Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday's Weekly Round-Up - 195

["William Burroughs with a Jack-O-Lantern he carved with a hatchet, October 31,1996" - Photograph by Philip Heying - c. Philip Heying via Burroughs 100]

October 31, it has to be said, always makes us feel a little schiz-y. It's the anniversary of the birth of the English poet John Keats and the celebration of that great Howling night, Halloween.

Regarding the former, we're happy to announce that the entire text of Allen's crucial essay, "Negative Capability - Kerouac's Buddhist Ethic" ("negative capability" is, of course, John Keats' memorable phrase) is now back and available on-line. Regarding the latter, well, here we go again:

[John Keats]

Canadian poet, Victor Coleman takes a look and gives a not-always-accurate but informative, mordant "personal" entertaining survey of "We Are Continually Exposed To The Flashbulb of Death", the show of Allen's photographs currently up at the University of Toronto Art Center - see here

Another review of the show (by Yoanna Terziyska for ARTslanT) can be found here 

"The goddess", as Coleman calls Anne Waldman and "Uncle Bill", as he refers to William Burroughs -  This weekend in Chicago the William Burroughs Centennial celebrations continue with Interzone - A Burroughs Birthday Bash (part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, co-sponsored by Lake Forest College, and featuring scholars, poets and musicians - Tony TrigilioDavis SchneidermanEileen MylesAnne Waldman, among others)

[Anne Waldman and William Burroughs]

and next Thursday, in New York, the opening of "Cut-Up", an exhibition (presented in conjunction with Emory University) at the Boo-Hooray Gallery.

next Wednesday in New York,  at CUNY and at the St Marks Poetry Project, Anne Waldman is center-stage once again - celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa 

next Tuesday, the release of the new old Bob Dylan - "See You Later Allen Ginsberg" - 

Eight days ago, Patti Smith reciting "Footnote to Howl" at Fondation Cartier in Paris

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ezra Pound's Birthday

Two clips from the Pound Voices and Visions film today, since it's that time again -
Ezra Pound's birthday. 

Check out previous Pound Birthday postings on the Allen Ginsberg Project here, here and here. 

The centrality of Pound (il miglior fabbro")  and the "problem" of Pound  ("that stupid suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism", to quote the poet himself, in his rueful later years)  neither will go away.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Francesco Clemente

[Allen Ginsberg (Portrait)  1982-1987 - Francesco Clemente - Water-color on paper 14 x 20 ins]

Six beautiful images from Francesco Clemente's web-site today (all from the 'Eighties). One water-color portrait and five elegant collaborations (three from Black Shroud, one from White Shroud, and a concluding work, from "Images from Mind and Space"). No particular reason to be featuring Clemente today, other than that these are breath-taking images. Reason enough. 

A previous post on The Allen Ginsberg Project on Francesco Clemente, incidentally, may be seen here 

[from "White Shroud" - Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1983 - Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 17 1/2  x 26 3/4 ins] 

[from "Black Shroud" - Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1984 - Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 1o 1/2  x 13 3/4 ins] 

[from "Black Shroud"Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1984 - Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 1o 1/2  x 13 3/4 ins] 

[from "Black Shroud"Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1984 - Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 1o 1/2  x 13 3/4 ins] 

[from "Images from Mind and Space"Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1983 - Water-color on paper 5 5/8 x 15  5/8ins] 

Camille Hog Xin (Art In America): Speaking of poetry, you collaborated with Allen Ginsberg on two books, Black Shroud and White Shroud. How did you come to collaborate?

Francesco Clemente: We both shared a passion for William Blake. We wanted ro make our own illuminated poetry. Ginsberg was very meticulous. He prepared the paper and he came to my studio and wrote. Then I illuminated the manuscript. At other times, he wrote after my images. For example, I had a show Ex Libris Chenoceau (Chateau de Chenoceau, France, 1995) with 108 pastels. He wrote 108 short poems called "Pastel Sentences" in 17 syllables, haiku style. His courage and simplicity were inspiring.

[An illuminating discussion, (recorded in July of 1992), between Ginsberg and Clemente may be heard here  (scroll down) on Allen's PennSound page (an essential Ginsberg resource)] 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) on Allen Ginsberg: "I met Allen Ginsberg the other night. When I'd seen him in Tangier, he was with his boyfriend and said to me: "Will you paint a portrait of us on the job?". And I said: "Well, this is going to be awkward, Allen, how long can you hold it?" Anyhow, nothing came of it, and when I saw him the other day he reminded me of this and he  said: "Now I'm here for another month, will you do a portrait of me? Well, the thing is, he's got a very heavy beard now. I know good portraits have been done of people with beards, but I really am more interested in the actual structure of the face that hasn't been messed about by a beard. It's one of the reasons that I don't really like long hair in men, because I like seeing the actual skull. It may be one of the reasons I always find medieval art so boring because I hate the men's long hair because you can't see their skulls. I'm interested in Egyyptian things, not only for their extraordinary quality, but I like their short hair and I like the short hair of certain Greek things too."

Here's Bacon in 1966 (interviewed by David Sylvester)

Here's Bacon, from five years later,  on immediacy and violence 

Here's the South Bank Show (from 1985)  - his profile and interviews with Melvyn Bragg

Here's Bacon walking down the streets of London with William Burroughs

[Francis Bacon and William S Burroughs - Photo by John Minihan]

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dylan Thomas Centenary

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

October 27 - The Dylan Thomas' Centenary - One hundred years ago on this day...

Allen Ginsberg-Dylan Thomas. Here's Allen's account, "Late April 1952" from Journals, Early Fifties, Early Sixties of a booze-fueled (natch!) brief-but-frustrating encounter. Allen was 26 and Thomas 37. Thomas would be dead by November the following year.. 

"Left Dylan Thomas and someone else with a big bruise on right forehead - thin mediocre type - in cab on 6th Avenue, 15 minutes ago.
I was in San Remo sitting relaxed towards closing time when they walked in. I only half-recognized him when they came in door & stood next to my seat at bar.
Thomas said, "Congratulations" and "Imagine that", when bartender spoke his name overloud & said he'd read his poem over the bar.

"Don't believe everything you hear", Thomas said to me.

"Only if it's spoken loud enough, I answered.

His companion said, "Where do you go to school?" - I said I didn't go, huffily.

"Do you know - ever study English literature", said companion.

"Of course, I'm a poet myself", I said.

"Do you know who this is?", he said

"Of course, man, it's obvious"

"Oh, another", said Thomas.

"Well don't look at me", I said, stiffening up.

Thomas, "I was just in another pub - drinking place - whatever you call them - and a girl said to me - would you like somewhere to go to see a girl and me do a trick?"

"Is it a question of interpretation of "trick"", I said

"No, I'm a professional", Thomas said, "I'm a professional".

"Well I just thought it was a question of language", I said

"But she wanted $50 which I didn't have "
"Oh well".
"Do you know any amateurs?", he asked.
"I think the best I can do is knock on a door and it will be opened by a pretty girl who'll offer us a bottle of beer".
"Will she do a trick?"
"I can only supply one pretty girl who'll open her door", I said
"Well, that's a lot, that's half of it".
"That's the way the world is", we agreed.
"But that's a lot", he said. "What can you do?" I said.
I then said that Lucien and Cessa would be newspaper people at home. "But they have 'likker, but they aren't "intelligent"."
"Well I insist they'll have to be intelligent" - he.
"No, I didn't want to mention that - they, of course, of course, have feelings, heart, mind, suffering - and nobility".
He nodded understanding .
I was very eager to see him off and go along. But everything was very chancy and superficial and no action took place. I called Lucien. There was no answer. Alas!
I came back and said they weren't home - and on and on. Mary Jo was there [at bar]. "Who's she?" they wanted to know.
He could have had her but she was silly & he a fool about reputation.
Said, "I've got the shortest legs in the world. My belly hangs down to my groin".
She chatted and camped but no action.
I tried to get him to go to Dusty's [his friend, Dusty Moreland] - the bartender took him aside and asked me to leave. I said to Thomas, "Shall I wait outside?. He nodded very gently & graciously, perfect gentleman tho' he didn't know me,
Later outside I remembered my attic and he said, "but not an attic... Just you and me?". "That's all", I replied. He had said he had a bottle along too. "I want to go to drink the bottle where there are other people around".
Outside Victor and several other heavy-handed hipsters - 3 of them stood by the door while I sat on gutter & waited - They were conversing, wondering why narcissistic girls went for weak-chinned people like him - talking about him in manly cultural underground terms, but spitefully, asserting their own virility and new generation removal from dependence or sympathy with him - said , "Byron had strength", and complemented each other too.
I yelled "Hey" when he came out and got up and joined them too - wasn't sure he'd even remember. He said, "I never was so bored" by the action inside Remo with proprietors -
I had difficulty raising subject of continuing on with him as I asked inside by saying, "I don't know what will happen but if I may I wish to continue and go on with you where ever you are going tonight if you have anywhere to go". He said, "Yes, I'd be glad, of course" - but with eye wandering, alas but, so dissolute he was he meant it too, just as well.
On way he stopped in middle of street. "I don't know what to do" -
I took up the initiative and said,
"OK, I'm telling you, then come with me !
Meanwhile companion said, "I'm awfully tired, should go home", and "Caitlin is waiting".
Finally Thomas decided to go and I closed a cab door on them, ran to other side & stuck my tongue in window at him which I immediately regretted tho' I meant it as a friendly gesture. He stared out at me, drunkenly, without response.
We had been followed down corner and West 4th Street by 3 subterraneans. I ran off, leaping.
Friend companion earlier had said about bruise - "In fight" - on account of Thomas saying things - an hour ago, wound up in hospital.
Ah, Dylan Thomas, I would have liked to know you that night, wish I could have communicated who I was, my true feeling, and its importance to you. For I too am a lover of the soul.
How disappointing to come away empty-handed with no recognition from this Chance meeting - I fell sick and unhappy because I could not make a great sweet union of the moment of life - now this is 45 minutes after, it will pass but it is sad & true."

Dylan Thomas Word List David Highams Associates

[Notebooks of Dylan Thomas, via the University of Buffalo, currently on view at the National Library of Wales]

Dylan Thomas Self-Portrait

Here's Richard Burton musing on Dylan Thomas

This documentary continues here and here

Here's the BBC's 2003 documentary, Dylan Thomas From Grave To Cradle

continuing here, here, here, here, here and here 

In My Craft or Sullen Art 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gelek Rimpoche's 75th Birthday

Tomorrow - Gelek Rimpoche's 75th Birthday - This evening in New York City there will be a special gala event (with musical guests Paul Simon and Philip Glass, and more) hosted by the painter Francesco Clemente, a "diamond birthday celebration", in his New York studio.

On Sunday, in Ann Arbor, at the Jewel Heart Center, celebrations continue - Tenzhuk (Long Life) Puja at 11.00 a.m. and a Joyful Birthday Reception at 3.30 p.m.

For more on Jewel Heart - see here

For earlier notices on Gelek on the Allen Ginsberg Project - see here and here   

The Jewel Heart You Tube Video Channel (an invaluable resource for teachings) - see here

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday's Weekly Round-Up -194

[Kate Moss in her Bella Freud "Ginsberg Is God" fashion sweater]


Bella Freud is painter Lucian Freud's daughter and an eminent fashion designer. A while back we featured the sweater!

but, good lord, how could we have forgotten the candle?

ベラ・フルード(Bella Freud)テキスト入りガラスケースキャンドル Ginsberg 1

and how too to forget the perfume?

Ginsberg is God Eau de Parfum

Too easy to mock the advertising copy. So, let's go ahead and mock the advertising copy - "For Men and Women" (well, at least no Beat sexism there!) - "Enriched with black pepper and elemi and infused with sacred woods and resins that act as the scents for temples and gods, leaving the inner sense of serenity, (uh?) which is made up of wormwood, moss and leather" (!)

Beats-ploitation - It's been a while since we glanced at the phenomena of Beat exploitation,  Beat co-option (see vintage posts on that subject here, and also here) . You might also recall Allen's recent discussion here (about sensibilities that "seem to go beyond that and penetrate the consciousness in a way that permanently arms consciousness against mind control"  (and likewise against facile ironic "hipster" perversion). The commodification of the Beats. Might as well get used to it, it's not going to go away.

Light T-Shirt

Allen Ginsberg Gifts Women's Dark Pajamas

Moving on...

Jack Kerouac's (most likely) very last interview, sad and belligerent, (with St Petersburg Times reporter, Jack McClintock) was published in October 12 1969, just nine days before he died and has been resurrected and is now available on-line for reading here 

Interviews - A couple of weeks ago we mentioned John Tytell's new book of Beat Interviews, (just out from Beatdom Books), but, indefatiguable Beat scholar and historian that he is, he's also got another book out - Writing Beat And Other Occasions of Literary Mayhem (published this month from Vanderbilt University Press)   

 "As he interviewed, drank, traveled, and survived countless moments with some of these literary legends, Tytell discovered much about the craft of nonfiction and biography, and the nature of history. Writing Beat demonstrates, through Tytell's growth as a professor and historian of the Beats, lessons learned and hazards encountered for those aspiring to become writers themselves".

Andy Roberts article on Allen's acid poem (LSD poem), Wales Visitation - "No Imperfection in the Budded Mountain", originally published last year by the Psychedelic Press is another piece well worth seeing now available on-line  

Last Spring's moving memorial for the great and much-missed painter, friend-of-the-Beats, Robert LaVigne (including footage of him and heart-felt recollections by his Seattle friends) is now on-line - See here  

The LA Times has been going through its photo-archives and reminded us of this delightful shot - Allen -  no, no not dead, just meditating (with his foot in a cast)! 

Ginsberg meditates despite broken leg
["Ginsberg Meditates Despite Broken Leg" - Photograph by Tony Barnard, published May 13, 1973 in the Los Angeles Times]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Philip Lamantia's Birthday

Philip Lamantia's birthday today. He would have been 87. We take the occasion to remind you once again of Garrett Caples and Andrew Joron's exemplary edition of the Collected Poems 

Here's the two of them giving a presentation on it (from September of last year)

Here's our own extensive Lamantia posting(s) - Allen on Lamantia - here 

and here, here,  here,  here, and here

Happy Birthday in Eternity, Philip

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Harold Norse

[ Harold Norse (1916-2009) - "Poet Harold Norse in his apartment kitchen, 157 Albion Street, San Francisco, May 28, 1988 - For HN with old affection from Allen Ginsberg- AH" - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg]

[Harold Norse executing a tour jete en l'air, circa 1938]

Harold Norse's Selected Poems have just appeared lovingly presented in an essential little edition from Talisman House

Here's Harold singing the praise of William Carlos Williams and recollecting how he first met Allen

"…Earlier, as a matter of fact, in 1944, Allen Ginsberg and I met on the subway in New York. it was about four in the morning and I was going home to my room in the Village, Greenwich Village, and I saw this young boy of about eighteen with eye-glasses and a red bandana around his neck reciting poetry. There was nobody else in the whole train, And at the stops, I heard parts of what he was reciting and it was French and I realized it was (Arthur) Rimbaud. And the first thing I said to Allen Ginsberg was, "Rimbaud!". And he said, "You're a poet!". And at that ppoint we began talking about it. He ended up with me in my small room on Horatio Street, Greenwich Village, talking till seven o'clock in the morning. He showed me his unpublished poems (he hadn't published any yet - and I'd published a long poem in Poetry magazine called "Key West", which is also in my first book, The Undersea Mountain…."    

From the same session, here he is  reading  "the first poem that I wrote in San Francisco" - "At The Cafe Trieste" (a poem that, as Neeli Cherkovski points out, in his Introduction to the Talisman Selected, "begins with Norse's description of reading Virgil's Eclogues and ends in a corner cafe")  

Here's more Harold Norse recordings from the similarly-essential Harold Norse Of Course (recorded in Amsterdam and originally released on cassette tape in 1984 by Ins and Outs Press, now re-released and available on CD from Unrequited Records) - "I'm Not A Man" and his sequence "The Muhammad Poems" 

 Eddie Woods' recollections of Harold Norse in Amsterdam may be read here 

Here's the 91-year-old Harold in 2007 at the Beat Museum reading "I Am In The Hub of The Fiery Force", the title poem of his 2003 Collected   

Here's the cover of the most recent edition of his Memoirs of A Bastard Angel - A Fifty Year Literary and Erotic Odyssey  (with a preface by James Baldwin

Here's, last year, Todd Swindell discoursing on Norse, the man and the achievement.
Todd Swindell has been a devoted student and custodian of Harold's work, since 2000, when they first got together, before Norse's death. From a contemporaneous SF Weekly article - "Swindell cleans Norse's apartment, organizes his papers, proofreads his letters and runs the occasional errand. Mainly though Swindell and Norse simply talk. When they get together, Swindell, 27, recalls his experiences as a young gay man growing up in straight-laced Orange County, and talks about his work with ACT UP S.F. Norse, 84, recalls his experiences as a young bi-sexual man growing up in New York..".."Swindell first discovered Norse as a teenager when he ran across a copy of…Carnivorous the Orange County Public Library. Living in that hotbed of conservatism, Swindell figured it was only a matter of time before the powers-that-be discovered the provocative book of gay liberation writing in their midst and purged it. So, with a tinge of regret, he stole it. "More than any other gay poet, he touched a nerve to me." Swindell says, "at a time  when I had no one, I had Harold's poetry. It's very erotic, and I came from an unerotic repressed environment". 

Greg Bayson's note in LGBTQ

Harold Norse at the American Museum of Beat Art

Four Harold Norse obituary notices from 2009 here, here, here and here

Todd Swindell keeps, the memorial web-site laudably up-to-date (Scroll down to see, for example, Norse's extensive CAAS (Volume 18)  (Gale Research Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series) entry.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gerd Stern 3 (Gerd Stern Remembers Harry Smith)

[Harry Smith with his mural, "Jimbo's Bop City", San Francisco, 1950 - Photograph by Hy Hirsch]

Gerd Stern: "It was a great success. The auditorium was always full; everybody paid except Harry Smith. Harry Smith was someone who was a spectacular creative being who died recently [1991]. I first met Harry--I think the first time I came to San Francisco he was working as a photographer for the Examiner, and he was living in a black hotel--he was pale white--in the Fillmore. He had done these way-ahead-of-their-time murals at Jimbo's Bop City--which was just like it sounded--in the Fillmore in return for food. I think it was Philip Lamantia who introduced me to Harry, and we sat there eating Harry's favorite food which was casaba melons--on the house; they kept them there just for him. Then he took us to see some of his visuals at his hotel. But when we reached the lobby we had to take our shoes off, and we had to not say a word between the time we got in and the time we left. We then crept up the stairs, and he whispered that there was a whore living in the next room, and she was in the pay of the FBI or some government agency to keep an eye on him. It was a paranoid, delusional complex that he had going. He took us into his room, and it was totally dark. He turned on a flashlight which had a cardboard tube attached to it. He put these works on the floor, and he illuminated them slowly so that we could see them, and in total silence we crept out holding our shoes and went down the steps and put our shoes on. That was Harry Smith."
"Harry came to one of the "Psychedelic Theater" pieces, and he started screaming about how he was whatever he was, that he wasn't about to pay, these were all old friends of his. Timothy (Leary) and Richard (Alpert) [Ram Dass] had said there were nothing but spongers and people who didn't have any money in this world of ours, and they all wanted to get in free, and they all were friends of ours. We had set a definite policy: No one was going to get in free. Well, Harry got in free because I told Timothy that if Harry didn't get in free, there wasn't going to be a show and there'd be a riot."
"I keep talking about alcoholics, but there happened to have been a lot of them, and there are still a lot of them. Harry was one. Most of these people in this world mixed the alcohol with drugs, so there were episodes of total insanity."

["Harry Smith, painter, archivist, anthropologist, film-maker & hermetic alchemist, his last week 
at Breslin Hotel Manhattan, January 12, 1985, transforming milk into milk." - (Ginsberg caption) -Photograph by Allen Ginsberg - photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

For more Harry Smith on the Allen Ginsberg Project - see here (and also hereherehere and here )

And here's a couple more Harry postings -  here - and - here

[Harry Smith, Second Avenue and Twelfth Street (NYC), 1987 - Photograph by Brian Graham]

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Birthday Philip Whalen and Michael McClure

What would have been Philip Whalen's ninety-first birthday (grand old sensei, venerable master) - celebrated today.
We await with eagerness David Schneider's long-in-the-making definitive biography (from the University of California) due out next year (tho' the cover may already be glimpsed - see above - and some advance selections from the book may be read here)

Check out also our earlier posts on Philip on The Allen Ginsberg Project here, here - and also (Philip reading) here

It also happens that Phil shares a birthday with another friend of ours (and friend of his) still happily very much with us - Michael McClure.
For Michael McClure birthday celebrations on The Allen Ginsberg Project see here and here - also here and here

Michael McClure
[Michael McClure - Photograph Peg Skorpinski]

Happy Birthday, Michael!