Sir John Suckling – 6 ( “The Deformed Mistress”)

[The Ugly Duchess – Quentin Matsys,  c. 1513, oil on wood 64.2 cm x 45.5 cm, National Gallery, London]

Allen’s notes on John Suckling continue and conclude

AG: And then the last…  then there are two other poems that are worth checking out – “The Deformed Mistress” ( this is written by the handsomest man of his age, and the richest) – “I know there are some fools…” – (it’s like there’s a line in (W.H.) Auden –  “Tell then of witty angels who/Come only to the beasts/ Of Heirs Apparent, who prefer/ Low dives to formal feasts;/For … Read More

James Shirley – 1

[James Shirley (1596-1666)]

AG: Then the next death poem is this great thing by James Shirley which we have in our agenda, page three-hundred, which… this poem is one of my top ten in the English language for really beautiful cadence, for sharpness and abruptness and clarity of idea, and for interesting stanza form. And it seems to be a song from a book by.. I’ve forgot what Shirley’s play was.. I have it somewhere.. somebody look it up, find out where it comes from – (page) four-twenty-seven in Auden, [the Auden-Pearson anthology] he’d give the provenance… [Allen discovers … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 144 and 152)

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AG: So, where do we go from there?. Here’s one that’s totally disillusioned. Sonnet 144 – It’s the one that was..later on.. (They’re) talking about the two loves, the dark lady and the boyfriend – “Two loves I have of comfort and despair” (It’s not in the book so I’m just reading it)

Two loves I have of comfort and despair, Which like two spirits do suggest me still; The better angel is a man right fair, The worser spirit a woman colour’d ill. To win me soon to hell,

{interpret “hell” as “cunt”, all through this  (or that’s what … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 35)

forgive

Allen Ginsberg on Shakespeare’s Sonnets (continuing from here)

No more be griev’d at that which thou hast done: Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud, Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud. All men make faults, and even I in this, Authorizing thy trespass with compare, Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss, Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are; For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense, (Thy adverse party is thy advocate) And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence: Such civil war is in my love and hate That … Read More

From The Elizabethan Songbook (Breath & Air)

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 [ The Fool’s costume (the jester’s costume) – cap ‘n bells]

Student: Yeats wrote a poem called “The Cap and Bells

AG: Well (W.B.) Yeats did.. (that’s more) Irish..This is Cap and Bells too. I just (give you) that – but I wanted to get back into the breath into the open space. So it’s sort of insubstantial breath finally, So we can go back to Samuel Daniel. where we were,  on page one-hundred-and-ninety, can sort of get back into…

Peter Orlovsky: Which page?

Student: One-ninety

AG: Oh yes, before.. yes, one-ninety. Before we get there, … Read More

Campion – “Follow Thy Fair Sun…”

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

AG: So the next one that he (Thomas Campion) has is  “Follow Thy.. Sun Unhappy Shadow” (Norton (anthology) page 225, it’s the page before, in the Norton, it begins at the bottom of page 225 ) – Do you know what it… does anyone know how to sing that? if you’ve got the music? – Does anybody know that one? – [to Student] Have you worked on that at all? Student: I.. I.. I could kind of do it. AG: Yeah, well let’s have.. Student: Do it, first? AG:  Want to do this first? … Read More

Auden’s “The Age of Anxiety”

Allen, continuing with his “Basic Poetics” class at Naropa – January 7, 1980

AG: So Auden – W.H.Auden, the… who, incidentally, it was his anthology that I was reading from originally – the… it’s the first thing in his five-volume anthology of English poetry, poetry of the English language (which we’ve talked about before) also, in the (19)40’s, during World War II, wrote a very great poem called “Age of Anxiety” in old Germanic and Anglo-Saxon alliterative meters. So I thought I would read some of that (and there’s one copy that I got out of the … Read More

Lyke Wake Dirge – 1

 
 

AG: And then the next one, the Lie-Awake Dirge  the Lyke Wake Dirge – the Lie-Awake Dirge  – “the night watch kept over a corpse”. So this is really the… this is really a great powerful (one). Does anybody know this (from) before – Lyke Wake Dirge – “This ae night..” Has anybody read this before?  [to Student] – I’m very curious. Where did you come across it?. In the Auden? [Auden-Pearson anthology] – Where did you get it? – … Yeah – It’s really a great anthology that…You’ve got all five? –  I don’t know if you’ve

Read More

Early English Poems (Piers Plowman and The Seafarer)

 

                                                   [Piers Plowman – ms from the British Library] AG: You know I’m beginning this whole course, which is a survey in English language poetry, in reverse, by reading you the latest, the cream of the latest, rather than just begin a little with Shakespeare. Well, next time, you might start reading (Ezra) Pound”s “The Seafarer”, (on page 994 – “Seafarer”). If you find any other anthologies which have a little bit of “Piers Plowman”, (which is not in here)  – William Langland’s “Piers Plowman”, for that alliterative verse, you might check it out in some anthology. I … Read More

Kenneth Koch Q and A continued

 

                              [Kenneth Koch – Portrait of Kenneth Koch by Alex Katz] Kenneth Koch Q & A from 1979 continues KK:  Maybe we should have some more questions. What would you like me to tell you about? Student: What do you at Columbia? KK: I teach three courses there. I’m a regular Professor. I teach a writing course with twelve students. It’s, I mean, in this writing course, it’s not just a poetry-writing course,  I have people writing poems and stories and plays. I even usually have them write, sometime in the year, one long lonely piece of criticism, because … Read More