Monday, April 02, 2007

Levertov and Berrigan

Auden and Ginsberg, of course, owe their rise to Homintern, as Auden called the shadowy international homosexual conspiracy. Dan and Denise embody Christian passivism. I’ve spent more time with Dan than Denise; I spent but a single day with her in Boston in 1971. Dan lives in a Jesuit community on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. One night I dropped by Dan’s with Ellen Burstyn, the Oscar-winning actress. Nuns and brothers serve the Jesuits. I attended a Jesuit school in Kingston, Ontario, not far from Syracuse where Dan grew up; Dan knows one of my high school teachers from Syracuse. Dan has been on the cover of Time and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and thus people at the Jesuit House recognized Ellen but were not surprised. Indeed two Jesuits movie buffs came over and praised Ellen’s independent film Resurrection. And they incidentally forgave her for The Exorcist.

Dan got along well with another OX contributor and Catholic poet, the late Senator Eugene McCarthy. Dan considers poetry a minor tool for good. Kenneth Rexroth discovered Denise; I associated Denise with Creeley and Olson at Black Mountain as well as Robert Duncan. Duncan was a Homintern stalwart, and, like Ginsberg and Auden, wrote memorably of politics.

9 Comments:

Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Homintern?

2:56 PM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Just for the sake of argument: Ginsberg's rise also had something to do with the rise of the 60s generation and how they found themselves in agreement with many of his social positions, right? Also, Ginsberg pushed himself into the general population. My uncle told me a story of how in Iowa City in the 50s or 60s (?) one day all the traffic had stopped and it was Ginsberg putting out copies of his poems into each car, forcing a traffic jam in a city that at that time never had traffic jams.

As for Auden, he was part of a group (including Spender and Empson) who had gone to a prestigious English school, and ...

He is accepted in Christian circles as a Christian. He made many remarks all over the place about how he was basically a Christian. There is a new book out about Auden as a Christian. I tried to read it last summer but ran out of time. It's by a prof from the University of Virginia (emeritus). Good book, but for some reason I don't care a lot about Auden.

Do you think there is always a group that pushes a poet's fortunes? Do you think that a poet can ever make it on their own merits even if there is no social group to which their poems conform?

Corso appears to me to be an example of a poet without a specific program who nevertheless is read simply on the basis of his greatness as a poet. Am I wrong?

11:14 AM  
Blogger Michael Andre said...

Homintern was Auden's joking analogy with Comintern. Comintern was a secret society of Communists directed by the Soviets, especially Stalin. Mazzini's secret societies helped unify Italy. Various gay groups certainly supported Ginsberg and Auden. Corso espoused the Beat agenda. Were it not for Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac and Ferlinghetti, no one would read Gregory. In my opinion, most great poets go unread and unpublished.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

I'm inclined to agree with your assessment. The very thing of needing to get famous is pathological, and I think the better poets -- E.D. for instance -- were among the better poets. EMily D. rather than Ed D., I suppose.

The better you are at developing certain tape loops seems to be the degree to which you can get famous and known. It's sort of revolting that whole scene.

Next week by the way I'm going to read at the Estonian house in NYC at 7 pm. It's the only reading I'll probably ever do in NYC. It's mostly a reading for Finnish people, but other people are allowed to go in, i should think.

I like reading for Finns because they're so unpretentious.

I would hate to read to other poets!

I'm not sure what's happening before or after. I may have a friend from minneapolis in. He's my oldest friend -- I've known him since kindergarten.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

I'm inclined to agree with your assessment. The very thing of needing to get famous is pathological, and I think the better poets -- E.D. for instance -- were among the better poets. EMily D. rather than Ed D., I suppose.

The better you are at developing certain tape loops seems to be the degree to which you can get famous and known. It's sort of revolting that whole scene.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Friday the 13th, at the Estonian House, at 7 pm. It's the only reading I've ever done in NYC. The Estonian House is a gorgeous building on 34th Street. It's part of a Finlandia Foundation annual meeting. My book is set in Finland, and is about a humor researcher who's doing research on the Finnish sense of humor.

9:01 AM  
Blogger ADG: said...

Michael,

I just started a blog of poets' dreams -- www.annandaledreamgazetteonline.blogspot.com

Can I include the first paragraph of your 3/8 blog entry in the Gazette? And also, may I attribute the dream to you?

Lynn.Behrendt@gmail.com

6:34 PM  
Blogger Michael Andre said...

Lynn

Sure--I'd be happy to see my dream in your blog of dreams.

Michael

4:58 AM  
Blogger pathogan said...

Daniel Berrigan is the sanest man on the planet

4:51 PM  

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