Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Ted Berrigan: Sonnet XXXVI, Personal Poem #9 and History: What's Uijeongbu Got To Do With It?


A US soldier wears a gas mask during a competition to test individual skills at a US Army base in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, on July 8, 2015. The goal of the competition is to foster esprit de corps across the units participating and to continue to strengthen the US-South Korea alliance.

A US soldier wears a gas mask during a competition to test individual skills at a US Army base in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, on Wednesday. The goal of the competition is to foster esprit de corps across the units participating and to continue to strengthen the US-South Korea alliance: photo by Jung Yeon-Jejung/AFP, 8 July 2015


Portraits of Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il, at the entrance of the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on the “Day of the Shining Star,” the birthday of Kim Jong Il: photo by Wong Maye-E/Associated Press, 16 February 2016


A formation of fighter jets, flown by the South Korean Black Eagles aerial acrobatic team, performed at the Singapore Airshow: photo by Wallace Woon/European Pressphoto Agency, 16 February 2016

TOPSHOT - South Korea's Black Eagles aer

South Korea’s Black Eagles aerobatics team flying KAI T-50B aircraft perform an aerial display during the Singapore Airshow at the Changi exhibition centre in Singapore on Tuesday: photo by AFP, 16 February 2016



 
An object rising above North Korean territory as seen from the Chinese border city of Dandong on Sunday: photo by
Kyodo via Reuters, 6 February 2016



A South Korean soldier watches a news report on North Korea’s rocket launch. President Park Geun-hye of South Korea called an emergency meeting of top national security advisers.: photo by Yonhap/Agence France-Presse, 6 February 2016


Daily doodle 070216 #NorthKorea launches long range rocket, which it claims is carrying a "satellite": image via Ruth Wishart @Ruth Wishart, 7 February 2016


S. Korea to suspend joint industrial park over #NorthKorea's rocket launch: image via China Xinhua News @XHNews, 10 February 2016


 #NorthKorea developing weapon that could reach U.S.#nuclear: image via TRUNEWS @TRUNEWS, 16 February 2016


S. #Korea announced Wed. to halt work at joint industrial park with N. Korea over #Pyongyang's recent rocket launch: image via People's Daily, China @PDChina, 10 February 2016


North #Korea's army chief of staff has been executed, South Korean media reported Wednesday #DPRK: image via Mete Sohtaoglu @metesohtaoglu, 10 February 2016


#US sends extra #Patriot missiles to S. #Korea amid rising tensions with North: image via RT @RT, 13 February 2016

Embedded image permalink

North Korea has restarted plutonium reactor, U.S. official reports: image via Yahoo News @YahooNews, 9 February 2016

Embedded image permalink

A South Korean family prays for relatives in the North near the demilitarized border zone to mark the Lunar New Year: image via AFP news agency @AFP, 7 February 2016


Ted Berrigan: Sonnet XXXVI
...................................after Frank O’Hara
It’s 8:54 in Brooklyn it’s the 28th of July and
it’s probably 8:54 in Manhattan but I’m
in Brooklyn I’m eating English muffins and drinking
Pepsi and I’m thinking of how Brooklyn is New
York City too how odd I usually think of it as
something all its own like Bellows Falls like Little
Chute like Uijongbu
..............I never thought on the Williams-
burg bridge I’d come so much to Brooklyn
just to see lawyers and cops who don’t even carry
guns taking my wife away and bringing her back

...........................................................No
and I never thought Dick would be back at Gude’s
beard shaved off long hair cut and Carol reading
his books when we were playing cribbage and
watching the sun come up over the Navy Yard
across the river
...................I think I was thinking when I was
ahead I’d be somewhere like Perry Street erudite
dazzling slim and badly loved
contemplating my new book of poems
to be printed on simple type on old brown paper
feminine marvelous and tough

Ted Berrigan (1934-1983): Sonnet XXXVI, from The Sonnets, 1964


NORMASH i bybildet (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

Street scene, Uijeongbu, South Korea, c. April 1952: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim)

Ted Berrigan: Personal Poem #9

It's 8:54 a.m. in Brooklyn it's the 26th of July
and it's probably 8:54 in Manhattan but I'm
in Brooklyn  I'm eating English muffins and drinking
Pepsi and I'm thinking of how Brooklyn is
New York City too  how odd  I usually think of it
as something all its own like Bellows Falls like
Little Chute  like Uijongbu
                                                      I never thought
on the Williamsburg Bridge I'd come so much to Brooklyn
just to see lawyers and cops who don't even carry guns
taking my wife away and bringing her back
                                                                           No
and I never thought Dick would be back at Gude's
beard shaved off long hair cut and Carol reading
her books when we were playing cribbage and watching
the sun come up over the Navy Yard a-
cross the river                          I think I was thinking
when I was ahead I'd be somewhere like Perry Street
erudite dazzling slim and badly-loved
contemplating my new book of poetry
to be printed in simple type on old brown paper
feminine marvelous and tough

Ted Berrigan: Personal Poem #9, 26 July 1962, from Many Happy Returns, 1969


NORMASH sett sydfra (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

Site of Norwegian Mobile Army Field Hospital, Uijeongbu, South Korea, sometime in 1952: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim)
Uijeongbu is located north of the Korean capital Seoul. It lies inside a defile, with mountains on two sides, and thus commands a natural choke point across the main traditional invasion route from the North into Seoul. As such it has a continued military significance and it contains U.S. and Korean military bases, positioned for the defense of the Korean capital. The U.S. Second Infantry Division has established a headquarters post in Uijeongbu, with the main troops being deployed from Dongducheon city.

Despite being known for its military presence, the area has boomed into a satellite community of Seoul with shops, cinemas, restaurants and bars, PC bangs and DVD Bangs. In addition to U.S. personnel, it is popular with the English hagwon (a for-profit private institute, academy or cram school). There are several mountains such as Mt. Dobong (Dobongan), Mt. Surak and Mt. Soyo. The mountains are popular recreational areas for hiking and are frequented by residents living in the Seoul Metropolitan area.

This city is also famous for its budae ijigae (lit. "army base stew"), made with hot dogs and SPAM. In the late 20th century, many wanted the dish to be referred as Uijeongbu jjigae to remove the military or war-time connotations associated with it. However, not many restaurants followed this guideline. Some restaurants have begun calling their product Uijeongbu budae jjigae. The city also contains what locals refer to as "buddaejjigae street", a street where there is a high concentration of army base stew restaurants.

Helikopter ankommer NORMASH med to pasienter (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

US Air Force helicopter landing at Norwegian Mobile Army Field Hospital, Uijeongbu, South Korea, sometime in 1952: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim)

Feltpresten er frisør (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

Haircut at Norwegian Mobile Army Field Hospital, Uijeongbu, South Korea, c. April 1952: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim) 
 
Telt ved leiren med granathylse (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

 Tents at the edge of camp, Uijeongbu, South Korea, c. April 1952: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim)

Hus for 3 / House for 3 (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

House for three, Uijeongbu, South Korea, c. April 1952: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim)

Barn leter gjennom søppel / Children Scavengers (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

Child scavengers, Uijeongbu, South Korea, c. April 1952: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim)
 
Koreansk landskap (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

Landscape near Uijeongbu, South Korea, c. April 1952
: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim)

 
I utkanten av NORMASH (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

On the outskirts of Norwegian Mobile Army Field Hospital  /  I utkanten av NORMASH, Uijeongbu, South Korea, c. April 1952
: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim) 


Mann med kuleramme (1952) | by Trondheim byarkiv

Man with abacus, Uijeongbu, South Korea, c. April 1952
: photo by Inger Schulstad (1920-2010) (Municipal Archives of Trondheim)


Ted-Berrigan (l) and Allen Ginsberg-(c) at Le Metro c. 1964-5 (Photo: )

Ted Berrigan (l) and Allen Katzman (c) and Susan Sherman (r) at Le Metro c. 1964-5: photo by Lorenz Gude via Bedford + Bowery


Letter from Ted Berrigan to Sandra Alper (with collaged photos of Ted Berrigan, Lorenz Gude and Dick Gallup), 23 March 1962: image via Coffee House Press



Telegram from Ted Berrigan to Joe Brainard, 13 February 1962: image via Coffee House Press



Collaged wedding announcement by Ted Berrigan, with clipping from Providence (R.I.) Journal-Bulletin: image via Coffee House Press



 Ted Berrigan scrapbook page, n.d.: image via Coffee House Press



 Ted Berrigan scrapbook page, n.d.: image via Coffee House Press



 Ted Berrigan scrapbook page with typescript of Personal Poem #9 (26 July 1962), n.d.: image via Coffee House Press



 Ted Berrigan scrapbook page, n.d.: image via Coffee House Press

Ted Berrigan, The Sonnets

Ted Berrigan: The Sonnets, C Press, 1964: image via reality studio

Ted Berrigan reading at Le Metro c. 1964-5 (Photo: Lorenz Gude)

Ted Berrigan reading at Le Metro c. 1964-5 : photo by Lorenz Gude via Bedford + Bowery

A US soldier wears a gas mask during a competition to test individual skills at a US Army base in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, on July 8, 2015. The goal of the competition is to foster esprit de corps across the units participating and to continue to strengthen the US-South Korea alliance.

A US soldier wears a gas mask during a competition to test individual skills at a US Army base in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, on Wednesday. The goal of the competition is to foster esprit de corps across the units participating and to continue to strengthen the US-South Korea alliance: photo by Jung Yeon-Jejung/AFP, 8 July 2015

Soldiers from the South Korean army special forces demonstrate their skills how to fight back knife-wielding attackers during a martial arts demonstration for Children's Day at the War Museum in Seoul, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. May 5 is celebrated as Children's Day, a national holiday, in South Korea

Soldiers from the South Korean army special forces unit demonstrate their skills in fighting back knife-wielding attackers during a martial arts demonstration for Children’s Day at the War Museum in Seoul on Tuesday: photo by Ahn Young-joon/AP, 5 May 2015
.
 A photographer takes pictures of South Korean army soldiers taking part in a U.S.-South Korea joint live-fire military exercise at a training field in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone. 

A photographer takes pictures of South Korean army soldiers involved in a US/South Korea live-fire military exercise at a training field in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone: photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters, 25 March 2015

A new South Korean military officer runs into an echelon as they attend a joint commissioning ceremony for 6,478 new officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines at the military headquarters in Gyeryong

A new South Korean military officer runs into an echelon as they attend a joint commissioning ceremony for 6,478 new officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines at the military headquarters in Gyeryong on Thursday: photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters, 12 March 2015

South Korean army soldiers move during their military exercise near the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea, Monday, March 2, 2015. North Korea on Monday fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and warned of "merciless strikes" against its enemies as allies Seoul and Washington launched annual military drills Pyongyang claims are preparation for a northward invasion

South Korean army soldiers move during their military exercise near the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea. North Korea on Monday fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and warned of “merciless strikes” against its enemies as allies Seoul and Washington launched annual military drills: photo by Ahn Young-joon/AP, 2 March 2015

8 comments:

awbradley said...

Thanks for the Berrigan. As it happens, just reading his "Last Poem" today on the crapper (I have a makeshift library of poetry in internet printouts in file folders pinned against the wall by a long empty glass vase shaped like a sturgeon thrusting open-mouthed towards the surface in the crapper you will be no doubt fascinated to learn):

Last Poem
Ted Berrigan
Before I began life this time
I took a crash course in Counter-Intelligence
Once here I signed in, see name below, and added
Some words remembered from an earlier time,
"The intention of the organism is to survive."
My earliest, & happiest, memories pre-date WWII,
They involve a glass slipper & a helpless blue rose
In a slender blue single-rose vase: Mine
Was a story without a plot. The days of my years
Folded into one another, an easy fit, in which
I made money & spent it, learned to dance & forgot, gave
Blood, regained my poise, & verbalized myself a place
In Society. 101 St. Mark's Place, apt. 12A, NYC 10009
New York. Friends appeared & disappeared, or wigged out,
Or stayed; inspiring strangers sadly died; everyone
I ever knew aged tremendously, except me. I remained
Somewhere between 2 and 9 years old. But frequent
Reification of my own experiences delivered to me
Several new vocabularies, I loved that almost most of all.
I once had the honor of meeting Beckett & I dug him.
The pills kept me going, until now. Love, & work,
Were my great happinesses, that other people die the source
Of my great, terrible, & inarticulate one grief. In my time
I grew tall & huge of frame, obviously possessed
Of a disconnected head, I had a perfect heart. The end
Came quickly & completely without pain, one quiet night as I
Was sitting, writing, next to you in bed, words chosen randomly
From a tired brain, it, like them, suitable, & fitting.
Let none regret my end who called me friend.

TC said...

In the longago days when Ted and I were wasting a lot of time together, talking pointlessly and inanely about this and that, arguing about music and society and life and death (not) and all that, there was occasional fleeting reference to our respective brief and entirely unheroic military experiences in a previous incarnation.

Ted had this and that to say about his stint as a GI in Uijeongbu. He never did learn to spell the name of the place, though he loved putting it in his poetry, for the laughs. His comical eye-rolling pronunciation invariably prompted vast amusement in audiences that cared little about what the strange foreign-sounding word may have meant, if indeed they suspected it meant anything at all.

Several kind correspondents have bravely attempted to explain back-channel what Uijeongbu's got to do with it, for which I am very grateful.

One friend who knew and loved Ted says, "Just googled it—always assumed it was African—but now reminded that Ted was a Korean veteran..." Another -- someone who knew Ted particularly well -- says, "What's Uijongbu but a second-hand emo-tion?"

So I suppose one possible answer to the question posed in the title of the post -- and more's the fool me, I wasn't even kidding -- would be that Uijeongbu's got absolutely nothing to do with it.

But then again...

For us to be able to credit the personal melodrama at the heart of the poem -- the stolen wife -- it may help to imagine the deprived husband as a military veteran.

And the category does seem to encourage this generous patriotic interpretation.

(Anyone who knew Ted remembers he fancied himself a patriot. Once in the ragged hinterlands of the dying 60s we hammered out a poem together to celebrate one of those awful triumphalist Apollo launches. Ted insisted we call it Under a Patriot Sky.)

Anyway, I would take this to comprise the category: three place names with unmistakable Murican Resonance.

Typical Dutch homestead, Little Chute, Wisconsin, c. 1855

Town Fair, Bellows Falls, Vermont, 1 October 1912

As to the ambient squalor and deprivation around the American base in Uijeongbu, if Ted noticed it, he never mentioned it.

In that respect the Norwegian MASH doctor who took the pictures would have to be considered the superior historian.

Americans haven't noticed yet that history is political.

Curiously or not, Ted's poetry has latterly experienced a minor swell of interest from the advanced universities of the UK, where it has successfully eluded everyone.

The hilarious Brit "avant" academic backing and filling and arguing and apologizing and not getting the point, all exacerbated by the hovering shadow of Frank O'Whozit, laureate of the Wild White North ("Fuck Canada"), multiplied by the grand confusion triggered by Silliman's amazing revelation that all the poets who ever made him nervous must have been taking drugs, not to speak of the shadowy putative positioning behind the arras of Tom R... has been even funnier than hearing Lady Gaga say Uijeongbu, which she may at this moment be doing at a location near you, accompanied naturally by the ubiquitous Eagles of Metal Death Happiness.

I come, alas, ill-equipped with linkage to the illustrious Anglo scholars of MuricaPO.

Let us settle for saying that I recall the names Muckle, Robinson, Wilkinson, Hawkins.

A sample of the wit and wisdom of these distinguished Muricanists:

"I wonder if Dorn and Berrigan ever did drugs together seeing as their paths crossed in so many ways." (Muckle)

Hilton said...

Such a wonderful poem - and your little postscript is a marvel as well. Fascinating how one association take you on a photographic journey - and drags everyone else with you. And it's not even Brooklyn! Thanks - feeling feminine marvelous and tough.

TC said...

Thanks, Hilton.

You've just indirectly illuminated the room with the blinding truth that Brooklyn is the key to the category.

Wooden Boy said...

Now that everywhere is a corner of Murica, it's easy to pass over the name Uijeongbu.

TC said...

Yes, and when it comes to geography, Melting-Pot Muricana doesn't stand on ceremony, you can shuffle the generic bits any way you wish, force unmatched pieces into place as you please, spell the names in any conceivable fashion, and the puzzle will still look exactly the same, if viewed from Disneyland... or for that matter even from Brooklyn.

(Though in Brooklyn, I understand they do make an exception with the spellings if the names of the Settlements. Some things have to be got right.)

tpw said...

Ted's sonnets will never die! Love your footnote to the poem, as I do your Ted memoir. I would think someone would have written a full bio of Ted by now. Maybe one of those Brits will do it.

TC said...

Yes, that would be great fun, what with all the predictable academic speculation regarding suspected influences and drugs, and the general sobersides cluelessness of the straight-faced junior professors aspiring to a condition of pure nescient rubberneckery... followed naturally by The Conference... without which, nothing!