[Allen Ginsberg by Dan Bratton (with digital enhancement by Steve Silberman]
New books from the University of California Press noted on the horizon (we'll be saying more about them all in the weeks ahead) - Robert Duncan's Collected Essays and Other Prose and Collected Later Poems and Plays (the introduction to which by the editor, Peter Quartermain can be read here) and (eagerly-awaited) Robert Creeley's Selected Letters
(for those of you who missed it, here's a taste from last October's Poetry magazine - Rod Smith's introductory note's here - there's also a glimpse, some further early missives, on the UCP author's page).
and Peter Orlovsky and Allen's extraordinary love-letters - Maria Popova’s gleanings, last week on BrainPickings reminded us of this particular remarkable volume, not exactly a stocking-stuffer, (and long-time out-of-print), but a singularly important title – Straight Hearts Delight
"Dear Petey, O Heart O Love everything is suddenly turned to gold!.." (A.G., 1958)
"Hello Hinde Long Sweet Beard Hair Eyes - Was just crying thinking you may die before we meet again..." (P.O., 1963)
We confess we were a little alarmed when we read Sarah Tomlinson's piece in the current Volume 1.Brooklyn - "The Last Soup of Allen Ginsberg" - Someone stole the soup? (Steve Silberman's definitive piece from 2001 in The New Yorker on the legendary soup, preserved "for the benefit of future scholars", may profitably be read here).
That line about serving it up to her sister (even just a single spoonful - a guarenteed recipe for botulism, even a few days past its making) alerted us to the likelihood of fantasy-fiction. A phone-call to Soup Central (current location of the beleaguered endangered artifact) verified the facts. The historic mush, you'll be pleased to hear, continues to be preserved and respected. Meanwhile, while we're on the subject of Allen's culinary habits, guess it's too cold these days for a spot of borscht?
Michael Horovitz and Barry Miles' Ginsberg profile on BBC Radio 4 is now up on line and can be listened to here
Producer Ali Skye Bennet announces her "Untitled Allen Ginsberg Project", a projected 2014 theatrical event, an attempt at "a Howl for the 21st Century" - "The cultural, social and political landscape may be different now", she writes, "but our howl - for recognition, revolution, and solidarity - is the same."