Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Website & Blog Address

As you've probably noticed, our posts have dropped off since October 30, 2016.  That's because we're moving everything over to our new and revised website at AllenGinsberg.Org So grab a coffe, a tea, or a strong drink and shimmy on over for our current as well as archived blog posts.  We'll be keeping this up just a bit longer while we migrate our content over.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday's Weekly Round-Up - 291

The big news today. Upcoming on the Ginsberg site, we're working on a number of upgrades and changes. Stay tuned (and bear with us as we iron out all of the issues of transition). Starting next week, we'll no longer be with blogger, the blog will be accessible, instead, via a newly-vamped and considerably-improved site. We anticipate a few problems vis a vis access to some of the older posts (the archives), but, don't worry, we're on the case with this and we'll have everything back up, accessible and better-than-ever, before too long.

Meantime, a quick Friday Round-Up

                                                                   [Tom Hayden (1939-2016)]

Tom Hayden's passing this week. We continue to mourn.
The New York Times obituary is here, the LA Times obituary is here 
Here is Democracy Now! 's memory and celebration
Here is his 30,000 word Port Huron Statement (the key text that he was instrumental in drafting in 1962 for the SDS) - Tom Hayden, a prescient voice of conscience against the Vietnam War.

Several decades later -  August 2 1993, Allen to Gary Snyder:
"Returned tonight from Naropa - saw Tom Hayden who was addressing our Ecological Studies section. We mentioned Peter Warshall's work in unbuilding a dam in Maibu. Hayden said he'd got the money out of state legislature for some project (but hadn't met Warshall except maybe briefly). Interestingly, he seemed to've moved (as an ex-Catholic) to spiritual ground for ecology, focusing on local politics. Knew your work and had read Rick Fields (who was present at the lecture) - strange circles.." 

Strange circles.

Looking back to December, 1967
Alan Ziegler (who we've featured here before) posted, earlier this week, a delightful Allen Ginsberg remembrance - "Tales of the Sixties: Allen Ginsberg's Three Days In Schenectady". Among the recollections:

(Bob) Dylan's Scarf: "Allen notices the album jacket for Dylan’s John Wesley Harding propped against our stereo speaker, and points to the scarf worn by one of the people standing next to Dylan. “Dylan gave it to me,” Allen says, extending the scarf he is wearing". (and) Dylan's Poetry: "We discuss (Bob) Dylan as poet: “ ‘The motorcycle black Madonna two-wheeled gypsy queen!’” Allen declaims. “That’s as good as anything I’ve written!”
Uncle Allen: "Allen walks by the poster of him wearing an Uncle Sam hat. He stops, backtracks, and signs his name on the ribbon."
Bathtub: "I awaken in the middle of the night and step into the bathroom, startled to see Allen Ginsberg in his underwear crouching over the bathtub. He is washing his blue jeans."

For more sacred and profane revelation, (crumbs, but nonetheless interesting crumbs) - see here

[Postcard from Allen Ginsberg to Alan Ziegler: "Dear Mr Z, I don't know my schedule as it's made up by others while I stay home & avoid correspondence and do my work - poesy, solitude as much as I can get. See you I guess, there. I'll keep your address & number. Thanks for good cheer - Allen Ginsberg"]

Congratulations to Allen's (ex-) student, Paul Beatty, 1989 alumnae (MFA) of Brooklyn College, winner of the prestigious 2016 Man Booker Prize  
" Allen Ginsberg’s generosity, his oddball stories, and his boundless love for poetry and process, always left me grateful and thinking, ‘I didn’t know you could to that

’                                                                             [Paul Beatty]

and, still in the environs of the UK,

Allen's reading of "Who Be Kind To" at the Albert Hall in 1965 at the International  Poetry Incarnation is featured in this brief clip from BBC radio - here

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spenser - Like As A Huntsman..

                                                           [Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)]

AG: Okay, next - (Edmund) Spenser! - We'll have a little bit of Spenser anyway. Page one-sixty ---page one-sixty . I thought that one long sonnet, an odd sonnet he's got there. We'll take one sonnet anyway.
Did we do this? Did we do that Sonnet 67 [Amoretti LXVII] ? on page one-sixty? - Well, it's kind of witty and kind of interesting. Since we haven't much of Spenser, lets just… Can somebody read that sonnet aloud? somebody who's got the…Could you perhaps? [Allen turns to Student (Pat)] Well, Pat (sic), I think you've got the language, maybe, try that one? Sonnet 67? 
[Student (Pat) reads]

Like as a huntsman after weary chase,
Seeing the game from him escap'd away,
Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey;
So after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chase forsook,
The gentle deer return'd the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook.
There she beholding me with milder look,
Sought not to fly. but fearless still did bide:
Till I in hand her yet half trembling took,
And with her own goodwill her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seem'd, to see a beast so wild, 
So goodly won, with her own will beguil'd.

AG:  It's just a little… Remember that "They flee from me that sometime did me seek'. Again the image of the deer being caught, the lady as a deer. Psychologically, this is very interesting because…I don't know reading it this first time you have a chance to dig what he's saying but imagining his lady to a wild deer that he'd been chasing and chasing (or had loved, let's say), been chasing and chasing, and finally, "like a weary huntsman", sits him down to rest and, sweating, in the shady place, the panting hounds, like, "beguile-ed of their prey", vain assay, long pursuit  gave up, gave up on it  - "When I all weary had the chase forsook…" - all of a sudden, then, once you give up, then it comes to you - "The gentle deer return'd the self-same way", and.. but.. so there's a psychological thing about anybody who's laid too heavy a trip on a girl or boy trying to make them and found them offended and running away in the opposite direction, and then, calming down and giving up, and sort of abandoning the grasping, finds that, now that the great barrier of anxiety and frenzy has dropped, there's some open space for the other person to come in, look around, and make friends or relate a little bit. And, you know, perhaps somebody who did like him but was scared by all of his insistency.
So the great line is, "Till I in hand her yet half trembling took". So it's that moment of trembling gentleness that he's arriving at (so, which is really… I imagine everybody's experienced that in a love relation - that moment of balance when both are realizing that the situation is okay, and then the feeling comes to the eye and to the heart, and there's a trembling in the body, and the opening up of… oh, delight, I guess, painful delight?) . You don't have to… In other words, you don't have to push because it's all there coming to you and if you make any push it'll chase it away again. So I like "Till I in hand her yet half trembling took/And with her own goodwill,  her firmly tied' - Just intelligence there.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-eight-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately eighty-three minutes in] 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


          ["My Lady Greensleeves" - Dante Gabriel Rossetti  (1828-1882) - oil on panel  33 x 27.3 cms (1863) at the Fogg Art Museum (Harvard University), Cambridge, Massachusetts]

AG: And has anybody ever... everybody knows Greensleeves don't they? Has anybody ever heard all the lyrics of Greensleeves? - They're here? - Are they in our book here? 
Is Greensleeves in this book? -  I think so  - It's of the same time and from one of these Miscellanies - A Miscellany from 1584 called "A Handful of Pleasant Delights", where Greensleeves first was printed. Is it listed in the book? - in our book? (I have it in others). 

No, apparently not. Is anybody interested in hearing the entire Greensleeves? - just as a poem - to hear the words? Does that make sense? - We know it as a song
I mean, I know it by heart as a a couple of stanzas but.. 
I have a couple of different versions  [compare, for example, the version above by The King's Singers] - (You can) (see if there's any difference between them)

"Alas  my love you do me wrong,/ To cast me off discourteously/ And I have loved you for long/ Delighting in your company/ Greensleeves was all my joy/Greensleeves was my delight/ Greensleeves was my heart of gold,/ And who but my Lady Greensleeves"

[So, if you read it that way, you get "who but my lady Greensleeves" - who but my lady Greensleeves?]

"I had been ready at your hand/ To grant whatever you would crave,/ I have both wagered life and land,/ Your love and good-will for to have./ I bought three kerchers to thy head/ That were wrought fine and gallantly;/ I kept them both at board and bed/ Which cost my purse well-favour'dly/ I bought thee petticoats of the best,/ The cloth so fine as fine might be:/ I gave thee jewels for thy chest/ And all this cost I spent on thee./ Thy smock of silk both fair and white,/With gold embroidered gorgeously;/ thy petticoat of sendall right;/ And this I bought thee gladly./ Thy girdle of gold so red/ With pearls bedecked sumptuously,/ The like no other lasses had/ And yet you do not love me. /Thy purse and eke thy gay gilt knives,/ Thy pin-case, gallant to the eye;/ No better wore the burgess' wives/ And yet thou wouldst not love me!/ Thy crimsom stockings all of silk/ With gold all wrought above the knee/ Thy pumps as white as was the milk/ And yet thou wouldst not love me!/ Thy gown was of the grassy green,/ Thy sleeves of satin hanging;/ by which made thee be our harvest queen/ And yet thou woulst not love me!/ Thy garters fringed with the gold/ And silver aglets hanging by/ Which made thee blithe for to behold/ And yet thou wouldst not love me!/ My gayest gelding thee I gave./ To ride wherever liked thee./ No lady ever was so brave;/ And yet thou wouldst not love me!/ My men were clothed all in green,/ And they did ever wait on thee;/ All this was gallant to be seen;/ And yet thou wouldst not love me!/ They set thee up, they took thee down,/  They served thee with humility;/ thy foot might not once touch the ground;/And yet thou wouldst not love me! / For every morning when thou rose/ I sent thee dainties, orderly,/ To cheer thy stomach from all woes;/ And yet thou wouldst not love me! / Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,/ But still thou hadst it readily/, Thy music still to play and sing;/ And yet thou wouldst not love me! /And who did pay for all this gear,/ That thou didst spend when pleased thee?/ [Me!],/ Even I that am rejected here/ And thou disdains to love me!/ Well!, I will pray to god on high,/ That thou my constancy mayst see,/ And that, yet once before I die,/Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me!/  Greensleeves, now farewell, Adieu!/. God I pray to prosper thee!/ For I am still thy lover true;./ Come once again and love me!.."

That's a real…that's really working at it. And then there's "Greensleeves was all my joy,/ Greensleeves was my delight;/ Greensleeves was my heart of gold,/ And who but my Lady Greensleeves."

The quality of the poetry here is terrific, detail by detail, stanza by stanza. No wonder it's such a..  (I mean) century after century, it's been a pop hit. So maybe that's, in some respects, just maybe the one familiar pop song which has been a pop hit over and over again.  (Thomas) Campion never came back (except to intellectuals and cognoscenti), but Greensleeves, almost everyone knows (at least, in the 'Sixties, everyone was into this). It's amazing. If you want… So, in a sense, it's an ideal, as a song, it's an ideal, because it's perennial, comes back. It seems to survive..

Student: The melody's so haunting.

AG: The melody is excellent - but the words.. But also there's something about the "Greensleeves was my.. all my joy" [Allen begins singing]  I mean, the words.. fit. The words are suggestive, that "Greensleeves" is something like pastoral and green,echoing in the back of the brain, "Greensleeves", some archaic archetypal feeling about it. And the faintly?? the feeling - " do me wrong to love me so discourteously", "to cast me off discourteously, for I have lov-ed you for long" "And who but my Lady Greensleeves",  "Delighting in your company"...

I don't suppose we hear it very often the whole thing. So..

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-two-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately seventy-eight-and-a-half minutes in]

Addenda:   - Julian Bream -  Ralph Vaughan-Williams - Jimmy Smith - a crazy techno version, and...

John Coltrane