Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lew Welch Speaks From Beyond The Grave

[Lew Welch and Allen Ginsberg outside City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, October 30, 1963, (the day of the Madame Nhu protest) - photo c. John Doss]

The recordings of the San Francisco State University Poetry Archives are, as we have dubbed them, "More Beat Treasures". We've been featuring them this week. Here's another - from that seemingly-inexhaustible trove - their 1959 recording of the legendary Lew Welch, reading and commenting on his work.
He reads "Chicago Poem" (speaks about his time spent in Chicago), and reads his famous "Wobbly Rock", and his virtuoso musical engagement, "A Round of English for Philip Whalen".

(Philip Whalen's own Poetry Center reading, which took place a few years before, (alongside Lawrence Ferlinghetti), can, incidentally, be easily accessed here).

More recordings of Lew Welch are available - both on this site (via City Lights) - "He Remains: Lew Welch Reads From His Work, 1968" - audio of a "raucous evening at San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church, June 1968"
- and here, (courtesy Robert Creeley), on the incomparable PennSound - two tapes, the first, the most substantial, an extensive reading at the Magic Lantern, Santa Barbara, April 1967, ("luxuriously long..the poet reads practically all of his major works", notes the curator for PennSound), the second, a brief recording from Spring 1969 at San Francisco's Renaissance Corner (Welch reads, in its entirety, the poem "Courses").
Here's an iconic poem of Welch's, here's another one.. but, quit messing around, you should all just go out and treat yourself to this essential book.
(update - 2012 - City Lights has just released an expanded updated version here)

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