Saturday, May 31, 2014

Walt Whitman's Birthday

Image 013
[Walt Whitman, 1863 - Photograph by Alexander Gardner  - Alderman Library, University of Virginia]  

[Leaves of Grass, 1855 - courtesy The Walt Whitman Archive]

Walt Whitman's Birthday Today. 

We celebrate with an eager young Whitmaniac, Steve Roggenbuck reading, as his You Tube tape boldly announces, "one hour and fifteen minutes of Walt Whitman's poetry" - "I read the entire text of  "i love you, before long i die - a walt whitman mixtape" 

"This is all my favorite Walt Whitman in one book. Sometimes it's cut up in ways that other Whitman books wouldn't cut it up. I sometimes took my favorite poem, my favorite section of a poem, my favorite stanza sometimes. So, it's in a different order than you might find in other places but this is all credited to Walt Whitman and is my favorite Walt Whitman stuff'

Previous Whitman salutes on the Allen Ginsberg Project include here and here and here 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Peter Orlovsky Parinirvana

[Peter Orlovsky, portrait for official documents, 1963, India. Photo Courtesy of the Peter Orlovsky Archive, University of Texas]

May 30 is Peter Orlovsky's Parinirvana. See our last year's posting in celebration of him - here.

See our transcription of his 1975 Naropa class - (Poets Who Have Influenced Me") 

And now it's our pleasure to announce from Paradigm Publishers a new book, a posthumous gathering - Peter Orlovsky - A Life In Words - Intimate Chronicles of a Beat Writer - edited and introduced - expertly compiled - by Beat scholar, Bill Morgan (with a lucid introduction by Ann Charters)

"Peter Orlovsky was the secret heart of the Beats. He wrote and roamed among them. This book contains unknown fragments of their world, the words of their orphaned angel." 
(Patti Smith)

"Peter Orlovsky was one of a kind and his poetry was one of a kind. It's in-your-face poetry, at once comic and tragic."  
(Lawrence Ferlinghetti) 

From the jacket copy: "Until now, the poet Peter Orlovsky, who was Allen Ginsberg's lover for more than forty years has been the neglected member of the Beat Generation. Because he lived in Ginsberg's shadow, his achievemens were seldom noted and his contributions to literature have not been fully recognized. Now, this first collection of Orlovsky'd writings traces his fascinating life in his own words. It also tells for the first time, the intimate story of his relationship with Ginsberg. Drawn from recently-dscovered journals, correspondence, photographs, and poems, Peter Orlovsky - A Life in Words begins just as Orlovsky is discharged from the army, having declared that it was "an army without love". The book follows the young man through years of self-doubt and details his first meeting with Ginsberg in San Francisco from his own perspective.During that same year, Peter, always acting as the care-giver in his relationships, adopted his teenage mentally-impaired brother and tried to help him make a life for himself. In never-before-heard detail, Orlovsky describes his travels around the world with Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs and Corso - whose writings so often benefited from knowing the highly creative and inspiring Orlovsky. Orlovsky's story is a refreshing departure from the established history of the Beats as depicted by his more famous companions. The reader will discover why Jack Kerouac described Orlovsky as the saintly figure of Simon Darlovsky in Desolation Angels and why the elder poet William Carlos Williams praised his poetry as "pure American". His was a complicated life, this book shows, filled with contradictions. Best known as Ginsberg's lover, Orlovsky was heterosexual and always longed to be with women. Always humble, he became a teacher at a Buddhist college and taught a class that he entitled "Poetry For Dumb Students". His spirit was prescient of the flower children of the 'sixties, especially his inclinations towards devotion and love. In the end, Orlovsky's use of drugs took its toll on his body and mind, and he slipped into his own hell of addiction and mental illness, silencing one of the most original and inspiring voices of his generation."

Here's a few very brief selections from the book, just to whet your appetite -  a few of the variously included (previously unpublished) poems.  

Here's (July, 1955), "Coney Island, USA", his earliest extant poem:

 “Young flesh bouncing under tight smooth suits/children own the red sand of the beach/Old mammas stand by, watchful eye safety/of children./Children deserve to own their share of the/beach, they live with the water as if it were/alive/Then the wave came, they all jumped, they/make noise with the voices of the waves." 

And, from two years later, Fall of '57 (some quirky little notations):

 “Many chairs are alone in the/world”

  “Nothing like a hot dish of/warm lips”

 “At night the jeweler dreams/about putting diamonds in the window”

 “A butterfly lay burnt and crushed against a Texas/licence plate while the Pontiac was heading in to Mexico"

“Please come in,/come in/I said to the door”.

And from a little later:

"Reading a story,/before I finish/must pet the cat at my feet"

"In a cave/there was a slave/with a golden tooth pick"

"Two apples/Kissing on a tree/The sun - moving closer"

Next, a prose-poem, from 1957:

"One red footprint in the snow - what is that doing here? - why do I write it down? - Well, it came from a painting of Chagall I saw in Amsterdam - I said to Gregory (Corso) and Allen, one red footprint in the snow - "Wow - what a great magical thing yoou said Peter - whoever heard of a red footprint in the white snow"
So now what am I going to do with it - how can I make a poem out of it - why do you bother me with this. I don't write poems anyway I write what's in my head - I need a haircut - What's a red footprint in the snow got to do with that? Why do you bother me - go away - leave me alone - well, to make you feel better the poem will be 
One red footprint in the snow."

and from April 1961 - "My Own Writing":

"My own writing is like me, or/someone, making room on/a page to move around in/as to dance before a mirror or sing/before a mirror or talk to/onself -/to keep on and be tickled/by each little improvisation /or cry of fleeting memory -/Swell to be sadly crying for a while - /as is my want. Bend my head -/the price for being a lone wolf -/ on the touch - up my ass with/ear - to hear what swells/within each rib-/I'm an artist, I can slice my heart/up and put it into my brain skull pot/and press the jet light of my eye -/for gassier reasons/than some two thousand year/old God did back then - he he -/- me me - " 

Here's, rueful, regretful, his very last poem:

"Feet dance for money/Feet dance for life/Feet dance for blues/Dear Peter kiss these feet goodbye./ Like a fool, Uncle Pete shot too much coke/and now no money left -/Not to mention no brains left/and now can eat shit for the rest of my short life./ Can't even stop smoking/ain't it a joke/No lungs left/Oxygen bottle - How stupid can one get?/ Is this a royal Doha/on an ant hill?/Or dullness from shooting coke/Go to hell coke, eat shit coke/ Cigarette smoking has led to everything else bad/and now can't even stand up straight/Back aches and tooth aches/Too much coffee and no sleep, who wants sleep anyway?/ Just like an Elephant, sleeping standing up -/That's the trick -/Only want one trick in life,to sleep standing up!!!/That's what an American monk does/ Don't ever take coke -/pure poison -/a downer, a drag -/pure waste of time." 
And this, in response to (March 1982) enquiries by a student:

"Dear Kathy Strekfus,
Thank you for your letter and reading my poems. I'll try and answer your questions as they come in your letter.
1. Shock to reader etc? - Yes and No - (I) don't want to hurt anybody. Gentleness is best for now - it goes a long way, as my guru, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche has said many times.
2. Spelling wrong? [the editor choses to correct Orlovsky's "erratic" spelling in this edition] - Because I used to be too lazy to bother with dictionary - Sorry about that - also at moment of writing wouldn't want to waste time fingering the dictionary - more interested in writing down what's going through my mind - or head - will make sure future poems are spelt correct as my guru says it shows respect for the English language, etc
3. No, "Morris" just happened to be a young kid. [editorial note - the reference here is to Peter's poem in Clean Asshole Poems & Smiling Vegetable Songs - "Go on Morris, piss up your room/you've gypsied your mind haillo far better than the moon.."]
4. Could louse up my senses - but that's why I got a Buddhist Tibetan guru and meditate samatha and read the Dharma to make sure I don't go to either extremes of joy or down - read Meditation in Action by Chogyam Trungpa, published by Shambhala, 1969 - you can get it in your nearby book stores - and his Myth of Freedom and Cutting Thru  Spiritual Materialism. Basically samatha meditation gives me balance. I used to go through - you name it - all kinds of unnecessary depression and woe - not now - thanks to common sense of Buddha's teachings.
5. I'm not going to make myself vulnerable to danger unless I can handle it and transform it into sanity."

An added bonus - here's rare video footage of Peter 

[Peter Orlovsky reading the opening section of  "Write It Down Allen Said" from Clean Asshole Poems & Smiling Vegetable Songs (1978)]

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Harry Smith - Early Abstractions

[Harry Smith (1923-1991), at The Chelsea Hotel,  aged 52]  

Harry Smith's Early Abstractions (1946-1957), in honor of what would have been his 91st birthday. Even in their severely-reduced You Tube format, feast on his visionary genius. 

Other Harry Smith postings on the Allen Ginsberg Project include here, here, here,
here and here

upcoming Harry news - Saturday June 14 in Woodstock (an "all-star line-up", like they say).

Harry Smith Anthology To Benefit HUNGRY FOR MUSIC live

and, forthcoming, in the Fall, Raymond Foye's edited and notated Harry Smith Naropa lectures (with an afterword by Charles Stein) as a CD booklet audio project (from the incomparable Dust to Digital. More about that when we hear more.
Happy Birthday, Harry!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Some 1981 Naropa Planning

[Michael Brownstein]

[Bobbie-Louise Hawkins]

[Merrill Gilfillan] 

[Jack Kerouac]

AG:... (Wednesday night there) will be (a) reading with Michael Brownstein
Student:  Seven p.m. in the library - free
AG: And then..tomorrow..that's free. Then tomorrow night, it'll be Bobbie Louise Hawkins
Student: Bobbie Louise Hawkins
AG: Bobbie Louise Hawkins, who's been teaching here, whose racy dialogue is really interesting. She's a good reader. She's really interesting to hear - And Merrill Gilfillan. Does anybody know much about him?
Peter Orlovsky: She [sic]'s not coming. I think they got a letter saying she can't come, didn't they?
AG: He. No, Merrill is here. Yeah
Student: And there are Sunday nighy readings.
AG: Yeah. There are Sunday night student readings to which everybody is invited to read their work and be criticized. Peter has been going to those quite often
Student: And they're at Varsity Townhouse
AG: Six thirty p.m. - Varsity Townhouse, Room 113, right?
Student: Right
AG: Una's (sic) apartment.
Student; And they're not only to be criticized, but just to hear…for students to hear each other.
AG: Yeah, or talk about it or check it out. Yeah after year, those have been pretty popular. Sometimes they're more energetic than others, and sometimes there's more of a movenent toward that. When the faculty gets obnoxious, the students revolt and have their own readings. If you want to have a chance to hear yourself or hear other people among (you), that's a good shot. And the faculty will be coming to those more as the term progresses.   Any other readings around?
Student: Donegan (evening)...
AG: Oh yes, there's a poetic hosting party. Pat Donegan's house, again, as it was last time ime. That means all the poetics students are invited to scarf up some food, talk to each other, drink a little wine. There'll be a little bit of explanation of what's going on further in the future, in the Fall, at Naropa, if anybody's going to be around. We'll take suggestions for people to invite to teach and general discussion of the whole poetics program, so you can have some in-put into it. That'll be on Sunday. What time?
Student: Three
Peter Orlovsky: Three
AG: Three p.m. Pat Donegan's. And does somebody have the address?
Student: Ten twenty-one Grant
AG: Ten twenty-one Grant Street. Right up the street from the cemetery. You go up Ninth Street to the cemetery, to the end of the cemetery, take one block right and another block left. Ten twenty-one Grant Street. Pat Donegan - D-O-N-E-G-A-N - Anything else?
Student: (When is that?) 
AG: Saturday
Student: August first.
AG: August first, this Saturday coming. There's also going to be a large-scale Naropa participation in a Rocky Flats demonstration, the date of which has been changed from the Ninth to the Seventeenth of August 
Student: At St. John's Church 
AG: At St. John's Church here
Student: Fourteenth and Spruce
AG: Anybody else got anything to offer (so we've got all our business out of the way)?  Okay. Next. 
Student: What time would that be? 
AG: Oh, it'll be the Nineteenth. It'll be probably seven or eight o'clock (and we'll have all-city collaboration)

And, as you may or may not know, we're now beginning to plan next summer a 25th Anniversary Celebration of the publication of On The Road by Jack Kerouac, and we're going to see if we can get enough money to invite (William) Burroughs, (Ken) Kesey, (Gregory) Corso, all the regular Naropa Beatniks, as well as Norman Mailer - and maybe Norman Podhoretz and William Buckley, all Kerouac's old enemies and school-fellows, as well as his old publishers, from James Laughlin to Malcolm Cowley to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as well as some of his old girlfriends who are now publishers [sic], as well as his daughter [Jan] who just wrote a book, as well as John Clellon Holmes, the novelist well as musicians he worked with - Zoot Sims and David Amram and Al Cohn, as well as some Denver friends of his who are still alive, hanging around - Justin Brierly and Ed White and Bob Burford, and..

Student:  (John Clellon) Holmes?
AG: Holmes, I just said.
Student: Bob Frank?
AG: Robert Frank, yes. We're going to invite Robert to teach film and show his films.
So, actually, try and gather together the entire Kerouac clan - survivors - and get a hundred thousand dollars from Coors [Coors Beers, based locally in Colorado] to do it!
Student: Money from Coors?
AG:  To get money from Coors to get (William) Buckley.
Student:  Yeah.  God!
AG: So that's being discussed for next summer.

Student:  Allen, is that going to go on all summer, or…?
AG: No, probably what I think what we'll try and do is schedule workshops (like Robert Frank) for a week or two before, and I'll probably go back and teach "The Beat Generation 1953-1960", that first time of the summer, and then probably late July or early August, we'll have a week's meeting, or four or five days meeting, with poetry readings. (We'll) try to get (Gary) Snyder and (Philip) Whalen and (Michael) McClure, who worked with Kerouac, together here. In other words, all the poets who were influenced by him and a lot of the novelists who worked with him or were influenced by him, his publishers, the musicians, friends, because it's the twenty-fifth anniversary. So it's the Silver Anniversary. And also, see if we can plot out what work remains to be done, by the survivors, in the future and further generations.
Student: It'll be the last end of the summer, or..? 
AG: I think, yeah. I think there's going to be an emphasis on.. I think there's also going to be a Buddhadharma Meditation Poetry Conference, too, we'll try and do right after that, if we can get (Gary) Snyder and (Philip) Whalen here and a few others - And (W.S.) Merwin also (because I'm going to be giving a poetry reading with W.S.Merwin in Mexico City on the 24th of August.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at the start  of the tape and concluding approximately six minutes in]    

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Louis Ferdinand Celine (1894 -1961)

                                                             [Louis-Ferdinand Celine (1894-1961)]

Today is the birthday of Louis-Ferdinand Céline, born in Courbevoie, France, 120 years ago, author of Journey to the End of the Night (Voyage au bout de la nuit), "the first genius international beat twentieth-century picaresque novel written in modern classical personal comedy prose ", according to Allen.

“Have you read Louis Ferdinand Céline? – he’s translated into English from French – Celine vomits Rasberries. He wrote the most Chaplin-esque prose in Europe and he has a bitter mean sad ugly eternal comic soul enough to make you cry.." (Peter Orlovsky

"I think (Henry) Miller is a great man but Céline, his master, is a giant" (Jack Kerouac) 

Here's a revealing 1957 television interview with him

and here's another interview with English subtitles 

Here En Francais, a 1957 Interview with Louis-Albert Zbinden on Swiss radio.

His 1959 interview with Francine Bloch (in three parts, again en francais, but with an English translation), may be heard here, here and here

It was William Burroughs who turned Allen on to Céline 

"Not many prose writers alive  (Céline, (Jean) Genet, a few others) would have the freedom and intelligence to trust their own minds, remember they made that jump, not censor it but write it down and discover it's beauty.." (Ginsberg, en passant, on Jack Kerouac)  

Michel Mohrt arranged for me and  (William) Burroughs to go and visit Céline in 1958. We did want to touch home-base, we did want to visit our heroes and receive their blessing and we did do that. 

Burroughs and Céline were like two cousins literally and the conversation was interesting and very straight . I wrote a little bit about it in a poem called "Ignu"…     
(Ginsberg, in 1972, to Yves Le Pellec)

"Tomorrow night Bill (Burroughs) and I go make visit to Céline. I spoke to him on the phone, he has shy reticent young voice, almost quavering, very delicate voice and hesitates - no ogre. I said "How lovely to hear your voice ". He said. "Anytime, Tuesday, after four.."   
(Allen Ginsberg, July 7 1958, in Paris, writing to Neal Cassady)

"..Céline himself an old ignu over prose./I saw him in Paris dirty old gentleman of ratty talk/with longhaired cough three wormy sweaters round his neck/brown mould under historic fingernails/pure genius his giving morphine all night to 1400 passengers on a sinking ship "because they were all getting emotional""
(from Allen Ginsberg's "Ignu" (1958) 

".. he [Ezra Pound] didn't say anything more that whole afternoon, except one time, when I talked about a visit with (William S) Burroughs in 1958 to Louis Ferdinand Céline who I thought was the greatest French prose writer. 
And I'd asked Céline whom he'd liked among French prosateurs and he said C.F.Ramuz, Swiss writer, and Henri Barbusse, who wrote Le Feu (Under Fire - World War I) and Barbusse, he said, had jazzed up the French language..  

to have "jazzed up the language"  

When Céline dies (in the summer of 1961)  Allen writes, portentously, in his notebook:
"All Nobility leads to the tomb/Céline the garden and the great harmless black dogs.."
and: "-Céline dead. Old man/hairy image in -  nothing/Fare thy shade well in Eternity…"

His (posthumously published) 1964 interview in The Paris Review is available for perusal here 

Here's a 1976 documentary on Céline  (and here's a more recent (2011) documentary
-  and here too)

For more on Céline see here

  [Louis-Ferdinand Celine - Interview with Louis Pauwels and Andre Brissaud,1959
- for transcript (including English translation) see here]

Monday, May 26, 2014

Expansive Poetry - 60 (More Khlebnikov - 5 - (A Group Reading)

AG: So now, as part of our Russian program, I wanted to continue with a little more Khlebnikov, with the poem about laughter, which Richard Poe (sic) can pronounce (for us) in Russian. The text is on the first page of Khlebnikov in our anthologies, for those of you who have it. [to Richard Poe] - Can you stand up to do it, though. And roar it, you know.

Student [Richard Poe]: Roar it?

AG: Yeah. Part of the elocution is roaring.

Richard Poe reads Khlebnikov's poem in Russian

Заклятие смехом

О, рассмейтесь, смехачи!
О, засмейтесь, смехачи!
Что смеются смехами, что смеянствуют смеяльно,
О, засмейтесь усмеяльно!
О, рассмешищ надсмеяльных — смех усмейных смехачей!
О, иссмейся рассмеяльно, смех надсмейных смеячей!
Смейево, смейево!
Усмей, осмей, смешики, смешики!
Смеюнчики, смеюнчики.
О, рассмейтесь, смехачи!
О, засмейтесь, смехачи!

AG: One more time

Student:  [Richard Poe]: Yeah
AG: One more time. It was great aloud.
Student(s): It sounds great, Richard
AG: It's great. It sounds great.
Student(s): Encore
AG: When you hear good music you want to hear it (again).
Student(s): Hear, hear
Student [Richard Poe] You want me to read this, this, this
AG: Shall we take a vote?. One more time.
Student(s): Yes.. One more time, yes.

Richard Poe reads the poem again in the original Russian

AG [to another (Slavic) (female) student] - Do you do it (like this) at home, S? Do you know how to read it too?  One more. One more version, in a feminine voice.

Student: Lets (perhaps) have everybody do it.. Everybody gets (a chance to read it).

AG [directing the Student] : Stand up and face there. Face the other side. Straighten your back, yes

Female student gives a third reading of Khlebnikov's poem in original Russian

AG: Louis Zukofsky translated the Latin of Catullus into the equivalent English syllables or English words without regard for the meaning, so you could get the cadences and sound of the Latin of Catullus in English, and so I imagine if you tried the Zukofsky method with this it would be - "Oh smear it around, you smearers/ smear it up you smearers/so they smear with smears,/they smear lots smearingly,/Oh smear it up smearingly/Or the besmeared smeared-upon/the smear of the besmeared smearers/smear it out round smearingly/the smear of the smeared -up smearians,/smearians smearingly. smeary,/ smearification, /smearify,/smearolets,/Smear-up,/smear a bit/smear it around, you smearers,/oh smear it up you smearers" - That'd be somewhat close.

I thought what we might do (all)  together  is the next page (the Zangezi excerpt, for those of you that have it, for those who have texts  - All sections beginning with (the words)  - "Quiet! Quiet! He will speak.." 

Student: Can we share that one [that book with you]?
AG: I don't have another one here. This (part) is excerpted out.
Student: Oh, oh, that's not the same
Student (CC): You can share mine tho'

AG: Yeah. Beginning with the actual.. I read it once, but, for those of you who have it, lets try reading [a group reading  of it]. I guess the basic thing would be to pay attention to the punctuation so that you know when to stop and breathe, so that we don't run on. And take time between the words when there's punctuation. So, beginning - one, two, three.. 

Allen and class read in unison  (from Khlebnikov) 
“Quiet! Quiet! He will speak/ Zangezi: Ring the glad tidings of the mind! /Sound the tocsin of reason, the big bell of the/mind: All the different shades of the brain will/ pass before you in a review of all kinds of/reason. Now! Everyone sing after me - I - Goum/Oum/Uum.. etc etc "

Student [at the conclusion of the group reading] : Nice

AG: Well, it takes some kind of… How many people actually opened their mouths?  Just a little chorus. Nobody else had the texts?..  How many people opemed their mouths?
Peter Orlovsky: Opened their mouths and said "Voum"
AG: So it was about ten, I guess
Student: We were pretty loud!

AG: Well, yes, because we were shouting.   
Okay, well I'd like (now) to run over a couple more poems"

[Andrei Voznesensky (1933-2010)]

Peter Orlovsky: (Andrei) Voznesensky takes off from that because he has..the poem about the bells.
AG: Yes.  Right.  Exactly. 
Student (CC): "Moscow Bells"
AG: Yeah, has anybody heard Voznesensky pronouncing "Moscow Bells" 
Student (CC): Yes I do
AG: He gets up, he stands up, and it's a thing about tolling the bells for all the artists of Russia, and for all the great artists of the past wo have died and he makes this gesture and he goes - "Vam,  Skaromnekee, Vah-vam, Kay, Kallah-kallah, Vah-vam" [editorial note - loose phonetic description]   (which is just the sound of the Moscow bells) 
Student (CC):  It's on the ESP sampler  and the ESP recording of Voznesensky [The Lovebook Record - ESP 1067]
Student (CC): Yeah, records.. ESP discs
AG: I know it's on a record
Student (CC): Yeah, that's the label
AG: The phrase is " "Vam," I think, "Kahladniki, Kallah-kallam." [editorial note - again loose phonetic description]  - I don't know the exact phrases for the ringing of the bell - But, I guess, that [Voznesensky's poem]'s a take-off from this, then.
Student (CC): Yes
AG: I had never remembered that. That's Andrei Voznesensky's most celebrated poem, actually, and the one he's most famous for (like "Howl", so to speak).
I've thought of a couple more.
Peter Orlovsky: Well, that's his most celebrated public thing…
AG: Yeah
Peter Orlovsky: … that he can get away with poem…
AG: Yeah
Student: Right
AG: Well, it's probably the strongest sound he's got. 

Velimir Khlebnikov
[Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922)]

(Okay). A couple more things from Khlebnikov that aren't necessarily in the anthology. 1922 - The New Economic Program came in (known as NEP) - I don't think this is in the anthology - he  wrote a little poem called "Stop Fooling!" ["НЕ ШАЛИТЬ!"- He was putting it down, I think, because it meant the destruction of the small farmers, apparently, which was a very bloody, and wild, scene, and a few of his friends were involved in farming
 - Allen reads from the English translation of  Khlebnikov's "НЕ ШАЛИТЬ!" ("Stop Fooling!") - "Hey, you sharp little con-men!/ The wind is in your head!/ In Pugachoivian sheepskins/Down Moscow's streets I tread/It wasn't for this we had/ The great truth on our side/So in sables and trotters/ All these mockers could ride/It wasn't for this the foe/ Poured out his blood like water./So you'd be seeing strings of pearls/ On every street hawker./ No sense chattering teeth/ All this night long/ I will sail, I will sing/ Down the Volga, down the Don!/. I'll set out in the blue night in my evening skiff./ Who's beside me in flight?,/ Beside me? - only friends."
 [ 'Эй, молодчики-купчики,/Ветерок в голове!/В пугачевском тулупчике/Я иду по Москве!/Не затем высока/Воля правды у нас,/В соболях-рысаках/Чтоб катались, глумясь./Не затем у врага/Кровь лилась по дешевке,/Чтоб несли жемчуга/Руки каждой торговки./Не зубами скрипеть/Ночью долгою —/ Буду плыть, буду петь
Доном-Волгою!/Я пошлю вперед/Вечеровые уструги./Кто со мною — в полет?/А со мной — мои други!']
So it's a declaration of individuality in the middle of the community, Communist, somewhat-forced, project. That's an early comment on the NEP, as it was called, New Economic Program

Then there's another poem which is kind of sweet - 1919-1921 - (an) almost Buddhist-like assessment  of mortal suffering. It's just five lines - "It's your business, gods,/ That you made us mortal./ But we'll shoot at you/ The poisoned arrow of sorrow/. We have the bow" - It's really short and sharp - like a Gregory (Corso) poem. (It reminded me a little of one of Gregory's "idea poems")  - [Allen proceeds to read the poem again] -  It's true enough - the First Noble Truth - Suffering.  

I thought, when I was reading a lot of Khlebnikov and the laughter thing, I thought, if any of you know (Jack) Kerouac's novel, Big Sur, the sound poem at the end of that (there's a long sound poem, which is the sound of the ocean) is very similar.  Yeah? 

[Audio for the above may be heard here, beginning at approximately six minutes in and concluding approximately nineteen-and-a-half minutes in]    

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan

Main Photograph
[Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, Edson Cemetery,  Lowell, Massachusetts, 1975, at the site of Jack Kerouac's grave - Photograph by Ken Regan]

Peter Orlovsky’s Letter to Bob Dylan

January 27 1978

Dear Bob

Saw your movie [Renaldo and Clara] twice at (the) Waverly Theatre (New York City)...and you have no idea how breathlessly great your movie is, nor have you had a rare glimpse of how the packed theater was bursting with applause from their hands and mouths at the sight of you singing “Tangled UpIn Blue” or “One More Cup of Coffee For The Road” or just the fast disappearing sight of you and Allen at Kerouac’s grave stone. Just the sight of you both looking at Kerouac’s stone (made) the audience fly into appreciation with their clapping winged hands and the audience’s enthusiasm burst again and again throughout the four short hours, so much so I was astonished and glad for you, for not only streaming out your songs, but (for) flooding the seated theater brains and eyes with your personal private intimate calm aloneness years, flowing love arm embraces and the all so rare glimpse of you with your finger tips guitar on your lap. This is a film that happy bodies will see again and again, as Allen said, because it becomes better, clearer and makes intimate sense each time seen. How intelligently honest you come through to the audience, you have no idea, and how can you, you weren’t there seated with January 25th Waverley Theatre seekers or the other showings in New York City. Someone should of taped the audience’s perceptions of appreciation to play back to you. The young people I asked during intermission, in the john, etc, all loved it from many different ways. And the sad thing of it all is you don't know how great your film is to see and hear. Allen said to write you a short note of audience’s reactions.

[ "Renaldo & Clara" - the  original movie-poster]

[Bob Dylan with bass-player, Rob Stoner & poet Allen Ginsberg at The Dream Away Lodge, Becket, Massachusetts, on the occasion of Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour, 1976 - Photograph by Ken Regan]
[Julius Orlovsky, Peter Orlovsky, Robbie Robertson and Bob Dylan, City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, 1965] 

[Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, c. Douglas R. Gilbert from Forever Young: Photographs of Bob Dylan DaCapo Press 2005]

Bob Dylan's birthday today (in case you didn't know). Seventy-three (and showing no signs of stopping) - Wishing you a very happy birthday Bob!