Friday, July 31, 2009

Poetry Friday: Dig That Iambic Pentameter!

I was in a play freshman year in high school. I don't remember the name of the play, or even what it was about. All I remember is that it had several beatnik characters, and a poetry reading scene set in a coffee house. (Cut me some slack, Daddy-o! 1969 was, like, forever ago. You can't expect me to remember every little thing.)

There was one line from that play I'll never forget. It was uttered by my friend Lynne's sister Gloria. She was a junior, and had an actual speaking part. After a coffee house reading by one of the Beat poet actors, she said, "Dig that iambic pentameter!" The beatniks in the scene (of which I was one) snapped their fingers in response. It was, like, crazy, man!

I haven't thought of that play in years. This week, I can't stop thinking about it. Damn you, William Shatner! It's all your fault. The only way to claw these images from my mind is to howl. (My apologies to Allen Ginsberg.)

My offering for this Poetry Friday is Howl by Allen Ginsberg. Click over to experience this poem as it was meant to be experienced. I know. I know. This version has been slightly edited. Click here to read the complete (I believe) poem. The performance, however, by Ginsberg and John Turturro is, like, outstanding, man. Snap your fingers if you agree.

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children.



Your post made me remember that I saw Ginsberg in Lowell, at a Jack Kerouac festival, not too long before he passed away. He was just a shadowy figure physically by that time. I wish I could remember what he spoke about, but alas, it's gone.

Andrea Murphy said...

Wait. You went to Woodstock AND you saw Ginsberg!? That makes you the Hippie Beatnik Queen of The Write Sisters, Diane. I'm jealous.

Jet said...

Snapping here on Wallace Road . . .

jama said...

Snapping madly from Virginia, and totally jealous of anyone who went to Woodstock and saw Ginsberg (he was a soup maker, BTW)! Cool, daddy-o . . .

Barb said...

Like Crazy-cool. A post of penultimate proportions
that glows in the glittering phantasmagoric light,
exploding like a supernova bursting into sleepy-eyed
peacock feathers that tickle the nose of a nebulous God,
gone undercover until the ultimate Armageddon

Dig it, man.

Andrea Murphy said...

I hear you snapping, Jet.

You, like, blew my mind, Barb.

We should start a Jealous of Diane club, Jama. (Nice to meet you, by the way!)

Thanks for weighing in, Jet, Jama and Barb.

Diane Mayr said...

Did I ever tell you I heard Timothy Leary speak, too? At Columbia, I believe it was. I remember even less about him than I do about Ginsberg, but that was a hundred years ago. Does anyone even remember who Timothy Leary was?

Timothy Leary's dead.
No, no, he's outside
looking in.

Andrea Murphy said...

OMG! You saw Timothy Leary, too?! Are we going to learn that you flew to India in '68 after you quit using LSD to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi?

Hmmm. Saw Allen Ginsberg, but don't remember anything about it. Saw Timothy Leary, but don't remember anything about it. There weren't any hallucinogenics involved in these sightings, were there?

Here's a challenge:

"Now that I've dropped out
Why is life dreary dreary
Answer my weary query
Timothy Leary dearie . . ."

Anybody know what that's from?

Diane Mayr said...

Manchester England England
Across the Atlantic Sea
And I'm a genius genius
I believe in God
And I believe that God
Believes in Claude
That's me that's me

Andrea Murphy said...


Sylvia Vardell said...

Snaps to you! Love this flashback. And thanks for linking with the Poetry Friday cafe this week!

Andrea Murphy said...

It was entirely my pleasure, Sylvia!