"Ginsberg's voice defended us, exonerated us, and forgave us for the murders we committed for a government that acted like a godfather with an army of hit-men". Vietnam Vet, Victor Claude Pirtle offers an impassioned defense of Allen's Vietnam war ethic and argues for his continuing relevance, on the web-site FWB On Line.
Still remembering the 'Sixties and the "peace-niks", Ed Sanders' most recent memoir, Fug You (full title "Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side") is, happily, now out. Here's Ben Ratliff's enthusiastic review in the New York Times. Here's a follow-up note from the Poetry Foundation. Ed Sanders is interviewed and speaks about the book here, here and here - and here.
His "verse-biography", The Poetry and Life of Allen Ginsberg, in case you've not come across it, is also an absolute "must-read".
It was Ed who, in 1994, commissioned "New Stanzas For Amazing Grace" (included in Death and Fame: Last Poems 1993-1997, and in Illuminated Poems).
Here's the audio (from an October 6 1994 reading at the New School)
- and here's another raw unaccompanied version.
New York's Bowery Poetry Club has been "tweeting" some of Allen's "unpublished haiku" (as featured in Gordon Ball's Journals Early 'Fifties, Early Sixties, under the title "Haiku composed in the backyard cottage at 1624 Milvia Street, Berkeley, 1955, while reading R.H.Blythe's 4-volumes Haiku" - there are 21 of them there). Here are some of them:
"Looking over my shoulder my behind was covered with cherry blossoms" - "I slapped the mosquito and missed. What made me do that?" - "A frog floating in the drugstore jar: summer rain on grey pavements" (after Shiki) - "Reading haiku I am unhappy, longing for the Nameless". The "resident expert" at the BPC also drew our attention to Sabine Sommerkamp's
perceptive essay, "The Function of Haiku in the Development of Ginsberg's Howl".
Another new (previously-unpublished) poem from Nanao Sakaki ("In The Next Life I Will Be.."), from his forthcoming Collected Poems of Nanao Sakaki, (now slated for Fall publication), appears on Gary Lawless' Poems from Gulf of Maine blog.
and - more gleanings from the blogs - Dennis Cooper provides a very useful over-view of the legendary Alex Trocchi over on his blog (including re-printing this lively Ginsberg-Trocchi conversation).