Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy Birthday Philp Glass

["Jewel Heart Center, Ann Arbor Michigan, Philip Glass, Gelek Rinpoche & Allen Ginsberg, November 17, 1989" - Photo inscribed "for Philip" by Allen Ginsberg]

Philip Glass is 78 years old today

Words Without Music, his long-awaited memoir, will be published this Spring 

As a teaser, Philip Glass  is interviewed here, last January, by Marc Zisman for Qobuz, the French commercial music streaming and downloading service, on the occasion of  Le festival Nouveau Siècle de Saint-Étienne, organized jointly by l'Opéra Théâtre and the Museum of Modern Art 

Some previous Glass-on-the-Ginsberg-Project  here and  here

Happy Birthday, Philip!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday's Weekly Round-Up - 206

Last week, we broke the news of Michael Schumacher's upcoming Ginsberg digest - The Essential Ginsberg, this week, more publication news - Publishers Weekly announced the upcoming "I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career", the selected correspondence between Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, edited by Bill Morgan, due out from City Lights later in the year - "The majority of letters collected here have never before been published and they span the period from 1955 until Ginsberg's death in 1997. Facsimilies and photographs enhance the collection, an evocative portrait of an inspiring and enduring relationship."

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg]

Next week (next Tuesday) Bob Dylan's new (Frank Sinatra-inspired) album comes out, Shadows In The Night
Hereherehere and here are some early reviews 
and another one here

His recent interview for AARP (American Association of Retired Persons - sic), "his first interview in nearly three years", where he discusses the disc (and his feelings about aging), may be accessed here 

 The lyrics (none Dylan's own), thoughtfully transcribed, are here  


Here's a rather frenzied presentation of Allen's "Cosmopolitan Greetings" (the title-poem of his 1995 book), to the soundtrack of the French electronica group, Air (Amour Imagination Rêve). ("Alpha Beta Gaga")

Speaking of John Wieners (as we were the other week) - essential reading - A selection of his letters and poems to his friend (and sometime Black Mountain mate) Michael Rumaker were recently made available by Ben Mazer's The Battersea Review  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Meditation and Poetics - 39 (Reznikoff - 9)


[Audio: March 21 1974 at SFSU (San Francisco State University - Charles Reznikoff reads a selection of his poetry (introduced by George Oppen) - in front of "a whole crowd of poets in San Francisco who knew something"] 

Our serialization of Allen Ginsberg's (Summer of 1978) Naropa class on Charles Reznikoff continues here:

AG: (So)  (Charles) Reznikoff starting down into the subway (on page 110, Volume 1)

- (15) "In the street I have just left/the small leaves of the trees along the gutter/were steadfast/ in the blue heavens./Now the subway/express/picks up speed/and a wind/blows through the car/blows dust/on the passengers/and along the floor/bits of paper-/ wrappers of candy,/of gum,/tinfoil/pieces of newspaper..." - [Well, it was just a little something he noticed - "bits of paper-/ wrappers of candy,/of gum,/tinfoil/pieces of newspaper..." It could have gone  on into some big rhapsody but he realized that was about all he saw, so he cut it off and put three dots there (which reminds me of what (William Carlos) Williams said, which I repeated - bettter to have just one active phrase, or some active language, or some active perception, than try and build a lot of bullshit on it. I mean,  there's no need to write a big long poem. You just had that one glimpse, then leave it there. Don't cling to it. You don't have to develop it any further. It's there, self-existent, unborn, undevelopable, just hanging there in the air. 

Student: Did Reznikoff try to publish before (that New Directions book)? 

AG: Yes, he published his own work. And New Directions published.. I've forgotten when, but look at the New Direction book(s). Well, actually, in this, there's Rhythms 1918, which he published himself, Rhythms 1919, self-published, Poems 1920, Uriel Accosta, 1922 -(Plays), all done by himself. Then probably something done by the Objectivist Press (I mentioned it yesterday) in the (19)30's..

Student: Samuel Roth

AG: Yes. Samuel Roth. Then By The Waters of Manhattan - Selected Verse, 1962 -that's the date of the New Directions book, I guess

Student: Was he very well known during his time?

AG: No, totally unknown. Poets knew him. Ezra Pound read every book he ever wrote. Basil Bunting knew him. Louis Zukofsky knew him. These are the Objectivists. George Oppen knew him. Carl Rakosi knew him. Robert Duncan knew him. I didn't know him very well until, I'd say, about 1970, (19)65-(19)70.  I went to see Ezra Pound in 1965 and asked him what he read, and, apparently, he was doing the I Ching, and the only time I got a rise out of him, I said, "Did you see Basil Bunting's new book?", and he wouldn't talk but gave a big head-shake (he was really alert to that, and he would be alert to Bunting and he would be alert to Zukofsky and he'd be alert to Reznikoff and a few other poets, Williams, anything they'd put out - his old friends, naturally).
Reznikoff was hadly known. Anne Waldman and the New York St Marks Poetry Project used to invite him to read and he'd give readings. I gave a reading there and the church would be full, Reznikoff would give a reading and maybe they'd be thirty people, twenty people, me and Peter (Orlovsky) and fifteen other people. Ron Padgett. He'd read this stuff that was so pure that we'd weep, and there was nobody there. This old man, this seventy-eight-year-old man. Very humble. Reading it, like he had these old poems, that he took out, and very carefully marked, which ones he was going to read, and worried whether people would listen to him, and was he talking loud enough?, and not wanting to bore anybody

Student: Allen, he gave a reading at San Francisco State (Poetry Center)

AG: When was that?

Student: It was shortly before he died.  [1974 - see above]

AG: Yeah.

Student: It was very well attended. A huge crowd and he..

AG: Yeah, by then - and in San Francisco..

Student: Right.

AG: A whole crowd of poets in San Francisco that knew something.

[Audio for the above may be heard here, starting at approximately two-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding approximately six-and-a-quarter minutes in]  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Meditation and Poetics - 38 (Reznikoff - 8)

Continuing with Charles Reznikoff   

What I want to do, since we've got (a few) minutes, is some brief poems that he did in 1934
"Jerusalem the Golden was published by the Objectivist Press from 10 West Thirty-Sixth Street, New York in 1934. The Press consisted of Reznikoff, George Oppen and Louis Zukofsky. It was an outgrowth of Zukofsky's editorial work for the "Objectivist" number of Poetry (magazine) (February 1931) and An Objectivist Anthology published in France in 1931 by George and Mary Oppen under the imprint "Two Publishers""

"The Objectivist Press is an organization of writers who are publishing their own work and that of other writers whose work they think ought to be read.

The wrapper also listed an Advisory Board consisting of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, with (Louis) Zukofsky as "Sec'y". Already in 1934 the Press had published Williams' Collected Poems, with a preface by Wallace Stevens and Reznikoff's prose work Testimony, with an introduction by Kenneth Burke."

What's interesting about this set is (from) (19)34, (the) poems about the New York subway. In terms of domestication into poetry, domestication of modern imagery into poetry, here is one of the best examples of taking everyday ordinary-mind experience and actually making immortal-perception language out of it. I was noticing the first of these, number 6, there's a little bit element of abhidharma abstraction, that is, the examination of the senses until you begin to realize the emptiness of senses, sort of.

Student: (On what page?)
AG: Pardon me?
Student: What page?
AG: Oh, I'm sorry. Page 108. Number 6 

"From my window I could not see the moon/and yet it was shining:/  the yard among the houses -/ snow upon it,/an oblong in the darkness - (That's not very interesting, it's just sort of Cubist abhidharma, maybe. Okay.

(8) - "The wind blows rain into our faces/as we go down the hillside/upon rusted cans and old newspapers/past the tree on whose bare branches/the boys have hung iron hoops,/until we reach at last the crushed earthworms/stretched and stretching on the wet sidewalk." - (I think that's the first time that wet-sidewalk-earthworm effect has ever been entered into poetry, into the great ledger of images), Then…

Peter Orlovsky: (..that's a snow verse, that's the winter..)

AG: Right. One would have been snow, one would have been winter - "(T)he crushed earthworms/stretched and stretching on the wet sidewalk."  - the snow has melted, maybe.

"(10) -  These days the papers in the street/leap into the air or burst across the lawns -/ not a scrap but has the breath of life:/these in a gust of wind/play about/those for a moment lie still and sun themselves." - That's a little bit like (William Carlos) Williams' one about the paper rolling over and over - unlike a man. Do you know that? The brown paper being rolled over and over like a man in the street by the wind. Did I read that here? - "The Term"? - Did I read that poem by Williams here?  [class suggests not] - Oh, Well, we'll see what they're both doing at the same time. It's called "The Term" (perhaps the terms of his perception, actually) - (Page) 409 of the Collected (Earlier) Poems:

A rumpled sheet
of brown paper
about the length

and apparent bulk
of a man was
rolling with the

wind slowly over
and over in
the street as

a car drove down
upon it and
crushed it to

the ground.Unlike
a man it rose
again rolling

with the wind over
and over to be as
it was before.

Everybody follow? - Is there anybody who didn't get it?

Student; Read it again

AG: Okay - A rumpled sheet/of brown paper/about the length/  and apparent bulk/of a man was/rolling with the/ wind slowly over/and over in/the street as/ a car drove down
upon it and/crushed it to/ the ground.Unlike/a man it rose/again rolling/ with the wind over/and over to be as/it was before.

Peter Orlovsky: How come he called it "The Term"?

AG: I think it means the terms of his poetry - that this kind of observation, that this kind of spirit.. "(W)ind" - this suggestion of spirit - the wind - he mentions the wind but he relates the wind, or he describes the wind, in terms of the paper) So, the paper is the term to describe the invisible wind - or the paper-and-the-wind is the term to describe the direct perceptions of his mind and the present attention of his mind there. And the present attention of his mind, seeing directly this paper, seeing how it looks, and describing it well, is the term of poetics for him - I think. Does that make sense?

(Robert) Creeley has taken this title - "The Term" - and used it also. In other words, it's the idea of presenting an object like that and saying, "This object is my term of poetry. In my terms, poetry is as follows - "A rumpled sheet of brown paper", etc - "These days the papers in the street/leap into the air or burst across the lawns- /not a scrap but has the breath of life:/these in a gust of wind/play about/those for a moment lie still and sun themselves."

Okay, now (next)  we get to the subway.

[Audio for the above may be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-and-three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-six-and-three-quarter minutes in]