Ron Loewinsohn reads from Meat Airs (1970).

Ron Loewinsohn


I do want to try to read as much as I can from the more recent material, the book is called Meat Air, and the last section which is the collection of new stuff is called “Book of Airs”. Let me start out with, let me start out with one called "His Music's Like His Twenty Children".




Reads "His Music's Like His Twenty Children".




Reads "It Is to Be Bathed in Light".


Ron Loewinsohn


This is called "Song".




Reads "Song".


Ron Loewinsohn


And this one called "The Rain, The Rain".




Reads "The Rain, The Rain".


Ron Loewinsohn


Let me, let me do one called "Fuck You With Your Home Run Title". That title had to be changed, it was originally "Fuck You Roger Maris", but Harcourt Brace didn't want to be sued. It's not as if I can't afford it, it's just that it wouldn't do any body any good. So this is "Fuck You With Your Home Run Title".




Reads "Fuck You With Your Home Run Title".


Ron Loewinsohn


The quote "thoughts of the party were in my head" is from the World Champion Weight Lifter, who is a Communist Chinese, and after he had pressed some 5,000 lbs or something they said, you know "You're fantastic, how did you do it?". And he said "Thoughts of the party were in my head". This is called "Vision of Childhood".




Reads "Vision of Childhood".


Ron Loewinsohn


This is called "Lots of Lakes"




Reads "Lots of Lakes".


Ron Loewinsohn


This is called "The Sea Around Us".




Reads "The Sea Around Us".


Ron Loewinsohn


I want to read some, most of the poems from this section called "Book of Ayres", and I want to explain just a little bit about it if I can, I guess the most important thing to say is that they declared themselves as a book of poems, in the middle of a final exam, I was taking an exam and one of the things that we had to deal with was a poem by Emily Dickinson, which I will read to you, it's a marvelous poem, I'd never seen it before. And it's so clearly tied all of the poems I'd been working on for the past year or so together, into a bundle, into a package. Let me read to you the, this little statement which I'd written for the publication of the book, and I, simply to insist that they are before anything else, religious poems, and I, as prepossessing as I am about them now, because I think that I may have occasion later on in the reading to call that, or you may have occasion to call that to mind. That they take, as their focus, the making, the finding of the flesh in the word, that is that the word is flesh and it has to be found as such. But let me just read this statement and then I'll read you the Emily Dickinson poem, we'll go right into the Book of Airs. I hope that they're, also, that they're fun, and then you say 'religion', people say, 'uh-oh', this is going to be very grim and very heavy, and in the old sense of heavy. But I hope we can have fun with them, but simply, let me do this. All the poems in the “Book of Ayres” section Meat Air, were written with the intention, though not entirely conscious ‘til rather late in the series, of making the word flesh. That is, when the poet speaks, his words are physically only air, yet they can afford us the most sensorially tangible of experiences. Further, the poem, though merely air, is what sustains us, what the soul feeds on. The poet speaks to keep the soul of man alive, that's Yeats in  “John Kinsella's Lament for Mrs. Mary Moore”, it's interesting that as I was grabbing for something to, for support, picked that line, because the line continues, or rather the whole passage goes "And oh, but she had stories, though not for the priest's ear, to keep the soul of man alive, to banish age and care, and being old, she put a skin on everything she said". Or as Williams puts it, "It is difficult, to get the news from poems, yet me die, every day, for lack of what is found there." Yet if the word seeks to take on the actuality of flesh, of substance, substance itself, as the poet apprehends it, in the merest of tales of his life, from day-to-day, seeks to take on the resonating actuality of speech, to realize itself in the actuality of the word. Love itself is both a word and a continuing act or process, both an idea and a tension in the chest, viscera and genitals, a pressure toward articulation so complex that it often stifles speech. About half way though the book of Airs, I realized that many of the poems I'd written over the past twelve years or so, had been attempting with various degrees of success to effect these transubsatiations and so, this collection. "The Dickinson Poem", which if you want to take a look at it is in Thomas Johnson's editions, it's number “1651”.




Reads Emily Dickinson poem "1651".


Ron Loewinsohn


And one last note before starting in the book has an epigraph from Jim St. Jim. "I need to take a new tack, and sit on it." The first poem's called "These Worlds Have Always Moved in Harmony".




Reads "These Worlds Have Always Moved in Harmony".




[bell rings] What the hell is that? I have this terrible recollection of this story I heard about a college in the Mid-West in the United States where a visiting prof came out to give a lecture on Plato or something and had this bell go off every fifteen minutes and after, it really unnerved him, and after the end of the lecture, he asked one of the people, like, "What is that bell going off?" and the guy, the administrator said "Oh, that's to keep the students awake". I- If that's the case, God bless you, I hope we can do better than that.




Re-starts "These Worlds Have Always Moved in Harmony".


Ron Loewinsohn


And this is called  "The Sipapu". Don't worry about the title, it clears up.




Reads "The Sipapu".


Ron Loewinsohn


This is called "Settling".




Reads "Settling".


Ron Loewinsohn


This is called, this next poem is called "Paean" p-a-e-a-n, paean, and is a collaboration in a sense that it's the kind of poem in which a number of people get together and contribute lines, you give me three lines, and I'll give you two lines and eventually the poem gets written, and simply to give credit where credit where credit is due, to list the people who did contribute or help out in the writing of this poem, John Dryden, William Carlos Williams, and the Associated Press.




Reads "Paean".


Ron Loewinsohn


The story goes that St. Cecilia invented the organ, and when she was playing an angel passed and mistook earth for heaven because of this fantastic music. "Went to her organ [inaudible] breath was given" says John Dryden. These are a couple of songs.




Reads first line "I think of you through a pain in my throat..."

Ron Loewinsohn


This one also called "Song".




Reads first line "Like two apples in a tree..."


Ron Loewinsohn


And this one also called "Song".




Reads first line "If there is nothing but the rhythm of tears..."


Ron Loewinsohn


And this one called "Air".




Reads "Air".


Ron Loewinsohn


And this one called "Goat Dance".




Reads "Goat Dance" first line "You inspire me..."


Ron Loewinsohn


This one called "Two Airs".




Reads "Two Airs".


Ron Loewinsohn


And another one called "Goat Dance".




Reads "Goat Dance". First line: "1. In the middle of the park..."


Ron Loewinsohn


And this, title, may perhaps need a little bit of explanation. "The Romaunt of the Rose", a 13th century French dream vision poem, dream allegory, written actually in two halves by Jean de Meun and Gillaume de Lorris I'm not sure but Chaucer translated the first part of it, and the title comes from his title, "The Romaunt of the Rose". The last line of the poem, [inaudible middle english], is from Chaucer's translation and it's "smitten right to the heart's root". And the whole, the title of the poem is "The Romaunt of the Rose-fuck".




Reads "The Romaunt of the Rose Fuck".


Ron Loewinsohn


I'll just do two more, the first one called "K. 282". Koechel is- don't please, be insulted that I explain that title, I read the poem in New York and a graduate student at Columbia asked me if it meant "Circa 282", like circa 282, like approximately 282, and it is of course the catalogue number for the Mozart piano sonata, and it's a piano sonata, I forget which, what key it's in.




Reads "K. 282".


Ron Loewinsohn


And the last poem is the title poem of the book, "Meat Air".




Reads "Meat Air".






Works Cited

Gray, Richard. "Loewinsohn, Ron(ald William)". The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English. Ian Hamilton (ed). Oxford University Press, 1996. Oxford Reference Online. Concordia University Library, Montreal. September 16, 2009. <>.

Loewinsohn, Ron. Meat Air: Poems 1957-1969. Harcourt, Brace &World, Inc., New York: 1970.

“Loewinsohn, Ron”. Literature Online Biography. Proquest, 2009. Concordia University Library, Montreal. September 16, 2009. <>.

"Ron(ald) (William) Loewinsohn." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Gale. Concordia University Library, Montreal. September 22, 2009 < p=LitRC&u=concordi_main>.


From the “Howard Fink” List of poems:

*  Two separate and different typed pages in print sources...

Feb 20, 1970
5”, mono, single track, reel, @ 3 3/4 ips; lasting 50 mins.


1. “His Music is Like His Twenty Children”
2. “Song” first line: “Oh her lips swell...”
3. “The Rain, The Rain”
4. “Fuck You With Your Home-run Title”
5. “Vision of Childhood”
6. “Lots of Lakes”
7. “The Sea Around Us”
8. “A poem by E. Dickenson”
9. first line: “Angelic spirits in a winter sky...”
10. first line: “But originally the real world...”
11. “Settling”
12. “Paean”
13. “Song” first line “I think of you through a pain...”
14. “Song” first line “Like two apples in a tree...”
15. “Song” first line “If there is nothing...”
16. “Air”
17. “Goat Dance” first line “You inspire me...”
18. “Two Airs”
19. “Goat Dance” first line “In the middle of the park...”
20. first line “In it’s tower of bone...”
21. first line “In the fullness...”
22. “Meat Air”

Page 2

2. It is To Be Bathed In Light
3. Song
4. The Rain, The Rain
5. Fuck You With Your Home-Run Title
6. Vision of Childhood
7. Lots of Lakes
8. The Sea Around Us
9. These Worlds Have Always Moved In Harmony
10. The Cee-pah-pooh (Where The Spirit Dwells)
11. Settling
12. Paean
13. I Think Of You With A Pain In My Throat
14. Song
15. Song
16. Air
17. Goat Dance
18. Two Airs
19. Goat Dance
20. The Ro--- Of The Rose
21. Kercshal 282
22. Meat Air


Transcript, Research, Introduction and Edits by Celyn Harding-Jones

Ron Loewinsohn at SGWU, 1970 (with Robert Hogg)

Catalog numberI086-11-033
Labels5”, mono, single track, reel, @ 3 3/4 ips;
Sound qualityGood
SpeakersRon Loewinsohn *note: second reader is Robert Hogg
VenueH-651 -- Mixed Lounge
DateFebruary 20, 1970, 9:00 p.m.

00:00- Ron Loewinsohn introduces “His Music’s Like His Twenty Children”

00:30- Reads “His Music’s Like His Twenty Children”

01:54- Reads “It Is to Be Bathed in Light”

04:25- Reads “Song”

05:20- Reads “The Rain, The Rain”

06:20- Introduces “Fuck You With Your Home Run Title”

07:04- Reads “Fuck You With Your Home Run Title”

07:41- Explains a line from “Fuck You With Your Home Run Title”

08:15- Reads “Vision of Childhood”

10:33- Reads “Lots of Lakes”

12:03- Reads “The Sea Around Us”

15:59- Introduces section “Book of Ayres” and Emily Dickinson Poem, “Number 1651” ]

20:02- Reads “1651” by Emily Dickinson

20:49- Introduces epigraph in Meat Air

21:11- Reads “These Worlds Have Always Moved in Harmony”

21:22- Interrupted

22:08- Re-starts “These Worlds Have Always Moved in Harmony”

23:34- Reads “The Sipapu”

27:51- Reads “Settling”

28:48- Introduces “Paean”

30:31- Reads “Paean”

32:12- Explains “Paean”

32:38- Reads “Song: I think of you through a pain in my throat...”

32:48- Reads “Song: Like two apples in a tree...”

33:12- Reads “Song: If there is nothing but the rhythm of tears...”

33:57- Reads “Air”

34:59- Reads “Goat Dance: You inspire me...”

36:30- Reads “Two Airs”

37:31- Reads “Goat Dance: 1. In the middle of the park...”

38:48- Introduces “The Romaunt of the Rose Fuck”

39:39- Reads “The Romaunt of the Rose Fuck”

40:22- Introduces “K. 282”

41:04- Reads “K. 282”

42:02- Reads “Meat Air”