AG: ..And I’m not sure, actually. I’m just posing the question, whether the continuous repetition of a fixed structure and memorization of it will then begin to collect emotions around it, and whether you’ll begin casting your own personal emotions into that slightly different emotional cadence, as in a Sapphic – or, is it possible that a stanza such as the Sapphic is so archetypal as far as breathing and emotional spurt, that anybody might breathe, or thin , … Read More
AG: Now, next we get to (Abraham) Cowley , below, (page) three-sixty, And the reason Cowley gets interesting is , finally, for the first time, the horrific City. enters in (as it will get increasingly, prophetically, apparent entering into the poetry.. (William) Blake will, pretty soon, (be) talking about.the opening (of the) streets of London and the “satanic mills”, and it’ll go on to the twentieth-century with “Moloch whose cities are…” ” filled up with plutonian factories drizzling in the toilet!”) – So here in “The Wish”, the vision the horror in the city,
AG: Well, so we have “Go lovely..” and I was thinking – “Tell her that wastes her time and me” – “Tell her that wastes” (da da da da) – “her time and me” – “Tell her that wastes her time and me” – seems to be two halves, equally cadenced – “Tell her that wastes her time and me” – and that would be da da da-da – That’s the epitritus tertius – “Tell her that wastes her time and me.” If you were going to emphasize the more… not so much.. if you were going to be dwelling
[Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco, 1956 – Photograph by Harry Redl]
Allen Ginsberg continues, lecturing his Naropa students on metrics
AG: “Moloch who’s eyes….. da da-da da, da-da da da , da-da da ,da-da da-da da, da-da.. And if you have a gang of choruses going bop-pa-pa-bom, bop-pa-pa-bom, you’ve got something very powerful going on And so, in.. without knowing it, just intuitively, I was using choriambic and variations of choriambic meters, in the Moloch section of “Howl” – “Moloch-who’s-eyes-are-a-thous-and-blind-wind-ows” – (da-da da da-da da da-da da da-da) – “thousand-blind-windows”, “thousand-blind-wind..” “Moloch-who’s-eyes-are-a-thous-and-blind-wind-ows” – So it’s a combination of choriambic … Read More
Last week we reported on a poor quality tape from Stanford that illegally came out (and was dutifully squashed). This week we report on a high quality recording that was properly disseminated (included, alongside a brief notice, in Le Magazine Litteraire’s announcement of the Ginsberg digitalization). The tape “Tape 3 Ginsberg 1994” is a raw record of Allen presenting some poems, in a studio setting, for future musical adaptation. (We’re thinking that this is from the preparation for The Lion For Real album/CD, though we could be wrong, the Stanford date here is 1994, The Lion For Real recordings … Read More
A great spirited reading of the Moloch section of “Howl” (from circa 1989) on the CBS News Nightwatch program – “Well, it’s the climax and actually the definition of the poem” declares Allen. “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?/Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars..” – Reaction shot(s) from fellow-guest Christopher Buckley (William Buckley‘s son) and a seemingly unfazed host
Here’s an intriguing little memoir (from back in 2012 – don’t know how we missed it) of Allen-at-Columbia and the early days –
In this 1986 footage (from the New Jersey Public Television tv magazine show, State of the Arts) Allen is filmed in his East 12th Street New York City apartment, against the backdrop of his cubbyhole library), The segment begins in media res, with him reading from “Howl” (from the classic “Moloch” section) – “What sphinx of cement and aluminium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains an imagination? / Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!?Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare … Read More
AG: I began reading a book called Deep Down In The Jungle. Does anybody know that? It’s a compilation of street poetics in the United States, used by black people. Particularly, there’s one song.. one chant called “The Signifying Monkey”, Anybody know that ?
AG: Do you remember the original? – “Said the Monkey to the Lion one bright sunny day” (- (that)’s the beginning..) – [Allen begins to improvise] – “Said the Lion to the Lamb one bright Cambodian day/ Jesus Christ, tell Uncle Sam to take those robot bombs away/ Said the Lion to … Read More
AG: I’ve been thinking of what are the different considerations of mindful open-verse forms. And I made a very brief list (composed of elements we’ve already discussed) just as academic reference-points. If one were to analyze (William Carlos) Williams‘ versification, what are the different inclinations he has in mind when he’s putting the words down on the page, or re-arranging them on the page?
First, we had consciousness of syllables and syllable count, as he practiced, and his friend Marianne Moore practiced. That is to say, arranging phrasings on the page with four syllables, … Read More