Sapphic Concision (“On Neal Cassady’s Ashes”)

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Naropa “Basic Poetics” class continues from here

AG: I took a poem that I had written, that was in an almost-Sapphic style, in 1968, “On Neal Cassady’s Ashes”, (which is a little classic, which is in some anthologies already. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with it) …Yeah…and I re-wrote it last night, also, so it would fit (the) Sapphic form. I had to take out about six words and it all fit, so it goes… And I found it..  I had done it unconsciously already, because the original first line was … Read More

William Carlos Williams’ Sappho

We continue today with transcription from Allen’s May 29, 1980, Basic Poetics classes at Naropa.  We’ve almost come to the end of this series of transcriptions.  Following on from an examination of Christopher Smart and his “Jubilate Agno”, Allen examines William Carlos Williams‘ translation (in Paterson) of a fragment of Sappho.’

AG : …(there are several) funny things about Williams’ Sapphic – [Allen reads] –          “That man is peer of the gods who,/face to face, sits listening/to your sweet speech and lovely/laughter. It is this that rouses a tumult/in my breast/At mere sight of you/ my … Read More

Basic Poetics Continuing – (Sappho)

We’ve been transcribing and  serializing Allen’s 1980 Basic Poetics classes at Naropa and we’re almost at the end. In May 15, May 18, and May 22, he discusses Sappho and the Sapphic meter and gives various examples of poets working with this ancient form  (see our previous transcription of these classes, for example, here, herehere, and here)

Picking up on his penultimate class. conducted May 26 1980

Sappho  – translated by Richmond Lattimore  (from Greek Lyrics (Chicago, 1960).

Throned in splendor, deathless, O Aphrodite, child of Zeus, charm-fashioner, I entreat you not with griefs and bitternesses to … Read More

Allen Ginsberg – Richland College reading – part 2

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Richland College reading – continuing from yesterday

AG: So I would say now move on to.. 1956- moving on from 1956 to 1976. I have a series of poems which will require some music also – “Father Death Blues” – if we can get together on the stage –

My father died in 1976 in midsummer and I wrote a series of poems while he was alive because I spent a lot of time with him during the previous..during the winter that he was wasting, He was quite old and not in pain because it was a … Read More

Composition and Condensation – 1

[Basil Bunting tries his hand at editing Shakespeare]

AG:  And then there was another thing.. I was talking with…Rachel [sic]…with Rachel..and we were talking about composition and condensation of poems and ..some ideas crystallized that might be useful. I’ve talked about it before I thought but apparently I had never said it around Rachel (tho; I thought I said it in any number of..over a dozen classes) there was that idea of Basil Bunting‘s, which (Ezra) Pound handed on, which was that poetics was condensation – and I think I’ll talk about that – and I’ve applied it in … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading At Warwick University, 1979

allen_ginsberg_1979_-_cropped

[Allen Ginsberg at the Atheneum Bookshop, Amsterdam, November 1979. photo: Hans van Dijk / Dutch National Archives]

Allen Ginsberg Reading At Warwick University, 1979  (continuing from yesterday)

AG: I’ll begin since – oh we were discussing the subject . I’ll begin with a song dedicated to another fellow in prison, David Solomon who’s in Brighton…in Bristol jail, as he was sentenced to ten years as part of that big LSD conspiracy bust about a year or two ago – what was the name of that? Julie Operation Julie

[Allen sings a version of “Dope Fiend Blues”- “Dope Fiend Blues Shuffle”]… Read More