Allen Ginsberg reads from Ankor Wat, Planet News, and performed his music to William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.

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00:00:00.00

Recording begins with live music - Hare Krishna chant led by Allen Ginsberg, several accompanying singers and audience can be heard singing along.  Tabla drums, harmonium, cymbals.  The song ends with a chant led by a single voice off-mic, to which the group responds in unison "Jai Krishna."  Muttered comments can be heard in unknown language, possibly Hindi.

 

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00:16:38.46

Cut/Edit made in tape--moves from musical presentation to reading.  Unknown amount of time elapsed.

 

Introducer – George Bowering

00:16:41.36

Welcome to the...welcome to the fourth—third week of the fourth series of our readings here at Sir George and this one is a special one, partly in that it was, it is being presented by a combination of the daytime Arts Student Association and the Evening Arts Student Association, and not simply on the normal schedule.  I'm certain that you don't have to be told who Allen Ginsberg is, and you might think on how lucky it is that you happen to be in Montreal and he is here at the same time.  Last night he was at York University in Toronto, and tomorrow he's going to be in Ottawa, and we're going to sap an awful lot of his energy.  Allen is, I think, the most noted poet we've had over the last couple of decades, in the world, and as you're going to find out and as you already know, one of the super-poets in terms of writing poetry, as well.  I'd like to give you, without any more cogitation, Mr. Allen Ginsberg. [Applause]

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:18:23.45

George Bowering, who I've known a long time, asked me to read a poem that I haven't read through but once before, called "Angkor Wat."  So I'll try that.  It's middle-sized, like, ten minutes, probably.  What it is, is notations taken down in the course of one night in Cambodia, in Siem Reap, which is outside of Angkor Wat, a town outside of the ruins.

 

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00:18:55.20

Cut/Edit made in tape - unknown amount of time elapsed.

 

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00:18:56.00

Reads "Angkor Wat"

 

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00:41:28.71

Ends reading of "Angkor Wat" with the line: "June 10th, 1963, Siem Reap, Cambodia."

 

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00:41:37.86

Cut in tape - audience applause cut off, silence for approx. 8 seconds on tape.

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:41:45.85

I want to read a couple poems from a book published in Toronto by Anansi Press, or one poem from that.  This is written in Saigon, so it's about a week, yes it's about...the same week, I think.  Oh this is...a week before.

 

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00:42:19.93

Reads “Understand That This is a Dream”

 

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00:49:28.10

Sudden cut/edit in tape; silence on recording for approximately 8 seconds.

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:49:36.25

I've been working on Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, making tunes, or tuning the songs, so I'd like to sing some.

 

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00:49:48.85

Tunes and plays harmonium-style instrument.  Plays and sings "Piping down the valleys wild"

 

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00:51:20.89

Ginsberg holds chord from last song and begins "How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot"

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:52:30.38

Singing them in the order in Experience, that they're in the book, what follows is "The Echoing Green"

 

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00:52:40.24

Plays and sings "The Echoing Green"

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:54:29.45

“The Little Boy Lost" and "The Little Boy Found".

 

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00:54:41.90

Plays and sings "The Little Boy Lost" and "The Little Boy Found"

 

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00:56:14.04

Plays and sings "The Blossom"

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:57:16.21

From Experience, the first song is "Hear the Voice of the Bard"

 

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00:57:22.50

Plays and sings "Hear the Voice of the Bard"

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:59:26.44

And the last song in Experience...

 

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00:59:33.08

Plays and sings "Youth of delight, come hither"

 

Allen Ginsberg

01:00:47.46

And last from Innocence, "The Laughing Song"

 

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01:00:50.95

Sings and plays "The Laughing Song"

 

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01:01:48.50

Applause concludes this sequence of songs/ END OF RECORDING.

 

Link to second part of reading.

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00:00:00.00

Reads "Morning".

 

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00:02:17.65

Laughter and applause follows Ginsberg's last line, "Oh, love, my mouth against the black policeman's breast"

 

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00:02:23.77

Cut/Edit, unknown time elapsed

 

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00:02:23.78

Reads "Today".

 

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00:10:04.06

Applause concludes this reading.

 

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00:10:07.65

Cut/Edit, unknown time elapsed.

 

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00:10:08.93

Reads "First party at Ken Kesey's with Hell's Angels"

 

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00:11:22.72

Reads "Uptown".

 

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00:12:20.98

Loud laughter and applause follows Ginsberg's last line, "Dapper Irishman."

 

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00:12:29.86

Cut/Edit in tape/

 

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00:12:30.98

Reads "Holy Ghost, on the Nod, over the Body of Bliss"

 

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00:13:50.09

Ginsberg chants a section of poem following the line, "And Santa Barbara rejoices in the alleyways of Brindiban"; chants for approximately 30 seconds

 

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00:14:19.84

Continues reading text of poem.

 

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00:14:46.78

Applause concludes this reading

 

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00:14:52.09

Cut/Edit in tape; silence for 8 seconds; unknown time elapsed.

 

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00:14:59.14

Harmonium/music recommences; Ginsberg sings "Hari Om Namo Shivaya"

 

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00:25:17.14

Brief applause concludes this chant; Ginsberg continues playing without a break.

 

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00:25:22.69

Sings "Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?" with harmonium

 

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00:27:00.34

Sings "My mother bore me in the southern wild"

 

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00:30:11.91

Sings "Twas on a Holy Thursday"

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:31:37.52

I'll finish the Blake with "The Nurse's Song."  [sounds of furniture moving]  Get up a little closer to me.

 

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00:31:52.33

Sings "The Nurse's Song"

 

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00:32:27.27

Ginsberg interrupts himself during the line "The days of my youth"; says, "No...start again."

 

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00:32:32.51

Ginsberg begins "The Nurses Song" again.

 

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00:35:58.40

Applause concludes this song

 

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00:36:05.11

Silence on tape--Cut/Edit made.  Unknown time elapsed before recording recommences.

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:36:13.05

The continuation of a long poem on these dates.  Some of those who are specialists, some of those who are specialists in poesy will know a text published in a book I've been reading from, Planet News, called "Wichita Vortex Sutra."  This is the continuation of the same long poem a year later, bringing the war, the mental war up to 1967.  January, 1967.  Related to the poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra" in that it's crossing the central part of the United States again, north of Kansas through Nebraska, passing again by Lincoln, Nebraska.  A trip between Wichita, Kansas and Lincoln, Nebraska two...a year and a half earlier having been the subject of the text "Wichita Vortex Sutra."  This continuation.

 

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00:37:09.63

Reads "Red Guards battling country workers in Nanking"

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:43:12.24

A continuation of the same poem, between Kansas City and St. Louis.  Middle of the long poem on these dates.

 

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00:43:22.57

Reads "Leaving K.C., MO"

 

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00:52:41.06

Loud applause concludes this reading

 

Annoation

00:52:46.28

Cut/Edit in tape - unknown amount of time elapsed before recording recommences.

 

Annoation

00:52:47.46

Reads "Car Crash"

 

Allen Ginsberg

00:58:17.10

And "July 4th, 1969".

 

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00:58:19.54

Reads "July 4th, 1969."  Begins with the line, "Orange hawkeye," then interjects:  "Hawkeye is a New York state flower, a flower that grows in New York state, very tiny, bright orange, eyeball with a tiny brown, brownish, purplish pupil."

 

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00:58:35.02

Begins "July 4th, 1969" again.

 

Allen Ginsberg

01:00:49.50

Finish with a mantra.  Well or, read one last poem, which has been distributed by Dakota Broadsides, they're people from Logos, or connected with Logos, I think.  Is that not right?  Yeah.  I'll pass these out, I think.  It's a poem written in Grant Park on August 28th, '68, during the Democratic Convention.  Uh, Grant Park, the day after the election of, or the day after the nomination of Humphrey.

 

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01:01:27.45

Reads "Green air, children sit under trees with the old"

 

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01:02:25.86

Loud applause and laughter conclude the recording, following the line, "Who wants to be President of the Garden of Eden?"

 

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01:02:31.23

END OF RECORDING.

Allen Ginsberg at SGWU, 1969
(Tape 1 of 2)

Tape
Catalog numberI006-11-033.1
Duration01:01:48.50
Sound qualityVery Good
Reading
SpeakersAllen Ginsberg, introduced by George Bowering
VenueH-110
DateNov. 7, 1969 (8:00 p.m.)

Supplemental Material

Allen Ginsberg at SGWU, 1969
(Tape 2 of 2)

Tape
Catalog numberI006-11-033.2
Duration01:02:31.23
Sound qualityVery Good
Reading
SpeakersAllen Ginsberg
VenueH-110
DateNov. 7, 1969 (8:00 p.m.)

Supplemental Material

Timestamps

00:00:00- Recording begins with Hare Krishna chanting music.

00:16:41- George Bowering introduces Allen Ginsberg.

00:18:23- Introduces “Angkor Wat”.

00:18:56- Reads “Angkor Wat”.

00:41:45- Introduces “Understand That This is a Dream”.

00:42:19- Reads “Understand That This is a Dream”.

00:49:36- Introduces Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, poem beginning “Piping down the valleys wild”.

00:49:48- Sings (with harmonium-style instrument) “Piping down the valleys wild”.

00:51:20- Sings (with harmonium-style instrument) “How sweet is the shepherd’s sweet lot”.

00:52:30- Introduces “The Echoing Green”

00:52:40- Sings (with harmonium-style instrument) “The Echoing Green”.

00:54:29- Sings (with harmonium-style instrument) “The Little Boy Lost” and “The Little Boy Found”.

00:56:14- Sings (with harmonium-style instrument) “The Blossom”.

00:57:16- Introduces “Hear the Voice of the Bard”

00:57:22- Sings (with harmonium-style instrument) “Hear the Voice of the Bard”

00:59:33- Sings (with harmonium-style instrument) “Youth of delight, come hither”.

01:00:47- Sings (with harmonium-style instrument) “The Laughing Song”

01:01:48- END OF RECORDING.

Timestamps

00:00:00- Recording begins, Ginsberg reads “Morning”.

00:02:23- Reads “Today”.

00:10:08- Reads “First party at Ken Kesey’s with Hell’s Angels”.

00:11:22- Reads “Uptown”.

00:12:30- Reads “Holy Ghost, on the Nod, over the Body of Bliss”.

00:13:50- Chants section of poem, first line “And Santa Barbara rejoices in the alleyways of brindiban...”.

00:14:59- Harmonium/music starts, Ginsberg sings “Hari Om Namo Shivaya...”

00:25:22- Sings “Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?”

00:27:00- Sings "My mother bore me in the southern wild".

00:30:11- Sings “Twas on a Holy Thursday”

00:31:37- Introduces “The Nurse’s Song”.

00:31:52- Sings “The Nurse’s Song”.

00:36:13- Introduces “Wichita Votex Sutra”.

00:37:09- Reads “Wichita Vortex Sutra”.

00:43:12- Introduces continuation of same poem, first line “Leaving K.C., MO...”

00:52:47- Reads “Car Crash”.

00:58:17- Introduces “July 4th, 1969”.

00:58:35- Reads “July 4th, 1969”.

01:00:49- Introduces unknown mantra, line “Green air, children sit under trees with the old...”

01:01:27- Reads unknown mantra, line “Green air, children sit under trees with the old...”

01:02:31.23- END OF RECORDING.

References

Works Cited

Butscher, Edward. "Ginsberg, Allen". The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English. Ian Hamilton, ed. Oxford University Press, 1996. Oxford Reference Online. Concordia University Library, Montreal. November 13, 2009.  <http://0-www.oxfordreference.com.mercury.concordia.ca/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t58.e406>.

Carlise, Chuck. "Ginsberg, Allen". The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. Jay Parini, ed. Oxford University Press 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Concordia University Library, Montreal. November 13, 2009  <http://0-www.oxfordreference.com.mercury.concordia.ca/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t197.e0099>.

Duerden, Paul. “Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-”. Literature Online Biography. Proquest, 2008. Concordia University Library, Montreal. November 13, 2009. < http://0-gateway.proquest.com.mercury.concordia.ca/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&xri:pqil:res_ver=0.2&res_id=xri:lion-us&rft_id=xri:lion:ft:ref:BIO003052:0>.

Ginsberg, Allen. Ankor Wat. London: Fulcrum Press, 1968.

---. Planet News. San Francisco: City Lights Boos, 1968.

Mitgang, Herbert. Dangerous dossiers: exposing the secret war against America’s greatest authors. New York: D.I. Fine, 1988. November 13, 2009. <http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/ginsberg-fbi.html>.

“Ginsberg”. The Georgian. [Sir George Williams University, Montreal.] November 12, 1969: Nook, page 7.

Allen Ginsberg Project. The Allen Ginsberg Trust, 2010. November 13, 2009. <http://www.allenginsberg.org/>.

 

Notes:

-George Bowering published his reaction to Ginsberg’s poem, “Howl” in 1969, How I hear Howl (Montreal, Beaver kosmos folio, 1, 1969).

-Stephen Morrissey has recollections of attending most of the readings in the series: http://www.vehiculepoets.com/recollective_essay.htm

 

Transcription and part of Print Catalogue done by: Rachel Kyne

Print Catalogue, “Introduction”, Research and Edits by: Celyn Harding-Jones


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