Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rose-Cheek'd Laura's Centrality








[Ezra Pound, Basil Bunting, Louis Zukofsky, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore]


AG: So you'll find in the twentieth-century,  (Ezra) Pound, (Basil) Bunting, (Louis) Zukofsky, Robert Duncan, some of (Robert) Creeley, all derive from this poem or from the practice of this poem. It's sort of like the secret inner measure of their work, the kind of attempt that Campion is getting into here or the territory he's getting into. And that was related to the idea of William Carlos Williams of finding a measure that would be an American measure rather than just taking the hand-me-down English, taking in the English as a hand-me-down, and writing in the emotion of the…  

[Dick Gallup leaves to get up and smoke a cigarette. AG: It's alright to the smoke here. It's alright to smoke here, Dick  - DG: It's alright  AG: Ok]

The break with iambic pentameter that (Ezra) Pound talked about and the atttention to the sound of the spoken voice that Williams was preoccupied with, was also, like, a main theme in (Basil) Bunting and in (Louis) Zukofsky, and all those friends, even Marianne Moore. 
So that a study of this poem will turn you on to the meters, or the sounds, or the continuity (continuity, to use your word), continuity that you hear in Pound's Cantos (and some of his earlier poems that are similar to…  
That's why I've been trying, in several classes, so hung up, to decipher, or make clear, that something muscular is going on here that is different from the usual set of muscles 
(tho' I'm not very articulate about exactly what it is maybebecause I don't really know enough, I just.. I hear it). 

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately fifty-four minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty-six minutes in]

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More Rose-Cheek'd Laura

                              ["Only beauty purely loving/Knows no discord"  (Thomas Campion)]


Continuing with classroom discussion of Campion's "Rose-cheek'd Laura.."

Rose-cheek'd Laura, come
Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's
Silent music, either other
Sweetly gracing

Lovely forms do flow

From concent divinely framed;
Heav'n is music and thy beauty's
Birth is heavenly.

These dull notes we sing

Discords need for helps to grace them;
Only beauty purely loving
Knows no discord,

But still moves delight

Like clear springs renew'd by flowing,
Ever perfect, ever in them-

Selves eternal.


AG: I guess it's (it's metrics are) pretty natural  - [to Student (Pat)] - Have you ever worked much on that? this poem?
Student (Pat): Er..no
AG: That might be an idea of something you might...
Student (Pat): A beautiful poem, but I never..
AG: I always liked it. I taught it a couple of times. I wondered how he would break that down into long and short vowels. Have you ever thought about that?
Student (Pat): I  haven't gone through and checked to see how his practice here works against (his theory)
AG: Yeah

Student: Is it supposed to be on a Greek model.. of quantitative meter?
AG: I think it would… It looks like the Sapphic form that (William Carlos) Williams uses when he translates. There are one or two little Sapphic poems
Student (Pat): There's,  you know, the basic..the basic difference is between long and short  as you would think of itThe vowels that you would think about that were longer are long, but a short vowel can be made long by being followed by...

AG So that… I was trying to figure out how…checking first line against first line against first line, to see what the parallelism is there between the verbs. I was thinking that "Rose-cheek'd Laura" - "Rose cheeked Lau.." were long , "..ra come", were short. So it's da da da  da-da
Student (Pat): No, it's perfectly regular, according to his claims.
AG:  It's all..  the "Laura"?
Student: Long-short, long-short, long - Yes. 
AG: The short part ? What was it again?
Student: Long-short, long-short
AG: "Rose-cheek'd/, Lau-ra,/ come/ Sing thou,/ smoothly,/ with thy/ beauty's…"  Okay then, well decrying complete independence of any of his schemes, just examining it as sound, for long and short (getting to the long and short of it!)  I figured that, according to (Ezra) Pound's idea of a rough approximation of quantity in English, if you counted half-vowels (two half-vowels making one long one), it's a four-vowel line for a measure of four - "Rose-cheek'd, Lau-ra, come" ("ra" and "come", short). Just not sung, not sung, just there.  "Rose-cheek'd, Lau-ra, come" - "..ra come" would be half - see, one-two-three and then two halves. Then in the next stanza, "Lovely forms do flow" ("Lovely" seems to be two short, "forms do flow"). Well, that's the way I was interpreting it.
Student: What di you think after...
AG: (It) doesn!t have to be.. doesn't have to be real!
Student: But it's just hypothetical
AG: It's just my hypothetical ear...
Student: Okay
AG: .. trying to analyze what I hear.
Student: (Well) I haven't. Of course, you, personally, have a much better…
AG: Nah,  It was just what I..  I just spent a little time trying to figure it out. So I was figuring that would be "forms do flow" (three long vowels and "lovely" would give a little syncopated double, yeah..). Then, in the third stanza, "Dull notes..sing" would be the long vowels and "These dull notes we sing" - And then, in the last stanza, "still moves delight","But still moves delight" (see, it has "but" and "de" as the short vowels in the last stanza" and "still moves delight" as the long vowels).
Then, (shall I go through it again, if anybody wants to check it out and see how it works). The next-to-the-last stanza,, "These dull notes we sing" - These (short) dull (long) notes (long) we (short) sing (long).  
Then, second stanza, I was saying "lovely" were the two shorts, "forms do flow". And in the first stanza "Rose-cheek'd, Lau.." would be the long and ".,ra, come" would be the short, but that's pretty arbitrary in a way.
But what it did seem to (boil down to).. The reason I'm going through this is to give some physical example of interpretation rather than just reading, even if subjective. So, in other words, I had some kind of subjective ideas about quantity, long vowels, and I haven't quite expressed them clearly enough by example (as, say here). (whether or not, it doesn't  (even if it doesn't) necessarily agree with Campion's.

Now what is.. Campion's (Campion's system is the..what?  (to Student (Pat):  Could you analyze those first lines (just the first lines as to what it is. It's a long-short Rose (long) Cheeks (short) Lau (long) ra (short), Come (long)?
Student (Pat): Right, he calls it a dimeter
AG: Dimeter
Student (Pat): Dimeter
AG: Dimeter - two feet
Student (Pat): Two feet and one.. one more..so..
AG: Dimeter, yeah
Student (Pat): "Rose cheek'd Laura, come"
AG: How is.. It's too bad we don't have the music because you could see how long it is. 
Student (Pat): There is no music. I haven't been able to find any music.
AG: Isn't it amazing, because this is his prettiest song.
Student (Pat): Like I say, this is a purely theoretical piece.
AG: Oh, is it a piece he wrote for theoretical purpose and never put to music?
Student (Pat): Yeah.  (It was) one of the things he printed in the Observations on the Art of Poetry (Observations in the Art of English Poesie) and he printed here that you can write in this meter and also that you can have lyrics without rhyme
AG: Yeah.  It's true, there is no rhyme here. You wouldn't know it. There is an  internal rhyme, like "beauty/heavenly" either/other" and "still moves…"

So this is really..  so this little poem of Campion probably is the basis of most of the practice of (Ezra) Pound and (Basil) Bunting for getting a poem that seems built like a brick shit-house, totally, completely together, no rhyme and no accentual meter. It's amazing.

Student (Pat): What he says in the Observations..  which is still kind of an esoteric point, as far as I'm concerned,  is "the number is voluble and fit to express any amorous conceit" ..
Student: Say that again.
A: The number would be the count of syllables. or...
Student (Pat): The number of syllables in quantitative is...
AG:  Yes..
Student (Pat): "the number is voluble.."
AG: Variable? Voluble?
Student (Pat): Voluble
Student: Voluble
AG: Voluble number? - In other words, volume, speakable, I suppose
Student: Where does he say that?
Student (Pat): In the Observations
Student: Can you show me?
Student (Pat): Yeah, why don't you read it 
Student: "the number is voluble.." - the last sentence
Student (Pat): Oh, oh, he's just talking about the particular meter that he's writing in, and he's saying that, this is a speaking meter, and what you can write in that language with a  tune
AG: Oh, it's a speaking meter. "voluble" means speaking rather than singing
Student (Pat): It's emotional, suited for emotional content 

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-six-and-quarter-minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty-four minutes in] 

Monday, September 26, 2016

1990 - Matters of General Importance




                              [Edvard Munch - The Scream  (1893)- National Gallery, Oslo, Norway

Allen and Philip Glass's 1990 interview with Studs Terkel (see here and here) concludes with Terkel offering Allen an open platform to "go off" on "anything of his choice". Allen takes full advantage, listing the dangerous turn to censorship and repression in contemporary America circa 1990 (his "cautionary footnote", as Terkel describes it, is a snapshot of a moment, but still reads chillingly, and regrettably, continuingly, pertinent in the light of present times.)   




ST: Al, I thought we'd go off open-endedly, as they used to say in the old days, with Allen Ginsberg, anything of his choice (and to remind the audience, tomorrow-night at Center East, both will be there, the poet and the composer, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, at Center East, 7701 Lincoln in Skokie, eight o'clock, for the benefit of the Buddhist..
AG: Center, Meditation School,  
ST: Jewel Heart

 - Allen, the dice is yours.

AG: Well, I've got something I want to talk about of general importance. You know, we call the opera, "Hydrogen Jukebox", but the original conception was "The Fall of America". But then. some of the financial sponsors got a little worried about getting grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, so downer was the title (or they might think of it as a downer). So they actually asked us to change it. And I was willing because I like the sparky "Hydrogen Jukebox" more, but I was also interested in having, preserved-in-amber, a little sample of the fall-out effect on general cultural attitudes and possibilities of the Helms - (Senator Helms) and the neo-Conservative and religious right, and fundamentalist, attack on American culture. 

And so I was recently considering the problem and the number of issues that have come up and a list of all of the attempts to stifle communication in America that I could think of that  have come to my awareness. 

First of all, there's heightened censorship of high-school and college student publications (within schools, like, more censorship than there was since the 'Sixties and 'Seventies). There's the FCC ban on "indecent language", twenty-four-hours-a-day. No regulations, with its chilling effects (which have actually put all of my poetry off the air, major poems that are in the Norton anthology). There's a National Endowment for the Arts anti-obscenity policy and its chilling effects. They're now sending out unobscenity loyalty oaths for grantees and applicants. There have been library-book bannings in high schools and public libraries, textbook censorship cases, as in Texas (you know, the fundamentalists wanting to write Creationism into..)

ST: Longview, Texas, a couple..

AG: And, you know, revision,  muffling the recollection of the Vietnam war.  There are new delays and restrictions in getting your information from the government on the secret police activities under the Freedom of Information ActThey are now record-labelling for so-called "obscene" or "indecent" lyrics, which are going to wind up with my records and. let us say, the Fugs or other interesting poetic things being tossed in a porn bin . Or maybe cops raiding a photograph or record shop for selling "obscene" stuff.  There's the re-definition of a child, proposing to protect minors, in FCC and in child-porn photograph laws. So a child used to be twelve to fourteen or - "today I am a man" thirteen-year-old bar mitzvah, is now aged seventeen to eighteen, so they've, literally, done an Orwellian job in redefining the word "child", legally. There's adult book-shop video-shop isolation and zoning. There's the use of Rico conspiracy laws and First Amendment controversial adult bookshop cases. There's the lifetime contracts for review clearance requirements for a government bureaucratic ex-officials on their experience working for the government (you sign your soul to the devil once you start working for the government and you can't write about it for the public unless you show it to your ex-boss. In Guam, there's a prohibition of abortion counseling (which is a free-speech issue). There are new nuisance suits to shut up authors and publishers as in the case of The Spirit of Wounded Knee by Peter Matthiessen, in which the FBI made "nuisance suits" (FBI agents pushed the book off the market with suits that they could never win but it cost so much to defend that it simply got the book in trouble)

ST: That's Peter Matthiessen's Indian (book) about Leonard Peltier

AG: Yeah.  The Spirit of Crazy Horse

ST: The Spirit of Crazy Horse, yes

AG: There are restrictions on activities by the military (as in Panama and Grenada). There's comtinued intimidation of Salman Rushdie. There are arbitrary national security classifications on university research, especially those imposed after the research was begun and contracts were signed. There's an FBI library surveillance.."library awareness program", they call it (FBI surveillance of book-borrowers by subject). There's an attack on adults talking to each other on the telephone (as if that would be illegal). New child pornography laws, an attempt to change the constitution to protect the constitution by making the flag amendment

ST: You know, as you're saying that, it's a cautionary tale to recognize what the challenges really are, what the American public is not too conscious of at the moment. A job has been done, and it seems to me, two artists, such as yourselves.. a while back Philip Glass was speaking about what is remembered -  the men whose minds did.. and the women..whose minds did it and the culture, that will be remembered. And, in a sense, you two are doing that job now, and Allen's cautionary footnote here (epilogue,  I should say) is what it's all about too.  Thank you very much and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night - Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately fifty-one-and-a-quarter minutes in and continuing until the end of the tape]

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Studs Terkel Interviews Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass on WFMT, Chicago 1990 - part 2

 [Philip Glass - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg - Kiev Restaurant, NYC, 1993 - Photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate] 

continuing from yesterday

ST: Resuming with Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass, poet (and) composer working together. We heard just a piece of the very haunting "Satyagraha - the Evening Song", earlier, that opened the Lyric Opera season. It was a pip of an opening. Critics and audience both (raved). That was three years ago...
Liquid Days?  (Songs from) Liquid Days) is what?

PG: Well, it's a collection of songs I did. In a way, it's kind of a problem to talk about because it was the first songs I did in English, and now, four or five years later, I've done a whole set of songs with Allen in English. And I wanted to do a set of songs using the English language,  because I 'd done..Satyagraha was written with....
ST: Well, Satyagraha was Sanskrit. That was quite a job for the performers.
PG: Yea, that's right. And Akhenaten was done in Ancient Egyptian .
ST: The what was?
PG: The Akhenaten
ST: Akhenaten was done in Ancient Egyptian
PG: And Einstein.. used..more and more used numbers. One, two, three, four.
ST: In numbers?
PG: Yeah. So I wanted to do something in English and I asked friends of mine who were songwriters to.. if they had.. basically, I said, "Look, do you have any lyrics you're not using, something that I could...?"  And I asked David Byrne for a set of lyrics (in fact, the song that we're going to play is from him). Suzanne Vega gave me a set of words, Laurie Anderson did, and Paul Simon did. And, actually, the funny thing is, I asked at a time when Suzanne Vega hadn't done her first record yet, and I wanted to pick an unknown writer or a songwriter (because I had Paul Simon and Laurie Anderson and David Byrne and I was feeling really self-conscious about all these, I wanted to pick someone that no one had ever heard of  - so I picked Suzanne Vega - and then she.. her record came out about the same time that our record did, and so she's hardly an unknown songwriter anymore! - At any rate, this song..  They each gave me lyrics to write. The one that David (Byrne) gave me was written out on a number of pieces of paper, just two or three lines in different colored ink and he let me assemble it together, make my own set of lyrics out of it. And the Roche Sisters are singing this song, by the way
AG: Who are they?
PG: The Roche Sisters
ST; And, actually, Laurie Anderson also did something for it.
PG: She contributed lyrics for a song also.
ST: I call her Laurie-and-her-magic-violin.. No, there used to be, there used to be a radio star, years ago, named Rubinoff-and-his-magic-violin
AG:  Rubinoff.
ST: Yes, I speak of Laurie-and-her-magic-violin
AG:  And Jack Benny, wasn't he..?
ST: That's right. So, Laurie-and-her.. but this is David Byrne's piece
PG: Yes, it's David Byrne's words and my music and The Roche Sisters are singing  

[Beginning at approximately thirty-six-and-a-half minutes in (and continuing to approximately forty-one-and-a-quarter minutes in), Terkel plays"Liquid Days (Part 1)" (vocals by The Roches) from Philip Glass's album Songs from Liquid Days)]

ST: And so it ends - like that
AG: That's very pretty
PG: Thank you.
ST: You've heard this before?
AG: Yeah, I wasn't aware of it, but ,  I immediately, as it got on..
ST: What is it that happens ? (I'm just curious. It.. I imagine, technically, what happens there?, technically?)
PG: In which way?
ST: The sound, as we hear the sound..
PG: You mean how it ends?  or..?
ST: Yeah, I mean, just generally. I know the keyboards are electronic..
PG: Yeah..well, that's a combination of electronic and acoustic.You heard a flute and there are strings, real strings, and a.. The way we recorded it? We reorded it in the studio. But we did do a tour. I got a little tour together, and I toured.. (it was a little mini-tour, we did Europe, San Francisco and Los Angeles. But on the record, I also had …Linda Ronstadt sang on the record and she came on tour, the Roche Sisters came on, Doug Perry, who was also on the record. So it was..
ST: The guy who played Ghandi in Satyagraha
PG: Yeah and we did a little mini-tour, and it turned out we can do it live
ST: I was thinking The Roche Sisters - they're three sisters and they're natural sisters
PG: Yeah.
ST: And I thought, here we go, World War II, the 'Forties, the Andrews Sisters, much has happened technologically  in so many ways. And the Andrews Sisters, the Roche Sisters you have the history of America of the past forty years.
AG: And changes..
ST: The changes. 
AG: ..in the psyche.
ST: "Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me" - and David Byrne
PG: David Byrne's from Baltimore, by the way. He grew up in Baltimore.
ST: You, David Byrne, Billie Holiday and H.L.Mencken
AG: And don't forget Edgar Allan Poe's grave
ST: "And felt the strangeness of Baltimore again"
PG: Yes, that's right

ST (to AG): Allen, as you were listening to..yourself.. You go back and forth during this concert, I gather
PG: Well, I play some solo piano, and Allen reads some poetry.

ST: Allen, your turn. 
AG: Well, I thought there's a.. there's a piece from the opera, which is done with Australian aborigine songsticks, which I was using, so it was rhythm instruments performing that little "Dope Calypso". But an Australian aborigine, as a songman, takes perhaps thirty years to learn his trade, because what the song is   is a,like, an encyclopedia of the nomadic cycle that he travels with his tribe when they.. It has to be all the information of where you can get wichetty grubs, where you can get food, where the stars will be at what portion of the year. So, they have little clap-sticks (AG displays them, sounding them out). And they repeat the verses, each verse, a number of times, and the village, the whole village repeats the verses with them. So this poem is modelled on that and it fits also with our notion of the transitoriness of nations  (Fall of America, or Hydrogen Jukebox

[Beginning at approximately forty-four minutes in (and comcluding at approximately forty-five-and-a-half minutes in),  Allen reads "Ayers Rock/Uluru Song"  ("When the red pond fills fish appear.."…  "When the raindrop dries, worlds come to their end")]

ST: Yeah, That's fantastic, Because I was thinking, as Allen was doing it.. I was thinking about what we talked about earlier - "It all begins with me".  Coming back again to the person. Simple. In the real sense
AG: Well, the latest in scientific information is that when two molecules clank together, it takes an observer for that to become scientific data. So it all comes back to subject.
ST: Yeah
AG: Or, the universe is subjective
ST: Yeah, I was thinking the craziest thought. See if it makes any sense. As Allen was doing that, in that very... Suddenly it haunts you (just as (in) Philip Glass, the music haunt you),
 I was thinking of the (RMS) Titanic, - Why do you think I was thinking of the Titanic?…   Because of the arrogance of Man. You know, "Nothing's ever going to stop this!", and that should have been at the right moment, (if you think of man's humility). We haven't learned, tho'
AG: So when's Earth Day
ST: Coming up
AG: April 22nd? 23rd?
ST: Twentieth anniversary
AG: yea, there's going to be a big action on Wall Street, a whole bunch of people are going to sit in on Wall Street and get arrested. I think. And in Central Park, in New York, there going to have a giant music festival to celebrate Earth. And I think the tuna companies have declared finallythat they'll stop catching tuna fish in nets that catch dolphins also. That's.. (oh, while you were in Brazil (Philip), that came out, they finally..Heinz tuna-fish said that they'd no longer accept (or) buy tuna fish that involves the capture of dolphins 

ST: Just to remind..  Not to interrupt but to remind listeners that Allen Ginsberg (who we've been hearing) and Philip Glass, together - that's tomorrow-night, and you can see, it'll be.. there's a spontaneous air to this, and a refreshing one too. At the same time there's a theme,  and the theme is the one we've been talking about really - it all begins with you (there in the audience). Center East -  because they're.. under the auspicies of, or rather for the benefit of a Buddhist organization, Jewel Heart, and Center East is the place, Center East at 7701 Lincoln in Skokie. So that's eight o'clock tonight.
One more round to go.


















And so I was thinking this is the last round for now, until you guys, tomorrow-night on stage, Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg. And there's another piece of music - [to PG] - You say you play solo piano
PG: Yeah, this is a piece that…
ST: Acoustic piano too . This is a piece that was identified with a movie called The Thin Blue Line. It's a film about a man who was put into jail for a crime that he..apparently he hadn't committed at all - a guy named Randall Dale Adams - and a filmmaker named Errol Morris stumbled across this case and began interviewing people and filming it and, as a result of the film, the guy was actually released, and the real killer confessed. During the..
ST: This is The Thin Blue Line you're talking about? - Oh, that's right
PG: So this music is thematically from that. Maybe if we have.. I would think that maybe we should just hear part of it, because the piece is a
ST: Let's fade part of it and then we'll hear Allen once more, to close with whatever it is of his choice. So this.."Metamorphosis"
Any connection here with the (Franz) Kafka theme?
PG: Well, I also use some of this music for a staging of the Kafka play, and, in a way. I thought the whole thing that happened to Randall Dale Adams.. In the Kafka, there were a lot of  reverberations that seemed to me very authentic. 
ST: You haven't set Kafka yet, have you?
PG: No. no I haven't, but I've done music for it,  plays that were based on him.
AG: Well, that would really be up your alley, in a funny way. 
PG: You know I've finally worked with (Edgar Allan) Poe. I've set Poe, and I find….
AG: What Poe?
PG: The Fall of the House of Usher
AG: Uh-huh
ST: Oh, "The Fall of the House of Usher", you did "(The) Fall of The House of Usher, did you?
PG: Yes, that's right. Yeah, and that.. maybe because I was from Baltimore, but that.. in a way, Poe was such a forerunner of much modernism, so I felt very at home with it.    
ST: Here then, "Metamorphosis"

[Beginning at approximately forty-nine minutes in (and concluding at approximately fifty-one minutes in), Terkel plays a recording of Philip Glass playing his own composition, "Metamorphosis"]

ST: This is a slow reluctant playing, very reluctant, because you can see it building. And you'll hear some of this tomorrow-night. There, Philip Glass at the piano, and that was certainly..  several of these pieces….

to be continued

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-four- and-a-half minutes in and continuing until approximately fifty-one-and-a-quarter minutes in]