Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Philip Glass

Not the 75th (with all the big hoopla - see here!) but the 76th (just as worthy!)
 - Happy Birthday, Philip Glass!

Here's some further selections (from Hydrogen Jukebox) to celebrate the occasion
here, here, here, here and here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Anselm Hollo (1934-2013)

Anselm Hollo

Anselm and Jane, Brighton

[Anselm Hollo in 2009 and in 2012 - photos by Tom Raworth]

(Anselm Hollo 1934-2013)

Sad news - our dear dear friend and brother, Anselm Hollo died this morning, following a protracted fight against a persistent meningioma and resultant complications. He was 78. More appreciations (many more appreciations) to follow.

Our birthday celebration of some of his remarkable achievements can be found here.

Spontaneous Poetics - 31 (Reading List - 2) (Melville)

[Herman Melville (1819-1891)]

Allen's July 1976 reading list continues

AG: Herman Melville. I don't know what anthologies carry his poetry. This is [Allen displays a copy of Melville's Collected Poems] his poetry. He is a great poet. Very cranky weird language, like "there is a thick coal black angel..", no, "There is a coal-black Angel/with a thick Afric lip.." He's describing a cannon overlooking Vicksburg. "There is a coal black angel with a thick Afric lip." - That's where I get my"Afric" (or that's where I get a certain sound). That's where (Jack) Kerouac got a certain amount of his sound. Collected Melville Poems. Edited by a man named Howard P Vincent, some midwestern University put it out. They are hard to get and we'll try and get them in the library. He's in some anthologies. So anything that you can find by Melville in the anthologies is alright, any poem you can find. There are famous ones called "The Maldive Shark" (and) "Look Out Mountain". [Allen reaches for the Norton Anthology] You might check out and see if there's Melville in here. There's a great poem at the end of his short story, Billy Budd - "Sentry, are you there?/Just ease this darbies at the wrist, and roll me over fair,/ I am sleepy, and the oozy weeds about me twist." He was the American with a totally Shakespearean tongue (as you can see in Moby Dick, but it's in his poetry too. "The House-Top, A Night Piece", as it is called, (is) an accounting of the atheist roar of riot during the Draft Riots of the Civil War - "Wise Draco comes, deep in the midnight roll/ of black artillery..../ He comes, nor parlies..." - So it's some of his rhetoric in that - warning against anarchy, actually - "Wise Draco comes deep in the midnight roll of black artillery" - Just little fragments from Melville. That's a "Night Piece".

Student: Who edited his Collected work?

AG: Howard P Vincent. That is, these are the poems, collected poems. He was never considered a poet. In fact, Mrs Melville wrote to Mrs Emerson, "Don't tell anyone, but Herman has taken to writing poetry" [editor's note: the actual recipient of the letter was Mrs Melville (Elizabeth Melville)'s mother, and the actual quote runs - "Herman has taken to writing poetry. You need not tell anyone, for you know how such things get around"] (because, at that time, they thought he was a failure, on account of nobody bought, after Moby Dick, Pierre or The Ambiguities, nobody bought Pierre, which is also a great piece of prose-poetry.  

Oh yeah, here's that "Night Piece". Well, yeah, I'll read you one poem. (I don't want to get too much into the list. I'd like to run through this whole thing, and reading a sample of everybody's work would be (too time-consuming). I would rather give you a couple of phrases)
Well, there's a very interesting thing about (a poem from) 1859, "The Portent" - the Civil War - "Hanging from the beam/ Slowly swaying (such the law),/ Gaunt the shadow on your green, / Shenandoah!/ The cut is on the crown/ (Lo, John Brown),/ And the stabs shall leal no more.  Hidden in the cap/ Is the anguish none can draw,/ So your future veils its fac/ Shenandoah!/  But the streaming beard is shown/ (Weird John Brown),/ The meteor of the war." - It's just that nobody in 1859 had that sense.. - "Weird John Brown" - In other words, his dramatic intelligence was contemporary with his own history. He was able to see his own universe as dramatically as we can see our own. "Weird John Brown". 1859. So that speaks well for his basic dramatic Shakespearean intelligence.  
"The House Top. A Night Piece" - "No sleep. The sultriness pervades the air.." [Allen begins by reciting the first four lines].."Vexing their blood and making apt for ravage" - "(M)aking apt for ravage" (there's the immortal Bard again!) - "Beneath the stars the roofy desert spreads/ Vacant as Libya.." [Allen goes on and concludes reading the entire poem] - "....(W)hich holds that Man is naturally good/ And - more - is Nature's Roman, never to be scourged" -  So it's pretty cynical, worried about... just like, "What (if) the Weathermen bring on the Police State" - So they were dragging the cannons into town to fight the draft rioters - "Hail to the low dull rumble, dull and dead" - not "to the dull and dead", but "Hail to the low dull rumble, dull and dead,/ And ponderous drag that jars the wall." - That's really a mouthful - very few American poets had that power. You get, a little later, a little bit of that same kind of power in Robert Lowell (sometimes, a few rare times, in Robert Lowell - "I  saw my city in the Scales, the pans/ Of judgment rising and descending. Piles/Of dead leaves char the air -/And I am a red arrow on this graph/ Of Revealations.." - That's Robert Lowell, which is a little like this Melville, talking about Cambridge or Boston. (in "Where The Rainbow Ends")"I  saw my city in the Scales, the pans/ Of judgment ../And I am a red arrow on this graph/ Of Revealations.." - That's the best lines he ever wrote probably. It's really apocalyptic. 

Student: What book is that poem in, do you know?

AG: I forgot. An early book. One of the poems in Lord Weary's Castle.   So you see Melville's power. It's the same power as he got in Moby Dick. (Read) "The House Top", "The Maldive Shark"... open (up)  Melville (almost) anywhere.. There's always some good phrase(s) in any poem.  As I said, I think, in the 19th Century, I would esteem Melville, Dickinson, Poe, Whitman, as being the four poet-poets, and then maybe Emerson and Thoreau, and other people, but I think Melville is up there with Poe certainly. But his work was not known because, for some reason or another, he was overshadowed, as a prose writer, (and his prose-poetry was so vast!). And, as poetry, the prose-poetry of Pierre, the book he wrote after Moby Dick, is extraordinary (and was a big influence on (Jack) Kerouac) - Pierre Or The Ambiguities - if you ever get a chance to see that. Then he has a long epic poem called "Clarel", which is worth reading too. He went to Jerusalem and kept a sort of poetic diary, which is also mixed up as a long symbolic poem (his own personal detail mixed with a large symbolic structure). But just check out a couple of poems by Melville to see what you can do with a 19th Century American ear.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spontaneous Poetics - 30 (Reading List - 1) (Dorn,Smart,Bunting Wieners)

Allen's 1976 Spontaneous Poetics Summer lectures continue with this, his fifth lecture, dated June 18, 1976. He continues from his earlier classes on the ballad form, but in this class begins by sketching out a brief bibliography, offering suggestions for reading. He consistently refers students to the then-growing Naropa Institute library. Ed Dorn, Christopher Smart, Basil Bunting and John Wieners are the first of a number of figures that he mentions. 

AG (begins, distributing a leaflet with various writers names) : There's something by everybody, here in the library. So it's a reading-list, or it's a list of poets that I think are interesting, or important, or useful. I'll try, before the end of term, to suggest one or two sample poems of everybody on the list. I'll get a piece of paper xeroxed up which'll give you some. For instance, Christopher Smart - number 7, at the bottom of the list - (you might take some notes now) - "Rejoice In The Lamb" - it's a long, 80-page poem.Why don't I run through some of this and give you, for those of you who don't know, beginning at the bottom of the list, for those of you who don't have (a) clear (map)..[Allen continues distributing the leaflet] - Anyone not have one?

Student: Yes

AG: Anybody else? Does everybody have this list? - I think what I'll do is I'll just go over this list now and suggest things for you to read (and I think everything I'm suggesting can be found in the library). I'm not suggesting giant reading-lists, I'm just suggesting little 
fragments so that you'll actually just be able to check out what you don't know.

At the bottom of the list - Ed Dorn - if you look him up in the Don Allen anthology, The New American Poetry 1945-1960.

Student: What's the title again?

AG: The title of the poem? I don't remember. Look at the last line. "The Newly Fallen" (is the title of the book) or "For the Newly Fallen"...

Student: Didn't he write a book called "Hands Off Poetry"?

AG: Yes.[No] He's (also) got a book called "Hands Up!". I'm just suggesting a little thing to look at, see?, one actual poem to look at, instead of saying his name and an encyclopaedic list of books, because that's not going to do you any good. Nobody's going to read all that. Not even me! He's also got an interesting long, long poem called...

Student: Gunslinger

AG: ..the Gunslinger, the Gunslinger -  and "Hands Up"

Student: It's a little..

AG: I have it.

Student: ..small book. Individual discrete poems, isn't it?

AG: Yeah. But I'm suggesting you (look at one poem) from his early poetry, (the one) that ends "Oh, the stone's not yet cut", called "The Newly Fallen", I think. It's in the Don Allen anthology.

(Then), above that, Christopher Smart - "Rejoice in the Lamb" - "Jubilate Agno" - "Rejoice in the Lamb", which is in the library. It's a book. It was written in Bedlam, the bug-house, three lines a day for a number of years. The manuscript was lost and only recently recovered (in 1920), and published and re-edited several times until finally we got a good version of it. Almost anywhere (in) that huge, long, manuscript of eighty pages, it's great. Cranky, eccentric, supernatural-minded. "Rejoice in the Lamb" is the model I used for the poem "Howl" - the structure of "Rejoice in the Lamb" is the actual original "Howl". There's a famous section beginning "For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry" which is in almost all anthologies. But in the library we have the entire "Rejoice in the Lamb". There is an expensive $8 [sic] edition of it available in the bookstores.

Student: Eleven

AG: Eleven dollars now? Well, it's a good purchase for eleven bucks, if you can afford poetry. Yeah?...What I would suggest is (to) check out any anthology of English poetry that would have a section from "Rejoice in the Lamb", and the Norton Anthology, this thing I've been using here (actually, I just fell into it), the Norton Anthology of Poetry is a pretty good one. It's got everything. All those little lyrics and ballads that I was reading from are in the Norton Anthology. I don't know if we've got it in the library here. It's a good solid book to work out of. The modern section isn't so good. It costs [then] eight bucks.

Student: They have a Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry as well

AG: Yeah. I don;t know the modern selection...

Student: Volume II, which covers from 18oo on.

AG: What I was saying is I don't know if their modern selection is any good. I don't think it is. It's not a really good modern selection. It doesn't have Basil Bunting.

Student: Not in the 20th Century?

AG: That's what I'm trying to say. But, before the 20th Century, it's quite good. All I'm saying is I don't know if their modern stuff is any good, but anything before the 20th Century, they're pretty dependable. And they do have (the) "(For) I will consider my Cat Jeoffry" section, which is the corniest and most obvious and available section of 'Rejoice in the Lamb". Basil Bunting - his Collected Poems are in the library, and I've checked out all the readable easy-to-understand poems in the book, and written the pages to look at. So, if you just check out Basil Bunting in the library, I've pre-digested it for you (and, also, it's the only copy of that book in Boulder, or perhaps in the Western United States, because it was published in England by the Fulcrum Press. I don't know where else you can get his work, or maybe you can..Is Bunting available anywhere? [the Collected volume that Allen refers to here was first published by Fulcrum and was re-published by OUP (Oxford University Press) a decade later. The Complete Poems is now available from Bloodaxe in England and New Directions in America

Student (offering a book): Allen? There's a short excerpt in this book.

AG: Oh, it is in some anthologies - that's (good) - Shake The Kaleidoscope edited by Milton Klonsky.

Student: It has something from...

AG: It's Pocket Books. Which Pocket Book is that? Mentor? Pocket Books, New York. What publisher is that, actually? Simon and Schuster? Pocket Books has a relatively interesting anthology also for 20th Century matters, and has some Bunting, Dorn, Smart. Bunting was a friend of Pound, Williams, Eliot, Yeats. I've talked about him before here, I think. He's quite old now and he's the last of the great, great old men of the Imagist period from World War I [then, 1976] still alive.

(Then) John Wieners is a poet that can make you cry, if you're an aging faggot like me. You'll find a good selection of his "Hotel Wentley poems" in the Don Allen anthology. His most famous book is "The Hotel Wentley Poems", very brief, and most of those are reproduced in the Donald Allen anthology, with another long poem at the very end there, ["A Poem For Trapped Things"] which is a total knock-out, about him sitting on the bed in some tragic junk phase,watching a butterfly trying to get out of the room and suddenly realizing that he's the butterfly trying to get out of the room, and it ends, "I watch you/ all morning/ long,/With my hand over my mouth". It's really solid, clear, like a movie - "...the butterfly is my soul/ and weak from battle"..."I watch you/ all morning/ long/ With my hand over my mouth". Wieners is about 40 now [1976] and he reads at St Marks occasionally, and he was originally connected with the Black Mountain Review group of poets. I put a couple of his new books in the library. He has a book called "Nerves", later, and then Fag Rag, a Boston gay newspaper group. just put out his collected recent poems ("Behind the State Capitol: Or Cincinnati Pike") and it's really a terrific volume. I think that's just been sent to the library. So there's Wieners in the library here. But for a brief early selection of Wieners, the Don Allen anthology will do.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday's Weekly Round-Up - 110

selection of videos are now up from Jan 16th's NYC Housing Works Ginsberg Recordings First Blues launch. Hettie Jones (filmed here by Norman Savitt), after a little autobiographical reflection, reads "Broken Bone Blues"Ambrose Bye (accompanied by Devon Waldman - and Aliah Rosenthal on cello) performs Allen's immortal "Gospel Noble Truths", Andy Clausen gives a rousing (as ever) reading of the "Capitol Air" lyrics, David Amram (recalls Allen and Bob Dylan and Allen's first forays into music - he also performs his own "My Buddha Angel of Cheng Du", accompanying himself on guitar, pennywhistles, and Chinese hulusi - (not to mention scat-singing, yodelling and, the center-piece, a Mandarin Chinese sing-along!) - Kevin Twigg is on glockenspiel and drums). C.A.Conrad reads  "No Reason" (rendered on First Blues by it's author, the absent-for-that-particular-night Steven Taylor), as well as the heartbreaking late lyric, "Gone Gone Gone".
(C.A. and everyone can be seen being introduced by, m-c for the evening, Bob Rosenthal)

Oh, and here's Anne Waldman (with the Bye-Waldman-Rosenthal back-up band) and her performance of her own "Bardo Corridor", her hommage to Allen on that night.

Steven Hall's inventive and radical new arrangement of "Everybody Sing" for Arthur's Landing'  perhaps we have already referred to - or perhaps not?

Please note that videos in the First Blues feature that say "clairedelune49" were filmed by Thelma Blitz, not Norman Savitt. This includes the Andy Clausen, Ambrose Bye, CA Conrad, and Ann Waldman videos. The David Amram and Hettie Jones videos are by Norman Savitt.

Daniel Radcliffe is Allen Ginsberg for 'Kill Your Darlings'
[Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings]

"Kill Your Darlings" continues to get killer reviews! - (In fact, hot news!, it's just been picked up for international distribution by Sony Pictures Classics!)

(From the UK press) - Here's Damon Wise  in The Guardian "Kill Your Darlings" the real deal, a genuine attempt to source the beginning of America's first true literary counterculture of the 20th creates a true story of energy and passion, for once eschewing the clacking of typewriter keys to show artists actually talking, devising, and ultimately daring each other to create and innovate".

and here's Emma Jones in The Independent - "America's most awarded 20th Century poet [sic] has been portrayed before - most notably, recently, by James Franco in Howl - but (Daniel) Radcliffe provides a defining performance. He is simply terrific as the 18 year old Ginsberg, fumbling with his sexuality as well as his spectacles, and entirely in the thrall of his friend, fellow writer, Lucien Carr."

Matt Goldberg on takes it even further - "Radcliffe's transformation to the next phase of his acting career is complete with Kill Your Darlings. The range and magnitude of his performance here is nothing short of breathtaking. We feel every ounce of Ginsberg's pain, frustration and longing, and Radcliffe makes it look effortless. So much is happening inside Ginsberg - from the development of his poetic voice to his guilt over his schizophrenic mother's imprisonment at an asylum to his love for Lucien - Radcliffe perfectly hits every moment in the character's emotional whirlwind. He is the broken but still beating heart of the story, and his longing for Carr is almost completely devastating.".. "In his magnificent debut feature, director and co-writer John Krokidas has created a moving, exhilarating, and heartbreaking film."

Radcliffe himself has spoken out, intelligently, about the film: "I don't care why people come and see films. If they come and see a film about the Beat poets because they saw me in "Harry Potter" - fantastic, that's a wonderful thing."...I feel like I have an opportunity to capitalize on "Potter" by doing work that might not otherwise get attention. If I can help get a film like this attention , that's, without doubt, that's a great thing"
and to the BBC  (see also here) (regarding his, perhaps, controversial casting as Allen) - "I was daunted by taking on such a great figure".."I certainly understood a lot more about him and his poetry, particularly "Howl", after being immersed in this period in his life". 

As has been reported some years back, (for example here), Daniel has his own poetic background , and, in answer to a question in Logan Hill's recent Esquire interview - ("I'm sometimes haunted by that Ginsberg line [from "America"] -  "Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time magazine?/ I'm obsessed by Time magazine./ I read it every week."  - Do you have a favorite line?) - His reply:  "I don't have a favorite line, but I have a favorite poem (of Allen 's) - "Kaddish", because of the way your knowledge of his life and his mother informs the way you read his poetry. It's a real heart-breaker".

The sex-scenes. (As we noted last week), the sex-scenes are an obvious hook for a prurient media. Radcliffe addressed these issues early (to MTV) - "It's interesting that it's deemed shocking. For me, there's something very strange about that because we see straight sex all the time. We've seen gay sex scenes before. I don't know why a gay sex scene should be any more shocking than a straight sex scene - Or, both of them are equally un-shocking." 
He further elaborates in this interview with Out magazine, and in this interview with  "My favorite John Krokidas direction moment was when we [he and Dane DeHaan] started kissing. I guess I was way too hesitant about it in the moment, and John just went,"No, kiss him, fucking sex-kissing!". That was my favorite note that I've gotten, probably in my career! [laughs]. Especially with the world that I've come from! The things that directors have shouted to me in the past usually involve which way I have to look to see the dragon!" -  And: "You know I think (the dissemination of that image) will be wonderful. Dane and I are banging the drum already because we want the MTV "best kiss" award. We want that golden popcorn! To my knowledge, a sincere, passionate, romantic gay kiss has never won, so I think that would be a very cool thing for this movie to receive".

Michael Polish's Big Sur also debuted (this past Wednesday) at Sundance (to slightly less fanfare!). Here are a few of the initial reviews - 
Tim Grierson for Screen Daily - "Big Sur achieves one of the trickier challenges in cinema, dramatising the inner demons of a character awash in melancholy and addiction. This unapologetic mood piece...does a fine job of making inertia and self-doubt palpable while keeping pretentiousness and self-indulgence at bay...(It) is simply too small and idiosyncratic a film to attract a large audience, but the author's fans should be suitably intrigued by this impresionistic portrait".     
Allison Loring for Film School Rejects - "Breath-taking visuals of Big Sur and the Californian coast make you feel that you are there, which, when paired with the beautiful score...feels like true escapism and make the juxtaposition against Kerouac's break-down all the more tragic. (On the downside), while all the actors are clearly committed to their performances, (Jean-Marc) Barr (the Kerouac figure)'s lack of interaction with them, particularly when the story revolved around him, caused the ensemble to feel like an under-rehearsed stage-play rather than a tight-knit group of friends".  
Glen Warchol for Salt Lake Magazine is glibly dismissive - The movie, he declares, suffers from "too much polish (sic) and too little motion". 


[William Blake (1757-1827)]

A whole slew of "lost" William Blake etchings have been (re)discovered in Manchester, England by resourceful University art students - a major event! More on that story here.

That NYU show of Allen's photos, "Beat Memories", remains up (it'll be up for a while, until the first week of April). Here's three more notices of it - here (Ariella Budick in The Financial Times), here (Michael H Miller in The Gallerist) and here (Matthew Smolinsky's "Real In A Really Sacred World")  
City Lights blog, the wonderfully-titled "Abandon All Despair Ye Who Enter Here", we're always happy to recommend. It features, this week, notes on Gordon Ball and his East Hill Farm memoir (including a clip of his "A Winter's Day at Allen Ginsberg's Farm in Cherry Valley.." ) 

Michalis Limnios on his Blues@Greece site  continues to astound with his remarkable collection of interviews. The most recent? - with George Laughead, curator/creator of, "an on-line history of Beats in the Heartland",  "Beats in Kansas" - "I put up Beats in Kansas at KU (Kansas University) because of the odd fact that 80 percent of the living Beats were from Kansas".

Actually, blink, and here's another one! - Cliff Anderson talks about his experience and friendship with Jack Kerouac.        

Michael Rothenberg reminds us of an urgent matter - Qatari poet, Mohamed Ibn Al Alami's currrent life-time imprisonment. So far over 12,000 people have signed a petition, calling for his release, generating over 60,000 lettters to the Qatar Embassy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nanao Sakaki and Allen Ginsberg - Birdbrain in Japan


Two of our more popular postings - on the great Japanese poet, Nanao Sakaki - and on Allen's poem, "Birdbrain" - coalesce here with this lively recording of the two of them reading it (that poem) together, (Allen, the English, Nanao, the Japanese), tweaking it with contemporaneous Japanese references. The occasion is, October 30, 1988, a major anti-nuclear protest march on Kansai Electric's head office in Osaka. Allen was visiting Japan.
The reading took place at Nakanoshima Koen, behind Osaka City Hall, and was filmed, edited, and (we thank him for it!) uploaded by Ken Rodgers.

How To Live On The Planet Earth, Nanao's Collected Poems in English, lovingly gathered by Blackberry Books has recently (just this month) been published. For more about that see here.

and see here and here for transcription of a vintage radio-interview between Nanao and Allen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) - 29

File:Sir Philip Sidney from NPG.jpg
[Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) via the National Portrait Gallery, London]

AG: So, anyway, the reason I got off into quantity was.. [back to Sir Walter Ralegh's "The Lie" - Allen sings, to harmonium accompaniment, the first two stanzas of the poem - "Go Soul, the body's guest,/ Upon a thankless errand/ Fear not to touch the best;/ The truth shall be thy warrant.."] - I guess you could do it that way, easy enough.
It was something relevant to another conversation several days ago (about a poet) of this era, Sir Philip Sidney. Some students were asking if "first thought" is "best thought", or what does "first thought, best thought" mean in terms of improvisation? Where do you look? And there is an old prescription from sonnets by Sidney about looking into your heart and writing. So I want to close this class (because I have to go upstairs and give a reading) by reading the first of the sonnets from "Astrophel and Stella" by Sir Philip Sidney, who is, what? around 1580, I guess, these would be...late 16th century. [ Allen reads a sonnet by Sir Philip Sidney - "Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,/ That the dear she might take some pleasure of my pain..".."Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:/"Fool", said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write!""] - How many of you knew that? Know that and had heard that? How many had not? [a meager show of hands] - It's astounding. It was high-school, grammar-school, stuff in 1890, or something, back in "the good old days" - "Fool" said the Muse, "look in your heart and write", is one of the classic period pieces. It's one of the pieces that everybody... I'm sorry, I've ignored you.

Student: Allen, when you were talking about Greek before...

AG: Yeah

Student: ..and how it all goes back to stretching the vowels..

AG: Stressing, no, hearing, the vowels..

Student: Hearing the vowels.

AG: Yeah, measuring the vowel, or developing some ear for it.. 

Student: When did all that go astray? In Latin? Is that when it first started to...

AG: Ah, let's see..European writing was in Latin until..what? twelfth-century or so? (or, at least Italian letters, Italian writing, was all in Latin). In Italy, writing was in Latin until..when?.. Who was..

Student: Petrarch

AG: Petrarch began writing in Italian (vernacular) language. Petrarch. But in England, there was Anglo-Saxon style, which was accentual (the earlier British verse in Britain was Anglo-Saxon, which was counted by what was called then alliterative verse. And (Ezra) Pound has translated some of that in "The Seafarer" (which we have in the library in the book Personae). If you check out "The Seafarer", you'll see the Pound translation of that verse-form, alliterative, but (Geoffrey) Chaucer is the first that begins to write in...

Student: Something recognizable in English?

AG: Well, no, but stressed English..

Student: Stressed English? I  never heard..

AG: English stress. Does anybody know who first begins in writing in accents in English? That is, alliterative verse is accentual too, but at some point or other, let's see, there would be writing in counting the stresses and using the Latin measurements, which would be about the point where people stopped using church Latin, or stopped using Latin for the official language and began using the native tongue, the demotic tongue, or the local tongue, and adapting the classical counting patterns to English stressed accents. Does anybody know when that begins, actually?

Student: It was a debate going on around Chaucer's time, whether to write alliterative, or whether to..

AG: Whether to write in..?

Student:  Stressing or iambic modes.

AG: So what century was that?

Student: That was in Chaucer's time.

AG: Twelfth-century?

Student: No, not twelfth-century.  Oral transmission, it was strictly oral..

AG: Hi, Tony. (TS is a late-arriving student)  Tony is a specialist in writing in America. [turns to TS] We were just talking about when in England did they stop writing in church Latin and in accentual meter? Did they actually write in British and in stress?   

Student: Even Milton is still writing Latin

AG: Yeah, well, Milton is a great example of someone adapting the Latin syntax and also the vowel sounds to English.  Okay, I'm going to quit now [class session and tape end here]