Thursday, July 31, 2014

EBSN Conference 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 12.33.57 PM

November is,  admittedly, some ways away, but no harm in announcing the European Beat Studies Network's Third Annual Conference ( this year to be held in Tangier, Morocco, November 17 to 19, at the Hotel Chellah). 

"The well-established Beat-Tangier connection makes it a natural home", the organizers write, "for a EBSN conference - above all, (fittingly) in 2014, the centennial of William Burroughs.." 
"Geographically and historically, (it) is an East-West crossroads", and the conference.. (intends to explore)."cultural hybridity and conflict", "both before and since the Beat 1950's and (19)60's". 
"The psychogeography of (Burroughs')  "Interzone".. is "uncannily prescient", but, they note, "Tangier has shaped its own future in the last half-century and the conference hopes to examine the Beats from a (local), Tangerine point of view", "as well as reconsidering Tangier through Beat eyes.." 

Leading Beat scholars, among them Oliver Harris and Polina MacKay (of the ESBN),
along with Dr. Khalid Amine, President of the International Center for Performance Studies in Tangier, will be in attendance

The full program is now available and may be accessed here  

In a Ginsberg session on Wednesday November 19 (the last day), Ginsberg biographer, Steve Finbow chairs discussion on "Ginsberg and the Underground" -  Erik Mortensen and Cansu Soyupak present a paper on "The Cultural Appropriation of (Allen) Ginsberg's Work" and Luke Walker speaks on "Ginsberg and Gnosticism"   

Among other highlights, Oliver Harris' opening address,  El Habib Louai speaking on 
"(Re)presentations of Tangier in Burroughs', Kerouac's and Ginsberg's Letters and Journals", Regina Weinreich,  on "The Interzone of their Processes -  (Jack) Kerouac in Tangiers", Andy McGuinness, on "Tangier Trance - William S Burroughs and Moroccan Music", Maarten van Gageldonk, on  "Paul Bowles As a Literary Mediator in the 1960's"
There will also be film-shows, performances and  exhibitions.   

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Expansive Poetics 92 - (Verlaine - Chanson D'Automne)

[Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)]

[Marlene Dietrich reading Paul Verlaine's "Chanson d'automne c.1945]

That's a very delicate little thing (Apollinaire's "Le Pont Mirabeau") That's in a great French  tradition of purely musical lyric, with a lot of Heraclitan impact, that is to say, you can't step in the same river twice. Similar.. It's a tradition of pure sound in French, also, melodious sound, which is (a) very good background for somebody trying to write an open-form poem like "Zone", a tradition that Rimbaud's friend, (Paul) Verlaine was also great at. I don't know if you know the poem "Chanson d'automne" ("Autumn Song") "Les sanglots longs,/ Des violons/ De l'automne/D'une langueur/Monotone.."). Has anybody heard that? It's a very famous piece of pure music -  [Allen proceeds to read the whole poem - "Les sanglots longs/Des violons//De l'automne Blessent mon coeur.."]  - It's all pure pretty vowels, internal rhyme.

(So),  the long sobs -  Les sanglots longs, des violons de l'automne - the long sobs of the violins of autumn wounds my heart with a.." ("Blessent mon coeur/D'une..") - with a langour ("D'une langueur") - monotonous languor, with a langour of monotonous ("Tout suffocant/ Et blême, quand/Sonne l'heure"), all (sorts of) breathless (or suffocating) and white-faced when the clock rings, the hour sounds, the bell sounds ("quand/Sonne l'heure") - I remember the good old times and I cry ("Je me souviens/ Des jours anciens/Et je pleure") - I remember the good old.. the ancient good times, the.. "Des jours anciens - "Ancien" was a favorite word for youth-time, really. When they say "ancien" (it means) the older, the old times - remember the good old days -  As Rimbaud began the Season in Hell (Une Saison En Enfer) with "ancien"  (again, the same word - "formerly" (something similar to "Jadis", I guess - "Jadis" was the word in French - "formerly" - "ancien", "ancien". ("Je me souviens/Des jours anciens)" - and I, me, go in ill wind (Et je m'en vais/Au vent mauvais) - I me go in ill ill wind (je m'en vais/Au vent) - wicked (mauvais), and I go ("Et je m'en vais"), here, there (Deçà, delà), parallel to a (pareil à la)
dead leaf, or leaf dead (Feuille morte)… 

tape ends here..but (briefly) continues  …. (musical settings display the) same melodiousness. But then you get that melodiousness in the actual poem, in the actual prosaic poem, too.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, starting at approximately fifty-nine minutes in and concluding at at approximately 63 minutes in ]

Les sanglots longs/Des violons/De l'automne/Blessent mon coeur/D'une
langueur/Monotone./Tout suffocant/Et blême, quand/Sonne l'heure,/Je me souviens/Des jours anciens/Et je pleure,/ Et je m'en vais/Au vent mauvais/Qui m'emporte/Deçà, delà/Pareil à la/Feuille morte.

The long sobs/ of the violins /of autumn/ wounds my heart/with a monotonous/ languor/All breathless/ And white-faced when/The hour sounds/I remember the good old days/And I cry/ And I go/In an ill wind/ which carries me/here, there/like a/ dead leaf

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Expansive Poetics - 91 Apollinaire - Le Pont Mirabeau)

[The voice of Guillaume Apollinaire, recorded at the laboratory of Abbé M. Rousselot, December 24th, 1913, reading his poetry - "Le Pont Mirabeau" and "Marie"] 

AG: Incidentally, there's a recording of (Guillaume) Apollinaire's voice. I don't have it  [Allen is speaking in 1981]-  The only place I ever heard it was the Musee de Sonore [maybe the Archive de Parole?] - the Sound Museum in Paris, where there's (also) a recording of Count Tolstoy, the writer - Tolstoy and Apollinaire - that far back - those do exist (just as the recordings of (Sergei) Esenin and (Vladimir) Mayakovsky (remarkably) exist.

And the thing that he (Apollinaire) is reading  is his poem, "Le Pont Mirabeau", I think (which is a very pretty poem, so I'll read it - It's just a traditional lyric, with great sonority, so I'll read it in French) [Allen proceeds to read the poem in its original French, followed by a version of the same poem in English] - "Under Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine/And flows our love/Must I remember/Joy always comes after pain/ Comes the night, rings the hour/Days go, I stay/ Let night come sound the hour/Time draws on, I remain.." - [But the French is "Vienne la nuit" - comes the night - "sonne l'heure" - rings the hour - "Les jours s'en vont" - the days go - I stay - "je demeure" - That's pretty - Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure/Les jours s'en vont je demeure" - "Hand in hand let us stay face to face/ While past the/ Bridge of our embrace/ Flows one long look's weary wave./ Time comes, clock sounds/Days go, I stay/ Love moves on like that water current/Love passes by/How slow life is and/Like hope (or expectation) how violent/ Night comes, hour sounds,/Time flows,I stay.." - Passent les jours et passent les semaines - Pass the days and pass the weeks/Neither time past/Nor love returns - Nor time that's past, nor love comes back/ Under Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine/Let night come, sound the hour/ Time draws on, I remain." 

[Audio for the above can be heard here, starting at approximately fifty-five-and-a-half minutes in (Allen's reading of "Le Pont Mirabeau" begins at approximately
fifty-six-and-a-half minutes in), concluding ar approximately fifty-nine-and-a-half minutes] 

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine/ 
Et nos amours/ 
Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne
/ La joie venait toujours après la peine.

 Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure/
Les jours s'en vont je demeure/

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face/
Tandis que sous/
Le pont de nos bras passe/
Des éternels regards l'onde si lasse/

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure/
Les jours s'en vont je demeure/

L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante/
L'amour s'en va/
Comme la vie est lente/
Et comme l'Espérance est violente

/Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure/
Les jours s'en vont je demeure/

Passent les jours et passent les semaines/
Ni temps passé
 Ni les amours reviennent
/Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine/Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure/
Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Under Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine/And flows our love/ Must I remember/Joy always comes after after pain/Comes the night rings the hour/Time draws on /I remain/  Hand in hand let us stay face to face/While past the/Bridge of our embrace/Flows one long look's weary wave/Comes the night  rings the hour/The days go  I stay/ Love moves on like that water current/Love slips by/ How slow life is and/Like hope how violent/ Comes the night          rings the hour/Time draws on  I remain/Pass the days and pass the weeks/Neither time/Past nor love returns/Under Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine/Comes the night          rings the hour/Time draws on  I remain

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Birthday John Ashbery

John Ashbery

[John Ashbery, iconoclast, with a baseball-bat, from Rudy Burckhardt's Mounting Tension (1950); painted by Larry Rivers ("Pyrography: Poem and Portrait of John Ashbery II" (1977); photographed by Lynn Davis (c.1986); "L'Heure Exquise - collage by John Ashbery (1977); presentation of 2011 National Arts and Humanities Medal, February 2012, by President Barack Obama

Today is the great American poet John Ashbery's 87th birthday

We thought to celebrate with this - a vintage reading from 1963 in New York at The Living Theatre (reading from Rivers and Mountains, Some Trees, and The Tennis Court Oath, with an introduction by Kenneth Koch

Here's a more recent reading (from February 2013) at the Kelly Writers House 

(and here's a follow-up interview, (hosted by UPenn's Al Filreis), a day later 

The PennSound John Ashbery page (from which these two readings have been excerpted) is, truly, a quite extraordinary trove - hours and hours of Ashbery, we recommend you pursue further. 

Similarly, the remarkable Ashbery Resource Center (a project of the Flow Chart Foundation for Bard College)  

John Ashbery - Collected French Translations: Prose

Just published, this past Spring, from FSG, "a major publishing event", John Ashbery's Collected French translations

(Our note on his 2011 Rimbaud translations may be read here)

Ashbery's most recent volume is Quick Question (2012). A new book of poems, Breezeway will be forthcoming early next year.

Happy Birthday, John!