Today (tonight) is fittingly Halloween – and John Keats‘ birthday.
Allen, like any poet, revered Keats, and was particularly taken by this letter/manifesto (from a note written to his brothers, George and Thomas, and dated December 21, 1817) – the notion of “negative capability” –
“I had not a dispute but a disquisition (with [his friend] (Charles Wentworth) Dilke”), Keats writes, “on various subjects. Several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at … Read More
Here’s Allen recorded by Mellon Tytell in 1993, on the occasion of Carl Solomon‘s passing, at a memorial event at the St Mark’s Church, reading the Prajnaparamita Sutra (the Perfect Wisdom Sutra, the Heart Sutra), in the translation that he had adopted (and adapted) from Shunryu Suzuki (with the roshi‘s consent).
His accompanist here, the man standing next to him, is, of course, poet and Fug, Ed Sanders.
Allen chants the Sutra also in a noisy New York City nightclub, around the same time, in recordings made by Jill Abrams, (here and, continuing, here)
[Gelek Rinpoche and Allen Ginsberg, at the reception after a Jewel Heart Benefit, Chicago, November 9 1991. Photo c. Jennifer Girard]
Gelek and Allen and Jewel Heart – Jon Kain in his piece for the Shambhala Sun, some years back, “Gelek Rinpoche’s Remarkable Journey“, notes “They [Gelek and Allen] met in the early 1990’s, forming a fast friendship. Allen eventually became Gelek Rinpoche’s student, with Rinpoche performing the ritual at Allen’s death. “Allen never missed the opportunity to teach me about American culture and language, Rinpoche told me”, (Kain recounts), “He pushed me all the time. He … Read More
AG: It’s called “Dirge”. Now, (James) Shirley‘s 1596-1666, so now we’re getting about half a century later than Shakespeare. So that little airy thing in Shakespeare is beginning to get a little bit lost, but a kind of funny Buddhist Noble Truth logic horror is coming in. A Death’s Head is coming in. It’s perhaps stupidly, in a sense, like, Western mechanistic industrial-minded.. the wheel has been invented or something, and (William) Blake is about to be born pretty soon (well, maybe another century). It’s this kind of thing that … Read More
Continuing where we left off, with Allen’s “History of Poetry” class. You might recall that there was some intervention from Gregory Corso, that intervention continues. Hesperus, the morning or the evening star? – a hart, a deer or a rabbit? – Ben Jonson or Samuel Johnson?. Fortunately Allen keeps his temper and things become clear. Allen reads Ben Jonson, John Fletcher and John Ford. Here is a transcript:
AG: Ah. Getting onto Shakespeare’s friend, (Ben) Jonson for a moment. Funny, witty Jonson, also writing for music. This is a hymn (so, literally, to music), but here more stately than … Read More
Philip Lamantia was born on this day. He died in 2005. He would have been 84. Obits from the San Francisco Chronicle, from the New York Times, and from the London Independent give the general picture. We’ve spotlighted already Andre Breton, but, for the Beats, for Allen, Lamantia was/is the essential figure, the key link between Beat culture and Surrealism. Garrett Caples writes on the Breton-Lamantia connection here.
ASV – Annotated Streaming Videos – additional notes on Ginsberg videos, (listed here on the right-hand side of the page) continues with notes on Tom Vitale’s 1990 New York City PBS profile. [This video is no longer available via You Tube. We have, however, retained the notes and transcription below]