Lecture Fifteen 学生专业班外国语学院英语专业土木、机电、商贸、船舶方向 级
学 时 数 2
2． 介绍垮掉派诗人金斯伯格生平和他的诗歌《在加州超级市场》、《号叫》教学内容 片段。
2． 普拉斯以独特方式对内心深处的展示。 教学重点
1．垮掉派诗人与诗歌的独特生活方式和独特观察视角。 教学难点 2．自白派诗人在历史文化传统中展示和剖析自我。
课后总结 2． 自白派与普拉斯
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Part One Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
I. Introduction to Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1911, but spent part of her
childhood with her Canadian grandparents after her father's death and mother's hospitalization. Of
her childhood she noted, "My relatives all felt so sorry for this child that they tried to do their very
best. And I think they did. I lived with my grandparents in Nova Scotia, then with the ones in
Worcester, in Massachusetts, very briefly and got terribly sick. This was when I was six and
seven.... Then I lived with my mother's older sister in Boston, she was devoted to me -- she had no
children. My relationship with my relatives -- I was always sort of a guest, and I think I've always
felt like that."
Miss Bishop attended Vassar where she majored in English although she had originally
intended to major in music composition and piano. In addition to working on the school newspaper,
she founded a literary magazine with fellow students. It was as a Vassar student that Elizabeth
Bishop met Marianne Moore.
The two women first met in 1934 when Fanny Borden, the Vassar librarian, arranged an
introduction. Miss Bishop described the meeting thus: "I first met Miss Moore by appointment in
1934, in the New York Public Library. I had actually picked out a tall, eagle-nosed lady,
distinguished-looking but proud and forbidding, as a possible Miss Moore, when to my great relief,
the real one spoke up." In the course of their conversation, the Vassar senior suggested they go to
the circus in two weeks and Miss Moore agreed.
The older poet played at least a superficial role in the following year in Miss Bishop's decision
not to enroll in Cornell Medical School. As she explained, "I had all the forms. But then I
discovered that I would have to take German and more chemistry. I'd already published a few
things and Marianne discouraged me, and I didn't go. I just went off to Europe instead." Miss
Bishop traveled extensively in Europe and lived in New York, Key West, Florida, and, for
seventeen years, in Brazil. She taught briefly at the University of Washington, at Harvard for seven years, at New York University, and just prior to her death in 1979, at Massachusetts Institute
Elizabeth Bishop won virtually every poetry prize in the country although she insisted, "They
don't mean too much." Her first book, North & South, won the Houghton Mifflin Poetry Award for
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1946. In 1955, she received the Pulitzer Prize for a volume containing North & South and A Cold
Spring. Her next book of poetry, Questions of Travel (1965), won the National Book Award and was followed by The Complete Poems in 1969. Geography III (1976) received the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1976, Miss Bishop became both the first American and the first woman to
win the Books Abroad Prize for Literature.
Elizabeth Bishop died on October 6, 1979. A new edition of her poems, The Complete Poems,
1927-1979, was published in early 1983, and The Collected Prose was published in 1984.
Of her work, Robert Lowell remarked, "Elizabeth Bishop is the contemporary poet that I admire
most. There's a beautiful completeness to all of Bishop's poetry. I don't think anyone alive has a better eye than she had: The eye that sees things and the mind behind the eye that remembers." ..
II. Select Reading
In the Waiting Room
In Worcester, Massachusetts,
I went with Aunt Consuelo
to keep her dentist's appointment
and sat and waited for her
in the dentist's waiting room.
It was winter. It got dark
early. The waiting room
was full of grown-up people,
arctics and overcoats,
lamps and magazines.
My aunt was inside
what seemed like a long time
and while I waited and read
the National Geographic
(I could read) and carefully
studied the photographs:
the inside of a volcano,
black, and full of ashes;
then it was spilling over
in rivulets of fire.
Osa and Martin Johnson
dressed in riding breeches,
laced boots, and pith helmets.
A dead man slung on a pole
"Long Pig," the caption said.
Babies with pointed heads
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wound round and round with string; black, naked women with necks wound round and round with wire like the necks of light bulbs. Their breasts were horrifying. I read it right straight through. I was too shy to stop.
And then I looked at the cover: the yellow margins, the date. Suddenly, from inside,
came an oh! of pain
--Aunt Consuelo's voice-- not very loud or long.
I wasn't at all surprised; even then I knew she was a foolish, timid woman.
I might have been embarrassed, but wasn't. What took me completely by surprise
was that it was me:
my voice, in my mouth.
Without thinking at all
I was my foolish aunt,
I--we--were falling, falling, our eyes glued to the cover of the National Geographic, February, 1918.
I said to myself: three days and you'll be seven years old. I was saying it to stop
the sensation of falling off the round, turning world. into cold, blue-black space. But I felt: you are an I, you are an Elizabeth,
you are one of them.
Why should you be one, too? I scarcely dared to look to see what it was I was.
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I gave a sidelong glance --I couldn't look any higher-- at shadowy gray knees,
trousers and skirts and boots and different pairs of hands lying under the lamps.
I knew that nothing stranger had ever happened, that nothing stranger could ever happen.
Why should I be my aunt, or me, or anyone?
boots, hands, the family voice I felt in my throat, or even the National Geographic
and those awful hanging breasts held us all together
or made us all just one? How--I didn't know any
word for it--how "unlikely"…
How had I come to be here, like them, and overhear
a cry of pain that could have got loud and worse but hadn't?
The waiting room was bright and too hot. It was sliding beneath a big black wave, another, and another.
Then I was back in it.
The War was on. Outside, in Worcester, Massachusetts, were night and slush and cold, and it was still the fifth of February, 1918.
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Part Two Allan Ginsberg (1928-1997)
I. Introduction to Allan Ginsbergt
Allen, Ginsberg, poet, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the younger son of Louis Ginsberg, a
high school English teacher and poet, and Naomi Levy Ginsberg. Ginsberg grew up with his older
brother Eugene in a household shadowed by his mother's mental illness; she suffered from recurrent epileptic seizures and paranoia. An active member of the Communist Party-USA, Naomi
Ginsberg took her sons to meetings of the radical left dedicated to the cause of international
Communism during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In the winter of 1941, when Allen was a junior in high school, his mother insisted that he take
her to a therapist at a Lakewood, New Jersey. He described in his long autobiographical poem
"Kaddish" about the journey. Naomi Ginsberg spent most of the next fifteen years in mental
hospitals, enduring the effects of electroshock treatments before her death at Pilgrim State
Hospital in 1956. Witnessing his mother's mental illness had a traumatic effect on Ginsberg, who
wrote poetry about her unstable condition for the rest of his life.
Graduating from Newark's East Side High School in 1943, Ginsberg later recalled that his
most memorable school day was the afternoon when his English teacher Frances Durbin read
aloud from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" in a voice "so enthusiastic and joyous . . . so
confident and lifted with laughter" that he never forgot the image of the teacher that afternoon.
Despite his passionate response to Whitman's poetry, Ginsberg listed government or legal work as his choice of future occupation in the high school yearbook.
He attended the college of Columbia University on a scholarship. Several teachers influenced
him. But Ginsberg's friends at Columbia were an even greater influence than his professors on his decision to become a poet. As a freshman he met undergraduate Lucien Carr, who introduced him to William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, the young novelist John Clellon Holmes, and a
handsome young drifter and car thief, with whom Ginsberg fell in love. Kerouac described the intense encounter between Ginsberg and Cassady in the opening chapter of his novel On the Road
These friends became the nucleus of a group that named themselves the "Beat Generation"
writers. The term was coined by Kerouac in the fall of 1948 during a conversation with Holmes in
New York City. The word "beat" referred loosely to their shared sense of spiritual exhaustion and
diffuse feelings of rebellion against what they experienced as the general conformity, hypocrisy,
and materialism of the larger society around them caught up in the unprecedented prosperity of
In the summer of 1948, in his senior year at Columbia, Ginsberg had dedicated himself to
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becoming a poet after hearing in a vision the voice of William Blake reciting the poem "Ah
Sunflower." Experimenting with drugs like marijuana and nitrous oxide to induce further visions,
or what Ginsberg later described as "an exalted state of mind," he felt that the poet's duty was to
bring a visionary consciousness of reality to his readers. He was dissatisfied with the poetry he
was writing at this time, traditional work modeled on English poets like Sir Thomas Wyatt or
Andrew Marvell whom he had studied at Columbia.
In June 1949 Ginsberg was arrested as an accessory to crimes carried out by Huncke and his
friends, who had stored stolen goods in Ginsberg's apartment. As an alternative to a jail sentence,
Ginsberg's professors Van Doren and Trilling arranged with the Columbia dean for a plea of
psychological disability, on condition that Ginsberg was admitted to the Columbia Presbyterian Psychiatric Institute. Spending eight months in the mental institution, Ginsberg became close
friends with the young writer Carl Solomon, who was treated there for depression with insulin
In December 1953 Ginsberg left New York City on a trip to Mexico to explore Indian ruins in
Yucatan and experiment with various drugs. He settled in San Francisco, where he fell in love with
a young artist's model, Peter Orlovsky; he took a job in market research, thinking that he might
enroll in the graduate English program at the University of California in Berkeley. In August 1955,
inspired by the manuscript of a long jazz poem titled "Mexico City Blues" that Kerouac had
recently written in Mexico City, Ginsberg found the courage to begin to type what he called his
most personal "imaginative sympathies" in the long poem "Howl for Carl Solomon"
In October 1955 Ginsberg read the first part of his new poem in public for the first time to
tumultuous applause at the Six Gallery in San Francisco with the local poets Kenneth Rexroth,
Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Philip LaMantia. Journalists were quick to
herald the reading as a landmark event in American poetry, the birth of what they labeled the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance.
Early in the following year, Howl and Other Poems was published with an introduction by
William Carlos Williams. In May 1956 copies of the small black-and-white stapled paperback
were seized by the San Francisco police, who arrested Ferlinghetti and Shigeyoshi Murao, his
shop manager, and charged them with publishing and selling an obscene and indecent book. The
American Civil Liberties Union took up the defense of Ginsberg's poem in a highly publicized
obscenity trial in San Francisco, which concluded in October 1957 when Judge Clayton Horn
ruled that Howl had redeeming social value.
During the furor of the trial, Ginsberg left California and settled in Paris with Orlovsky, who
was to remain his companion for the next forty years. They traveled to Tangier to stay with
Burroughs and help him assemble the manuscript later published as his novel Naked Lunch (1959).
In 1958 Ginsberg returned to New York City, still troubled by his mother's death in the mental
hospital two years before, haunted by the thought that he had never properly said goodbye to her.
Using various drugs to explore his painful memories of their life together and confront his
complex feelings about his mother, Ginsberg wrote his greatest poem, "Kaddish for Naomi
Ginsberg," modeling his elegy on the traditional Jewish memorial service for the dead.
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Continuing to experiment with various psychedelic stimulants to create visionary poetry,
Ginsberg traveled to South America, Europe, Morocco, and India with Orlovsky in 1962. It was
the most important trip of his life. Staying in India for nearly
two years, he met with holy men in an effort to find someone who could teach him a method of
meditation that would help him deal with his egotism and serve as a vehicle for heightened spiritual awareness. On a train in Japan, Ginsberg recorded in his poem "The Change" his
realization that meditation, not drugs, could assist his enlightenment. He returned to North
America in the fall of 1963.
In 1968 Ginsberg received wide coverage on television during the Democratic National
Convention when he and the members of the National Mobilization Committee who were against
U.S. participation in the war in Vietnam confronted the police in Chicago's Grant Park. The poet
stayed on an impromptu stage and chanted "Om" in an attempt to calm the crowds being brutally
attacked by tear gas and billy clubs. Ginsberg's courage, his humanitarian political views and
support of homosexuality, his engagement in Eastern meditation practices, and his charrming
personality made him one of the favorite spokesmen chosen by a younger generation of
radicalized Americans known as "hippies" during the end of this turbulent decade.
In 1971 Ginsberg met Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who became his meditation teacher at the
Naropa Institute, a Buddhist college in Boulder, Colorado. Three years later, Ginsberg, assisted by
the young poet Anne Waldman, founded a creative writing program called the Jack Kerouac
School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa. Ginsberg taught summer poetry workshops there and
lectured during the academic year at Brooklyn College as a tenured distinguished professor until
the end of his life.
He died in1997.
II. Selected Reading
A Supermarket in California
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets
under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket,
dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of
husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what were
you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the
refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are
you my Angel?
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I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my
imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes,
possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your
beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in
the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways,
home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when
Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat
disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
Part Three Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
I. Introduction to Sylvia Plath
Plath was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 27, 1932. Her mother was a master’s
student at Boston University when she met Plath’s father, Otto Plath, who was her professor. They
were married in January of 1932. Otto taught both German and biology, with a focus on the study
In 1940, when Sylvia was eight years old, her father died as a result of complications from
diabetes. He had been a strict father, and both his authoritarian attitudes and his death drastically
defined her relationships and her poems—most notably in her elegiac and infamous poem, “Daddy”. "
Even in her youth, Plath was ambitiously driven to succeed. She kept a journal from the age
of 11 and published her poems in regional magazines and newspapers. Her first national
publication was in the Christian Science Monitor in 1950, just after graduating from high school.
In 1950, Plath enrolled at Smith College. She was an exceptional student, and despite a deep
depression she went through in 1953 and a subsequent suicide attempt, she managed to graduate in
After graduation, Plath moved to Cambridge, England on a Scholarship. In early 1956, she
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attended a party and met the English poet, Ted Hughes. Shortly thereafter, Plath and Hughes were
married, on June 16, 1956.
Plath returned to Massachusetts in 1957, and began studying with Robert Lowell. Her first
collection of poems, Colossus, was published in 1960 in England, and two years later in the United States. She returned to England where she gave birth to the couple's two children, Freida
and Nicholas Hughes, in 1960 and 1962, respectively.
In 1962, Ted Hughes left Plath for Assia Gutmann Wevill. That winter, in a deep depression,
Plath wrote most of the poems that would comprise her most famous book, Ariel.
In 1963, Plath published a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym
Victoria Lucas. Then, on February 11, 1963, during one of the worst English winters on record,
Plath wrote a note to her downstairs neighbor instructing him to call the doctor, then she
committed suicide using her gas oven.
Plath’s poetry is often associated with the Confessional movement, and compared to poets
such as her teacher, Robert Lowell, and fellow student Anne Sexton. Often, her work is singled out
for the intense coupling of its violent or disturbed imagery and its playful use of alliteration and
Although only Colossus was published while she was alive, Plath was a prolific poet, and in addition to Ariel, Hughes published three other volumes of her work posthumously, including The
Collected Poems, which was the recipient of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize. She was the first poet to win
a Pulitzer Prize after death.
II. Selected Reading
From Water-Tower Hill to the brick prison
The shingle booms, bickering under
The sea's collapse.
Snowcakes break and welter. This year
The gritted wave leaps
The seawall and drops onto a bier
Of quahog chips,
Leaving a salty mash of ice to whiten
In my grandmother's sand yard. She is dead,
Whose laundry snapped and froze here, who
Kept house against
What the sluttish, rutted sea could do.
Squall waves once danced
Ship timbers in through the cellar window;
A thresh-tailed, lanced
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