Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Encountering Allen

[Sunflower Serpent, June 30, 1989. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Yesterday, we directed you to the Memorial/Tributes section of our blog. First-hand encounters. We know there are zillions of them. Allen definitely left an impression on everyone he met. We'll be adding to this and featuring more in the months to come. Steve Silberman's Our Allen Facebook page, some years back, set up a forum for recollection and memoir that includes some sweet personal accounts and is well worth re-visiting. Contributions by David Cope, Chris Funkhauser, Eliot Greenspan, Marc Olmsted and Steve himself, as well as notes, links, and a whole lot more.

Our Allen, incidentally, bills itself as a group for "former students, friends, apprentices, lovers, comrades, gurus.. peers..Beat fellow-travelers, first-thought-best-thought dharma heirs, faculty and alumnae of the Jack Kerouac School..dakinis and tantrikas, bums and hideous human angels.."! It is, and remains, an invaluable source. It has now just been joined by a new kid on the block (allow us to toot our trumpets just a little here!) - the Allen Ginsberg Project Facebook page.

Sign up for both! Be the first with all the Ginsy news!

(There is also an Allen Ginsberg Facebook page, with which we are not affiliated, but take time out to salute for generously "spreading the dharma").

So, encounters - let's start the ball rolling with this one: "Grapefruitcrazy" (sic), a retired London-based journalist, posted his thoughts about Allen and Peter last year. ("the audience sat silent, stunned by the raw emotion..").

And here's Canadian journalist, Matthew Hays (a hand on the cheek from the master).

Sometimes the encounters are not quite so invigorating. Here's Alexander Laurence's less-than-successful 1992 interview ("I didn't get along so well with Allen Ginsberg as is evident in the following..").

Instances like this, tho', are atypical. Far far more typical are heartfelt "shout-outs" like this one from Chris Scholl (on his quaintly-named Love, Art and Fear blog):
"He spoke at class in Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. I stayed in Boulder for three weeks after my dad passed away. My main interest was the music therapy and Transpersonal psychology programs but I was able to sit in on any class that I wanted ...I find Allen Ginsberg to be very inspiring. Often, writers and poets struggle in this over-commercialize(d) world and he (served) serves as a shining example of one who produced art for the right reasons.
Cheers Allen."

1 comment:

  1. The interview I did with Allen Ginsberg was done on June 1st 1994. It was done in a hotel in Downtown San Francisco right before Allen did a reading at Candlestick Park. He was on the book tour for Cosmopolitan Greetings. I think we got along that day, and I had ran into many times in San Francisco since I grew up in North Beach two blocks from City Lights. We had a good afternoon as the picture shows, but in the interview there was too much arguing. So I didn't think it was any good, so my friend Tom re-did the interview six months later, and we published that version. In 1997, when I heard he was ill, I thought that I would revive this interview and bring it out. He died before we had the chance. It came out in Cups Magazine, then in Free Williamsburg and The Portable Infinite. I wasn't a student of Allen, but he was definitely an inspiration.