Kerouac’s Idea of Visions

[Visions of Gerard (1963) – Jack Kerouac]

AG: [referring to an earlier Student poem]   …the silence of dusk.. and.. the lights going on in the courtyard. See, it was the signal of the lights going on in the courtyard that made.. that locked it in that it was dusk.  That’s why it’s pink light, that’s why these people were doing what they were doing (and then it was because the sun was going down,. the wind rising, and the steel cord was flapping against the flagpole).  This is, you see,  the uncanny suggestion, of, like, the whole atmosphere of … Read More

Comprehensive Reading

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

AG: Edmund Spenser is a colossus, and he’s so big that I think we’ll go around him Except, maybe, one or two, one or two little short things – the Epithalamion – a big Leviathan poem here, marriage poem. What I would suggest is that you go home and read it. It’s got a great stanza form, it’s got a great rhythmic form. So what we might do (here) is read just the first and last stanzas, just to get the stanzaic form get a taste..  Page 162 – I’m sorry..

Well, he’s very brilliant in, you … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 93 – Haiku – 6 (More Haiku)

 [Shinsui Ito  (1898-1972)  – wood-block print – Night Rain at Mii Temple (1917)]

AG: So this is obviously one proceeding from meditative state, now. “Rain at Night”

A cricket chirps and is silent                                           the guttering lamp sinks and flares up again                Outside the window, evening rain is heard                   It’s the banana plant that starts talking about it.       It’s the banana plant that speaks of it first
The morning after the gale, too                                     the peppers are red..
[(the green peppers, or peppers growing on the vine)]                                                     
The morning after the gale, too/the peppers are red.

The first snow                                                                    just enough

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Meditation and Poetics – 59 (Whitman 2)

[Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and William Wordsworth (1770-1850)]

AG: So (to) get right into Song of Myself”, and I’ll do as much of it as we can (in an hour) So he [Walt Whitman] begins –  as we had in (William Carlos) Williams  [in “Danse Russe’] – “Who shall say I’m not the happy genius of my household”, (which was really an extension of  a kind of Whitmanic empathy) . So on that common ground, Whitman begins, “I…” –  (this is page twenty-three of the Modern Library version, or whatever page you have of whatever Whitman

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Meditation and Poetics – 36 (William Wordsworth)



 [Tintern Abbey – Gothic Cistercian Abbey Ruins on the River Wye in South Wales – immortalized in William Wordsworth’s poem]  

[Poetry and Meditation – Allen Ginsberg (from the Summer of 1978, lecturing at Naropa (then Institute, now University) continues:] (William Wordsworth). (That’s) a little earlier than Percy Bysshe Shelley. William Wordsworth’s “Lines  Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey On Revisiting the Banks of the (River) Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798” – that’s, I guess, when Shelley was a kid. (William) Blake was just publishing “Songs of Innocence” (not “..Experience”). … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 115 (Wordsworth – 1)

William Wordsworth, by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1818 - NPG 3687 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

[William Wordsworth (1770-1850) – chalk drawing by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1818 – 21 1/2 in. x 16 1/2 in. via National Portrait Gallery]

AG: …with (William) Wordsworth, we have a funny, odd, different adaptation. Wordsworth  [like (Walt) Whitman] also had a pantheistic vision of the universe. So I’ll just present one longish poem of Wordsworth as the equivalent of Leaves of Grass – Wordsworth’s younger and visionary (poetry) – 1798 – “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey On revisiting the Banks of the Wye during A Tour, July 13, 1798” How many here … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 123 (Wordsworth – 8)

[William Wordsworth (1770-1850)]

Why don’t I just go through a few little fragments of not-very-well-known poems by Wordsworth, from “Poems of the Imagination”. (I’ll) just pick out a few lines here and there which give a little haiku-like, or direct, perception, examples of direct perceptual.. examples of the activity of his mind. Like (since) we’re talking about the inertness of his mind, we have to balance it.

He has, (for example), a little poem called “There Was A Boy” – [Allen reads “There Was A Boy” in its entirety] – “There was a Boy, ye knew him … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 122 (Wordsworth – 7)

[Benjamin Robert Haydon – plaster cast of life mask, 1815, of William Wordsworth (via the National Portrait Gallery, London)]

There’s the famous nostalgic “Ode on Intimations Of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”, which I read to my father, several months ago, on his death-bed – and his comment – it was a poem that he’d always loved and wanted me to read aloud to him – it was the last time he heard it (a poem which he’d heard maybe a thousand times in his life, aloud, or read) – but his final comment was, “It’s very beautiful, but … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 121 (Whitman and Wordsworth Comparison)

There’s an odd “personism” (like in late Frank O’Hara) that you get in Whitman (or Whitman established the personalist, which sustained him. In other words, he was dealing in direct phenomena, observation of his own nature and his own senses and his own thoughts and the thought-forms of his mind, whereas there was a funny solidification in Wordsworth, where it was no longer quite personal but everybody became abstracted and generalized, until, so, finally, he was having to accept or reject ideas, rather than observe the flow of ideas, let us say.

One little later political note … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 119 (Wordsworth – 6)

[William Wordsworth (1770-1850)]

Allen’s Spontaneous and Improvised Poetics Naropa lectures of the summer of 1976 pick up again on August 4th, 1976

AG: I want to continue a little bit more with Wordsworth, because what I did was leave him with disillusionment with the French Revolution. (I left him) with his troubles, his political troubles, which are similar to the troubles that we’ve got [USA, 1976 – sic]. I was looking over “The Prelude” yesterday, where he continues, at great length, about his disillusionment, and I’ll read you just a couple of sentences from that (because it’s not … Read More