – 1 (Herrick)

 [Robert Herrick (1591-1674)]

AG: So in order to strike a “second heat/ upon the Muse’s anvil”, using Robert Herrick as a model, I want now to enter onto the whole subject, not of length of syllables in a line, but the count of syllables in the line (because that’s something we haven’t really gone over, except, I think I’ve refered to it with Marianne Moore). And (Robert) Herrick is real interesting on that, and real simple. Once you pick up the hang of what he’s doing, you realize that that’s another way of getting your lines to have … Read More

Marianne Moore (on Eternality)

[Marianne Moore ( 1887-1972)]

AG: Then there’s a poem by Marianne Moore about (James Shirley’s poem) “Only the actions of the just/ Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust”) – Do you know that? Has anybody heard that? It’s from Marianne Moore.  [ [“Beauty is everlasting/and dust is for a time”] –  I think she paraphrased it [paraphrased Shirley]…Where is Marianne Moore in here? …(Page) ten-sixteen? … Yeah, it’s at the very end of the poem, I think  (if it’s got it in here)… [Allen keeps searching for the poem in his anthology] –  No, I … 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

Jim Carroll Workshop – 2

JC: Well, I’m going to play a song that was a great..  one of my favorites… ..Actually, I’m going to play this early Velvet Underground song and then I’m going to play a Phil Ochs song. For some reason, Phil Ochs and The Velvet Underground have this weird connection for me. I mean. they got me into poetry as much as Bob.. well more than Bob Dylan, and as much as Frank O’Hara
[Student/technical assistant plays The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” – JC: “Yeah go ahead..just turn it up here” – Student: The … Read More

Ginsberg on Late Auden


W.H.Auden (1907-1973)

  [Allen (at Naropa in 1980) continues his survey through a xeroxed classroom anthology of the Sapphic form, paying particular attention today to the late work of W.H.Auden] AG: So from that (from Robert Bridges),  we get into, I think you have the Vernon Watkins and the.. Student: Auden AG: There’s Auden (W.H.Auden), and then from the front, mixed up in the front there’s Vernon Watkins and Louis MacNeice .. had rough Sapphics – (it’s way up front, we don’t need it now). Auden, however, is.. funny. So I think I’ll take two brief Auden Sapphics … Read More

Marianne Moore on Allen Ginsberg

Marianne Moore

[Marianne Moore (1887-1972)]

Marianne Moore (who’s birthday it is today) writing to the young Allen Ginsberg. Allen, on the advice of William Carlos Williams, had forwarded an early manuscript of poems

July 4 1952 Dear Mr Ginsberg. I have been thinking about this manuscript [Empty Mirror] which you have left me. I am sad to find that it reflects hardship. You have ability, and that means responsibility, does it not? There are in writing a few technicalities to think about; but the thing that matters is our sense of awareness; this comes first. What are we to … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 125 (Jaime de Angulo)

[Jaime d’Angulo (1887-1950)]

[AG:  Onward!..  Skipping over (Ezra) Pound  (except one little thing. because we don’t have much (time)… I want to skip over Pound – we’ll come back to Pound)…]

AG: Jaime d’Angulo (1887), was a friend of Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound and a great crank, a hero… Gary Snyder’s hero. Jaime d’Angulo is Gary Snyder’s hero. If you want to know Snyder’s origins, you go to Jaime d’Angelo. D’Angulo was born in Spain and educated in Switzerland, and went to the Wild West and worked as a cowboy, and was a great philologist and linguist, and … Read More

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? 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