Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ezra Pound's Birthday

Two clips from the Pound Voices and Visions film today, since it's that time again -
Ezra Pound's birthday. 

Check out previous Pound Birthday postings on the Allen Ginsberg Project here, here and here. 

The centrality of Pound (il miglior fabbro")  and the "problem" of Pound  ("that stupid suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism", to quote the poet himself, in his rueful later years)  neither will go away.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Francesco Clemente

[Allen Ginsberg (Portrait)  1982-1987 - Francesco Clemente - Water-color on paper 14 x 20 ins]

Six beautiful images from Francesco Clemente's web-site today (all from the 'Eighties). One water-color portrait and five elegant collaborations (three from Black Shroud, one from White Shroud, and a concluding work, from "Images from Mind and Space"). No particular reason to be featuring Clemente today, other than that these are breath-taking images. Reason enough. 

A previous post on The Allen Ginsberg Project on Francesco Clemente, incidentally, may be seen here 

[from "White Shroud" - Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1983 - Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 17 1/2  x 26 3/4 ins] 

[from "Black Shroud" - Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1984 - Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 1o 1/2  x 13 3/4 ins] 

[from "Black Shroud"Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1984 - Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 1o 1/2  x 13 3/4 ins] 

[from "Black Shroud"Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1984 - Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 1o 1/2  x 13 3/4 ins] 

[from "Images from Mind and Space"Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1983 - Water-color on paper 5 5/8 x 15  5/8ins] 

Camille Hog Xin (Art In America): Speaking of poetry, you collaborated with Allen Ginsberg on two books, Black Shroud and White Shroud. How did you come to collaborate?

Francesco Clemente: We both shared a passion for William Blake. We wanted ro make our own illuminated poetry. Ginsberg was very meticulous. He prepared the paper and he came to my studio and wrote. Then I illuminated the manuscript. At other times, he wrote after my images. For example, I had a show Ex Libris Chenoceau (Chateau de Chenoceau, France, 1995) with 108 pastels. He wrote 108 short poems called "Pastel Sentences" in 17 syllables, haiku style. His courage and simplicity were inspiring.

[An illuminating discussion, (recorded in July of 1992), between Ginsberg and Clemente may be heard here  (scroll down) on Allen's PennSound page (an essential Ginsberg resource)] 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) on Allen Ginsberg: "I met Allen Ginsberg the other night. When I'd seen him in Tangier, he was with his boyfriend and said to me: "Will you paint a portrait of us on the job?". And I said: "Well, this is going to be awkward, Allen, how long can you hold it?" Anyhow, nothing came of it, and when I saw him the other day he reminded me of this and he  said: "Now I'm here for another month, will you do a portrait of me? Well, the thing is, he's got a very heavy beard now. I know good portraits have been done of people with beards, but I really am more interested in the actual structure of the face that hasn't been messed about by a beard. It's one of the reasons that I don't really like long hair in men, because I like seeing the actual skull. It may be one of the reasons I always find medieval art so boring because I hate the men's long hair because you can't see their skulls. I'm interested in Egyyptian things, not only for their extraordinary quality, but I like their short hair and I like the short hair of certain Greek things too."

Here's Bacon in 1966 (interviewed by David Sylvester)

Here's Bacon, from five years later,  on immediacy and violence 

Here's the South Bank Show (from 1985)  - his profile and interviews with Melvyn Bragg

Here's Bacon walking down the streets of London with William Burroughs

[Francis Bacon and William S Burroughs - Photo by John Minihan]

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dylan Thomas Centenary

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

October 27 - The Dylan Thomas' Centenary - One hundred years ago on this day...

Allen Ginsberg-Dylan Thomas. Here's Allen's account, "Late April 1952" from Journals, Early Fifties, Early Sixties of a booze-fueled (natch!) brief-but-frustrating encounter. Allen was 26 and Thomas 37. Thomas would be dead by November the following year.. 

"Left Dylan Thomas and someone else with a big bruise on right forehead - thin mediocre type - in cab on 6th Avenue, 15 minutes ago.
I was in San Remo sitting relaxed towards closing time when they walked in. I only half-recognized him when they came in door & stood next to my seat at bar.
Thomas said, "Congratulations" and "Imagine that", when bartender spoke his name overloud & said he'd read his poem over the bar.

"Don't believe everything you hear", Thomas said to me.

"Only if it's spoken loud enough, I answered.

His companion said, "Where do you go to school?" - I said I didn't go, huffily.

"Do you know - ever study English literature", said companion.

"Of course, I'm a poet myself", I said.

"Do you know who this is?", he said

"Of course, man, it's obvious"

"Oh, another", said Thomas.

"Well don't look at me", I said, stiffening up.

Thomas, "I was just in another pub - drinking place - whatever you call them - and a girl said to me - would you like somewhere to go to see a girl and me do a trick?"

"Is it a question of interpretation of "trick"", I said

"No, I'm a professional", Thomas said, "I'm a professional".

"Well I just thought it was a question of language", I said

"But she wanted $50 which I didn't have "
"Oh well".
"Do you know any amateurs?", he asked.
"I think the best I can do is knock on a door and it will be opened by a pretty girl who'll offer us a bottle of beer".
"Will she do a trick?"
"I can only supply one pretty girl who'll open her door", I said
"Well, that's a lot, that's half of it".
"That's the way the world is", we agreed.
"But that's a lot", he said. "What can you do?" I said.
I then said that Lucien and Cessa would be newspaper people at home. "But they have 'likker, but they aren't "intelligent"."
"Well I insist they'll have to be intelligent" - he.
"No, I didn't want to mention that - they, of course, of course, have feelings, heart, mind, suffering - and nobility".
He nodded understanding .
I was very eager to see him off and go along. But everything was very chancy and superficial and no action took place. I called Lucien. There was no answer. Alas!
I came back and said they weren't home - and on and on. Mary Jo was there [at bar]. "Who's she?" they wanted to know.
He could have had her but she was silly & he a fool about reputation.
Said, "I've got the shortest legs in the world. My belly hangs down to my groin".
She chatted and camped but no action.
I tried to get him to go to Dusty's [his friend, Dusty Moreland] - the bartender took him aside and asked me to leave. I said to Thomas, "Shall I wait outside?. He nodded very gently & graciously, perfect gentleman tho' he didn't know me,
Later outside I remembered my attic and he said, "but not an attic... Just you and me?". "That's all", I replied. He had said he had a bottle along too. "I want to go to drink the bottle where there are other people around".
Outside Victor and several other heavy-handed hipsters - 3 of them stood by the door while I sat on gutter & waited - They were conversing, wondering why narcissistic girls went for weak-chinned people like him - talking about him in manly cultural underground terms, but spitefully, asserting their own virility and new generation removal from dependence or sympathy with him - said , "Byron had strength", and complemented each other too.
I yelled "Hey" when he came out and got up and joined them too - wasn't sure he'd even remember. He said, "I never was so bored" by the action inside Remo with proprietors -
I had difficulty raising subject of continuing on with him as I asked inside by saying, "I don't know what will happen but if I may I wish to continue and go on with you where ever you are going tonight if you have anywhere to go". He said, "Yes, I'd be glad, of course" - but with eye wandering, alas but, so dissolute he was he meant it too, just as well.
On way he stopped in middle of street. "I don't know what to do" -
I took up the initiative and said,
"OK, I'm telling you, then come with me !
Meanwhile companion said, "I'm awfully tired, should go home", and "Caitlin is waiting".
Finally Thomas decided to go and I closed a cab door on them, ran to other side & stuck my tongue in window at him which I immediately regretted tho' I meant it as a friendly gesture. He stared out at me, drunkenly, without response.
We had been followed down corner and West 4th Street by 3 subterraneans. I ran off, leaping.
Friend companion earlier had said about bruise - "In fight" - on account of Thomas saying things - an hour ago, wound up in hospital.
Ah, Dylan Thomas, I would have liked to know you that night, wish I could have communicated who I was, my true feeling, and its importance to you. For I too am a lover of the soul.
How disappointing to come away empty-handed with no recognition from this Chance meeting - I fell sick and unhappy because I could not make a great sweet union of the moment of life - now this is 45 minutes after, it will pass but it is sad & true."

Dylan Thomas Word List David Highams Associates

[Notebooks of Dylan Thomas, via the University of Buffalo, currently on view at the National Library of Wales]

Dylan Thomas Self-Portrait

Here's Richard Burton musing on Dylan Thomas

This documentary continues here and here

Here's the BBC's 2003 documentary, Dylan Thomas From Grave To Cradle

continuing here, here, here, here, here and here 

In My Craft or Sullen Art