July 19 (Mayakovsky’s Birthday)

[Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)]

Today, July 19, the great poet, Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky, was born in Baghdati, Georgia. We’ve featured Mayakovsky numerous times here on the Allen Ginsberg Project. For example, here and here.

The fourteen-part series, Allen’s 1981 focus (with in-class presentation by Ann Charters)  begins here, and continues  here, here and here  (Expansive Poetry) .

Further posts  here (Akhmatova and Mayakovsky), here (Mayakovsky on Esenin), here (Mayakovsky and Mandelstam), here (“The Bedbug”), here (“At The Top of My Voice“), here (Mayakovsky and the Revolution), here (Mayakovsky and … Read More

Peter Orlovsky Parinirvana

Peter Orlovsky’s Parinirvana.  Allen Ginsberg’s long-time companion, died, seven years ago, on this day.  Those who knew him will certainly never forget Peter. His remarkable and inspired book of poems, Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs, idiosyncratic spellings and all, is quite like any other book of poems. His papers (now residing at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin) yielded the posthumous companion-piece Peter Orlovsky – A Life In Words.  There is also the sadly-out-of-print 1980 volume, Straight Hearts’ Delight. We’ve quoted from it before. Here’s another letter from Peter … Read More

Studs Terkel 1959 Radio Interview – Part 2

Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg, 1959

continuing from yesterday – the Studs Terkel interview

Studs Terkel: :Question, question. Anybody can answer it –  Do you believe you represent the young generation of poets today?

Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky: No, no, no, no, we’re pariahs!

ST: Oh, You’re pariahs?
AG:All we represent is ourselves. We couldn’t represent anybody else. The trouble is everybody’s going around trying to represent somebody else..
GC:Yeah, that’s terrible, that’s scarey.
AG: All I represent is me and all Gregory represents is him and all Peter represents is Peter.
PO:  All … Read More

Expansive Poetry – 60 – (A Quick Review)

[Hart Crane (1899-1932) in 1930 in New York City – Photograph by Walker Evans}] ]
AG (looking back on “Expansive Poetics”, so far): We had started with a few early precursors. I started, (since this was an international shot  – or, at least, a Western shot), I started with a couple of poems of (Alexander) Pushkin, which were prophetic, about the poet putting burning coals on his tongue, or the poet meeting a seraphin the middle of the desert who pressed burning coals into his heart. And (then) we had, for expansive rhythm, an early nineteenth-century sample of high
Read More

Expansive Poetics – 58 (Mayakovsky – Conclusion)

[History of the Russian Revolution – From Marx to Mayakovsky (1965) – by Larry Rivers (1925-2002)  – wood, oil, charcoal, serigraphs, and photo-mechanical reproduction on canvas, wood, paper, metal, plexiglass, glass and fiber-board, 169 1/2 x 399 1/4 inches]

AG: “First Prelude to A Poem of the Five-Year Plan” – [Allen prepares to read 

Mayakovsky’s famous poem, [ВО ВЕСЬ ГОЛОС]  “At the Top of My Voice”]  And what I’ll do is, there’s certain rhythms in here, which are interesting in English, (but) which are perfect and exact in Russian, so maybe I can stop occasionally, … Read More

Expansive Poetics- 57 (Mayakovsky – At The Top of My Voice)

Vladimir Mayakovsky

[Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)]

Ann Charters: So we’d like to do a few more things before we end, and the poem which you have in your anthology, “At The Top of My Voice“, which was written a few months before the suicide, in January 1930.

AG: Should we have that in Russian first? Ann Charters:  Yeah AG: You want me to read it in English first? – or do you want to do it in Russian first? Richard Poe has prepared the Russian. Student (RP): Can I go first? AG: Pardon me? Student (RP): Can I go first? AG: … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 56 (Mayakovsky-The Bedbug)

Vladimir Mayakovsky Ann Charters: How much time do we have?
 
AG: We actually have have half an hour, but what I would like to do is get a piece of that [“The Bedbug”]  then go to “..At The Top of My Voice” (which Richard Poe has prepared in Russian, and we have in English). Then, if we have time, I’d like to get three short poems of (Osip) Mandelstam which comment on Mayakovsky‘s themes..and then I’d like Peter (Orlovsky) to read (Sergei) Esenin’s “Confessions of A Bum” (because we talked about Esenin, but nobody has heard any … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 55 – (Mayakovsky and Tatiana)

[Tatiana Yacovieff du Plessix Liberman (1906-1991)]

Ann Charters:  Well, again, with Mayakovsky, this his public declaration – “Conversation with a Tax Collector About Poetry“ [“Разговор с фининспектором о поэзии] – was followed shortly on by another private experience that actually marks the end, or the beginning of the end, of his life.  On a trip to Paris he fell in love with another lady, the first lady he truly loved after Lili Brik. And what this meant was not necessarily the end of Mayakovsky, except that the woman he chose to fall in … Read More

Expansive Poetics 54 – (Mayakovsky – Public Poetry)

 

AG: What did we have? What is the next thing we were going to do? Because I have an idea. Ann Charters; Well, I was going to talk (next) about his (Mayakovsky‘s) work for the Party. I mean, what does a poet do who’s taken up by the Communist Party? AG: Okay Ann Charters: Yeah? AG: That’d be interesting,  yeah. Ann Charters: Interesting? No kidding! Very interesting! – I mean, before he kills himself, right?.  In 1926.. okay, I’m skipping over the part where Mayakovsky has his trip to America, because we’re going to have a … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 53 – (Mayakovsky and Lili Brik)

 [Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lili Brik]

Lili, drawing by Mayakovsky, 1916 [Lili Brik, drawn by her lover Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1916,one year after their meeting] 

Ann Charters: So about this, this is a long, long, poem, which, is in my feeling one of his (Mayakovsky‘s) masterpieces – to Lili (Brik) – it’s a Surrealistic poem, (it’s a poem like the “Backbone Flute“, by the way, the poem about his suicide..) AG: “Spine Flute” or “Backbone Flute” – weird title! Ann Charters: Yeah, right – not “A Cloud in Trousers” but a “Backbone Flute”, the one we talked about.. AG: Uh-huh Ann Charters: But … Read More