AG: I want to take a break from Williams now and go back to some other sources similar to his – Whitman again. I did a little Whitman before, but, there’s a very funny poem called “The Song of the Exposition” , in which it’s his statement, pre-figuring Williams, about the need for the invention of a completely native art for the United States. So this was for “the Exposition” (what Exposition, I don’t know, actually – there’s probably a note – probably the Chicago Exposition of 1868, or (18)72, or whatever World’s … Read More
[Ken Kesey’d come to New York to perform his Bear myth cantata at Lincoln Center, I visited at midnight his room Hotel Excelsior 81’st Street near Planetarium, he held still a second in lamplight, said he had second thoughts about his former Monotheist faith after bus-crash demise of his athlete son – December 14, 1989. (Ginsberg caption) c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]
Ken Kesey, novelist, counter-culture icon, “Merry Prankster”, was born 77 years ago today.
Joyce Johnson‘s long-awaited Kerouac biography, The Voice Is All – The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac was published yesterday – “Looking more deeply than previous biographers into how Kerouac’s French-Canadian background enriched his prose and gave him a unique outsider’s view of America, she tracks his development from boyhood through the phenomenal breakthroughs of 1951” (her narrative, intriguingly, stops there with him, poised with the composition of Visions of Cody and On The Road). Early reviews have been extremely enthusiastic – “Quite simply the best book on Kerouac and one of the best accounts of any writer’s apprenticeship … Read More
[Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St Mark’s Church, New York City, February 23, 1977. Photo: Martin Wechselblatt]
Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell – two distinctive and contrasting loci on the 20th century American poetry landscape – the raw and the cooked, the “outrider” and the academic, the Jewish “Beat” and the Harvard “Wasp”, initially they might be seen as the most unlikely of “bed-fellows” (sic). However, on the night of February 23, 1977 in New York, at The St Mark’s Poetry Project…
AG: (William Carlos) Williams, continuing on this theme [of Eliot’s “To purify the dialect of the tribe..”] – “The Cure” – page 23 – [Allen reads Williams’ “The Cure” in its entirety] – “Sometimes I envy others, fear them/ a little too, if they write well./ For when I cannot write I am a sick man/ and want to die. The cause is plain./ But they have no access to my