Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy 100th Birthday, Paul Bowles

[Paul Bowles preparing mint tea on arrival at acquaintance Christopher Wanklyn’s souk household in the medina, I took train from Tangier and stayed with them a week, Marrakesh, Maroc, July 20, 1961. (Allen Ginsberg caption) c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Paul Bowles Centennial Today - December 30 2010 - Paul Bowles (1910-1999)

For a decent breakdown on how his life intersected with Allen's or how he gets incorrectly heaped in with the "Beats," click on over to the official Paul Bowles site.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday's Weekly Round-Up 6

Here’s for the holiday season our now-regular miscellaneous Ginsberg round-up, the last round-up for 2010

More Arthur Russell/Allen Ginsberg

You all know Arthur Russell’s appearance playing cello on “Do The Meditation Rock” from Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984) but here the two are again, Allen intoning this time on Arthur’s “Soon To Be Innocent Fun”, featuring John Moran with Allen Ginsberg, from the 1993 Meet The Locusts, produced by Philip Glass. Vocals are by John Moran, Joyce Bowden and Allen Ginsberg. Arrangement is by John Moran. Allen’s recorded voice also featured as “a patriarchal commentator named Justinius” in “Mathew in the School of Life”, Moran’s 1995 “science fiction techno opera”.

Ezra Pound and Allen Ginsberg

We’ve been meaning to get to this. Rodger Kamentz’s powerful verse essay, Allen Ginsberg Forgives Ezra Pound on Behalf of the Jews” appeared recently in the Jewish Daily Forward. A verse essay, Kamentz explains is “a form that allows the exploration of ideas and associations as well as the use of documentary material” .The stepping off point of the poem was a 1992 interview. Read more of Kamentz’s introduction and the “essay” here. Here’s some more on Ginsberg and Pound (a 1967 poem from Allen that he dedicates to Pound) from the Winter 2008 issue of Flash Point magazine, and a photo taken by Ettore Sottsass.

Howl DVD and Blueray

January 4 2011 is the date of the release of the DVD and the Blueray versions of Howl, the movie, not too long to go now. Oscilloscope have informed us that these new Howl releases will feature the following bonus materials:

“Commentary by James Franco and the Directors”; Holy! Holy! Holy! Making of Howl”; “Original interviews with Allen Ginsberg's friends and collaborators”; “James Franco Reads "Howl”” – (An) “Audio Excerpt Performance: Ginsberg in 1995 at NYC's Knitting Factory” (with additional BD-only clips); (A) “Q&A Session with the Filmmakers, as moderated by John Cameron Mitchell “(BD-only)

Harold Chapman’s Photos

January 4 also marks the date of the Harold Chapman Paris and the Beat Hotel sale at Bonham’s in London. A collection of Chapman's prints titled "Peter Golding's Harold Chapman Archive" is going up for sale. See our recent note on his last show this past summer at London’s Proud Galleries. The Archive consists of 108 photographs, approximately half of which were reproduced in Chapman’s 1984 The Beat Hotel book (which featured introductory texts by William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin – see also Harold Chapman, Beats A Paris: Und Die Dichter Der Beat Generation 1957-1963). A selection of prints are up for viewing now, and the entire set be viewed upon request.

A recent BBC film report on Chapman’s work can be found here.

Dylan and Ginsberg

Sean Wilentz, whose book on Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan in America, is another book we’ve profiled, was recently interviewed in American about the Dylan-Ginsberg link "The two of them had a profound impact on each other in terms of cultural imagery”, Wilentz declares, ”Dylan helped inspire some of his greater (sic) poems, including “Wichita Vortex Sutra.” Ginsberg helped legitimize Dylan’s lyric writing as serious poetry, and Dylan helped render Ginsberg into a kind of pop figure which he had not been before."

On The Road Film

We told you last month that we’d keep you posted about the filming of On The Road. You know the one where Tom Sturridge plays Carlo Marx/Allen Ginsberg? Well, shooting’s wrapped up, apparently. Here’s a photo-essay from our good friends in San Francisco at the Beat Museum. More to follow.

Anne Waldman: Janine Pommy Vega, Beat Sister

Janine Pommy Vega, Beat Sister
February 5, 1942- December 23, 2010

A great sister spirit, woman extraordinaire of the Beat literary movement who left her home in Union City, New Jersey age 15 to seek out the Beats, died December 23rd at her home in Willow, New York, outside Woodstock. She was close to Gregory Corso, Herbert Huncke, Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky. Peter was her first lover at a tender age. They lived together and she confronted the complicated sexuality and male chauvinist ethos early on when Allen took Peter off to India, with nary a thought to her feelings. “Is this the way it is with the poets? This is my first lover and this is the way it goes? Fuck those people, man, I don’t want to know about the writers. I rather meet the painters, the musician, the magicians, let’s get to the street.” And meet them and the street she did. Janine was a populist, a street fighter, a survivor, a world traveler and hugely prolific writer many decades. Tracking The Serpent: Journeys to Four Continents is an amazing account of an adventuresome life. She spent the last 11 years with poet Andy Clausen, tending her garden when she wasn’t traveling the world performing her magnetic and politically engaged poetry, and doing the scholarly work as well, burning the midnight oil. Even after being hampered with debilitating arthritis she was out on the road, her uplifted voice and spirit cutting through anyone’s gloom.

We were together in Prague at the height of celebration right after the Velvet Revolution, dancing in the streets, and I was with Janine as she shook her egg rattle and up and down Italy on the Pullman Bus Tour, with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and others. People loved her at every turn, moved by her warmth and deep-rooted compassion. She was a guest at Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics recently, admonishing students to get active and do the work to benefit others. I count her in our band of “tattered bodhisattva” poets. At Naropa she spoke of “serving something other than the ego, serving as the glue of a civilization, serving clarity of thought, the specific vision of your truth”.

Janine was an indomitable activist on behalf of women’s rights and taught tirelessly inside the prison system, working many years for the PEN Prison Writing Committee. A poem from her collection, The Green Piano (David R. Godine, Published, 2005):

Christmas at Woodbourne

Sodden cardboard manger
at the front gate
to Woodbourne Prison
shrouded hills, lone gull’s
screech atop the searchlight

Who says we are separate
from what we love?
would call that ignorance
separate voices, separate
troubles, separate cells –
connectedness is
from the consistency
of grace

( Janine Pommy Vega
Woodbourne C.F., Woodbourne, New York
December 1996)

Janine: you continue to soar with your dignity and exquisite -- yet fearless -- grace.

Anne Waldman
The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics
Boulder, Colorado

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Janine Pommy Vega: Februrary 5 1942-December 23, 2010

We just received the sad news that poet Janine Pommy Vega passed away this morning. Her warmth & presence in the poetry world will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

William S Burroughs & Allen Ginsberg on the Yage Letters, Ayahuasca, & Junky's Christmas

Came across this little gem recently from Charles Ruas' WBAI show, from 1975, a segment entitled "In Search of Yage." It's 95 per cent Allen on William Burroughs & their collection of letters, The Yage Letters (which, incidentally, was re-issued in 2006 by City Lights, with extensive notes by Oliver Harris and additional materials, as The Yage Letters Redux). Recordings of Burroughs reading a selection of the letters are also scattered throughout the program. A good number of Ruas' shows have now been posted to, including, notably, one of Allen reading (in 1968), and a 1975 discussion on Naked Lunch that includes James Grauerholz, Maurice Girodias and Carl Solomon and also sections of the book read by Burroughs himself. Other shows currently available feature such luminaries as Ed Sanders, New Directions' James Laughlin, and theater director, Richard Foreman.

While we're on the subject of yage, it's worth posting, perhaps, this all-too-rarely-seen classic of Burroughs narrating a short film on ayahuasca:

And of course what Christmas season posting would be complete without Burroughs' "Junky's Christmas!"
You can watch The Junky's Christmas here

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Buddhist Art & Music in the 70s & 80s: Marcus Boon on Arthur Russell's Buddhism & Creative Process

Just came across this fantastic take on Arthur Russell's creative process in connection with Buddhism by Marcus Boon. Definitely worth a read. (btw, If you haven't had a chance to check out Tim Lawrence's Arthur Russell book Hold on to Your Dreams, we highly recommend that too especially if you've got more than a passing interest in the NYC art/music/poetry scenes of the 1970s & 80s. )

"I’m just finishing Tim Lawrence’s excellent biography of Arthur Russell, Hold On To Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992. In some ways, New York in the 1970s is starting to be very well charted territory, but the complicated web of connections between different scenes which is described in this book is still news, and Lawrence draws out these connections with the same loving detail he brought to his first book, Love Saves The Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979. " Read complete entry >>

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ginsberg's poem for Ingrid Law

Celebrated Children's book author Ingrid Law recently revealed a unique Allen Ginsberg “lost poem” – well, kind of. As she explains in her blog, Straight From The Jar, it was 1977, and she was 7 years old. “It was at a fund-raising event, I believe. And, at the time, I did not even understand much about who Allen Ginsberg was, let alone how cool it would be to have this poem years later”. Yes, Allen wrote a poem/inscription/lullaby note for the little girl (and her mother wisely held on to it). “I doubt you’ll be seeing this one in any anthologies soon”, she wryly remarks, “but still...”

You eat macaroni!
You eat donuts!
Do you eat the donut holes?
You watch Superman!
You visit Gilligan's island?
You sing roll & Rock!
You smell roses!
You touch your mom!
You think of going to

Allen Ginsberg
July 6,'77

Read her full entry titled "Poetry: Robert Burns, Allen Ginsberg, Gilligan's Island and smelling the roses" on her blog Straight from the Jar

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday's Weekly Round-Up 5

So last week we alerted you to another interview with Howl animator, Eric Drooker, so this week, here’s another interview with James Franco, Howl’s star (recorded earlier this month at New York’s 92nd Street Y, as part of Reel Pieces, their on-going, long-running, film-talk series). Interviewer here is series-host, and Columbia professor, film historian, Annette Insdorf).

Meanwhile, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, “just down the street”, opening on Sunday, Allen’s screen test" by Andy Warhol is among those being featured in Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures, a show focusing on Warhol’s experimental, black-and-white, non-narrative, “portrait” films. Interesting juxtaposition, come to think of it, Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg, two great portrait artists! The show stays up till March.

Word salad! – In keeping with our occasional notice of hommages, parodies and experiments with Howl (indeed with any and all of Allen’s poems), here’s part of an on-going work by San Francisco-based poet, Tom Commita - Howl in Six Voices. Commita explains:

Howl in Six Voices is the sonic rendition of the textual procedure "inflationary erasure"--a fusion of lipogram and erasure.

In this procedure, a found sound file--Allen Ginsberg reading his "Howl for Carl Solomon"--is erased six times, each time including--in their original order--only and all words containing a particular vowel. Accordingly, "HAWL" includes all words containing the vowel [a]. "HEWL" includes all words containing the vowel [e]. "HIWL" includes all words containing the vowel [i]. And so on.

The six erasures together "inflate" Ginsberg's "Howl" by including more words--words containing two or more vowels--than the original.

Sample the whole thing here

No more responses to last week's request for favorite AG recordings?

Allen Ginsberg's Personal Ad

A good response to the posting of Bob Holman's "Poetry Spot" (Allen Ginsberg Does Tai Chi) last week. So here's another one. This, from his 1996 PBS series, The United States of Poetry. Allen reads (and acts out) his bitter-sweet late poem, ”Personals Ad” (from Cosmopolitan Greetings) . F.y.i., that young man in his skivvies just might be our very own Peter Hale!
The text of the poem can be read here - And perhaps we should also point out that this poem was one of twelve of Allen's chosen for Random House's audiobook, The Voice of the Poet - Allen Ginsberg. It was also given a memorable setting by composer David Del Tredici in his 20o1 song cycle, Gay Life.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Time for some serious errata: 1963 Neal Cassady photos & Charles Plymell

We've had a few shots of Neal Cassady on the website for quite some time with missing details and in some cases flat out wrong information. Not quite sure how we'd had it wrong after all these years, and why Allen hadn't kept more detailed info on that historic roll of film. At any rate, Charles Plymell took notice, and a good thing too, as he was there when they were shot, and in a few cases even took the photos himself with Allen's camera. Here some fantastic detailed background to these historic shots from the Summer of 1963.

Neal Cassady sitting in chair at Karen Sexton's house after arriving in Bolinas with Charles Plymell and Allen. According to Plymell, "Neal had spotted a copy of a Kerouac book and began reading his 'parts' to everyone." Charles may have taken this one, as he's thinking Allen had stepped outside while Neal was reading. Summer 1963. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate.

Neal Cassady outside Charles Plymell's 1403 Gough Street house where Allen had met Peter 9 years earlier when Robert LaVigne lived there. According to Plymell, the other people in the photo were a "Hollywood filmmaker & cronies who came to Gough St. to visit." c. Allen Ginsberg Estate

Neal Cassady and his girlfriend at the time Ann Murphy. Referring to this image, as well as another on that same roll which unfortunately we don't have on hand, where Neal is looking toward the backseat, Charles Plymell writes:

"I thought for a while the famous headliner photo with Neal and Ann in front seat was mine, because Allen sat in the back behind Ann and the photo is almost in front with Neal turning completely around facing us. I know I told Allen to get the shot of headliner, or I would, but maybe he did. The car was a 39 Pontiac and Neal was speeding and Allen was telling him to slow down especially around curves where we were thrown into each other in back seat. Neal got mad at Allen telling him to slow down because it interfered with his arguing and slapping Ann when he had his hands free. He said the brakes were out anyway and speeded up using the hand brake and gear shift on floor to gear down on the steep hills while manhandling Ann in their eternal argument about who was fucking whom and scoring pills from her Dr. connection, so he sped up on purpose."

"When we stopped at a convenience store, I asked Allen to borrow his camera to take this shot as if nothing had happened and we went for a roller coaster ride. Neal was all smiles and otherwise had a nice time lying on the hills overlooking the shore at Bolinas. Allen was still in his Whitmanesque/India mode then." Photo & Caption: Charles Plymell

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Allen Ginsberg Does Tai Chi

Thanks to poet-entrepreneur Bob Holman for this one. Between 1986 and 1994 Bob produced over 50 “Poetry Spots” for the New York public television station, WNYC featuring a whole range of poets. This, the one on Allen, is one of the earliest of them. Check his You Tube channel for others. The text of the poem, “In My Kitchen in New York – for Bataan Faigao” (dated “Manhattan Midnight, September 5, 1984”) is included in White Shroud – Poems 1980-1985 and in Collected Poems and here
Bataan Faigao is a full-time faculty member at Naropa University, and chair of the Traditional Eastern Arts Department. He is also director of the Rocky Mountain T'ai-chi ch'uan Foundation. He began studying t'ai-chi ch'uan with Grand Master Cheng Man-ching in 1968 and for the next seven years practiced under his guidance. He has been teaching t'ai-chi ch'uan since 1976.

Friday's Weekly Round-Up 4

What do you think is the best, most representative, Allen Ginsberg recording? Allen Ginsberg at his “mojo-strongest”? Peter Conners, author of the recently-published White Hand Society - The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg following a tip from our good friend Steve Silberman, proposes “Kral Majales” in the version off The Lion for Real album. What do other folks think?
(An invitation to sample our extensive audio and visual links is hereby proffered to refresh your memory!)
White Hand Society is now out, incidentally (we announced it a few months ago), and an excerpt can be read here on Reality Sandwich, and here on the City Lights web-site. There’s also an illuminating interview here with the author, speaking of his time researching the book among the Ginsberg archives in Stanford.

Critical poems. It could be a poem like “Kral Majales”, or, for Seattle-based poet Martha Silano, "A Supermarket in California". Her memory of that poem’s life-changing affect on her is the subject of a radio essay recently aired on KUOW public radio.
Heard enough about Howl the movie? – I know we’ve featured such material before but here’s another profile/interview with Erik Drooker. It describes, among other things, his recent City Lights visit. Did we mention City Lights recent 50th Anniversary Edition of Kaddish? Yes we did.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kaddish - 50th Anniversary Edition

With perfect timing (building on the interest created by Howl, both the
reprint and the film) City Lights have just issued, in the familiar
Pocket Poets format a new (50th Anniversary Edition) of Allen's classic
second collection, the ground-breaking Kaddish & Other Poems 1958-1960.
This new edition features an afterword by Bill Morgan, as well as
"previously unpublished family photographs, Naomi's paintings, and
documents and letters relating to the composition of the poem".
For more details click here

(2012 update - an interesting post relating to Allen and Kaddish may be accessed here)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Friday's Weekly Round-Up 3

Still off traveling but we thought we'd scatter a few crumbs. Couldn't miss the weekly, or semi-weekly, round-up!

There's a nice piece up about San Francisco's lively independent bookstore scene, including, of course, City Lights,
in the travel section of this Sunday's New York Times -
's a sneak preview.

Another snippet of news - James Franco’s selection as co-host for the Oscar ceremonies this coming February…Hmm.. How many mentions of Allen on Oscar night will this mean?

Franco's vivid portrayal of Allen in the movie has led a number of reviewers to recount their own memorable meetings with the real Allen. Here's two sides of the coin. Debra Ginsberg (for NPR) and Fritz Lyon (for the Maine Republican Journal), both mindful of the echoes contained in their names!).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gone Travelling and John Lennon doc teaser

A few of us here are gone traveling across the country and globe for the next few weeks and likely we won't be able to keep this up as regularly as we usually do. We should be back up 'n' running full speed ahead after December 14th. In the meantime, we'll leave you with this trailer for the PBS American Masters John Lennon documentary. In case you missed it, and are in the US, they're airing it a few more times next week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crazy Wisdom: A Film about the Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

Johanna Demetrakas' film Crazy Wisdom, on Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, looks just about done. It still needs some final tweaking, and she's got a Kickstarter to raise the last bit of money to do it. The trailer has been posted on Chronicle Project, along with more info on their fundraising efforts.

(more on Crazy Wisdom, including the trailer for the film can be seen here)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Joanne Kyger

[Joanne Kyger, hills leading to Himalayan Peaks, studying guidebook on wall in Amora, we were on Pilgrimage to Buddhist sites, here visiting Lama Govinda, March 1962. (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)]

[Joanne Kyger, Allen's kitchen, 437 East 12th St.NYC, November 1989]

Here's Joanne reading for UC Berkeley's Lunch Poems series a few years back. (a fantastic series, if you're unaware of it - definitely worth checking out also, when you get time, all the other readers).
After a bit of an extended intro (by Robert Hass), she finally starts reading, beginning her set approximately 6 minutes in.

And another more recent photo by John Sarsgard, taken last summer at Joanne's home in Bolinas.

[Joanne Kyger, Bolinas, CA 2010. c. John Sarsgard]

Friday's Weekly Round-Up 2

Thai Allen Ginsberg

Beat inspired Thai poet Zakariya Amataya, the first ever Muslim recipient of the prestigious South East Asian Writers Award gets a good profiling this week. Interesting character, we look forward to hearing more about him. "Maybe we call Walt Whitman the father of new American poets, but I think the second [father] is Allen Ginsberg", he proudly declares.

Kerouac in Persian

Elsewhere from around the globe (from IBNA - the Iran Book News Agency), Jack Kerouac's 'Book of Haikus', we've just heard, has just been translated into Persian by the Iranian-born,
English-based poet, writer, broadcaster, Alireza Hassani (pen-name Alireza Abiz), and is to be published in that country, so they say, "in the next two months".

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his office with pooch, Whitman photo, files, coatracks, bookbags, posters at City Lights, up on balcony, B'way and Columbus Ave, San Francisco 1984. Allen Ginsberg (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)]

Speaking of cultural ambassadors, “Allen Ginsberg was a great cultural ambassador. He spoke taxi-cab Spanish. He stayed up all night in Chile translating “Howl” into Spanish with other poets.” Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s illuminating memories of the Latin American poets, and of the Russian poets, and of much else besides, appears in Jesse Tangen-Mills interview in the current issue of Guernica – A Magazine of Art and Politics. Well worth a read. The 91-year-old Ferlinghetti remains, as Tangen-Mills points out , “revolutionary” and “unrepentant.”

Patti Smith - Congratulations

Our friend Patti Smith was just awarded the National Book Award for her book, Just Kids, an autobiographical memoir of her long-time friendship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Here's her on NPR (on Terri Gross' Fresh Air) including her reading from the section where she recounts her first (confusing? amusing?) meeting with Allen

and, finally..

John Fluevog and the Beats?

Allen's cousin caught this one and brought it to our attention. Not quite sure how we feel about this!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

William S Burroughs: A Man Within Oscilloscope Trailer

While posting the announcement earlier this week on US Theater dates for Yony Leyser's William S. Burroughs: A Man Within we neglected to include the most recent trailer for the film, which is leaps and bounds more interesting than the last few. So, without further ado....

Why We Love the Internets part 73: Fixing the Poem Transcription for Allen Ginsberg's Poem "Things I'll Not Do"

This was one of the last poems Allen wrote. You'll see the date is March 30, 1997, he passed away just five days later. Although many of his poems' first drafts looked like this, for the most part, if anything was unclear, we could just ask. That, obviously, wasn't an option after April 5 that year. Pretty much all of us - some ten of us - who'd worked with him, examined it, handing it around, vainly trying to decipher some of the references, place-names we'd never heard of. "Tibet Templed Baluchistan"? or "Caves of Dunhuang"? (which went incorrectly transcribed for the first edition as "cares of Dunhuang", since none of us were aware these were caves!). Looking back, that's a bit embarrassing. We were without Google then, but there was Encyclopedia Britannica, and, if that didn't work, there was the library information line. Yes, you could call directly to the NY Public Library, and were allowed two queries. The researcher would put you on hold and go look, for however long it took, five minutes, ten, or thirty. Obviously, some things they couldn't answer. So when we got to the "antique lands of Hades Necromanteion," we couldn't find a single reference to it - anywhere, and in the end simply stated "Hades Gates". That's how it's published today - still. Till the next edition that is. The other week we decided to look up that pesky word with today's modern research tools, and bam! we found it, where else but in Wikipedia! - Necromanteion - I think we can trust this entry now to be a pretty accurate transcription of Allen's poem.

["Things I'll Not Do" Allen Ginsberg Collected Poems 1947-1997. New York, Harper Perennial. 2007

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Dharmic Dirty Old Man: Jim Edwards Interviews Allen Ginsberg

[Allen Ginsberg (left) with James Edwards (University of Tulsa)]

A fantastic interview digest that offers a snapshot of Allen in the late 1970s. Originally published in The Collegian in 1977, it's reprinted here online in Oklahoma's This Land In case you might end up wondering, the "Cotten-clad-One" (sic) referenced is Tibetan yogi Milarepa.

November 15, 2010

The following is an interview with Allen Ginsberg originally published by the University of Tulsa’s student newspaper The Collegian in 1977. It is reprinted here with permission from the Collegian’s publication board and TU’s University Relations office.

GINSBERG WAS HERE. Dharmic Dirty Old Man, gay libber, chronicler of one generation’s nightmares, Allen Ginsberg to some’s delight came Monday, October ten. For,

Monday noon lunch in the diner. Featuring: vegetables, name-swapping, Tulsa gay bar review. Then, Monday afternoon discourse and reading in the Sharp Chapel Lounge. Featuring: questions from the gallery, the death of Hippie idealism, spontaneous snoring, the lineage of American poetry, and much, much more. Then,

Later Monday afternoon interview with cub reporter in the new wing of McFarlin Library (hardhats required). Featuring: interruptions and sidetracks, loaded questions, wind.

And, Monday evening reading and music in the Great Hall. Featuring: Ginsberg, Live!

Continue to full story >>

Friday, November 12, 2010

US Theater Dates Announced for: William S Burroughs: A Man Within

In Theaters

11/17/10 - New York, NY - IFC Center
11/25/10 - Los Angeles, CA - Downtown Independent
12/03/10 - Detroit, MI - Burton
12/04/10 - Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall
12/10/10 - Dallas, TX - Texas Theater
12/13/10 - Albuquerque, NM - The Guild
12/13/10 - Greensboro, NC - Circus Cinema
12/17/10 - Eugene, OR - Bijou

for more info, check the Oscilloscope website.

Friday's Weekly Round-Up 1

[Allen Ginsberg & Steven Taylor, Passaic Falls, Paterson, NJ, May 1978. photo: c. Terry Sanders]


Allen was always proud of – and rightly so – his New Jersey roots. This past weekend, several young poets from that State gathered together at The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College for the annual Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, “honoring Allen Ginsberg’s Contribution to American Literature.”

In a related story, Allen is - and, perhaps surprisingly, given the company - among those nominated for the 2011 New Jersey Hall of Fame in what appears to be a spirited local boostering enterprise. Curiously under the “General” not the “Arts and Entertainment” category (movie stars like John Travolta and Bruce Willis are among the latter, not to mention Queen Latifah and singer Tony Bennett!). Voters are encouraged to vote on-line and the top vote-getters will be officially inducted in the Spring. Seems tho’, you have to vote for someone in each of the categories, you can’t just vote for Allen – oh well, he’s already a de facto New Jersey hall-of-famer, as far as we’re concerned!


Seems the current omnipresence of Howl has summoned up all sorts of feelings and nostalgia and memories. One tiny annotation that you might well have missed (it appeared buried in another blog's Comments section) is from New Yorker Stefan Jones who writes:

""who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to...".My grandparents owned Fugazzis, and ran it at the time Howl was written. My father tended bar there for a short time, while in grad school.It was on 6th, a few doors down from the Waverly theater. The building was torn down and a fast food place installed. According to my parents, the clientele were old Italian guys who came for the polenta and bacala special, and beatniks.I have vague toddler memories of the place, and my grandparents' apartment up above".

Anybody else out there got any site-specific Howl memories?

[Bill Katz & James Schuyler, November 7, 1987. photo. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]


Someone kindly pointed out in our comments that November 9 was Jimmy Schuyler's birthday as well as Anne Sexton's. We're particularly keen on Schuyler here, and it just so happens one of our frequent contributors, Simon Pettet, was editor on a number of his books, the most recent being Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems published earlier this year.

The photo find of the week is this one by Douglas Gilbert of Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg oustside Albert Grossman's house house in Woodstock, NY 1964. That's the same house the cover of Bringing it All Back Home was shot in a year later, where Dylan's pictured sitting with Sally Grossman. We found if off Jody's When you Awake page, but the full book Forever Young published by DaCapo Press is available and has plenty more interesting images.

أغنيــــــة (قصيدة مترجمة)

Last but not least, we came across this Arabic translation of "Song" posted by London based Libyan, Ghazi Gheblawi on his blog. Anyone with better Arabic skills than us have any take on the translation?

أغنيــــــة (قصيدة مترجمة)

الحب هو
عبء العالم.
تحت وطأة
تحت وطأة
اللا اكتفاء

العبء الذي نحمله
هو الحب.

من يستطيع أن ينكر؟
أنه في الاحلام
في الفكر
في الخيال
حتى يولد
في إنسان –

يطل من القلب
مشتعلاً بنقاء –
لأن الحب،
هو عبء الحياة،
لكننا نواصل بارهاق
حمل العبء،
لذا فإننا يجب أن نسترح
في احضان الحب،
يجب أن نسترح في احضان

لا راحة
بلا حب،
لا نوم
بلا احلام
عن الحب –
سواء أكنت طائشاً أو هادئاً
مهووساً بالملائكة
أو الآلات،
فإن الامنية الاخيرة
هي الحب
ــ لن تكون مرةً،
لا تستطيع انكارها،
لا تستطيع كبتها
إن انكرتها:

العبء ثقيلٌ جداً

ــ يجب أن تمنح
بلا مقابل
كما تُمنح الفكرة
في العزلة
بكل اسرافها الباذخ.

الاجساد الدافئة
تلمع في الظلمة
تتحرك الكف
إلى مركز
ترتعش البشرة
وتصل الروح
مبتهجة إلى العين –

نعم، نعم،
ذلك ما اردته،
اردت دائماً،
اردت دائماً،
أن اعود
إلى الجسد
حيث ولدت.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday David Amram

A bit late notice, but for those of you in the New York City area, he's celebrating his 80th at Symphony Space tonight, in the form of a benefit for Clearwater (founded by Pete Seeger) and The Woody Guthrie Foundation, titled: David Amram, The First 80 Years. Some things you can expect, above and beyond Mr. Amram's ebullient good nature & music:

  • the New York premiere of Amram's Symphonic Variations on A Song By Woody Guthrie
  • the first ever concert performance of excerpts from Amram's classic film scores Splendor In The Grass & The Manchurian Candidate
  • a screening of the finale of the recent production of 12th Night -- his 1968 opera, with a libretto by Joe Papp
  • filmed birthday greetings from Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson and members of the New York Philharmonic
  • live appearances by Keir Dullea, John Ventimiglia, Malachy McCourt and members of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting
  • the Queen's College Orchestra, conducted by Maurice Peress and David Amram
  • the Brooklyn Conservatory Jazz Ensemble, directed by Earl McIntyre and the Jazz & Gospel Choirs, directed by Renee Manning
  • Candido, Bobby Sanabria, David Broza, John McEuen (of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Josh White Jr., Larry Kerwin & The Imani Winds

The curtain rises at 7:30 pm on Nov. 11 at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St., 212-864-5400. For more details on the concert, click here. For more about David Amram, here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Robert Frank

Actually we're a day late.. he turned 86 yesterday, November 9.

[Robert and Pablo Frank visiting from Bronx State Hospital, my living room on East 12th Street, New York, October 1984. Same noses. Allen Ginsberg. (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)]

Read: NPR "'Americans': The Book That Changed Photography"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

James Wright & Howl

In case any of you diligent poetryblog followers missed this one a couple days ago, Issa's Untidy Hut blog for "The Lilliput Review" posted some fascinating background to James Wright's two poems "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota" and "Depressed by a Book of Bad Poetry, I Walk Toward an Unused Pasture and Invite the Insects to Join me."

Monday, November 8, 2010

John Sinclair

Some excellent footage of John Sinclair in Massachusetts last week shot by Laki Vazakas. He opens with his poem for Marion Brown who passed away October 18 this year.

Allen wrote of Sinclair in his "Outline of Un-American Activities: A PEN American Center Report." (The complete essay, first published in The Writer and Human Rights, Anchor/Doubleday1983, is now available in Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays 1952-1995 ed Bill Morgan. Harper Perennial. )

"In Detroit there is a rock and jazz impresario named John Sinclair, who was a poet much beloved of Charles Olson. In 1965 we had a big poetry meeting in Berkeley, and Ed Sanders, Anne Waldman, and John Sinclair were invited specifically by Olson to represent the younger generation. Sinclair had an organization in Detroit called the Artists' Workshop, which published huge mimeographed volumes of local poetry, as well as pamphlets by correspondents. He put out a long anticommunist manifesto (Prose Contribution to Cuban Revolution) that I wrote in 1960 about the Cuban Revolution, a sort of challenge to the spiritual foundations of it saying that it was too materialist. So he wasn't exactly a riotous red. His main thing though, his main "shtick," so to speak, was uniting black and white in the otherwise tense, riot-torn areas of Detroit, through the Artists' Workshop, because there was collaboration between black jazz musicians and white jazz musicians, black writers and white writers, black poets and white poets. It was a kind of heroic effort, actually. He had a newspaper, and after a while he had a thing called the White Panther party, sort of in collaboration with the Black Panthers, or in defense of the Black Panthers, who were also being subjected to this kind of double-dealing and harassment by the government.

So the narcotics police sent in a young married couple to hang around with John Sinclair and wash his dishes and do mimeographing and distribute papers, and they were constantly harassing him: would he please give them a joint, would he give them some grass? Which he didn't do, fortunately, for a long long while. Finally, one late night, they were really on his back to give them some grass, so he gave them a stick of marijuana. He was busted several weeks later, set up for a long trial, had to pay a lot of money for that, was convicted of peddling marijuana, and sentenced to nine and a half to ten years. Of which he spent several years in the federal penitentiary in Marquette. That was an FBI attempt to silence a dissenter and a poet. In jail he wrote a really interesting poem. He said, "My books wait for me on the shelf, myself, my typewriter sits empty, urging me onward. Nine and a half to ten years is not enough!" So actually, he was a sharp poet. And a worthy citizen. He's now the chief impresario of black and white jazz in Detroit, and has rock 'n' roll, jazz, and old blues concerts."

Gary Snyder: The Practice of the Wild

John Healy's film on Gary Snyder & Jim Harrison, The Practice of the Wild has been popping up at festivals here and there, but hasn't had a proper release till now, starting November 11 at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY and then in New York City's Quad Cinemas on November 12. Check the film's Facebook page for possible screenings in your area.

While we're on Snyder, this seems a good time to repost the Steve Heilig's Counterpunch interview with him that was done around the publication of Snyder & Tom Killion's Tamalpais Walking book last year.

An Interview With Gary Snyder

Walking Mount Tam


Mount Tamalpais is Marin's Mount Everest. Although only 2,574 feet high at the summit, it dominates the county; to get to or from West Marin from almost anywhere else, you have to go over or around it.

Much has been written about "Tam" and countless photographs taken and published featuring its image. However, what may prove to be the ultimate book about Tam does not feature a single photograph. Tamalpais Walking: Poetry, History, and Prints, published by visionary Berkeley publisher Heyday Books, is a labor of love by West Marin artist Tom Killion and the poet Gary Snyder. Full interview >>

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On the Bro'd: Every sentence of Jack Kerouac's On The Road, retold for bros.