On Charles Reznikoff’s Birthday

[Charles Reznikoff reads a William Carlos Williams poem on a Brooklyn bus, “sometime in the mid ’60’s” – photo c. Modern American Poetry – photo uncredited]
Allen’s great modern master hero, “Objectivist” poet Charles Reznikoff, (1894-1976), was born on this day, August 31st, in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Here are the extraordinary resources of PennSounds and its Charles Reznikoff page to help you celebrate this fact (readings from 1967 in New York, and 1974 in San Francisco, interviews with Reinhold Schiffer, and with Susan Howe (on Poetry Today, her 1975 radio show), Abraham Ravetts’ recordings, made in
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Steve Silberman’s HotWired Interview

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[Allen Ginsberg sees the World Wide Web for the first time – Allen Ginsberg with Steve Silberman, San Francisco, December 1996]
We’ve been quoting these past few days from Steve Silberman’s December 1996 interview with Allen for HotWired, a brief exchange about Allen and some of the jazz greats (Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker), but all that was only a tiny sliver, and we figured we should spotlight and draw your attention to the whole thing. The interview (included also in Spontaneous Mind – Selected Interviews 1958-1996) took place on December 16, in … Read More

Charlie Parker’s Birthday

[Charlie Parker 1920-1955]
August 29, it’s Charlie Parker‘s birthday. We continue our jazz salutes.
Steve Silberman: Yeah, and that poem (Kerouac’s “Mexico City Blues” [not to mention, your own work]) was very much influenced by Charlie Parker who you knew, or saw.
Allen Ginsberg: I saw him a number of times, yeah. In those days – meaning the early ’50s and early ’60s – the musicians, though, they were barred from playing in the clubs under the cabaret licensing laws, which were quite fascist. Anybody who had been busted couldn’t play in a cabaret, and if you couldn’t … Read More

Thelonious Monk

[Allen Ginsberg regards Thelonious Monk – photo c. Jim Marshall Photography LLC]
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[Allen Ginsberg with Thelonious Monk at Baroness Pannonica (“Nica”) Koenigswarter’s apartment, New York City, 1961 – Allen’s note on the back reads: “After playing at Five Spot (4 AM?) & Shooting-up. Tompkins Square East, at the Baroness’, a friend of hers, a lady” – Photographer unknown]
Allen Ginsberg: Then in the early ’60s, Thelonious Monk spent maybe half a year at the Five Spot. I used to go as often as I could. He’d play four or five nights a week and I’d go.
Steve Silberman: … Read More

Lester Young’s Birthday

[Lester Young 1909-1959]
Allen in conversation with Steve Silberman, (interviewed for Wired, December 1996):
“Then I saw Lester Young play at The Five Spot. I remember I went in to say hello to him in the kitchen, and I got down on my knees, and recited the really musical language of Hart Crane’s “Atlantis”, the last poem of The Bridge, his epic. And Lester said, “What was that guy on?” And I asked him what he’d do if an atom bomb blew up and he said, “Well, I’d rush uptown to Fifth Avenue, to Cartier‘s, and I’d … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 38

[Philip Glass – with Gelek Rinpoche and Allen Ginsberg c.1990’s – photographer unknown]

Old news – we’ve been reporting on this before – but the final death-knoll, now, it would seem, for New York’s legendary Chelsea Hotel (sold, earlier this month, to real-estate mogul Joseph Chetrit, in a reportedly $77 million dollar deal). Mick Brown’s obituary note (first published in London’s Daily Telegraph) may be read here.. Here’s the obligatory New York Times article.

One of its many denizens Patti Smith (permit us our segue!) has just announced her movie options. After the National Book Award for
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Guillaume Apollinaire

Apollinaire fejsérülése után.
[Guillaume Apollinaire 1880-1918]
Today marks the birthday of the great French poet, Guillaume Apollinaire.
“Guillaume, Guillaume how I envy your fame, your accomplishment for American letters/ your Zone with its long crazy line of bullshit about death/come out of the grave and talk through the door of my mind/issue new series of images oceanic haikus blue taxi-cabs in Moscow negro statues of Buddha/pray for me on the phonograph record of your former existence/ with a long sad voice and strophes of deep sweet music sad and scratchy as World War 1.”
These words are from Allen’s great 1958 poem, … Read More

Louis Bardel Interview

[Allen Ginsberg, Boulder, Colorado, 1994. Photo c. Steve Miles]
Following on from the 1974 (Duncan Campbell) interview with Allen that we published last week, here’s another (from the ’90’s this time) that seems to have somehow slipped under our radar. The interviewer is Louis Bardel (for stageandscreenwriters.com). It was taped at the radio station WSIA (located on the campus of the College of Staten Island). A side-bar provides details on “How I Scored The Allen Ginsberg Interview”.… Read More

David Dellinger (1915-2004)

[David Dellinger, at Karmê Chöling, Barnet, VT, where he and Allen had given a talk with David Rome and others, Labor Day weekend, 1984. Photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Perhaps best remembered for his role as one of the defendants (the senior defendant) in the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, David Dellinger was an exemplary human being, a towering figure on the American Left over several decades, a Gandhi-like, life-time, radical pacifist, passionately committed to an activist struggle (through non-violent action) against all manifestations of war and oppression. As Noam Chomsky wrote: “Before reading (his autobiography, From Yale to Jail), … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 37

International edition. Images of Allen, right now, adorn a patch of bucolic woodland in rural Switzerland – The Garden of Forking Paths (the title is, of course, a Borges-ian steal) – an outdoor sculpture project, instigated by the Migros Museum, on the Blum family estate, in Samstagern, near Zurich, which features Canadian artist, Geoffrey Farmer, and his Ginsberg piece – “The Invisible Worm That Flies In The Night” (the line from Blake, of course). Various photographs of Allen … Read More