Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Philip Glass


[Philip Glass, Kiev Restaurant, 2nd Ave & East 7th St., New York City, June 10, 1993. Photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate.]

Philip Glass celebrates his 75th birthday tonight in New York at Carnegie Hall with a special concert (and the US premier of his 9th Symphony, expertly conducted, we don't doubt, by Dennis Russell Davies). There’ll be more celebrations later this month, including a five-night celebration at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, (“the Tune-in Music Festival”), which will include – and we’ve mentioned this before – collaborations by Patti Smith and Philip on the 24th, and with Bill Frisell, on the night before (that'd be the Thursday). Frisell and ensemble will be playing a work he composed to accompany a reading of Allen’s poem, Kaddish. Stage designs will be by Ralph Steadman, the event will be produced by Hal Willner. We’ll have more on that, and on Patti's contribution, (and, indeed, on Philip's contribution!) closer to the date - meanwhile.. Happy Birthday Phil !
- oh, and check out this interview with him by Gazelle Emami in the Huffington Post.

Pacific High Studio Mantras


After the richness of the vintage Gregory Corso of the past week (and more to come), here's a little palette-cleanser - more mantra! - Pacific High Studio Mantras ("Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddi Hum"), old Tibetan mantra of Padmasambhava, tuned by Allen, recorded at Pacific High Studios, San Francisco in July of 1971 (subsequently re-mastered and released as the B-side of Arthur Russell and Allen's collaboration, "Ballad Of The Lights"). Line up is Allen on harmonium (and vocals!), Arthur on cello, Jon Meyer on flute, John Scholle on guitar, Alan Senauke, mandolin, Peter Hornbeck, violin, and "Reverend Adjari and Buddhist Chorus", bulking up, swelling up, the sound. This original version was produced by Barry Miles (subsequent, 2010, re-mastering was by Hal Willner). More notes on Allen and mantras here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gregory Corso continues (NAROPA 1975 Class - 7)


[Gregory Corso, Boulder Colorado, 1974. Photo c. Rachel Homer]

Gregory Corso's 1975 "Socratic" NAROPA class (sitting in for Allen) concludes.
Earlier segments can be read here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Student: Do you have another book coming out?

GC: If I want to. Yeah, I don't owe anybody anything, my dear. I don't have to bring another book out, see? - but that's a shot, tho', right? Who owes who what? - I figured I should get a me(d)al. I tell you, I.. A poet should get a token. At least, I demand that. I don't give a fuck anymore, I say, give the poet his token. They take the weight, they're like the Lamed Vavnik, poets are the Lamed Vavnik, they take the weight of the world and they shoulder it. There's only thirty-seven of them at a time, thirty-seven, yes, at one time, and they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, they don't know who they are, but I can say so, my name is Nunzio, I announce, "I'm a Lamed Vavnik, and I carry the weight on my shoulders". Some people say that's arrogant?, but, it's all I can do - I don't give a fuck, I'm forty-five years old, I don't have to care. Why does forty-five mean that suddenly I don't have to care? Well, who's in their '40's here?..There you go.. and aren't they great years?..top class.. just for the poet-man.. alive, yeah.. so it's something good that you're referring to..

Where's Mr O'Brien [sic]? He didn't come today. Oh, I'm glad you came Mr O'Brien. You're the man that taught me the lesson, that I should never look at a person's face and think what race they are or (what) religion - [looking at Sidney Goldfarb] - "You look like a Goldfarb to me, all the way to me" - and (then) you're not! That was a goodie. That woke me up.

So did ya learn anything, you think, today? I don't know. Remember I'm just.. wow, I can cop out so nice..I'm just (sitting) in for my friend..

Student: Do you want to read poetry or do you want to go home?

GC: What I want to do is eight o'clock, I got a shot with Mr Burroughs. What time is it now?

Student: Quarter to seven.

GC: Oh god, it's early. There's nothing here for me to drink. I'm very uncomfortable. There's nothing here that I like. I like you people, but there's nothing here. Why don't I have water? why don't I have (soap?), why don't they take care of you? you're a host? [pointing to Michael Brownstein perhaps?] why don't you take care of your guests.

Michael Brownstein: Water?

GC: Thank you.
Let's see, I'll give you another fast poem, probably out of this thing [his unpublished manuscript] which I won't read tonight, and let's see how this works. See, that one, that was typed up, I worked on (it). Let's give you a cold one and see how it (reads) [begins reading from another unpublished poem] - "(The) God is sick..".."hurry, burn the magic whip" - oh, of course, "the magic whip"! - you'll love this [goes to the blackboard to draw] - "the magic whip" - "..boil the mercurial blood/ the Old Religion's back in town/and Doctor Faustus once again rides his horse ass-backwards" - do you know that about Faustus? that how he enters the town, it's always the horse going ass-backwards into town? Anybody know that? Jeez, you must know that, good old Faustus goes ass-backwards.. [Gregory continues reading] - "The Calabrian...churns plaster of Paris.." - Yeah, I got my Italians right there, they make classic Paris saints. Right? All the saints in Italy are plaster-of-Paris.
and the first one to make a Frankenstein-ian shot was the Jew in Czechoslovakia, Rabbi Loew made the Golem. Know what the Golem is? Anybody? the Golem?

Student: It was the statue that came to life.

GC: Right, statue that came to life and written on its head was... "emet" - and if you wiped off the "e", the "-met" means "death" ...and so it dies)
so, Rabbi Loew built this Golem to protect the Jews at Passover, because the Christians, at that time, (and it's the 15th Century), would say that they need(ed) a Christian child to make their leavened bread . And lots of Jews were hurt by that.


[Illustration of a Golem, the syllables for 'emet' on it's forehead. via Golem/wiki]

Okay, so, three rabbis who fucked-up, tried to make their own Golem. They ripped off the clay (when the men came and the Golem died), they ripped off that clay, and the secretary of Rabbi Loew joined the three rabbis to build another Golem to get money for them (yuk yuk). Alright, so these three rabbis got the clay from the Old New synagogue (it's called the Old New synagogue, in Czechoslovakia, Prague). They go and they try to make this Golem, and they make him - but they don't know how to stop him. And he gets very big, and is growing and he's growing and he's growing . And you got the three rabbis going, "Oh god, oy vey iz mir! I'm not involved with it! Someone's gotta stop him". And the secretary (who was with them) said, "Look, what you do is take the "-e-" off and he'll die, get the "-e-" off, (which means Life and "-met" means Death), rub the "-e-" off his forehead.. Right, now the other way you can do it, a wise man said, is, "Mr Golem, would you bend down and tie your shoe", right? So the Golem goes down like that, and they rub the "-e-" off, and the fucker falls on the three rabbis, and they're gone! That's a true shot.

Student [(Michael Brownstein) offering water]: So is that.

GC: Thank you very much. Oh, that's even more beautiful than water, juicy-poo vitamins - oh its got sprite in it - oh wow, we gonna have water with sprite!

I'll take back the.. I wanna see if...I (can) handle this for my own head. The other day when I spoke to you people, I said "I know all there is to know because there ain't that much to know". Alright. I want someone to lay something on me that I don't know. Now, but, I'm gonna give you a warning, it's got to be essential..to me.. ((no)...bullshit baseball to a pitcher.. at one time or other..).. there you go

Student: Can bad philosophy induce good poetry?

GC: From bad philosophy can come good poetry? Anything bad becomes good - it's a Dostoeyvskian shot? and you all should.. what's good, what's bad, becomes the same. They never did it to make (Al)yosha bad tho', did he? (Al)yosha never became bad.. Je ne sais pas. I would say on that one, I don't know. Yeah? - okay, that's cool enough - if I could pick on.. I could say - anything that's bad ain't gonna be good (I could do some dumb-ass thing, so I won't). So, You're asking again..what?

Student: Can bad philosophy...

GC: Can bad philosophy..

Student: become good poetry..

GC: No way. Can bad poetry become good philosophy, that's the question! Philosophy makes.. Fuck philosophy! You know how Socrates fucked up? This is the beautiful Socrates, to me, who died the most beautiful death, better than anybody - I mean Buddha, by bad pork! - and Christ, that shot upon a cross - yuk! - but Socrates, top shot. He says "Know thyself", right?, but he ends up saying, "All I know is that I know nothing" - and that's a cop-out. See, I don't dig the philosophers. See, and he put down the poets of the time .. because philosophers suck, all you've got today is teachers of philosophy, you've not got philosophy, so..

Student: But didn't he also say something that you (say's interesting), that people came to him, saying they know something about something, and he finally proved to them that they knew nothing about..

GC: He's a gadfly. I love him for that. I love Socrates, he's my man. He's my man, the only time
he sucked was when he said on his deathbed, "All I know is I know nothing", and that was a big cop-out. I mean it was easier to say nice things (so they (could) say - how humble! - "I know nothing" - shit!

(tape drops, returns in media res) ....what might mean something? You ever ask your parents that? - You're meat, right? You're (all) hairy bags of water.

You know what happened to me in Provincetown.. about a month and a half ago, was it? ..I had this Italian dude..who (liked me.. dressed.. ) a real paisano, he had a pizza place in Provincetown, right? but (was) supposed to be intellectual, right?
so, one day I told him, "I'd like to suck your great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandmother's dick!"
(and he goes) "don't talk about my family that way!"
- Fuck him - that's why I am (an ego, right, an ego).

Another shot was good that I played there in Provincetown (they all came at me at once these shots). I went up to a person in the street and said "Er.., I can disappear before your eyes?". So they say, "Go ahead!" - (and I want to) hit them over the head! - that's how I disappear! - by killing them!

Alright, I think you should ask me more questions, you know. I don't think I should have to exercise my head too heavy before this eve.

Student: Before, Gregory, you were talking, a while ago, about (Jack) Kerouac's trying to remember the first thing you remember before you die

GC: Right.

Student: What context is he talking about?

GC: Well, he said he wasn't talking (about) if you were hit by a car, I don't think (try to think when you're coming out of the car, man!) - actually, he was thinking of a very philosophical nice death, you know, Socratean. right?, with everyone around - "where are you going?"..you take hemlock, you can talk. The Buddha supposedly went that way. He bought bad pork and he died

Student: What's the heaviest thing (William) Burroughs taught you?

GC: The heaviest? He never taught.. he wanted to teach me, he couldn't - because that was the shot. You see, I'd just come out of prison (when) I met him..(wanted to) teach me prose. He recalled I didn't like prose, that way, (I liked) poesy. And I told him, "Everybody's a poet, that way, if they work in words". But he was the nicest (and good-est) man that I knew in life, yeah, never hurt nobody..

Student: It is recorded that the Germanic tribes...

GC: I love 'em. They're crazy. I know what they did.

Student: ...which..(they) would set up their people who are about to die, and they would say a mantra into their ears. Do you think it would help the person dying to remember things that he has never before remembered?

GC: Ok. You've brought up a good subject, which I know well about. You see.. Germanic tribes were very heavy people (they still maybe are), but they were heavy then. What they did was when they in war.. you know how they (fucked up) the tribes - what they did? - they did a spook-shot. They would dress themselves up in rags and black paint and hide behind bushes while clumpety-clump go the Tartars - they'd go "Yow!" and all of a sudden step on the road and "Chop-Chop". Did ya know that?...
Now what did these Germanic tribes do? they whistled into the ear of whom? and what?

Student: Of people about to die..

GC; Woton. Yeah, Alright.. That gives me just the length.. I don't know what the fuck that guy whispered in somebody's ears dying meant, but I know that it leads me to Woton, I can tell you about that. Woton was a guy, right? He wanted to find out what happens to the Gods, and he found out that the Gods died. There was one God called Thor, right? and they played a beautiful shot on him..witches?, yeah, I think it was three witches who played the shot on him - Thor. They gave him three chances and he failed all three. He was supposed to be destined to kill the World Serpent - (Thunear) (Thor) was supposed to go by Wotan (he was supposed to kill (Walse) the Great Wolf) .. I know that Thor was supposed to kill the Great World Serpent of the Yggdrasil tree - there's a tree, right? (on the bottom, is the World Serpent, on top is the Eagle, in between is the Squirrel, saying "hey, you know what the World Serpent said about you?, you know what the Eagle said about you?" - and the fuckin' tree's roaming all the time, in the middle of the people, right?, the fucking thing's always in action and wrong, (and) something's wrong). So Thor is given these three shots, and these are the shots. The first one is a pussy cat on the floor (and the tree says, "You're supposed to be so big and mighty, pick up the pussy cat", (so it's hard), so the pussy-cat, all it can raise is a paw, and the whole earth trembles because it's The World Serpent, (an) illusion, right? The second shot was, "Thor, can you drink this flagon of wine? (now flagon is about that big, it comes down to..) but they dip the end into the Atlantic Ocean, and Thor says, "Yeah, I can drink it", and the Atlantic Ocean goes down about three feet, I guess... The last shot they laid on him was that all the Gods killed the Giants and they said, "Thor, you're lying upon a Giant". He takes his mjolnir (which is his hammer). And that's how your mountains came, that's how your Rockies came, because it was (a) delusion, it was Earth, it was not Giants. Did you know that? Anybody know that in Scandinavian mythology?


[Yggdrasil - The Tree of Life via Norse Mythology]


The basic line is... the essential and non-essential. Why the knowledge can work for you people
with Scandinavian mythology is this - to know who you've got up here. See, the story was from Woton, that was Loki, and that was the human being, and he is what? he's half human-being, half-God. Loki brought poetry to the planet, and that's where you get the word "poetaster". Now how do you get poetry on this planet? (which they called Midgard(ia)) I'll tell you how they got it. Loki ripped off the Gods with their essence, stole it, took it away, and poured it into a cave of those three women. The guards grabbed.. Loki (and) said, "If you don't bring that fucker back, man, we're gonna torture you so awfully" - "Alright, I'll go get it back". He turned into a raven, had a sack in his mouth, and filled up the essence of the Gods that he ripped off, and, while flying over Midgardia, a little drop fell out, just a little bit, it's called "poetaster", that's the drop you got on this planet. According to Scandinavians, you're an inheritor of it from way back. Check out the sources. Check out the sources.


[Loki as depicted on an 18th century Icelandic manuscript. Creative Commons]

You know what they did to Loki when he died, when he went- Oh wow! - He didn't go. Yeah, Loki did not die (but his wife loved him) - what they had him do - he was stretched out and the bile of the World Serpent fell into his eye, so his wife had this big fuckin' canvas, (so) that the bile would be caught in the canvas, and, when she went to dump it out and it got filled up, one drop fell in the eye of Loki. It's all you need. (Did ya catch that shot?) how big the canvas can be..and dump it out and get it back there fast enough. Anybody here of Scandinavian heritage? Anybody?, right, Scandinavian heritage?...so then, check this shot out, do you know your shot? Check out Alberich, the dwarf , check out the..what are they? they're beautiful. Freyja (she was a great godess of cats.. but in Scandinavia, they had snow, right?, so she'd be riding a cart with cats, tumbling in the snow all the time, and very elegant for a goddess.

Student: What do you know about the Pyramids?

GC: What do I know about the Pyramids? Alright, I know that the Jews didn't build them, and I know that they were covered with black alabaster and that the Pyramid Texts in gold were written on them - Hamilcar, the father of Hannibal, ripped it off, and built Carthage. That's what I know about the Pyramids. They didn't just build those rocks like you see them today, man. They covered those fuckers up beautifully, and the Pyramid Texts were right on them, with all the glyphs, all that gold, and it was ripped off by Hamilcar, and he built his Carthage. What do you know about the Pyramids?

Student: I can't say that I..

GC: (The) Sphinx is a better shot than the Pyramids, because the Sphinx is supposed to be a mystery. They found two solar ships under the legs of the Sphinx..19..59? [1954, in fact]

Student: What did they find?

GC: Solar ships, big ships - under each leg of the sphinx - these solar ships were also taken over (the Ka and Ba was there)... taken over..
Remember, I am not commissioned to give you fuckers a class, I am here taking care of a friend who's ill, and I'm letting my head go with you people. That's the shot you gotta remember behind your heads. Anything that comes out of me, nonetheless, will be truth as I know it. You guys can discredit it, say I'm crazy, then I'll learn..better. Because, I'll tell you one thing, I'm not learning anything today. See, when I.. (when you) can give something out, that I don't know, then I will learn, and therefore others will learn. If I lay out what I know and I don't learn, how the fuck are you gonna learn? You got it? You see, teachers suck, see, they're gonna give what they already know. If they give themselves what they don't know, then, maybe you'll get something? And that's why I think that the Socratic shot works. (Remember, how many people are here.. I'm not just talking to a group.. the whole group doesn't work out.. but a whole bunch of people are here).

Student: It seems now (that) there's a resurgence in poetry again, that it has become recognized by a good number of people...

GC: Really? That's good to hear. I've been out of it. I've been.. in New York... Are you telling me that? That's good to hear. A poet, see, is there, man, shit..

Student: The question I have is do you find the times now say (compared to) the times when you first started writing, say, during the '50s, as far as like, you know, where the consciousness is and what the needs are to be related to..

GC: Jeez, I tell ya. I think poets are so strong they're gonna have to handle the fucker themselves. I ain't gonna talk about (it)... when they come and take the relay from me...and..
(at that time, then, if it happens), ok, (and) if they don't, then fuck it - See, don't trust nobody, don't trust your poet, don't trust the poet, no way, because what the poetry gives you is probably an ignition. You can ignite something.. to go and check out things, for yourself to know. I think everyone in this class should get a poem. I mean poetry's in the human soul, it's there (all of you know that it is). That's my schtick. See, I don't have to be here and talk to you. All I have to do is read poetry, see - and - blam! I've got a big book before ya.

Student: At this point, I feel that the Beat years were like a kind of a visionary time, what the poets were involved in.. because it was a visionary ... they bring on (brought on) the psychedelic years, and now it seems it's going into a whole new other phase..

GC: You know what it's going into? You wanna know what it's going into? You asked me that, right?

Student: Yes.

GC: Alright.. The 50's, I'm sure, had Death on the shot, with the Atom bomb, the '6o's then came in with God and Love, they put the two together. These are big Daddies they're layng down - Death, God, Love. What are the '70's? - 70's? is Truth, see you've got Nixon now and he lied and all of that, but Truth is showing his face. But - don't trust Truth, because Truth can stop you. You go "oh, this is True" and you don't go further, right?. So you still keep on going. I know what comes after Truth - Humor. Humor is the great divine butcher. It's getting rid of all the shit, (It will) knock it all out - Ha!

Student: Do you mind talking about the book, The Vanity of Dulouz (or would you rather not?)

GC: Vanity of Dulouz?

Student: Yeah.

GC: Not Gaullois, that's the cigarettes! - Er..I don't read novels, (I don't read) fiction. I read mostly documentary shit, books on Hitler, books on the Wars, and all that kind of stuff, it's weird, I just don't like fiction. I don't want to be entertained. Alright? But the books of my good friend, who's morte right now, Kerouac, that was his shot. Yeah, I'll check it out. Maybe next time I see you, I'll let you know. I've read it, but.. then it went out

Student: What was your first memory?

GC: My first memory? My first memory was, in a bath-tub (I was two years old) with a woman, who was not my mother. I saw her cunt and I saw the water. I had a double-shot of birth - the contemporary poem of the cunt and the antique poem of water. That's a good hit that I had. And I was two years old. I remembered that when I was sixteen (on a subway-train, I almost fainted! - so there's your hiatus there, like I was saying earlier about your hiatus, your hiatus is that your first memory, you don't remember it, you don't even carry it through.. no way!..you remember your first memory .. at a given time. So, when you remember (your) dream, remember the time-lapse that went - there's a time-lapse - and then you remember it - time-gap - there you go - Now, if you don't remember your dream, it's like you haven't dreamt at all, but if you remember it, is that when you're dreaming? - Ah, yuk, yuk - Ya see? - when you have it in your head. So what is memory? Memory is past. What is present?, What is present? - It's immediacy, right? - Yeah - What is future? - Anticipation. And you guys can't get that..yet? - You gotta know..what is memory?..I wanna hear it..What is memory? - Past - What is present? - Immediacy. What is future? - Anticipation. There you go, you got it. I love ya - [turns to W.S. Merwin, also attending the class] - Do you love me, Bill? - So you and I, we finally got together, right? You and I were put on opposite poles in life in poesy - You're supposed to be the Academic man, drawn by New York, and all that shit, and I'm supposed to be" ol' Beatnik Corso", altho' I'm on the other side, right?

W.S.Merwin: We are.

GC: No - yuk, yuk, yuk..

Student: When did you write your first poem and when did you think of it.

GC: Oh, I like that. I wrote my first poem in prison and I was just turning seventeen and it's called "Sea Chanty" and I got that in my head (because I don't remember my poems, I can't recite them, but that one I know, the first one I know). Wanna hear the first poem I wrote? -

Student(s); Yes

GC: [Gregory reads "Sea Chanty" in it's entirety] - "My mother hates the sea.."..."Thy mother's feet" - Hey, that goes in the water, comes back on the shore. See, I never saw my mother, so she, she went back to Italy, she went back to Calabria and the mountains, she was a cave woman, there wasn't nothing to do in New York, no, no, no, she went back, I never saw her, she went off, across the ocean, so I thought, as a kid, I thought, yeah, anything that goes into the sea comes back. That's the first shot. And it rhymed - that "later" and "ate her" is pretty good fuckin' rhyme (for a sixteen year old!).

Er.. I think you people have had it with me. See, ain't I that nice?, I was about to say I've had it with you, but I think you people have had it with me, and, see, I'd like to go outside now, and walk around with my woman here, and maybe have a drink before that reading with that William (Burroughs). William Burroughs.. You guys gonna be here tonight?... raise all your hands if you're... let me see who's coming... oh.. ok.. [tape and class ends here].

The audio for this can be heard at:
http://www.archive.org/details/Gregory_Corso_The_history_of_poetry_June_1975_75P002
beginning at approximately sixty minutes in and concluding at the end of the tape

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gregory Corso continues (NAROPA 1975 Class - 6)

Paleolithic cave painting of a shaman from the cave at Trois-Freres                near Montesquieu-Avantes in France.
[Paleolithic cave painting of a shaman from the cave of Trois-Freres, near Montesquieu-Avantes in France - photo by Herbert Kraft]

GC: Alright, so what else do you want to know, you people. Top of the head. I'll do like (William) Burroughs does now, for show, I'll answer questions. What do you think about all that I said in this classroom today? (because that'll eat up the time and I'll take it easy). Anybody? (can raise their hand). Don't be embarrassed now (because I can fuck you up, you know it!) - You know I scare people from asking questions, so they won't even do it, but...

Student: (I so agree) it go(es) by so fast (so) when you see it on paper. I agree, like, when you see it on paper, it's easier to absorb. So much of what you said, (it) was like trying to catch the next image, and it was traveling in so many different directions.

GC: Well, I'm very fast, I'm a very fast man, and, but the idea is.. nonetheless.. I got that on when somebody told me, "Gregory, get a guitar, because rock n roll has killed poetry", and I said, "Wait a minute now, wait a minute here". I could see the person sitting by themselves and diggin' poesy, reading it and checking it out, rather than hearing "yeah, yeah, yeah.. Dear Landlord", or some shit. [responds to class laughter] - Wait a minute, here, ok, so you're going along with it, beautiful. I wish someone would come along and attack me (but not physical!), give me something heavy. It looks like somebody's gonna do it - oh god! - I'll destroy you, I'll destroy you!

Student: You get a feeling from the poem read out loud that you can't get reading it yourself unless you've already heard it.

GC: That's so, that is so.

So.. the ball-game's over, so - hi - I love you all, it's nice, I've had a nice time in your Boulder, Colorado. We've (I've) got a ticket waiting, to Venezia, to Palazzi Barbaro, on the Grand Canal, man, go to the Lido and gamble, and...
You guys ever been to Venice?

Student(s): Yeah

GC: Ah - I was going to go (their way).. two weeks ago, three weeks ago - but I said, "no, but come here, Gregory, to Boulder, because my two good friends here - (William) Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg (are here), and I said, "Gee, I can have Venice any time I want, but this shot won't always be", (so) I took it - that's nice .
With Allen coming.. When Allen gets better, you're going to get from Allen some very beautiful.. (the man is getting well, by the way, I wanted to tell you that, Allen's ok), so maybe Friday he'll do it? - or not - or we'll come together - that'll be the shot, we'll come together. Allen and I, on Friday. That'll be my last shot with you people.

Student: I thought you were going to be in and around longer?

GC: Well, shit, we don't really know, man. I'm impulsive, I don't know.. either..what more..? I wanna get out of here, alright? - or stick around..
I tell you what I can do for you. One thing maybe of knowing some information.
I heard William (Burroughs) lecture yesterday, and his was real far out, his info was that you see people in the street before they see you, so you get them first and they don't got you first (and what that means) and you file it away
And in dreams it's the same way, when you dream of a human being that you never saw before, you saw that face in the subway or on the street, that was an image that you caught when you're moving round in life, and got caught in your head and it came out in the dream. So the thing that he said, when he mentioned mafioso, (because I know them so well) was this - he said that they had (a way to know) who's seeing whom or what, it's part of seeing that I learnt through them, when I was a kid, when I was 17 years old, and I didn't know what the hell that was at that time - "Who's this?". So, "Gregory," - look, I am Nunzio - "Nunzio, if you see two people before you, make sure you see three"...(I always dig it so ..or something told me so). (So I say.). "Well, what about participation?, I can't just stand there, nya, nya, nya, control or not participate, naturally, you automatically do. That means smartness (smartness was a heavyweight with those people). My father, I asked him, I said "Dad, how come you never joined the mafia?", and he said, "Well, the Corsos don't kill". That was my big Daddy...My last name's Corso - the Corsos don't kill

What does Corso mean? What does Corso mean? Does anybody know? What does it mean?

Student: The course or road or something.

GC: It means the way, right? Right on
You know what my first name is?...(this is a goodie) Names are very important. If you have children, all you ladies and guys, make sure you name them right.

[turning, briefly, to poet Michael Brownstein, also attending the class] - so how are ya doin' Mike? - so how much time..(do we have)..wanna get out of here?

Student: So what is your first name?

GC: My first one was Nunzio, and my baptismal name was Gregorio, and Nunzio I didn't like, so I said call me Gregorio, Gregory (don't call me Greg, tho'!)

Student: Do you have children?

GC: Yes, two daughters. One eleven and one four. Four-year-old will be here maybe in two weeks - blonde hair and blue eyes.

Student: Your poetry seems to be going through a period of a kind of paring down?

GC: Oh yeah, I said "brick mews house". I get it real clear now.

Student: So you're headed eventually towards a...

GC: Nice-ies, more nice-ies. These are goodies, or extras, extras for me, because I could have fucked-up many a time, when I shot drugs, I could've died, like that. Someone give me a bag of bad dope and I'd be dead, right? So I feel all is now "extras".

Student: Could you read some Rimbaud for us, Gregory?

GC: Oh, Rimbaud. I loved him when I was a kid, but I don't like him anymore because he did one thing I don't like, which is, to pity the wood that becomes a violin - you dig it? what he's saying? - pity the brass that becomes a trumpet. In other words, pity the human flesh that becomes a poet. I don't dig that pity shit - but he was a kid, he died (he didn't die, he.. forty-five, but he stopped writing..19..).
Thomas Hood, well.. now here's something I can give you. Check out Tom Hood - Hey, he was good. He really wrote (of) the people of his time..(he wrote about) the shirts..people working, making shirts in sweatshops, (the) "Bridge of Sighs" - "One more Unfortunate/ weary of breath/ rashly importunate/gone to her death" (the more modern (the rest of them), I should know it) - but check out Tom Hood, kind of Shelley, maybe a little before Shelley and Keats.
The Venus of Willendorf, Fertility Symbol, Pre-Historic Sculpture, 30000-25000 BC (Front View) Giclee Print
[The Venus of Willendorf, pre-historic fertility symbol, 30,000-25,000 BC]

What else should you know? You should get the essentials. Alright, I think the essentials should be, to know when the first human being was depicted.. what he looked like, what she or he (people say he, it wasn't a she - they did the Venus of Willendorf ...don't say sssss to me... they did the Venus of Willendorf afterwards, but this is the first human being depicted). [Gregory begins drawing, on the blackboard] - this is his head.. the shaman wore antlers and.. trois freres, the cave of the three brothers, (in French, trois freres, trois freres) - now his bottom was like this - watch this bottom [Gregory continues drawing] - his dick was erected but it came backwards on this body (you see, I can do it small, but you can see the whole body). I think you should know the first human depicted, because for all the Paleolithic people did, the cave paintings, were animals, that was the deal (they never did the human being..) Why they did the cave paintings.. here's a shot - where they did the cave paintings were in the most inaccessible part of the cave. It wasn't (openly) painted, these pictures, they did it in the most back part of the cave, this guy, with those psychedelic eyes, would be there dancing over him and spear-holes were in the bison, or the... what's that big cow called? - auroch - the great big cow - auroch, an auroch - and he'd be dancing, always smiling, he'd be dancing over it..(still). They killed the fucker before they killed it (in other words, they did sympathetic magic with it. The flame would be burning, from the fire, and, you know Paleolithic painting? you know it's is very shimmery, the way the colors and the tones are, it's very shimmery, right?, so they make the thing moving. Because they had to eat - to get you fuckers here today! - they had to eat, or..nothin', right?
But that's a great..to know your sources. Write that down if you want - "Check out your source" (not S-a-u, S-o !). Yeah, if you check out your source, I think that you'll feel much better, all of you, in a way, meaning way back, if you can go (way back)... It's one thing, and I didn't get it here, at this place, which is a Buddhistic shot, I've had that very early in the game from Buddhism - it was Jacky Kerouac who laid it on me, "Hey, Gregory, if you're dying, think as far back, as far back as you can, from whence you came, from the cunt, out, right?". So I said, "Wow, I don't have to die to do that. I can be alive and be way way way back, right?" - That's how I checked it out. It's the source.
[glances at the blackboard] - O, an empty board! - and "No Smoking" - I smoke.

The audio for this can be heard at:
http://www.archive.org/details/Gregory_Corso_The_history_of_poetry_June_1975_75P002
beginning at approximately forty-eight-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty minutes in.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Weekly Round-Up 58


[Hal Chase, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, Morningside Heights, next to Columbia College, New York City, Winter 1944-45. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

We first reported on this back in November (and again, a couple of weeks back), but now it's official, Daniel Radcliffe will play the part of Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas' Kill Your Darlings (which begins filming on the Columbia campus this coming March). The source is casting director, Laura Rosenthal, in the Hollywood Reporter. Radcliffe himself has begun, hesitantly, speaking up. His "defence" (of taking on the role) was reported by the BBC. To MTV, a couple of days later (and, prior to Rosenthal's announcement) he was (as they noted), necessarily, "cagey" - but clear - "It's one of the things that's on the table, absolutely. It would be [will be] amazing and I'm very very enthused for that script and that young director...It's an independent film, it's welcome to the world of independent film - from one day to the next it could happen or not happen. Until I'm there on the set, I'm not going to say anything about it"
- Like we say, principal photography for the film starts early March.

Poetry Out Loud, the (US) national (high-school) poetry-reciting competition (we've reported on this too before). It's not until May 13, that there's the national championships (held in the capital, in Washington DC) but.. Leah DeWitt of Derryfield, New Hampshire? - reciting "A Supermarket in California"'? - courage and conviction - she's gonna be a hard one to beat.

Sad news to report, the passing of, to quote Harold Norse (in his Memoirs of a Bastard Angel), "the best German translator of the Beats and raw-meat writers", Carl Weissner. He died on Tuesday, in Mannheim, aged 71. The notice (in the Mannheimer Morgen (auf Deutsch) is available here. Pierre Joris on the PEN American site remembers him (in English). Our friends at Reality Studios have also posted a loving memorial note and host a variety of "Weissneriana" - (for further materials, see here, here and here).

Opening in Istanbul, this very night, a collaboration between Istanbul and Eindhoven museums featuring (amongst other things) a revival of conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg's 2004 Ginsberg hommage, The Singing Posters (for more on The Singing Posters see here and here)
- "When Ruppersberg, who teaches at UCLA, discovered that his students had never heard of "Howl" he conceived The Singing Posters as a way to introduce that important work to a new generation..."

Allen is also featured in "Diggers, Mimes, Angels and Heads", a "walk-in scrapbook of an exhibition" in New York City.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gregory Corso continues (NAROPA 1975 Class - 5)


[ (alternate caption) Gregory Corso his attic room 9 Rue Git-Le-Coeur, wooden angel kid hung on wall right, window on courtyard and half block from Seine. Burroughs came to live a flight below, Peter Orlovsky & I had window on street two floors down, room with two burner gas stove where we all ate often. Gregory had “Marriage”, “Power”, “Army”, “Police”, “Hair” and “Bomb” poems ready, I began Kaddish, Peter “Frist Poem” Burroughs was shaping Naked Lunch. Paris 1957. (Ginsberg caption) photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)]

GC: I'll tell you what I'll do with you guys, and I've got some goodies in this class (at least I know I've got one goodie (I told you it, I entrusted you with it), so I'm going to work out a poem for you. I will show you how, a poem I'll read tonight, how I'll work on it - alright?, how I would take it from my notebook and make it, tailoring, that's what it's called, "tailoring". I would tailor the poem to be a brick mews house, you see? - I'll give you that goodie, I'll take it at random - something I wrote in my notebook [shuffles through notebook] - aw, geomancy, I don't wanna do geomancy here..(The) poem I (wrote) the other night.. is right near me now. I'll work on the poem.. I'll work on my new poem that I will read tonight, because, with that and the oldies..I can read the oldies, and the oldies I know will make it for me. I can be funny with my oldies or I can be serious with my oldies. I know they will past the shot. But what I want to do is do a new number, and see if it works, alright?, and see how I can break it down. So what I'm going to do is to read to you, and, while I'm reading, while doing that, I'll cross things out (I just can't do it on the blackboard). Here we go. This would be the poem that I would read as a new poem this eve.. "Daybreak and the night goes on"..." [Gregory begins reading at this point from his long, unpublished poem "The Day After Humankind", to begin with, abruptly pausing after the first four lines] - Shut your ass, man, I'm reading a fuckin' poem!.. - Ah, now you get that one that I'm talking about? You've gotta catch this very clear, and I don't think that you can get a poem that's read to you on the first shot. I think it has to be given to you three times to get it. Therefore, poetry-readings, to me, suck. I like it that the poetry's on the page, and you sit in your library and you look at the page, then you get it. This fast is fast.. Here's a poem.. Watch how fast it goes.. [Gregory resumes reading] - "Daybreak and the night goes on.." - "while a mob of polar (bears) makes a hot circle around him" - I got that one, I got that old sea-lion, right? - so then you're caught? so alright, so then it's the first hit.. alright? [Gregory continues] -"The human being when young headed towards the dogs"... "My poem began like the first sight of the sun I cannot remember"... - Any of you guys, any of you women, remember when you first saw the sun?...

But one thing is good here, I'll ask somebody a question and watch what happens - and I know I can break it, watch this shot. There's the question.. now, somebody.. I'll take you because you wanted to talk, here you go. What's your first memory?

Student: Uh?

GC: How old were you? (watch this shot, William [Merwin], who's attending the class] it's a goodie, it's a.. hiatus)

Student: Nursery school.

GC: Nursery school. How old were you at Nursery school?

Student: Four.

GC: Four years old. When did you remember that?

Student: When did I remember it?

GC: When you were four.

Student: Just now.

GC: There you go!

There it is..what a fuckin' goodie. We're alive. You know how many years that jumps out at you?

Student: (indecipherable)

GC: That's 17, 18, no, 19 years, 19 years, am I right? My mathematics? Alright. Yeah. That's a good shot, don't you think, tho'? When you remember, the first thing that you remember is later on in years. Therefore the dream that you might have (you wake up but you don't remember), it's like you never dreamt at all! So that brings you back to a great goodie - the source - the source is in its recall - like the occurrence is in the remembrance (and if you don''t remember it, it didn't occur at all!) - This is some simple shit! Wow!

I.. ok, I'll give you the rest of my poem. Let me work on it with you - ok, so I can get it done [Gregory resumes reading] - "My poem began like the first sight of the sun I cannot remember"..."The art of mutation shall knoweth me when death befalls the body" - see there's my change, I had "The art of mutation shall knoweth me when death befalls my body" - not "my body", "the body", "The art of mutation shall knoweth me when death befalls the body - (this fucker's going to go, this meat! (will die)) - "I deny the big lie/en-truthed by ages of morality" - and that's a toughie, I gotta work on that - "..deny the big lie".. un-truth or en truth? - Now "en-truth" could mean that you're filling the lie with truth, that the lie would be truthful, and I didn't want that, so, so "un-truthing" a lie gets rid of the lie as being truthful. It's a tough word to create..[turns again to W.S.Merwin] how would you do it, my Poet-Man?

W.S. Merwin: It's your poem, Gregory

GC: I know what it is..it's a word, it's not in the dictionary.

W.S.Merwin: Say the line again.

GC: En-truthed..

W.S.Merwin: The whole line.

GC: "I deny the big lie/ entruthed by agents of morality". It means "added to", entruthed" would mean "in addition", right? - I'm sorry, (but) I'm working on this new poem, it's a new poem for me and I'm working on it. So that's what I did the class to show the Poet-Man working on his poem. So, between "en" or "un", doesn't make a fuckin' bit of difference to me really, there you go.. "I deny the big lie/entruthed by agents of morality...".. "The book said to be written before the creation of the world.." - You people remember last class when I said that I didn't wanna mention Gilgamesh, because I thought there might be somebody here who would say there's a book before it? What's the book that was written before the creation of the world?
[silence]
Well, the Jews say they got it, they got the Torah. You see, I don't go for that shit..I would say here, Gilgamesh gives me something practical. I'll show you why I hit on that [resumes reading] - " I deny the Torah its mystery, the partitioning of the Red Sea...".."Wisdom is knowing this, not to be obtained by Faith" - "Humankind told me I have to die/and I don't trust humankind...".. "..its monsters now forever constellated" - (the zodiac) - "..while below the last of the blue whale swims..." - there you go, while the blue whale is being wiped out, you fuckers are putting up these monsters in the sky ("why, there's a scorpion there, a goat-footed one there..").
Okay, this is how I end the baby [concludes the poem] - "I am of the Earth mind as a tree is of the forest/ I am Earth personified, a unit of being, apart from Nature.."..."O, to be a matinee idol on Mars, not a driver of spiffy cars, nor a rock 'n roll Dillinger, a Bob Dylan doppleganger, but a Gregory singing songs of reality in the cinema halls of memory, bringing back heirlooms of the future.."... "...while the producer from Tibet-Jerusalem shall say my role as a pulsar/shall win me an Oscar!"
- So the poetry's over, the whole rig's over, so I go back and repeat this?
Allen taught me a great lesson - "don't explain the explanations!"

The audio for this can be heard at:
http://www.archive.org/details/Gregory_Corso_The_history_of_poetry_June_1975_75P002
beginning at approximately thirty-four-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-eight-and-a-half minutes in (featuring/including Gregory reading from his poetry)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gregory Corso continues (1975 NAROPA Class - 4)


(Gregory and his delivery of random "shots" continues):

GC: I'll give you a goodie, because I want to take it easy because I have a poetry-reading tonight, with my friend, Mr Burroughs, so I think, what I'll do with you guys is teach you, first, divination, alright? (So, when you're sitting somewhere, and you go with your finger - dot-dot-dot-dot, (well) then, do it!) - okay, give 'em, Gregory, the divination - It's called "geomancy". Anybody know what geomancy is? Geo-? What does "geo-" mean?

Student: Earth.

GC: Right on. (I tell you, they fucked around in the 'Sixties, all these (young) people, now they want to learn!...) Geomancy, Gregory, geomancy, geomancy. I can even do it without looking at the book, but I got it here, but, here you go..this is geomancy. This is what you can do on paper with a pen, or when you're just sitting (out) by yourself. It's like I Ching, it's chance, it's throwing something, but it's not coins, it's this...

bam bam..how many notes?
[Gregory then proceeds to illustrate/elucidate via the blackboard]
[counting (to 12 and to 15) - vigorous making (of) marks - staccato sounds - chalk on the blackboard]
- there you go - and I'll make a hexagram out of it
and I'll show you what it is.

One-x, double-x, one-x, double-x, double-x - yuk, yuk! - Double-x, One-x, double-x, double-x, one-x, - that's Rubeus. Alright, now what's Rubeus?. I can give you all this shot, you know that?
This is the earliest thing that human beings did by chance. The Greeks (who) became the great playwrights.. (but) their paintings were kinda shoddy.. (You get) fucked by your destiny..your Sophocles.. no, Gregory not Sophocles.. Euripides, Aeschylus, even funny Aristophanes, they (were fated). And standing before it was chance - you could break your fate by chance.
Now this was my chance that I took, that I got, double-x, one-x, double-x, one-x, double-x, double-x. Rubeus? what is Rubeus, Gregory?.. Alright, Rubeus says that one plus.. one.. [continues mathematical calculations, and then pauses, confused, in front of the blackboard] how do you do plus? how do you do plus? vertical, that's times!, I've forgotten plus! I've forgotten plus! - [ he then resumes] - one plus one, equals three. Man, Woman maketh Child make(s) third - er, Blue, Yellow maketh Green - bam - one more makes three...) - that's Creation, that's what Rubeus is.

Now if you check out geomancy (here). Nobody knows it, right? Anybody here know it? I'm laying the shot on you. Check out.. It's G-E-O-M-A-N-C-Y. It's the earliest hit on divination

Ah, I can't continue (with) this shit. I'll just lay something on you fast and go to the next ball-game.

Audio for this can be heard/interpreted at
http://www.archive.org/details/Gregory_Corso_The_history_of_poetry_June_1975_75P002
beginning at approx 30-and-a-half minutes, and concluding at approx 34-and-a-half minutes in

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gregory Corso continues (1975 NAROPA Class - 3)



                                      [Yoko Ono - film-still - from Film No.4 (Bottoms) (1966)]

The following is more follow-up/continuation of the previously-published June 9 1975 Gregory Corso class (Gregory, sitting in for Allen Ginsberg at the NAROPA Institute), which we've been serializing here, here and also here.
The tape begins in media res
GC: …yeah that sucks, I don’t wanna (have) no “assistants” here. [to Student] You weren’t here last time?
Student: Yes I was.
GC: You were? Oh, wow!
There was a proposal that.. I give poetry readings, (but) there was a woman, always, in the front row, (who) went ssssssssss [Gregory hisses], and, the last shot, I got on her ass, I found out who she was, and I got on her.

Alright, now how much do you remember from last time?. Qu’est-ce-que c’est? [points to drawing of ankh]
Student: Sandal, sandal strap.
GC: Right, what they wear around their neck… [gesturing to the blackboard] - “wipe me off !” – that’s the fucker! - [re-draws on the blackboard] …it looks European, right?.. that’s why the people, they took it (as) symbolic. It’s not symbolic, it’s very concrete. The big toe goes through there [ Gregory, addressing his own drawing, gets frustrated] - I can’t even draw - aw shit, something like that - it goes around like that (anyway).
Let’s see what else you remembered.
[The “Two Shots”?]
There were (actually) three I gave you.
The third, I’m a little embarrassed by, because I really didn’t give you a good shot on it – Asshole – I didn’t give you a good shot on Asshole. I thought I could, but I couldn’t. Alright, lets see..
[here follows a transcription of his, by his own confession “failed” Third Shot (from the earlier class)]
GC: ...the third shot is gonna be a little funny, the third shot’s gonna be awkward, I wonder if I can handle it. The third shot is "Asshole". Right [begins drawing again], right? - thinking about it - I’m not going to take a homosexual shot because I don’t know, but I’ll take the human shot [continues blackboard drawing]. (So) I was sucking this chick’s asshole, and loving it, and feeling great afterwards, but yet, when you think about it, what you’re getting down to.. and you get up, and like it, so there’s no pain, no weight, (getting your rocks off on all of it, I guess). So those guys who get locked up in prison and.. (are) doing (the) weird things, but you don’t say – ah!.. they’re the law-less, people, (they're the..) What else about the asshole? (William) Burroughs can give you the best description about the asshole that I’ve (ever heard). He has a great routine, that I can repeat. He has "The Talking Asshole”!. - Nobody likes it, nobody wants to kiss it, nobody wants to talk to it - It’s a great routine.
Goofball bits of knowledge. What are the other bits, (the bits) in-between?.. there are a lot of variables..
[Gregory continues]
GC: Now what was the second shot, Gregorio?

Student(s): (The) Missing Link.

GC: Missing.. What’s the Missing Link?

Student(s): Morning glory.

GC: What is it?

Student(s): Morning glory.

GC: The Morning glory seed. The brain, right? When they first said… (Did) anybody check it out? Anybody here check it out? [greeted with silence, Gregory exasperated] - Good god almighty, you really embarrass me!

- Hi William (Merwin). [referring to an encounter in the previous class]. We didn’t cross today! Poets – see, the poets can take it, they’re poets - then some guy says, “you’re not a poet”, and they get up-tight, and (then) they’re not!

Alright. So none of you fuckers checked me out. You took me for granted, right?

Check out the ankh, sandal (in) Ancient Egypt. It means “sandal” . The meaning of life means sandal strap!

Asshole, I’m gonna pass over today, today I’m gonna drop that.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Alan Ansen (1922-2006)


["Old friend poet-secretary Alan Ansen (who typed manuscript of Naked Lunch in Tangier over a quarter century earlier) visiting from Athens where he expatriates, Henry Geldzahler's back patio, West 9th St. New York City, the afternoon before Francesco Clemente's double vernissage Mary Boone/Leo Castelli Galleries, March 30, 1985." (Ginsberg caption) - photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Alan Ansen, born January 23, 1922, poet, playwright, erudite scholar, Beat associate, cosmopolitan, had he lived, would have been 90 years old today.

Allen famously declared him to be "the most delicate hippopotamus of poets".
Commenting on the 1989 Selected Poems, Contact Highs, he noted (and paid hommage to) his "monstrous classical versifications" - "he [Ansen] gets conversational fatness 'into stricter order' by use of weird echosyllabics, polyphony, strict rhymeless pindarics, self-annihilating sestinas, mono-amphisbaenic and echo rhyme, skeltonics, versicals & alcaics, coherent palindromes & such like master eccentricities - a hang up on forms, which, interestingly, pushes academic models beyond polite limits into the area of lunatic personal genius."
Contact Highs, he declared to be "an amazing book with many sad poems."

Ansen, for his part, recalling meeting Allen: "I think I first met Allen at the Chelsea loft of Bill Cannastra, a young, charming, self-destructive drunk, who'd been an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, where he'd met Chester Kallman and (W.H) Auden, and a law student at Harvard. I was Auden's secretary at the time. Allen struck me as intense but attractive in ways intense people so often are not."

More on Alan Ansen on the Empty Mirror page


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sebastian Piras -Taylor Mead and Allen Ginsberg, 1997 (ASV #29)

Sebastian Piras' 1997 footage of Taylor Mead and Allen Ginsberg provides a rare (unique?) glimpse into Allen's new (13th Street) loft, the one that he spent (sadly and tragically) so little time in, the place where, it turned out, he went to die (see Jonas Mekas' harrowing Last Days of Allen Ginsberg" documentary and Colin Still's "No More To Say And Nothing To Weep For" for more from this setting).

Allen arrives in the loft to find Taylor Mead already there:

AG: Hi

TM: Hi Allen. I’m stealing your Dream - your “Rice Dream”!

AG: It’s very good. Have you had some?

TM: Nothin'. Not yet.

AG: Have you had any before,?

TM: I think so

AG: It’s really good. I can’t drink milk, so..

TM: O my word! I drink a half gallon a day.

[Allen acknowledges and waves to the camera]

AG: So, do you like my digs?

TM: Magnificent.

AG: It’s amazing. After the other place I lived in.

TM: I know there were various places.

AG: I was 20 years in that walk-up [437 East 12th Street].

TM: ... (..Museum) – It was from July. It was called "I Would Have Shot Andy Warhol", after I saw the movie, it’s a review of the movie.

AG : Is it any good?

TM: The movie, "I Shot Andy Warhol"?

AG: [taking out his camera to photograph Taylor]: Yeah.

TM: It’s terrific. And the Basquiat movie, did you see that?

AG: No, I missed both of them.

TM: Both of them?

AG: (I) haven’t been going to the movies much.

[Allen begins giving Taylor a tour of the new apartment]

AG: This painting by Gregory Corso, it's Pearl Harbor Day

TM: Oh yeah.

AG: Here is a painting by Joe Brainard in there.

TM: It looks like Jim Morrison.

[Allen, next, referring to another artwork] (..the rose..and it had that picture at the top, the bottle..)

TM: Well, I remember, Larry Rivers, when I first came to New York in the’40s, he did a Lincoln Center thing of one of his Surrealist works that I really liked

AG: [points to and shows] Keith Haring

TM: Oh my god, It’s a great Keith Haring. Wow!

AG: [referring to Sebastian Piras, the filmmaker] – Has he got the right light?, angle (for the picture)?

TM: That has a plot to it.

AG: He gave me two things. That other thing is Keith’s also. This is a somewhat idealized version of my daydreams – sexual delights.

TM: God!

AG: (It’s) someone in a house.

TM: I love those colors, it’s great!

AG: Yeah. It’s kind of a joke.

TM: Well, I don’t think so. You’re sort of everybody’s…

AG: I thought nobody would treat me like that..

TM: ..the thought of everybody’s Buddha, from going way back..

AG: So this is..(another) area... I was totally knocked out by..

..[Allen previously mentions his admiration for Ron Rice’s “The Flower Thief”, starring Taylor Mead]

TM: But we were inspired, Ron and I (Ron Rice and I) both by "Pull My Daisy".

AG: Really.

TM: Within a week after we saw "Pull My Daisy", Ron says.. you know, the spontaneity of "Pull My Daisy", we were totally influenced by that.

AG: Yep.

TM: ..and we saw..

AG: I’d like to see that again. I haven’t seen that in years.

TM: Well, great film.

AG: Yep, really good film.

TM: Well, but your film cost a couple of thousand, right? Ours cost about 85 bucks! to..

AG: No, ours cost 2500 to…3000!

TM: Oh really? Ours caused maybe… well, Ron forged cheques on his girlfriend’s.. and I had..

AG: So what happened to the later footage he did?

TM: Well the best.. My favorite film is the Queen of Sheba Meets The Atom Man with that great black woman..

AG: Wini

TM: Wini [Winifred] Bryan, yes.

AG: I used to know her years back before that, even, in the ‘40’s..

TM: She died about ten years ago.

AG: But Wini was quite intelligent, but he.. she had a wig.

TM: Very bright, yes. Ron caught her once without her wig (we didn’t see her for weeks after!)

AG: (I was) in this apartment many times for parties. Years ago, it was Karel Appel's, the painter..

TM: Oh yes, well I was here when it was a total wreck.

AG: ..then Claes Oldenburg, then Patty Oldenburg, then, for many years, it was Larry Rivers, (the) place where he..

TM: ...let his girlfriends...

AG: No, no, he had a.. he stacked his paintings, millions of paintings.

TM: Yeah, yeah, I was just so shocked. It was like a warehouse.

AG: And then I had.. bought it a year-and-a-half ago, and been working on it ever since.

TM: Beautiful.

AG: All the light is great!

TM: Yeah, I remember it as very dark and dingy.

AG: No, it’s heaven! You wake up in the morning and it’s so different from where I rent(ed) for 20 years – and I have (a) cardiac problem..

TM: Oh my god!

AG: ...so I can’t climb the steps anymore. (But) This is a great elevator [points to the elevator]. So, I’m fixed up.

TM: I’m up a 5-flight walk-up on Ludlow Street.

AG: Oh god!

TM: It’s become a great block, very interesting.

AG: Yeah. So it’s just a walk up..

TM: Well, I keep telling myself it’s good for my heart, it’s good for.. because I got so..

AG: Well, maybe. My heart problem comes from an overdose of an anti-biotic in the hospital – medical nemesis.

[discussion moves on, to old age and sex]

AG: It’s just that's a shot in the dark, so – who wants to? If you’ve got somebody you’ve got a heartache for..

TM: If it’s really great, then I don’t think about that, but otherwise, even if it’s good, I get this terrible conscience thing, that lasts for about a week

AG: Well, I get into these heart-throb situations. ..They seem to last for years...as friends.. so, but I can’t cum, by myself, so what I need is somebody to tickle my bottom or put his head on my chest..Somebody…

TM: Well, I never.. I try not to cum. I still have the same number of wet dreams that I had fifty years ago.

AG: Uh-huh.

TM: But I’ve always had a terrible conscience thing, after I cum.

AG: Are you Catholic or something?

TM: No, Presbyterian.

AG: So what’s..

TM: Very severe Wasp [White Anglo-Saxon Protestant] family background.

AG: So what’s the problem?

TM: I’m a Super-Wasp - Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Lutheran. It’s something in my conscience.. I can’t...

AG: Well, what does your conscience say?

TM: It’s “la petite mort, it’s “grande mort”!

AG: [reaches over and kisses him] My dear!

TM: Only one year older.

AG: I thought you were somewhere in your 50’s, or something.

TM: I tell people I’m 27 or vice-versa!

AG: I thought you were in your 50’s!, so you’re older than me!

TM: Yeah

AG: Oh daddy-o!

[AG then goes to light incense on his home altar and potter around the apartment]

TM: You know, under the Islamic people that.. (they used to live next door, I think)...

AG: No, but I know, there’s a poet-friend who’s Sufi - Daniel Moore from San Francisco, you remember him? ..And then he went on a Hajj.. and he studied with teachers in Africa, and in Morocco, and is very learned, and is a good poet. City Lights put out some early books (of his) [Dawn Visions (1964) and Burnt Heart (1971)]

TM: Well, the Islamic people scare me. Anti-homosexual.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday's Weekly Round-Up 57




"Ginsberg's voice defended us, exonerated us, and forgave us for the murders we committed for a government that acted like a godfather with an army of hit-men". Vietnam Vet, Victor Claude Pirtle offers an impassioned defense of Allen's Vietnam war ethic and argues for his continuing relevance, on the web-site FWB On Line.

Still remembering the 'Sixties and the "peace-niks", Ed Sanders' most recent memoir, Fug You (full title "Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side") is, happily, now out. Here's Ben Ratliff's enthusiastic review in the New York Times. Here's a follow-up note from the Poetry Foundation. Ed Sanders is interviewed and speaks about the book here, here and here - and here.

His "verse-biography", The Poetry and Life of Allen Ginsberg, in case you've not come across it, is also an absolute "must-read".

It was Ed who, in 1994, commissioned "New Stanzas For Amazing Grace" (included in Death and Fame: Last Poems 1993-1997, and in Illuminated Poems).
Here's the audio (from an October 6 1994 reading at the New School)
- and here's another raw unaccompanied version.

New York's Bowery Poetry Club has been "tweeting" some of Allen's "unpublished haiku" (as featured in Gordon Ball's Journals Early 'Fifties, Early Sixties, under the title "Haiku composed in the backyard cottage at 1624 Milvia Street, Berkeley, 1955, while reading R.H.Blythe's 4-volumes Haiku" - there are 21 of them there). Here are some of them:
"Looking over my shoulder my behind was covered with cherry blossoms" - "I slapped the mosquito and missed. What made me do that?" - "A frog floating in the drugstore jar: summer rain on grey pavements" (after Shiki) - "Reading haiku I am unhappy, longing for the Nameless". The "resident expert" at the BPC also drew our attention to Sabine Sommerkamp's

Another new (previously-unpublished) poem from Nanao Sakaki ("In The Next Life I Will Be.."), from his forthcoming Collected Poems of Nanao Sakaki, (now slated for Fall publication), appears on Gary Lawless' Poems from Gulf of Maine blog.
and - more gleanings from the blogs - Dennis Cooper provides a very useful over-view of the legendary Alex Trocchi over on his blog (including re-printing this lively Ginsberg-Trocchi conversation).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gregory Corso continues (1975 Naropa Class - 2)


GC: What do you people know zodiacally? Just the bullshit you got in the last 15 years, right? You're all young people, and you're brought up that the zodiac was always so - it wasn't. In the '50's and the '40's, you didn't hear of the zodiac. No way. It was all covered down. Right? So I think this is my last lesson I'll give you all. Why did they call it "the Aquarian Age"?
[turns to and begins rubbing clean the blackboard]
Did you ever check it out, why it's the Aquarian Age?

Student: End of the Pisces?

GC: End of the Pisces, right. So what does that make that? What comes after Aquarius?

Student: Capricorn.

GC: Capricorn, right. So it makes it a Great Year. It gives it two year stars. Watch. [Gregory begins drawing on the blackboard]. It's the Great Year it takes the Sun and the planets to go across the Milky Way (as it takes it our planet to go around the Sun), makes a year. And it's a 12-shot. It's a twelve years, 12-shot, Gregory.

Hold it [Corso once again, accompanying himself, drawing on the board], here's Cap(ricorn), here would be..uh..Aquarius, here would be our Pisces, here would be Gregory, Aries. He would be Taurus, here would be Gemini, close to Cancer. Alright, here's Cancer, there's Leo, there's Virgo, there's Libra [chalk squeaks on board] - (oh, I hate that! - o god, I did it! - I used to hate when people did what I just did it!) - there comes Scorpio, beautiful Scorpio, and then Sag(ittarius) right? There you go.

Alright. Now what this teaches you is a great thing. This teaches you the progression of the elements. Fire first. Zero degrees from No-house. Bam! Aries! - You get your Earth, because Earth is the Ash of Fire, so Earth is the Child of Fire. And out of that conglom(eration) - poom! - comes your atmosphere and your vapor, which is Water. So, if you wanna know those four elements, how they start - Fire, Earth, Air, Water. And that's the products of Earth. And it goes all around the zodiac that way. So, Fire again, and Earth, some Air, Water. Fire, Earth, Air, Water. Three, triplicities and quadruples are the zodiacal chart, which is a beautiful chart when you really check it out. The way I'm doing it is not..

Here's another thing now you should know about, which is a heavy, and nice - and it's easy, it's light.. Fire, that made this thing, the Earth, Earth can douse, smoked Fire out.

The only good thing that Earth has.. that Fire has with Earth.. (is) that.. Fire made Earth, but Earth can smother Fire out. Air, Fire loves (because Fire expands in Air). All my friends are under Air signs, or Fire (signs). Water, I know, douses me out, but I can boil Water and evaporate it. See... Earth smothers me out. All I can say is, "Well, I made Earth, but he smothers me out."
Okay, here's a Great Year. I'll give a Great Year. This is what just passed. Why they call it now "the Aquarian Age". A P.. Pisces, right?, alright, here you go. Pisces just finished - fishermen, Christ - it's 2,000 years, it's 12,000 years a shot - it's 24,ooo, see? (12 points, 2,ooo years a hit, makes 24 thou(sand) - that's the Great Year). And it takes the Earth, the Sun, all the planets, to go around the mega-gal- not the mega-galaxy, the galaxy, the Milky Way (no, the mega-galaxy's a bigger shot - but the galaxy itself, takes 24 thou(sand)). So this is how (proof, looking at history) is how you'll know it -
Ares after, or before Pisces, was Julius Caesar, Alexander, the God of War, and all that shit. The lamb? yeah - call that Taurus, the bull - the worship of the bull in Crete - dancing over the bull. Before that, communication, Gemini - Hebrew hieroglyphics and cuneiform. Before that, the Flood - the Moon, Cancer. And you get to Gilgamesh, with the Flood in it, and the Bible. Before that now, Leo - regency, the Kings. You get the Gate at Mycenae with the two twins, the lions' heads. Ha h ha. You wanna go up one more with me folks? You wanna go around again, around and around and around. Wanna get right back to it again? Ha ha ha. It's a kick, it's a kick to teach. You guys should grow up to be teachers. Look at the ball I'm having, right? You wanna seem like dumb-asses, right?


Okay, the ball-game's over this week. See you Wednesday. [class and tape ends here].

Audio for this transcription can be found at
http://www.archive.org/details/Gregory_Corso_The_history_of_poetry_June_1975_75P002
beginning approximately ends twenty-two-and-a-half minutes in and concluding just under 28 minutes in