WCW on WNET

Following on from last week’s WNET USA Poetry feature (on Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti), another episode from that series, this one on Allen’s great hero, William Carlos Williams.  William Eric Williams, the poet’s son, (something of a ringer for his father), is the stand-in (Williams having passed away a couple of years earlier).  He (the younger Williams.) is shown, at home. in his neighborhood, Rutherford, New Jersey, going about his daily routine and continuing with the family (pediatric) practice.

Flossie“, Williams’ widow (and William Eric’s mother), who didn’t die until 1976 – William Eric died in … Read More

Allen Ginsberg at County College, Morris, New Jersey, 1979

Continuing with our spotlight on the videotapes in the Stanford University Archives (we’re coming to the end of it). Today’s feature (like last week’s) is nuggets extracted from a broader swath. In 1987, Sander Zulauf made a selection (on two tapes) of readings that took place between 1976 and 1985 at CCM, the County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey – The First American Poetry Disc – An Introduction to Poetry, which featured over a dozen American poets, (most, if not all, of a decidedly academic bent – The undeniably stand-out reader/anomaly here was Allen (who, accompanied by … Read More

Allen Ginsberg – Ars Poetica – Dallas Texas 1980 – Joe Stanco Interview

Following on from last weekend, and complimentary to an earlier tape that we featured (from Richmond College, Dallas Texas), another video gem from the Stanford Archives – Ars Poetica – An Interview with Allen Ginsberg conducted by Joe Stanco

[The participants begin, caught in conversation, in media res]

JS: Oh. – My name is Joe Stanco and I’m talking today with Allen Ginsberg and, at the moment, we were discussing Ezra Pound who’s certainly..in fact you said, at one point, “the most important American poet since Whitman

AG: I guess. Yeah. Well… (Because ) he had more effect … Read More

Williams, The Haiku, and the Natural Sequence

[William Carlos Williams – Collected Poems – published by The Objectivist Press. 1934, Williams’ first “collected”  edition]

continuing from yesterday

AG: So, now , the reason I was coming on to all of this was that the short form of the haiku or the long form of the (William Carlos) Williams sentence all say the same thing, which is – if you try to weave a series of discrete haiku-like perceptions in (Jack) Kerouac -ian-sketchy-sketch style, if you try to weave them in to one single continuous cadence of breath and a single continuous syntactical order, you’ll have … Read More

Composition and Condensation – 3 (Classroom Notation)

[“Rhythmic twang of steel cords slapping against the flagpole”]

continuing from yesterday

AG: Then, the other thing we came to, she [sic] had a poem that was a discrete series of code-word observations, one after another in a row, and it sounded, like, too choppy, or much like she was doing an exercise sketch of the ….”One lady lifts up her big leg over the…or big boot, and takes it off” – [ to Student] – What are the three images? – What’s the first one? there was…

Student: “Holding the attention”,,

AG: What?

Student: “Holding the attention..riding a bicycle, … Read More

Composition and Condensation – 2

AG: Then another thing formulated with Rachel today [sic] was, in terms of condensation, if you can find three or four different ways of saying, of arranging the same words, generally, the spoken arrangement that is the shortest has the best rhythm and is the most vivid. [To Rachel (sic)] – Do you happen to have that poem with you? that one poem where we really discovered it. You remember the line?

Student (R)…”There’s not enough time to..”

AG: What’s the next line? There’s not enough time

Student (R) …”There’s not enough time to write all the notes down”

AG: … Read More

Composition and Condensation – 1

[Basil Bunting tries his hand at editing Shakespeare]

AG:  And then there was another thing.. I was talking with…Rachel [sic]…with Rachel..and we were talking about composition and condensation of poems and ..some ideas crystallized that might be useful. I’ve talked about it before I thought but apparently I had never said it around Rachel (tho; I thought I said it in any number of..over a dozen classes) there was that idea of Basil Bunting‘s, which (Ezra) Pound handed on, which was that poetics was condensation – and I think I’ll talk about that – and I’ve applied it in … Read More

Breath Poems

[Zephrus. God of the winds (detail from “The Birth of Venus,” Sandro Botticelli]

AG: .. ..(I cited some lines)  from Hart Crane’s poem “Hurricane” as an example of dochmaic meter… and the whole poem is really interesting, and it’s just in the sequence of poems I’ve been referring to, one time or another, like William Carlos Williams’ poem about Thursday  (air – coming in and out of his nose) , Shelley’s “Ode To the West Wind – (“Make me thy lyre even as the forest is’”… “Be thou me spirt fierce (the wind)”, or, “The breath whose might I have … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading at St Marks Poetry Project 1977

[Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell, St Mark’s Church, February 23, 1977. Photo: Martin Wechselblatt]

We featured one, from the extraordinary trove of recordings of Allen readings, last week, from PennSound (from the Robert Creeley collection – 1971 at Intersection, San Francisco). Here‘s another, six years later- from the St Mark’s Poetry Project in New York. The occasion was a now-legendary coupling of Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell (it was on this occasion that Lowell was memorably heckled by Gregory Corso). Allen reads a variety of works, referencing his recent visit to Australia, his Vajrayana Buddhist Read More

Syllabic Poetry – 3 (Ginsberg)

[“I learned a world from each/one whom I loved…”]

AG: I used a lot.. I used a method..I used that in a lot of early poems that I was doing, imitating (William Carlos) Williams, just little free-verse poems, but I would rearrange them from prose, and arranged them into balanced little five-syllable, three-syllable, five-syllable, three-syllable, whatever – ” I learned a world from each/ one whom I loved/ so many/ worlds /without /a Zodiac” –  [from his poem “The Night Apple”] – six-four, six-four. I mean, I had written it down in prose on the paper, in … Read More