Spontaneous Poetics – 59 (William Carlos Williams 3)

AG: I would just like to read two short poems of (William Carlos) Williams that I think are crucial to this (discussion of “No ideas but in things“), and also intersect with Buddhist practice of sunyata breath, which the upstairs guru (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche) discoursed on the other night. [Allen begins by reading Williams’ poem Good Night”] GOOD NIGHT

In brilliant gas lightI turn the kitchen spigotand watch the water plashinto the clean white sink,On the grooved drain-boardto one side isa glass filled with parsley –crisped green

              … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 58 (William Carlos Williams 2)

[William Carlos Williams ( 1883-1963)]

“No ideas but in things” – Allen tries to explain William Carlos Williams‘ famous dictum to his students (Naropa Summer Session, 1976)

AG: (Doctor Williams) is all about accuracy. The phrase “clamp your mind down on objects” is his, the phrase, “No ideas but in things”. “No ideas but in things”. Does anybody not understand what that means? – “No ideas but in things”? Is there anybody that doesn’t get that? [Student raises his hand] – Okay, is there anybody else who doesn’t get that? Please raise your hand if it isn’t perfectly … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 57 – (William Carlos Williams 1)

[William Carlos Williams c.1948 –  photograph by Constantin Joffe]

AG: We’ve gone all the way to the other end again. Now (we’ll) come back to- something like haiku, like Reznikoff William Carlos Williams. Most people here have read Williams, I guess. How many have not at all [Student raises his hand] – just one? – [to Student] – you’ve not read Williams, that’s right? – Okay, so for those who haven’t, Williams is the clearest and simplest and most direct, (He’s) trying to tie the mind down, bring the imagination down to earth again, and put all of … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 55 (Edward Carpenter 2)

[Edward Carpenter (1824-1929)]

AG: A poem (by Edward Carpenter) that I’ve always liked is “From Turin to Paris”

 He’s riding in the train from Italy to Paris and it’s a long detailed description of the entire train trip. I got turned on to that kind of travel-detail poetry by a book that Kenneth Patchen lent me called “Voyage Trans-Siberian”

  by Blaise Cendrars (which was translated by John Dos Passos in the (19)20’s, actually  – an odd combination). It’s a travel diary poem, a poem … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) 22 – (AG & Students)

We pick up again on Allen’s Spontaneous Poetry (Ballad) lectures (see earlier examples  here, here and here) delivered at the Naropa Institute,Boulder, Colorado in July and August of 1976. This particular section dates from a June 16 class. Allen selects various fragments, ”mots justes”, ”cooked diamonds”, “active” lines, drawing on student examples)
AG: I have a stack of poems that people gave me, the ballads and other little poems, that I want to read from – what I got, just little fragments, just the stuff I liked. One method of criticism that I always found useful is just … Read More