Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lyke Wake Dirge - 2 (Metrics)

AG: Okay, let us say that (for an assignment for the class) either you do a version of "I Sing of A Maiden that’s makeles” or lie-awake dirge (Lyke Wake Dirge) – one or the other, rhythmically. They’re both interesting. 

Let’s see  [Allen, under his breath, sounds it out} Well, basically, if you want the Lyke Wake Dirge rhythmically (it) seems to boil down to four-three, four-three.  Four accents, three accents (four accents, three accents –‘This/one/night” “This/one.. one…one and two.. three and four. One-and-two, three-and-four, one and two and three – “Every night and all” – one and two, three and four, one and two and three – “fire and sleet and candle-light/ and..Christ receive thy soul” – one and two and three and four and five and six and seven – “And Christ receive thy soul”

So it’s a… four and three is the stanza – Does that make sense? Do you understand? – Four accents in the first line, three accents, the second line, four accents, the third line, three accents the fourth line. It’s really one long line – “This ae night  this ae night/ Every nighte and aloe/Fyre and slate and candle-lighte,/And Christe receive thy saule." -  Seven accents. Two lines of seven accents, something like that. That’s the famous ballad meter, by the way (or ballads of that meter).

But you know what you dig about it, at the beginning, it’s really – “This one night, this one night” – it’s like all the accents are heavy. It’s..  There’s no light accent in it. [to Students] - You know the difference between light and heavy accents? [Allen moves across to  the blackboard} -  (I’m speaking down perhaps to students too much but..)  - heavy! accent ! - - heavy accent – the “v” is less heavy than the “hea”  - “heavy accent” – when you talk, this is the way you talk – when you’re talking, - when/your/talking  (that’s not a regular line but)..where does the accent fall when you’re talking? ..when you’re talking.

So, the reason I’m going through this. Some people don’t know the difference between heavy and light accents and have never learned to count. How many here have learnt that much prosody that you know heavy and light accents? And how many have never had any training in that at all? – really? – well, it’s useful to know. I think maybe we’ll do more, do some more, go into it in some way or other in detail  with a whole range of meters, (it might be interesting, as long as we’re dealing with this kind of material). Okay, so you understand what that means then?  heavy?  The signs they use is this, for heavy, and this,  for light, or sometimes they use this and that (sic) , it depends – either that or that. {Allen is displaying the markings on the blackboard]/  The old schoolbooks use that schoolbooks use that, old schoolbooks used to use that. 

It’s just a way of marking it being heavy and light and  (working out) with poems you can make the rhythmic paradigm be anything  - (P-A-R-A-D-I-G-M) – The abstract rhythm, you can mark out and analyze it, if you want. It’s useful, but best to get it in your bones by knowing the poem so well so that - bahm-bahm-ba, bahm bahm-ba – then you can imitate it better. And you can also do it intellectually, abstractly, by making it abstract, you know, enjoying abstract form.

Student: Is that when they, you know, show you how to pronounce a vowel, in a dictionary, like short and long? is that comparable.Is that what you’re doing?

AG:  No..these are..these are dealing with accents. (returns to the board This line is similar. That line is similar (it just happens to look the same). Short and long – you have to know the different system. We were relating to short and long vowels….

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lyke Wake Dirge - 1

AG: And then the next one, the Lie-Awake Dirge  the Lyke Wake Dirge - the Lie-Awake Dirge  - “the night watch kept over a corpse". So this is really the… this is really a great powerful (one). Does anybody know this (from) before – Lyke Wake Dirge – “This ae night..” Has anybody read this before?  [to Student] – I’m very curious. Where did you come across it?. In the Auden? [Auden-Pearson anthology] - Where did you get it? -
... Yeah – It’s really a great anthology that...You’ve got all five? –  I don’t know if you’ve seen this. We have maybe one volume of it in the library. But the Auden just like a... maybe more extensive than the Norton  (sic). Auden picks it out with his ear and Auden was a great ear.

So - (Allen reads the poem) - "This ae nighte, this ae night,/Every nighte and aloe,/Fyre and slaete and candle-lights,/And Christe receive thy saule'  - (Then, what you're supposed to do is repeat the refrain. The Auden-Pearson has it. They didn't repeat it here) - "When from hence away art past,/Every nighte and alle,/To Whinny-muir thou com'st at last;/And Christe receive thy saule." - (What's "Whinny-muir"? - [Allen looks it up] - "Whinny-muir" is the name given to various prickly shrubs, prickly (moor, the) furze, heather, buckthorn" - And so, "When from hence away art past", you at last come to a mournful or prickly thorn that you have to stumble through in the Land of the Dead. Okay.."When from hence away art past/Every nighte and alle,/To Whinny-muir thou com'st at last/And Christe receive thy saule"/If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon,/Every nighte and alle,/Sit thee down and put them on;/And Christe receive thy saule/ If hosen and shoon thou ne'er gav'st nane/Every night and alle,/The whinnes shall prick thee to the bare bane;/And Christe receive thy saule./From Whinny-muir whence thou may'st pass/Every nighte and aloe,/To Brig o' Dread thou com'st at last/And Christe receive thy saule./ From Brig o' Dread whence thou may'st pass,/Every nighte and aloe,/To Purgatory tyre thou com'st at last;/And Christe receive thy saule./If meat or drink thou ne'er gav'st name,/Every nighte and alle /The fyre will burn thee to the bare bane;/And Christe receive thy saule./ This ae nighte, this ae nighte,/ Every nighte and alle,/ Fyre and slaete and candle-lighte,/And Christe receive thy saule."

That puts it to you pretty straight. The moral of that is really amazing.. It's straight instant karma. If you ever gave away socks and shoes to somebody who was barefoot, then, when you come to "the prickly moor", you can sit down and put yours on, and get them back. And if you ever "gav'st meat or drink"…"(T)he fyre shall never make thee shrink" - (Funny syncopation in that, but the syncopation on the basis of bam-bam-baa, bom-bom baa,bom-bon-bom, ba-da-da - "This ae night", or "This one night" - "This/One/Night/Every/Night and All/Fire and Sleep/and/Candle-light/And Christ/Receive/Thy Soul". It's one of the most powerful rhythms in any poem that I know of - bom bom baa, bom-bom.. Probably it was chanted originally, a "dirge" - so what would a "dirge" be? - a dirge is a form of song - a chant, actually - [Allen sings/chants] - "This Ae Night (this one night). /Every night and all/Fire and sleet and candle-light/And Christ receive thy soul", "If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon/Every night and all/Sit thee down and put them on/And Christ receive thy soul" - Something like that, I bet. 

Student: (Sounds like a hymn) 

AG: "Dirge" -  You know, like [Allen mimics/sounds out  Chopin's funeral march] – Boum-boum-bi-boum Boum ba-doum ba-doum ba-doum  - [he then repeats the poem, emphasizing it, with percussive beat on the desk] -  “This one night/This one nght/ Every night and all/Fire and sleet and candle-light/ And Christ receive thy soul” - ”When thou… to Whinny-muir cometh at last / And Christ receive thy soul” – But you get that pom-pom-ba, pom-pom-ba, pom pom pom pom, ba” 

Student: This is grea

AG: It’s just too much, you know. It comes right out of the gut - (And)  There is music to this

Student: What a difference it makes when they don’t print the refrain here, when it’s left out

AG: The refrain is printed in the Auden book [Auden-Pearson book] -. Well, they just saved… they’re doing it to save space. It’s alright, you can read that in there  -“Every night and all"…"And Christ receive thy soul” – It’s so memorable, you don’t have to worry, you don’t have to... You can get them in a second and you can just put them in place . You can write it in? 

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-and-a-quarter minues in and continuing until approximately sixty-six-and-three-quarter-minutes in]

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Western Wind" and "A Thousand Miles Away From Home"

Allen Ginsberg continues his discussion of early English lyrics

AG: "Westron Wynde" - Does anybody know that? - "Westron wynde, when wilt thou blow?" - Huh? - Before we get there - wait a minute- yeah, "Westron Wynde" (page sixty-nine). How many people… how many have heard of that before? - Raise your hand if you have [a scattering in the class raise their hands] - You mean there are (only) five people in this class that have ever heard of that? . Okay. This is maybe the greatest poem in the English language. Really! - Like, the archetype poem of the entire English.. history of English poesie!  

"Western wind, when wilt thou blow/That the small rain down can rain/Christ, that my love were in my arms/And I in my bed again!"

"Westron wynde, when will thou blow,/The smalle raine downe can raine./Crist, if my love were in my armas/And I in my bedde agine!" 

Some soldier in the fields of France, hoping to get back to England? - "Western wind, when wilt thou blow/That the small rain down can rain - (that's a really weird piece of rhythm there - "the small rain down can rain") - "Christ, that my love were in my arms/And I in my bed again!" -  It's really… Why is that so good, though? It's like some great haiku - On the verge of total deprivation and loss, you know, he's really in the soup, you know, life has changed, and it's never going to be the same again, and he's out on the battlefield, and… 

What is happening there, actually?  I never did figure that out. He's asking the Western Wind when it'll blow, and then there's a question mark. 

Because, the problem here is we don't have…  we may not have the original (Let me see, I've got another book that might have the original). No, this is an edited version, with the spelling changed, and maybe even the punctuation changed, and maybe the original manuscript has no punctuation in and maybe it's just oral tradition.. Yes?

Student: (Do you know if it's a soldier on the battlefield because it seems to me like a sailor?)
AG; Maybe, maybe.
Student:   (Because he needs the wind..)
AG: Maybe, yes..  Well, let's see..  Oh, listen, here's how it is in the original - "Westron wynde - (W-E-S-T-R-O-N) - Westron wynde, when will thou blow"  (same) - "The smalle raine downe can raine" - (and there's an "e" after"small", "rain" and down" ) - "the smalle - (S-M-A-L-L-E, R-A-I-N-E. D-O-W-N-E), "Crist.." (C-R-I-S-T) - C-R-I-S-T not C-H-R-I-S-T, that's what I've got - (because I used that spelling of Christ in a poem called "Laughing Gas", or, "Aether",  and everybody accused me of being unscholarly, because I misspelt the word "Christ", but I said "C-R-I-S-T" too).

"Crist, if my love were (W-E-R)  in my armes"  (A-R-M-E-S)/ And I in my bedde (A-G-I-N-E)"-  Westron wynde, when will thou blow//The smalle raine downe can raine./Crist, if my love were in my armes -  Crist, if my love were in my armes - /And I in my bedde agine" - 

Well, I guess he might be a sailor, might be a sailor, but he's somewhere far from home. It's like the  "All Along the Water Towers" [sic]

Student: Watchtower

AG: Watchtower. No, no, not  the (Bob) Dylan  (the Jimmie Rodgers)

…not the Dylan..what was that line? “a thousand miles from home?”…no, no, seriously now, I’m trying to find the line – “a thousand miles from home”...

Student; He wrote,  "All around the water tanks…"

AG: Yeah. How does it go?

Student: ".. waiting for a train/ A thousand miles away from home/ sleeping in the rain"

AG: Yes, "A thousand miles away from home,/ sleeping in the rain" – Jimmie Rodgers – It’s about as good as.. I mean, imagine Jimmie Rodgers lyric lasting six hundred years like this? - "Christ, that my love were in my arms/And I in my bed again!" - "A thousand miles away from home/ sleeping in the rain"? - " waitin in the rain?"
  - (AG begins singing) -  "All around the water tanks/waiting for a train/A thousand miles away from home/ sleeping in the rain"

It's classic. You can't get away from it.  

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately fifty-five-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-and-a-quarter minutes in]

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Peter Orlovsky - A Triple-X Reading, August 1980

Peter Orlovsky - A Triple-X reading.  

Peter Orlovsky (from a reading given at Naropa Institute, August 13, 1980), introduced by Allen Ginsberg  

Listen to the audio here

Peter Orlovsky - A Triple-X reading.  (You have been warned)

AG: ..The next reader, who will conclude the evening, is the ever-popular, Peter Orlovsky, sometime Instructor at Naropa Institute (he has conducted a workshop for the last few years), sometime Ambulance Attendant, Farmer & Nut-tree Planter, Silk-screen Handyman, House-Cleaner, Newsboy, Postal Clerk, discharged from the military after telling a government psychiatrist that - quote - "an army is an army against love" - unquote, witness of the 1950's San Franciscan Poetry Renaissance, he was portrayed by Jack Kerouac as hospital-nurse-saint Simon Darlovsky, among Desolation Angels, learned driving speech from Neal Cassady and taught heart in return, partook of psychedelic revolution, a pillar of strength with Timothy Leary and Charles Olson in Newton Center outside of Harvard, companion (of) Kerouac, and also reader of (William) Burroughs in Tangiers in the early (19)60's, was one of the first American poets to make a modern Passage to India in the early (19)60's, accompanying Gary Snyder, Joanne Kyger, and myself, where he studied sarod, banjo and guitar, read poetry in Chicago, at Harvard, Columbia, Princeton,Yale, New York St Mark's Poetry Project, survived the speed plague of the (19)60's, and junk-hells as well, sang in jail at anti-war protest and political convention occasions, was published in historic Beatitude in San Francisco and Don Allen anthologies of New American poetry, played himself in early underground Robert Frank movies and, later, Vajrayana Naropa Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds movies, traveled with (Bob) Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue as resident banjo-philosopher-meditator and also helper-with-the-baggage, farmed solitary upstate New York (ten years, organic and herculean), fed and nursed decades of poetry families, and now an experienced Buddhist sitter and advanced Vajrayana meditation practitioner  (his dharma-name is "Ocean of Generosity"), Peter Orlovsky

PO:  I'll read a couple of sex experiments [sic] from Allen's and my new book called Straight Hearts Delight.

Beginning at approximately three-and-a-quarter minutes in, Peter does just that (reading  three sections, beginning with "Peter Jerking Allen Off (First Sex Experiment)","Second Sex Experiment" ("it was very lugubrious and Bruegel-like"), and "Allen Jerking Off On Bed"  ("Sex Experiment Number 3")"  

At approximately eighteen-and-a-half minutes in, Peter picks up the guitar and begins strumming - "Oh, I've got a new one about Vitamin C .. (that) I take a.. because I've been smoking (I've got a cold, I've gotta stop smoking)..and I take ten grams, ten grams of Vitamin C" - [begins singing] - "You are my vitamin C, ten grams (chew it in the early morning time, so it don't sneeze away)".." You are my prostrations in the early morning time, three hours a day, work it up to four, five, six, especially in the wintertime..".."You are my tofu, twice the amount of protein…"...
"Just the other day, I jerked off four times in a row,  just yesterday, I jerked off four times in a row, much to my surprise, I just had to go.."
and, one more..
"Keep it clean in-between, when you're sucking your little girl or your big filly.." "keep it clean with cold-water protein.."

PO: What time is it?
AG: Ten to
PO: It's ten of eleven. I've got to go. So many things to do. I just bought a new manure spreader..I just bought a new manure spreader, it cost two-hundred-and-fifty dollars, and I had to clean it and brush it clean and I had to paint it with oil so the wood, the boards, the floorboards don't rot. Nearest dairy farmer said I could keep the manure if.. we just have to shovel it - isn't that right, Allen?…  
 Thank you

AG: Thank you all for your attention and massive participation in the evening,
 and to William Burroughs for his brilliant performance, 
(to) Harold Norse for his historical honesty,
 and Peter Orlovsky for his baritone nakedness….. 

The first part of this reading (featuring William Burroughs and Harold Norse), the readings that preceded this, will be presented on the Allen Ginsberg Project in the coming weeks