Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Poet That Changed America [Allen Ginsberg, Beat Poet, Naropa, Activist]

In 2006 Naropa University Celebrated 50 years of Howl with an event reflecting on their own beginnings, Chogyam Trungpa's vision, and how Ginsberg & poetry were so crucial in it's genesis.

Elephant Journal's tireless editor, Waylon Lewis, has posted a transcript of some of that evening, in this month's edition of EJ that sums up a remarkable & inspiring legacy by all who helped to create the school. Read transcript

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Werk Works to produce 'Howl'

[image: Frame from Howl. Eric Drooker]

We've been quietly holding our breath for a few years now on this one, so you can imagine our relief when we got the news that the film finally got the solid backing from Werk Works. Variety give a nice breakdown of who's what and what's who. Filming is set for March 16-April 2. The animation work by Eric Drooker can continue full speed ahead now.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Naropa Poetics Audio Archives

[photo: Robert Duncan, Anne Waldman, unknown, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Boulder CO, 1976. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

This is probably as good a time as any to plug the Naropa Poetics Audio Archives. One by one their archive department has been digitizing their recorded lectures, readings and panels, and making them available to all via With over 5000 hours of materiel, it's an embarrassment of riches too long to list here, but they include lectures and readings by among others Amiri Baraka, Gregory Corso, Philip Whalen, Robert Creeley, William Burroughs, Joanne Kyger, Harry Smith, Gary Snyder, Jerome Rothenberg, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Peter Lambourne Wilson, Anne Waldman, Michael McClure, Diane DiPrima, Anslem Hollo and of course plenty of good old uncle Allen Ginsberg.

In their words:
"The Naropa University Archive Project is preserving and providing access to over 5000 hours of recordings made at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. The library was developed under the auspices of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (the university's Department of Writing and Poetics) founded in 1974 by poets Anne Waldman and Allen Ginsberg. It contains readings, lectures, performances, seminars, panels and workshops conducted at Naropa by many of the leading figures of the U.S...."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wild Combination - A portrait of Arthur Russell

Matt Wolf's intimate documentary on Arthur Russell premiered last spring and is now available on dvd as well as through iTunes. Though I was well aware of the recordings they'd done together, I hadn't realized quite how frequently his and Allen's lives intersected beyond that.

Visit the Wild Combination site for details.

Tim Lawrence's Arthur Russell biography Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92 is due in stores, Fall 2009.

2012 update - see more in Arthur Russell, including the Wild Combination trailer here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Snag Films Hosting Life & Times of Allen Ginsberg

Snag Films just introduced Jerry Aronson's Ginsberg documentary The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg to their online catalog, which means you can watch it for free! (after sitting through a few ads that is, but we figure that's a small & relatively painless price to pay)

Also worth checking is Life & Times webiste, with clips & outtakes, photos and more..

2012 update - not any more! (old out-dated links, but Jerry's Life & Times website is still active and you should purchase the DVD from there

Patti Smith, Philp Glass and Footnote to Howl in Santa Barbara

[photo: Santa Barbara Independent]

They've been doing this one for quite some time now, but it only seems to get better and better. If you find yourself in the Santa Barbara area this weekend, you be doing yourself a nice little favor by checking it out. For more info visit

while you're at it, be sure to check for your local screening of Steven Sebring's Film Dream of Life

The Letters of Allen Ginsberg/The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg & Gary Snyder

We unleashed two major letters collections last fall, and they're long overdue. I should add their near simultaneous pub dates were quite by accident, but what's done is done. You might want to run to the nearest fine bookstore or library in your neighborhood and see just what the fuss is all about. The Letters of Allen Ginsberg is the culmination of years and years of relentless sifting and searching by bibliographer & biographer Bill Morgan who set for himself the monumental task of reducing some 3700 letters into a manageable book of 165 letters.

So when Jack Shoemaker at Counterpoint approached us with the idea of a Snyder/Ginsberg correspondence, Bill Morgan, fresh off the Letters project was the obvious choice as editor.

Bill Morgan and Kerouac editor David Stanford are co-editing a selected correspondence between Ginsberg and Kerouac, that should be in stores this fall. We'll keep you posted.

New York Times Book Review

[photo: Summer 1965, 8 day backpack climbing in wilderness area of Northern Cascades, Glacier Peak, Washington State, Gary Snyder back from a near-decade in Kyoto studying & practicing Zazen. My first mountain walk. (Ginsberg Caption) licensing: corbis]

Kissinger Tapes

[photo: unknown]

This is old news by now, but pleasantly amusing and so quintessential Ginsberg that it was crying out to be our launch story. At Senator Eugene McCarthy's suggestion, Allen has called Kissinger in order to arrange a conversation between among others, civil rights activist Ralph Abernathy, then CIA head Richard Helms, pacifist David Dellinger, and even Nixon, in order to brainstorm for ways out of the Vietnam war. Complete transcript ...

[photo: unknown]