Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Workshop Poetry Assignment - Part 2

[The Glenn Miller Ballroom at the University of Colorado in Boulder (recently newly-renovated)  was the location of the 1981 Ginsberg workshop] 

The presentation at Naropa of three-line student poems continues (see yesterday's post). Allen continues to be frustrated by student's projection and comprehensibility - "The reason I'm trying to, dictatorially, trying to enforce vocal clarity is because that will lead to visual clarity"

Student: "My big desk/filled with papers/I don't know what to do".
AG: Your what filled with papers?
Student: "I don't know what to do"
AG: Your what?
Student: "My big desk -  My big desk/filled with papers.."
AG: I still cannot
Student(s): "My big desk!"
AG: "My big desk"? - My big desk? - ok, "My big desk filled with papers"
Student: "I don't know what to do."
AG: Next..

Student: "Rhythmic island kisses warning in red and white tag /I smile/and must remember not to try so hard".

Student: "Short-haired girl in flower-print shorts/rolls a curl around her finger/and shakes heaven with blonde tango music".
AG: Hanger music? Hanger?
Student(s): "Tango"
AG: Tango!

Student: "Awaken in a sidewalk cafe/Campari umbrellas and Burroughs look-alikes passing/the waiter has reflecting eye-sockets".

Student: "Ballroom wooden floor/Moon ring - no cow jumping over/My life - a celebration"
AG: I didn't hear the first line actually - "Ballroom..?"
Student: "Ballroom wooden floor"
AG: Could people help with the line? - Just be aware of the space around you. I keep saying..

Student: "Great Eastern sun shining/through this Sunday morning window/What a beautiful day!"

Student: "Black and red car/sitting but ready/an Anarchist-colored car!"

Student: "Graveyard ghosts/conjuring grains of sand/Milk pails full of cottonwood".
AG: Do that again, please.
Student: "Graveyard ghosts/ conjuring grains of sand/Milk pails full of cottonwood".

Student: "Yellow layers of jagged substance/The Geology building is made of stone/I have been asking too many questions". 

Student: "Bread so dry it looks like chocolate/bought in Beaver, buttered in Boulder/Home is where my ass is".
AG:  Home..?  What was the last line?
Student: "Home is where my ass is". 

Student: "Okay, it's quite possible that I have a crush on Anne Waldman/ Now under the stars, Boulder/thinking of her chants and new hair-style".

Student: "Flat on my back in Boulder/Umbrella-ed by under-side stripes and springs of an upper bunk/ Bunk - the catchword for showbiz mattress".
AG: "The catchword for?"
Student: "Showbiz mattress"
AG: Right

Student: "Layers, layers,/ cantilevers, multi-layers  /First voice - ha!  To visit - si!"

Student: "Mr. Man, Mr. Big Man/You think you are Mr. Somebody/But you are Mr. Nobody and Mr. Everyone".

Student; "Pulling the sun my chariot swift, soothe my eyes with morning mist, awakened by her tender kiss/  the sun pries at my eyelids, somebody unplug that bird/ It's not the way she looks, the way she is"

Student: "Naked on white sheets/I wake to the heat/What matter if I write this or go back to sleep?"

Student: "Her heart opened/like the almond nipple/I'd like a beer"

Student: "Jaded rock, grasping for heaven/inside a pitcher of water/ice down Ginsberg's throat"
AG: That reminds me

Student: "Saw the hit-men of glory/ eyes aglow…"
AG: Couldn't hear.
Student: "Saw the hit-men of glory.."
AG: I still couldn't hear, (pause a bit) between the words
Student: "Saw the hit-men of glory/ eyes aglow/yes, old but not gone"
AG: I can't hear! I cannot understand ONE SINGLE WORD!!!  Come on! - Slowly, pronouncing each consonant 
Student: "Saw the hit-men of glory/ eyes aglow/ oh yes, old but not gone".

Student: "Outside the art show/lenses click/eyelids in dream state".

Student: "A tunnel unending, at the end of which/a green prick with wings flying, Mystery time Manhattan angel/to the South for the Winter".

Student: "Bobbie bought no wine at the liquor store/I was angry with him".
AG: It probably needs a third line
Student: "Bobbie bought no wine…"
AG: It probably needs a third line. You got "Bobbie bought no wine at the liquor store", (then), "I was angry with him" - What's the comment? See, you
Student: "Go get some,Bobbie".
AG: "Go get some Bobbie!" - In other words, just to interrupt a minute.. in other words, the structure suggests..check out your haiku to find if it has a punch-line.

Student: "In a death world without sex/Birds chirped in Colorado mountains/And I mourn the uncle shriveled too young".

Student: "Morning light waking beside Boulder creek/ rubbing up against your rich brown Brazilian skin/I feel sweet feather tickle of fuck Caliope".
AG: Rubbing up against your sweet something skin?
Student:  Sweet.. "rubbing up against your rich brown Brazilian skin"
AG: Resilient?
Student: Yeah - "I feel sweet feather tickle of fuck Caliope"

AG: Yeah, see, if you're paying attention.. do you notice, I keep noticing words that pass by that are not comprehensible. And I think that most people just assume that poetry is so full  of shit that it doesn't make any difference. And because it doesn't make any difference so the poetry is full of shit, because nobody can even hear it half the time, if you go to poetry-readings. If there is a vocal clarity… The reason I'm trying to, dictatorially, trying to enforce vocal clarity is because that will lead to visual clarity. Once you have to put it out really up-front vocally, then you can't get away with slurring over and swallowing words that you're not quite sure of. And most of the time people slur over or swallow words that they're not easy with, that they don't feel right about, or read them too fast. So the reason I'm sort of starting backwards (not starting inside, in the mind, but starting outside, in the air), saying, please pronounce your consonants, shape your words in the air, that'll lead back into the mind to shaping the picture in the mind, in the long run, ok.

Student: "The earth is round is flat/The world tilts back/I lean all I and age held gravely"
AG: I lean all I and what?
Student: "All I and age held gravely"
AG: I can't hear the last three notes - da-da da da-da-da 
Student: "The earth….
AG: da-da. Four syllables I could not hear at the end.
Student: Okay  - "all eye and age held gravely"
AG: Held gravely?
Student: Yeah
AG: Ok

Student: "A railroad spur a half block long/the Denver and the Rio Grande with nowhere left to go/Shaded by the same trees I am".
AG: Fine

Student: "If the sun lands on your mountain and…"
AG: On your what?
Student: "If the sun lands on your mountain and the river stays clean/how will you receive me then?"
AG: I couldn't hear the last line, I'm sorry
Student: "How will you receive me then?"
AG: How will you see me then?
Student: "..receive me then
AG: Ok

Student: "Om om om om shanti om/ cell-like dormitory room putting me through changes/ facing myself again - no colors to escape into" 

Student: "When I was six, no-one was looking I sniffed my aunt's panties, they were just laying there, I pulled them out of a dirty laundry pile to see what a woman's cunt smells like, I guess/Boy, am I the only one?"
AG: Not likely.

Student: "Ten foot high Glenn Miller [in the auditorium] stares down black and white from wall/My legs are crossed like X/Listening's like meditation".

Student: "Hot tongue dog/ on a Boulder roof/saliva howl".
AG: That's condensed

Student: "Driving around town waiting for the parade/Penguins bobbing in the river/What a dream!"
AG: Er..wait a minute.. something bobbing in the river?
Student: Penguins
AG: Penguins? - here?
Student: It was a dream
AG: Oh, I'm sorry, what was the last line?
Student: "What a dream!"
AG: I thought you said "I want a drink". I literally thought you were saying, "I want a drink"! - I keep saying, can you pronounce so that others (everyone in the room) can hear clearly. It's part of awareness of space around you, to take in.. to be a bodhisattva, and take generous, kindly, concern forthe fact that there are other people in the room, at the furthest distance of the room, and at the furthest distance of the universe, for you to address when you get up to make your declaration. So that the poetry can be a declaration that can be heard everywhere.

Student: "Your back is toward me/ shoulders hunched/I will not ask to sit with you".
AG: That's a little bit like Charles Reznikoff!

Student: "Studying writing with Ginsberg's a ball/While Glenn Miller looks right at me/but wasn't it Benny Goodman who first played Carnegie Hall?"
AG: I guess, again, one more time, could you put more space between the words. Partly, you see, the loudspeakers go out there [pointing to the auditorium] so I'm at a slight disadvantage also. That may be why I'm so creepy about it. 

Student: "Studying writing with Ginsberg's a ball/While Glenn Miller looks right at me/but wasn't it Benny Goodman who first played Carnegie Hall?"
AG: Ah

Student: "This year/ I have hated the sun/Perhaps I am facing the wrong direction?"

Student: This is called "More Glenn Miller" - "Glenn Miller eats sudden red sun sneak attack of Jack Kerouac/Red words spurt from the ceiling/All naked! - better hold on to your red ass".

Student: "Kind of lame jazz on a heaven sweet night/I've got a good place in line for the reading/There's hardly anything I want". 

Student: "Pizza Hut's red hat stares at me/ with gold music in my ears/The beauteous spirit of Carolyn Cassady".
AG: I didn't hear the last line
Student: "The beauteous spirit of Carolyn Cassady".

Student: This isn't going to reach
AG: You'll have to come forward to get the microphone. The last people up, please come forward for that

Student: "The open book again/The idea at hand/collecting my thoughts".
AG: In collecting my thoughts?
Student: Yeah

Student:  "Read a poem in class/Mind reels/Relax."

Student: "Stomach cramps from God's blue gas sky/I don't like my cock touching the urine-painted toilet-seat/Allen's going to think I'm a scatalogical freak."
AG: Well, I hadn't thought of it before!

Student: "A plain feeling/Field off to my side/The borderline slides from horizon to home plate".

AG: Any more?

Student: I got one, Allen

AG: Okay, come forward and get it into the…  oh, okay, yell it. 

Student: "Isopropyl Alcohol Jelly/Nonsense/There ain't no such thing!"

AG: "Isopropyl Alcohol Jelly/Nonsense/There ain't no such thing!" - It'll be on the record now - Any more from the sound gallery?

Student: That's it

AG: That's it - ok - Next thing

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-one-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-seven-and-a-quarter minutes in]

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