Thursday, September 18, 2014
"Transcultural Poetics", global action, cross-cultural activity, is something we're very much in support of here. Transcultural Poetics, the new anthology from Coffee House Press, drawing from the wealth of material available in the archives of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa is thus a timely, welcome and inspiring collection. It celebrates, as the publishers declare, "the leap, the engaged jolt of creation and recognition that cultural hybrids and transcultural alliances and associations spark". "In essays, conversations, and Socratic raps, it celebrates, interrogates, and annotates the vital work poets perform when they write across borders". As the poet and teacher Ammiel Alcalay writes: "We are in need, more than ever, of this kind of archival attention, as even our recent past gets consumed by the present. This "news that stays news" [the phrase is Pound's, of course] moves from Allen Ginsberg on Aboriginal poetics to Vietnam, the Mayan classics, Puerto Rico, African America and the need for gringos to encounter the world as seen through Arab and other eyes."
Poet and performer,Tracie Morris: "Contemplative, illuminating unusual, and global, Cross Worlds is an excellent compilation of the confluence of global systems and renowned workers/players/experimenters of language and culture"…"..evoking human interactions beyond our construction of nations and states", and "prompting us to think about our connection to the planet itself and all its inhabitants".
Allen's contribution on Australian aboriginal poetics (from his lecture on July 23 1976 on "Spontaneous Poetics") has already been featured here on The Allen Ginsberg Project in a two-part post and we'll draw your attention to it - here - and - here
Other notable contributions include Jerome Rothenberg (interviewed by Anne Waldman & Laura Wright), Pierre Joris (on "Arabic Poetry and the International Literary Scene"), Victor Hernandez Cruz (on "Geographical Distortions - Culture, Politics and Diversity"), Judith Malina (and Hanon Reznikov) of The Living Theater (on "Love and Politics"), Margaret Randall ("Piercing the Walls"), Linh Dinh (on "The Deluge - Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry), cultural anthropologists Barbara and Denis Tedlock (he on translating the Popol Vuh, she on "Hidden Female Shamanic Traditions"), Cecilia Vicuna, Cid Corman...
The book is dedicated to the late great Anselm Hollo
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
[William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) - Photograph courtesy the Yale Collection of America Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library]
September 17 is William Carlos Williams birthday. Williams has been featured pretty extensively on this blog (not the least as the focus of a whole lecture series by Allen -
"Mind, Mouth and Page" - here's the first episode.
We cordially invite you to follow along with the entire lecture series (check out, for just a few examples, here, here and here)
Here's a few of the other Williams postings that you might have missed:
- our initial Williams' posting - "Spiritual Poetics"
- Allen's 1975 William Carlos Williams Naropa class
- our 2012 Williams birthday posting
- William Carlos Williams's "Thursday" (meditation)
- how could we forget the "Plums"?
- and "Young Sycamore" ("this is one that some of the painters like")
- and we love to tell this story!
We've featured this footage before - but , why not? - here it is again (from the 1988 PBS series, "Voices and Visions", after some brief words from Williams' friend (and publisher), James Laughlin, Allen [audio only] reading from Spring And All
There's much more Williams here. We've randomly selected the following - the complete recording of his 1945 reading at The Library of Congress - but it's all great!
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
[Alfred Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917) - The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse) - oil on canvas - 70.5cm x 90cm - (1896-1908) courtesy the Cleveland Museum of Art]
AG: There’s one painting in here I’m looking for. It’s a painting of (Albert) Pinkham Ryder, which is really uncanny. Anybody know Ryder? Death on a Pale Horse?, a Rembrandtian painting, dark-brown, black-ish, of a horse riding around a race-track, with a skeleton with a scythe on top of the horse, going around the cycle. So this is the painter of that, who lived on Fourteenth Street in New York, and he’s the great American Blake-ian, Blake-ian painter, that is, (a) self-taught, indigenous, lonely genius who lived in a grubby furnished room and painted paintings which are now considered the greatest of all American indigenous paintings.
[Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) - Portrait of Albert Pinkham Ryder - oil on masonite - 71.1 x 55.9 cms (1938) - Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art]
So that’s his (Marsden Hartley's) portrait of (Alfred) Pinkham Ryder. You can see there’s something going on between them. It’s a great portrait. I don’t know what the colors are like – I’ve never seen the original.
So that’s the kind of man - that kind of straightforward, monumental. His paintings are monumental, straightforward, rock hard. And his poetry has a little bit of that. And we have that at the beginning of our anthology. And the reason (William Carlos) Williams liked him was that Hartley (like Williams and like (Alfred) Stieglitz, and all the other folks of his time, even Hart Crane later) was preoccupied with discovering his own psyche in an American Place (that’s why the gallery was called “An American Place”), as distinct from a European place, as distinct from European poetry and European painting.There was a problem of recognizing our own speech, recognizing our own speech rhythms, and beginning to build a new poetics or a new prosody and a new way of approaching poetry by listening carefully to the actuality of our speech (to our idiom, the American idiom, which is Williams’ term) beginning to become conscious of that and measuring that. Becoming sensitive to it so that you could hear the little cadences and halts and strange diction, strange local vernacular diction (like Williams writing down on his prescription pad the phrase, “I’ll kick yuh eye” – Y-U-H E-Y-E, which he showed me on his prescription pad as an example (sample?) of American-ness or Rutherfordian - “I’ll kick yuh eye” – Y-U-H E-Y-E” – He said, “How can you measure that by the English measure of iambic pentameter or stress count? - “I’ll kick yuh eye” – actually, it’s more like the Greek (or the) measurement of Greek tones than English. Because Greek had a little accent, a little circumflex, for tones that rose and fell – “Akhilleus, I’ll kick yuh eye”! – So Pound was researching Greek as a hint for how to transcribe American cadence and tones. Williams was listening with naked ear to mouth-tongue-talk from the kitchen, and Marsden Hartley just did it naturally as a painter, because he was focused clearly – that one solid gull,that one solid portrait of a guy in a wool cap. And so he fitted in with the whole intellectual circle and artistic circle of post-World War I and the ‘Twenties
Monday, September 15, 2014
AG: Marsden Hartley…it was recommended that I should look at his poetry also, because I was looking for examples of free-form poetry in English, and Marsden Hartley was one of the first, and one of the most loose relaxed and straightforward natural poets that ever wrote in this form. His form is a little bit..it’s one of the rare examples of real “free” verse, where the guy is writing very directly and straightforwardly with an eye on the object. Doing what (William Carlos) Williams and (Ezra) Pound and (Charles) Reznikoff always wanted to do, but he was a painter and he just did it. He wrote so naturally and so intelligently that it was immediately recognized by Williams and his friends as being great, but a book of his never came out until 1945. Though his paintings had become very famous, because there’s lots of his paintings in the Museum of Modern Art and in every major museum which collects America painting. Some of you can take a look, at the end of (the class) at the book by Hartley..
This is “Scouting the Fishboat” – and there’s a kind of rough clear, early American, early century American style there
What else has he got? There’s a painting by him of Alfred Pinkham Ryder
a still-life (which is a calla lily – a lily also) (at the Newark Museum)
His paintings are worth more than his poetry on the market because they’re now (worth) a hundred grand each…he’s like a big.. or more. As there was the development of an indigineous American painting style, he was one of the people who contributed to it.
Student: I think he spent the crucial time of his life in Germany
AG: Yeah. He was in Germany during the Expressionist era. And so there’s a famous painting of a gull.. Has anybody ever seen any of his painting? Yeah.
Student: There was an exhibit at the Whitney (Museum) a couple of years ago
AG: All Marsden Hartley?
AG: Yeah, you can see he’s a big wheel. My favorite painting is one.. well, this is an example, “Painting Number Five, Berlin” (this is back in 1912 – so it’s before (Piet) Mondrian, before Paul Klee’s magic-square paintings also. [Editorial note – 1914-15 so...]