“The Hebrew socialist revolution against the fascist national Golgotha”*

Notes on Eliot Katz, The Poetry and Politics of Allen Ginsberg

Example of George Steiner’s championing learning by heart: Ginsberg knew  hundreds of poems from memory [20]

In Dear Layla and Book of Mev: The multiple instances of  Clara’s “beautiful friendship,” as in theme of interpersonal solidarity, Part 3 of Howl  [84]  Maria Goreth and the elderly, Nora’s letter, Teka’s eulogy, Carla and Perry,  Sabine and Danesha, Layla and Perry…

Book of Mev and Dear Layla: Hold it all, again—don’t have to choose one or other—realism or surrealism, narrative or anti-narrative, elevated diction or American speech; can embrace multiple interests and mix them in original, personal, and surprising ways.  [90]  Kerouac’s advice: “Something that you feel will find its own form.”

Can’t say the following was foremost on mind when working on Book of Mev and Dear Layla but occasionally have received a communique from readers  testifying to  modest effects [this week letter from JG at Georgetown University], perhaps, of the first two of the following — enlighten consciousness, illuminate public issues, stir public dreams and desires, improve ideological climate, aid political movements [91]

The Che chapter in Dear Layla, for example:  Juxtaposition of sensory perceptions, historical reflections, personal fantasy  [144]

Quite deliberate in Dear Layla: The poetry of unverifiable fact and documentary fact  [157]  David Helm: “Everything in here is true, and some of it actually happened.”

The Gospel chapters in Book of Mev and the Ramadan in Gaza chapter in Dear Layla: the task of ‘aesthetic education,’ the reshaping of human needs, desires, sense, and imagination, through the construction of images, spectacles, and narratives that prefigure different ways of seeing and living.  [158]

Ginsberg’s various poetic techniques:  personalization, mythification, demystification, wit, humor, imagery, imagination, surprise phrasing, formal experimentations—Andrew said so  many times in the Bush years—we have to free up the imagination, like di Prima’s insistence that “The only war that matters is the war against the imagination” … Carla imagining the bodhisattva vows in occupied Palestine.


*from Allen Ginsberg, Howl, Part 3

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