Vojo Sindolic’s 1986 Belgrade Interview – part one

[Allen Ginsberg in Belgrade, 1986]

Vojo Sindolic‘s 1986 interview with Allen in Belgrade (in two parts – the second part will follow tomorrow) is our focus on The Allen Ginsberg Project this weekend.

Vojo’s translation of Cosmopolitan Greetings  (Kozmopolitski pozdravi ) has just appeared from Hrvatskoga društva pisaca  (h,d,p) (the Croatian Writers Society

Here, he introduces the interview:

“Allen Ginsberg and I were very close friends for twenty years from 1977 until his death in 1997. I felt and still feel deep love for his poetic insight, or as one may call it – it was literary … Read More

More on Metrics – 3

AG: Well, it’s not that that you need to be able to understand it [Greek prosody] to write a poem. It’s not perverting your speech to get those rhythms. Rather, it is that speech does have those rhythms, and that you can follow the cadences with those rhythms, that when we were taught in drama-school and high-school primary rhythms, it was very rare that anything was taught beyond the four variants of iamb, trochee, anapest and dactyl.  – that seemed to be the range of  the English ear, or awareness of rhythm, or American high-school awareness of rhythm, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 200

The anniversary today of  the suicide of Vachel Lindsay 1931 -Eighty-three years ago.. His doctors at the time discretely reported his death as having been the result of heart failure,  but it was actually suicide – from drinking, in manic despair, an almost-full bottle of domestic cleaner, Lysol  His famous last words? –  “I got them before they could get me” Allen’s 1958 poem  To Lindsay Vachel, the stars are out  dusk has fallen in the Colorado Road a car crawls slowly across the plain in the dim light the radio blares its jazz the heartbroken saleasman lights another cigarette … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 122 (Greek Meters and An Angry Question)

AG: Vachel Lindsay’s “The Congo” – it used to be in all the high-school anthologies in the (19)30’s and (19)40’s,  the Louis Untermeyer anthology, and it might actually have been pushed out by Black Power, by the Black Renaissance movement when they objected to it as being a rip-off, basically, of their rhythms, a rip of their rhythms, although the rhythms are Greek rhythms – da-da-da da-da da-da-da are Ionic rhythms, I believe, are called Ionic – four syllable rhythms –  da-da-da da-da da-da-da  – three, or four, syllable rhythms- da-da-da-da – da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da- da-da-da-da is the famous Ionic… … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 121 (Vachel Lindsay)

 [Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931)]

AG: Another American – on the next page, Vachel Lindsay. Another American who is also into American rhythms and American speech but more in a literary, formalistic way (but he  was trying to imitate jazz and blues), who was into black rhythm (and actually Greek rhythms which he knew something about) and (who) used a variety of meters and rhythms that nobody in America (had) used before him, (except Edgar Allan Poe, and a few doggerel poets). But for serious poets, Vachel Lindsay was the champ of sound, actually, for the twentieth-century, until Hart Crane came … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 107 (Philippe Soupault)

[Philippe Soupault (1897-1990)]

AG: So you can do it in a short form too. You don’t have to write a big long long (poem). So we go back to “the frogs”, back to the French, to Benjamin Peret (he’s after (Robert) Desnos (where is Peret (in our anthology)?  [Allen searches through the class anthology] – maybe earlier, yeah – 1899. Let’s see, we have Peret, we have (Philippe) Soupault) – Souplault – 1897 – Now Soupault is the man considered by.. French.. 1897.. Philippe Soupault. There’s Tristan Tzara, and then there’s Andre Breton, and then there’s Philippe … Read More

Allen in the ‘Sixties – Portland State College Readings

[Allen Ginsberg, April 23, 1969, at Portland State College – Photograph from Viking (PSU Yearbook, 1968-69), courtesy Portland State University Library’s Special Collection]

The big news last week, the discovery, initially, by Portland State University archivist, Christine Paschild, (with additional assistance by PSU library technician Carolee Harrison) of a remarkable collection of reel-to-reel audio tapes (275 hours, now transfered to digital format and made publicly available) – the historic and extraordinary Oregon Public Speakers Collection, featuring the voices of such singular cultural (and counter-cultural) figures as Robert F Kennedy, Carl Sagan, Linus Pauling, Stokely Carmichael, … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 99 – ( “Signifying Monkey”, Lindsay & Poe)

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 ?

Student: Yeah

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

Spontaneous Poetics – 98 (Vachel Lindsay)

[Vachel Lindsay 1879-1931]

AG: Vachel Lindsay.. Vachel Lindsay, and his attempts at a social poetry (in the sense of “Rhymes to be Traded for Bread“). (He was) a wandering minstrel (as in an older poetic tradition), (with) poems that had a very powerful, hypnotic, rhythmic movement within them (which he (Lindsay) was a specialist in). Now he’s considered a big dope and an idiot (which, in some respects, he was), but he had a grasp of, I guess, basic dance rhythm, which most poets in America never did cultivate (a few – Sidney Lanier, who

Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 34 (Reading List 5) (Vachel Lindsay, John Ashbery, Guillaume Apollinaire)

Vachel Lindsay, only nineteen people (in this class) have read. He wrote a poem called “The Congo”. How many here know “The Congo”? How many don’t know of “The Congo”, have never heard of “The Congo”? We don’t have it here, but, basically, it’s a powerful rhythmic thing that everybody would enjoy. They used to teach it in grammar school, but… [Allen quotes from the poem to show why, unsurprisingly, it’s fallen out of fashion] – “Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room/Barrel-house kinds, with feet unstable..” (continues down to) “Listen to the yell of Leopold’s ghost burning … Read More