Parody of Ginsberg’s “America”

September 22, 2010

As promised, a parody written by a former student, Lauren Ireland, in which she addresses the Grandma from Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”  You will enjoy it more if you read “America” first.

Ginsberg Responds to Flannery O

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A Bronzeville Mother and a Mississippi Mother

September 22, 2010

From the University of Memphis special collections (see the first site Sirena links to below in her post on Emmett Till):

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America

September 14, 2010

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Gac1sNbHvRg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Prof. Scanlan talked about Ginsberg’s “America” today. I was looking it up on you-tube and found this particular version. I think kinetic typography is so interesting, and it’s a great way to include emphasis from a reader, much like we did today in class, but in this form we can see it as well as hear it.

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On the Relevance of Poetry

September 1, 2010

I must admit that I am deeply moved by the arguments posited in Adrienne Rich’s What I Found There. Rich reminds us to be careful what we wish for. While many poets, today, lament the perceived impotence of poetic forms, most would probably not feel comfortable in a society where writing poetry could lead to internment in prison or a mental hospital, and even death. And yet, this is the price some have paid, for popularity among the common public, in non-democratic societies.

Dana Gioia argues in his essay, Can Poetry Matter?, that the very freedoms of which we are so proud, (Those that enable free trade and relatively free speech, without fear of reprisal) are at least partially responsible for the public’s loss of interest in poetry. He points to the political and economic climate, referring to the close involvement of academia and the rewards system that permeates the university.   He goes on to blame the close subculture of poetry, mentioning among other things, loss of the critics’ voice.

I do not, however, believe that academia is solely to blame for poetry’s downfall, but that the decline is more closely linked to Adrienne Rich’s argument. As a group, American’s are spoiled. Although, we can say what we like without fear of reprisal, we have lost sight of just how precious that right is. Likewise, as Gioia suggests, we take our poetry and our critic’s voice for granted. Rather than say and print that which is necessary we succumb to the free market pressures of our society, leaving behind a wreckage of barely recognizable self- congratulatory propaganda.

Which leads to Rich’s most important arguments, “We must use what we have to invent what we desire” (215). “A revolutionary poem will not tell you who or when to kill … It reminds you … where and when and how you are living and might live __ it is a wick of desire. .. A revolutionary poem is written out of one individual’s confrontation with her/his own longings … in the belief that its readers … deserve an art as complex, as open to contradictions as themselves” (241). This desire, then, to create a complex and contradictory art that relates common humanity is what will continue to hold poetry in a place of relevance within society and within the hearts and minds of its readers, despite any monetary value, large or small, that our free-trade economy chooses to place upon it, now or at anytime in the future.

Works Cited
Gioia, Dana. Can Poetry Matter? Essays on Poetry and American Culture. Saint Paul: Graywolf, 1992. 1-21.

Rich, Adrienne. What I found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics. NV: ww.Norton, 1993.
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Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

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Dylan and Ginsberg

August 26, 2010

Hey all,

Saw this article the other day and thought it would be an interesting read for how some of the beat writers like Kerouac and Ginsberg was interacting with other artists in America at the time, namely Bob Dylan. The article has some interesting cursory biographical information concerning Ginsberg’s life and his poems and who could turn down such a great story? I know it’s a little long, but if you have free time I highly recommend it. There’s also a host of other stories concerning the Gins here. Everything from the ridiculous “last soup” to something interesting from the poet’s own mouth.

It was also interesting to discover the title of the article as advertised, “Bob Dylan and the Beats.” Made me wonder if America today cares more for singer poets than for written poets? What do you think–are people bigger fans of someone like Bob Dylan or someone like Allen Ginsberg? I tend to think that simply for his iconic status, Dylan is favored. Perhaps people favor something they can see rather than something they read or can hear? (thinking Kennedy vs. Nixon debate) Thoughts?

Happy reading!

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