Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 330

Allen Ginsberg on tv, May 7 1968 on Firing Line With William Buckley

from the Letters column in last weekend’s New York Times Book Review

“Reading Ann Douglas’s review of Allen Ginsberg’s “The Best Minds of My Generation” (Aug. 6) reminded me of a chance meeting with Ginsberg in the early ’60s. After a performance of Genet’s “The Blacks” at a small theater in the East Village, I waited in front for my then-fiancée. Also standing there was Allen Ginsberg. I mentioned a poem by his father, Louis Ginsberg, that appeared in the textbook I used to teach … Read More

Objectivism at Michigan Poetry Conference , 1973

Our feature today – the extraordinary gathering on Objectivist poetics that took place in 1973 in Allendale Michigan and Allen’s participation in it. We are indebted to the labors (both with video and transcription) of Steel Wagstaff. His introduction to the occasion (on the poetry-site, Dispatches)  may be read here. Below is some transcription of Allen’s contribution (his engagement with Charles Reznikoff, Carl Rakosi, and George Oppen). For a complete transcript (provided by Wagstaff) – see here

[Seidman House, Grand Valley State College, Allendale, Michigan, 1973]

Charles Reznikoff: Oh I say., May I suggest, isn’t … Read More

“Only Objectfied Emotion Endures”


[cover of February 1931 issue of Poetry magazine (“Objectivists” issue) edited by Louis Zukofsky]

AG: [in media res] …(partly how it) turns out. We’ll find something. Something, We’ll do something. Maybe we’ll give them chocolate.. PO: No, it’s bad for your teeth. (Give them) carrots.

[tape/class begins with miscellaneous student announcements (students requested to hand in their “self-evaluation forms”)] 

“Only objectified emotion endures” (Louis Zukofsky)

AG:  I have one short explanation. I’ve used the word(s)  “objectified emotion”  – “Only objectified emotion ensures” – But, just to make sure that the word is not misunderstood. It doesn’t mean “objective, as – … Read More

The Tradition of Reznikoff & Williams

[Allen continues with his 1981 Naropa class, drawing distinctions between the poetry of  David Cope and that of  William Carlos Williams, placing him closer to Charles Reznikoff’s work]

AG:… that Williams was still preoccupied by some kind of modernism, some kind of Cubist abstraction, whereas Cope was really direct, (writing) just simply directly, writing out of his… ( – Allen is distracted – is that gone around all the way, this paper?)….whereas Cope was directly writing out of his eyesight and his… I think he’s more close too … Read More

Basic Poetics 6 – (Actual Perception v Pure Bullshit)

Student: (I think) his style (David Cope‘s style) puts forth the position of being an observer rather than it being (creative). Instead of things coming out of the mind, the poet simply reflects what he sees..)AG: I think it’s a semantic question, actually. I mean, you know, he doesn’t simply reflect what he sees because, you see, you have to pick out something to see, or something is picked out to see. You don’t write about everything you see, otherwise you’d have thousands and thousands of pages all the time. It’s only those selected moments of perception that are … Read More

Basic Poetics 3 – (David Cope – 1)


David Cope – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg – © The Estate of Allen Ginsberg

AG: Now,  I want to skip on to a modern poet called David Cope, who’s about thirty years old [Editorial note – this is in 1980] who writes, very much, specifically in this tradition of “minute particulars”, specificity, ordinary mind reality. And I have.. For various reasons, I’m reading through all of his poetry right now, (which consists of little, funny, hand-made, home-made mimeographed books of poems that he’s put out). The first one that I got was… Student: Is that Cope – C… AG:  … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 93 – Haiku – 6 (More Haiku)

 [Shinsui Ito  (1898-1972)  – wood-block print – Night Rain at Mii Temple (1917)]

AG: So this is obviously one proceeding from meditative state, now. “Rain at Night”

A cricket chirps and is silent                                           the guttering lamp sinks and flares up again                Outside the window, evening rain is heard                   It’s the banana plant that starts talking about it.       It’s the banana plant that speaks of it first
The morning after the gale, too                                     the peppers are red..
[(the green peppers, or peppers growing on the vine)]                                                     
The morning after the gale, too/the peppers are red.

The first snow                                                                    just enough

Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 47 (Alfred Stieglitz)



AG: (Who here caught Reginald Ray‘s) presentation on Friday. Can you raise your hands? Raise your hands high. Okay, I won’t go  over it again, though I think he gave a very coherent intellectual outline of stages of Buddhist awareness and penetration of mind. If you can, borrow notes or check it out with some classmates. At this point, I want to (with a little last look back), wrap up the SamathaVipassanaHinayana area that we’ve been dwelling in so far – … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 39 (Reznikoff – 9)


[Audio: March 21 1974 at SFSU (San Francisco State University – Charles Reznikoff reads a selection of his poetry (introduced by George Oppen) – in front of “a whole crowd of poets in San Francisco who knew something”]

  Our serialization of Allen Ginsberg’s (Summer of 1978) Naropa class on Charles Reznikoff continues here: AG: (So)  (Charles) Reznikoff starting down into the subway (on page 110, Volume 1) – (15) “In the street I have just left/the small leaves of the trees along the gutter/were steadfast/ in the blue heavens./Now the subway/express/picks up speed/and a wind/blows through the car/blows dust/on … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 38 (Reznikoff – 8)

Continuing with Charles Reznikoff   What I want to do, since we’ve got (a few) minutes, is some brief poems that he did in 1934“Jerusalem the Golden was published by the Objectivist Press from 10 West Thirty-Sixth Street, New York in 1934. The Press consisted of Reznikoff, George Oppen and Louis Zukofsky. It was an outgrowth of Zukofsky’s editorial work for the “Objectivist” number of Poetry (magazine) (February 1931) and An Objectivist Anthology published in France in 1931 by George and Mary Oppen under the imprint “Two Publishers””“The Objectivist Press is an organization of writers who are publishing their own work … Read More