[Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), fair copy of the first forty-two lines of his “Ode to the West Wind“ (1819), in the collection of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, England]
Allen Ginsberg’s “Expansive Poetics” lecture continues – “Ode to the West Wind”
AG: The other thing is (Shelley’s) the “Ode to the West Wind”. How many know that? How many have read that? How many have not read the “Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Bysshe Shelley? Never? Well, that’s an example, I must say of TV generation.
Student: TV generation?
AG: Television generation. [Allen addresses … Read More
AG: (The) Kerouac Institute for the School of Disembodied Poetics will now continue its cycle of poetry readings by famous nuts and neurotics and people who watch their diet-etics/ two moralist vegetarians, years gone by, Jackson MacLow and Peter Orlov-sky. Peter’s the Professor of Bucolic Poesy, a pastoral poet and farmer boy is he, originally, also a Beatnik,
Gregory Corso: Let me see. What do I know of Shelley? What’s his top-class poem? His top-class poem is “Ode To The West Wind”. Yeah, that’s a very great poem. Yeah, that’s a great one because it’s a lyric, and he puts the “I” with the lyric, it means you put yourself in it, he put himself right at the end, and he connected himself with the wind all the way – he transformed himself into the wind. Yeah, let me find that one.
[Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, Boulder, Colorado, 1974. Photo c. Rachel Homer]
A follow-up class to the one we’ve previously been serializing. Allen returns, recuperated, but Gregory still manages to take over/dominate the class!
NAROPA in 1975 transcripts.
AG: (It’s like I’m)…substituting for Gregory Corso! He may actually show up. He and (William) Burroughs went off with some friends up to the mountains and (he) actually said he’d be here, so he may come in, and I brought some of his teaching materials along.
So what did you think of his teaching?, I wonder(ed). I heard the first … Read More
GC: If I want to. Yeah, I don’t owe anybody anything, my dear. I don’t have to bring another book out, see? – but that’s a shot, tho’, right? Who owes who what? – I figured I should get a me(d)al. I tell you, I.. A poet should get a token. At least, I … Read More
[ (alternate caption) Gregory Corso his attic room 9 Rue Git-Le-Coeur, wooden angel kid hung on wall right, window on courtyard and half block from Seine. Burroughs came to live a flight below, Peter Orlovsky & I had window on street two floors down, room with two burner gas stove where we all ate often. Gregory had “Marriage”, “Power”, “Army”, “Police”, “Hair” and “Bomb” poems ready, I began “Kaddish”, Peter “Frist Poem” Burroughs was shaping Naked Lunch. Paris 1957. (Ginsberg caption) photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)]
GC: I’ll tell you what I’ll do with you guys, and I’ve got some … Read More
[Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Boulder, Colorado c. 1974-1975, photograph c.Rachel Homer]
Gregory Corso: I’ll tell you what I’ll do. So the class can handle itself nicely. Ask me a question? Being if I say I know all there is to know (because there ain’t too much to know!), I should be able to answer any fuckin’ question you guys lay down on me. Let’s make it Socratic. Not all at once and heavy. Take it easy with my beautiful head, but lay it nice.
Student: Have you been staying out of jail, and, if you … Read More
More vintage NAROPA transcription. The first two classes in Allen’s 1975 “History of Poetry” NAROPA course (Allen being sick) were taught/conducted by Gregory Corso. Gregory Corso – Substitute Teacher!
GC: ….It’s a virus, that’s the shot. Now the virus hits the cell, once it hits the cell, you’re fucked. You can’t see the virus. Antibiotic – you know what antibiotic means? They’ll give it to you easy and you’ll take it. In a hospital, you feel ill, you call an ambulance, right? Well, call an ambulance, you’re fucked. So they give you antibiotics now, that’s anti-life … Read More
[Image: Mischievous Dead, Jose Posada / Public Domain]
One final transcript from Allen’s 1975 NAROPA History of Poetry classes – this curious and lively in-class improvisation. Gregory Corso and W.S.Merwin were on hand on this occasion to add their contributions.
AG: The subject of today’s improvisation will be death. So, in answering the roll call, “Death is…”, fill it in. No reading from old books. No stumbling on your own old quotations. Death is your tongue speaking right now.
Student: Death is your obsessive angel.
AG: Death is pure obsessive anger? Is that what you said?
AG: Campion 1567-1620. (Thomas) Campion, also, at this point, writing music, got interested in quantitative verse – vowel-length verse – as the measure for his poetry, and he is one of the great ears in English poetry. Most of these, or some of these, are songs. I’ll read the famous one(s) that you know mostly – “Rose-cheekt Laura, come/ Sing thou smoothly with thy beaweies/ Silent musick, either other/ Sweetely gracing/ Lovely formes … Read More