“Ginsberg’s voice defended us, exonerated us, and forgave us for the murders we committed for a government that acted like a godfather with an army of hit-men”. Vietnam Vet, Victor Claude Pirtle offers an impassioned defense of Allen’s Vietnam war ethic and argues for his continuing relevance, on the web-site FWB On Line.
Still remembering the ‘Sixties and the “peace-niks”, Ed Sanders‘ most recent memoir, Fug You (full title “Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side”) is, happily, now out. Here‘s … Read More
GC: What do you people know zodiacally? Just the bullshit you got in the last 15 years, right? You’re all young people, and you’re brought up that the zodiac was always so – it wasn’t. In the ’50’s and the ’40’s, you didn’t hear of the zodiac. No way. It was all covered down. Right? So I think this is my last lesson I’ll give you all. Why did they call it “the Aquarian Age”?
[turns to and begins rubbing clean the blackboard]
Did you ever check it out, why it’s the Aquarian Age?
[Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Boulder, Colorado c. 1974-1975, photograph c.Rachel Homer]
Gregory Corso: I’ll tell you what I’ll do. So the class can handle itself nicely. Ask me a question? Being if I say I know all there is to know (because there ain’t too much to know!), I should be able to answer any fuckin’ question you guys lay down on me. Let’s make it Socratic. Not all at once and heavy. Take it easy with my beautiful head, but lay it nice.
Student: Have you been staying out of jail, and, if you … Read More
More vintage NAROPA transcription. The first two classes in Allen’s 1975 “History of Poetry” NAROPA course (Allen being sick) were taught/conducted by Gregory Corso. Gregory Corso – Substitute Teacher!
GC: ….It’s a virus, that’s the shot. Now the virus hits the cell, once it hits the cell, you’re fucked. You can’t see the virus. Antibiotic – you know what antibiotic means? They’ll give it to you easy and you’ll take it. In a hospital, you feel ill, you call an ambulance, right? Well, call an ambulance, you’re fucked. So they give you antibiotics now, that’s anti-life stuff they’re putting … Read More
“During the late 1960s, when peace, drugs, and free love were direct challenges to conventional society, Allen Ginsberg, treasurer of Committee on Poetry, Inc., funded what he hoped was “a haven for comrades in distress” in rural upstate New York. First described as an uninspiring, dilapidated four-bedroom house with acres of untended land, … Read More
David Hrbeck has just uploaded to You Tube footage of Allen in 1993 (November 12, 1993) reading in Olomouc in the Czech Republic at a high school gymnasium (in Hrbeck’s home town, and where Hrbeck was, at that time, teaching). “This is a real treasure”, he, accurately, declares. “The classroom was full of students, and it was a big success, (an) amazing event.”
The recording is broken down into four sections. The first has Allen giving a rendition of his version of (William) Blake’s “The Tyger” (accompanying himself on the harmonium). The second, features a reading of “Sunflower Sutra” (a … Read More
Apologies in advance for the quality of the tape (shot off the t.v., but, then again, it was a t.v. show), here’s Allen on NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien”, from May 10th 1994, performing “Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag” (alternative versions of the poem/song can be accessed here and here). “Don’t smoke don’t smoke don’t smoke/Don’t smoke/It’s a nine billion dollar/ Capitalist Communist joke..” Recordings of the piece are available both on the Harry Smith-produced First Blues and the John Hammond-produced First Blues (always some confusion about those titles there!). Timeless, but Allen was particularly incensed by … Read More
Allen Ginsberg, interviewed on Canadian television by another A.G., pundit Allan Gregg.
[2015 update – the video for this interview is no longer available, the audio, however, may be heard – here]
Allen Gregg: The Beat Generation of avant-garde writers and artists of the ’50’s and ’60’s are experiencing a huge resurgence, especially among the young people. As a guy who was there at its generation, who has sustained it all these years, what’s your reaction. Are you gratified by all of this? (are you) amused?
Allen Ginsberg: Well, actually, it’s been going on all along, with different … Read More