Tuesday, February 26, 2008

john giorno

feb 4/08

some notes from john giorno master class (a mishmash and hastily scribbled hash):

"i'm seventy years old...and i became a poet when i was fourteen...you're all poets or prose writers - there's no difference. i went to school in the 40's, the middle ages, when nothing had happened yet.

concerned poetry is 75 years behind every other art form...time to try something new."

Journal Poetry Systems - "the idea that you don't have to be the victim of publishers. use the technology, from records to phones and so forth...nothing happens by mistake"

i.e. dial a poem...now telephone hotlines for love and dating, viral and reaching into the other world.

"painting and sculpture imprisoned by money but poetry, being worthless, enters a golden age. poetry is wisdom: nothing->wisdom->sound->word (poem).

- a great poem is that which releases the wisdom in other people's mind. Buddhism not a religion (practiced by giorno) but a way to train the chaos of the mind, to distill its ability to achieve wisdom.

bryan gyson
william burroughs

their return to NYC changed his world (they hated Warhol, his previous circle)

"i abandoned the lyric (beats) and i abandoned modernism (NYC aesthetic) and i don't really know what i am doing. poetry in translation. making the 60 pp score for a publication fit a later mode."

the poetry (scores) of performance, mediated for publication in terms of the greater body of work.

silk screen versions of the poems in production

a lot of people who would have been poets, like patti smyth, wound up picking up a guitar (tom waits)

60's onward: a loving golden age of promiscuity. then aids hit, a total catastrophe. "it felt like we failed" back then a gay poet was gide or proust. "then i read Howl and it was like reading of my mind. warhol didn't have the guts: in art, being gay was the kiss of death."

importance of public arts funding for small presses: crucial for the golden age of poetry...until the days of the NEA-4 and the conservatives slowly crushed it. they fought. i continued making poetry. i'm glad they fought but that wasn't for me.

as regards community: "wonderful when you reach the moment of feedback, of performance, but i prefer to be alone when making my poems."

re: money: actually, poets never have been paid, even when they are commissioned, in any culture, ever. even the poet-lamas were some how poor lamas. hou have to decide to be always marginal. someone as famous as william burroughs in visual arts would command $3-5million per year. he had to work for every penny.

if you choose to be a poet, you choose because you can't choose any thing else. this is a life.

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