William Blake – The Book of Thel – 2

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s “The Book of Thel” continues

AG: “O life of this our spring! why fades the lotus of the water?/ Why fade these children of the spring? born but to smile & fall./ Ah! Thel is like a watry bow. and like a parting cloud./ Like a reflection in a glass. like shadows in the water – (this like Sic Vita” (by Henry King) – remember? – like “..bubbles which on water stood” – it’s the same thing, (and, for those of you who are Buddhists, it’s the same thing you find in Gampopa .. … Read More

William Blake – The Book of Thel – 1

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

AG: Well, there is a little girl who didn’t want to get born because she was afraid of the emptiness in the grave and she didn’t want to enter the emptiness of the grave so she prefered to stay in the Garden of Eden and not come out of the Garden of Eden and not have the experience of Life because if she came out and got born she knew she’d have to die and. So she was thinking of.. thinking about the problem, and she went to see.. … Read More

Allen Ginsberg 1982 Leicester Student Interview

Last week, we featured transcription from a tape in the Stanford University Archives that featured an interview with Jack Kerouac’s childhood friend (and Allen’s friend) jazz aficiando, Seymour Wyse. This week, from the same tape, the conversation is followed by an interview with an earnest young English student (presumably an undergraduate at Leicester University, prior to the reading Allen gave there with Steven Taylor and Peter Orlovsky in the Fall of 1982 – at one point in the transcript, Allen breathlessly itemizes his itinerary)

Interviewer (Student):  Do you make recordings of all your work?

AG:  Not all, but I have … Read More

Isaac Watts and William Blake

[Isaac Watts ( 1674-1748)]  

[William Blake ( 1757-18270]

AG: Then, the next thing I wanted to pick up is the relation of…   passing on.. to  Isaac Watts  (or back to Isaac Watts, you realize the last week , we’ve taken a long loop from Isaac Watts and are back to Isaac Watts now – second poem of Isaac Watts (in that anthology) is…. what page is that? ..

Student: Four forty-five

AG: Four forty-nine?

Student:  Five

AG; Okay. Did anybody get to read that “Cradle Hymn“?  – third poem. Who likes to read..?

Student: What page?

AG: Four … Read More

Miltonic Psalm Notations

[ Portrait of John Milton –  (circa 1803) – by William Blake]

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Basic Poetics class (at Naropa) – continuing from here

AG: So, the next experiment I did (was) with Miltonics – Milton. This is my Miltonics. It was pretty sick Miltonics.  Because what it is,  is a total – 1949 -it’s a.. I think I was either coming or..  going to-and-fro from.. Bedlam – New York State Psychiatric Institute, and I was convinced that there was a supernatural consciousness that I had to achieve and I was not achieving it, and that I wouldn’t achieve … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 356

Beyond Beat, the five-day Los Angeles Beat  convention continues. Among the highlights tonight, a group reading of “Howl” (also a performance of Gregory Corso’s “Bomb”, and a poetry reading by Neeli Cherkovski and Paul Vangelisti). Tomorrow (Saturday) will include a “Punk and Beat” panel  (with V. Vale, Jerry Casale, and S.A.Griffin), a panel on Bob Kaufman, and a showing of Billy Woodberry‘s documentary on Kaufman, And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead.  Sunday includes Steve Silberman (on the Legacy of “Howl”), a “Howl” panel (with Steve Silberman, Marc Olmsted, and … Read More

Elazar Larry Freifeld Tel Aviv 1988 Interview

[Allen Ginsberg in Jerusalem, 1988, praying by the Western Wall.  Photograph by Steven Taylor]

Allen Ginsberg in Israel.

This interview with Elazar Larry Freifeld was conducted at Tel Aviv University in 1988, and published in Moznaim (in Hebrew). It appeared a year later (In English) in The Tel Aviv Review, and most recently in the Jerusalism Review.

LF: Welcome to Israel, Allen. You come at a very troublesome time [civil war in Lebanon].

AG: Ah, it’s the same all over the world. Everyone has their own tsurus [“trouble”, in Yiddish]. In Nicaragua, the CIA is fomenting trouble, in Columbia … Read More

Andrew Marvell – The Garden – 3

[Michelangelo – The Creation of Adam – detail of  fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, painted c.1508-1512]

Allen Ginsberg on Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” continues

Student:  I don’t understand.  (In the last part [of Marvell’s poem, “The Garden”], I think I don’t follow the argument)

AG: Okay… which are we speaking of? –  the next-to-last, or the last stanza?

Student: (In the last two stanzas…)

Such was that happy garden-state,/ While man there walk’d without a mate;/ After a place so pure and sweet,/ What other help could yet be meet!/ But ’twas beyond … Read More

Abraham Cowley – (“The Wish”)

 
[Abraham Cowley (1618-1667)]
AG:  Now, next we get to (Abraham)  Cowley , below, (page) three-sixty,  And the reason Cowley gets interesting is , finally, for the first time, the horrific City. enters in (as it will get increasingly, prophetically, apparent entering into the poetry.. (William) Blake will, pretty soon, (be) talking about.the opening (of the) streets of London and the “satanic mills”, and it’ll go on to the twentieth-century with “Moloch whose cities are…”  ” filled up with plutonian factories drizzling in the toilet!”) –  So here in “The Wish”, the vision the horror in the city,
Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up -346

[Allen Ginsberg in the studio, recording William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience”]

Amanda Petrusich, writing in The New Yorker

“The membrane between poetry and“song,” as we think of it in 2017, has always been flimsy and permeable; once all poems were songs. Ginsberg’s weird, wobbly singing [in “The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience” CD] is sometimes dissonant, but it gets at something essential to Blake’s work. It’s as good a narration of the phases of a life as I can think of..”

Might we recommend, as a holiday gift, this holiday…?

The re-release of Allen’s William Blake … Read More