Q: Just to begin, how do you think  the war in Vietnam will end?
AG: I don’t know. I guess, presumably, the people in the United States will get more and more violent about their frustrations and pretty soon the government will get more and more upset, and I suppose they’ll probably withdraw everything, withdraw all the troops.
I don’t know, I’m not an IBM machine..
Q: Do you dig the violent idea of it, the fact that the violence seems to be inevitable?
[Three paperback covers for Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel The Dharma Bums]
Last weekend we featured the Naropa panel at the 1983 Kerouac Conference on Jack Kerouac’s Buddhism and Catholicism. We continue today. Participation from Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, John Clellon Holmes, Gerald Nicosia, Osel Tendzin (tomorrow) & Anne Waldman.
AG: Don’t go away, Gregory
GC: It’s not over?
AG: Shall we have some conversation between ourselves?.. and then with the audience?
– Is there anybody who, staying on stage, wants to respond to anything or has any other statements?
March 18, 1956. Sixty years since the legendary Town Hall Theater Berkeley reading. Tonight in that very space (now a neighborhood cafe called “Sconehenge” (sic)), Tom Ferrell and George Killingsworth have assembled a gathering to suitably honor the reading of Allen’s great epoch-making poem (G.P.Skratz will be m-c)
As Allen himself remarked on the occasion:
“The audience (that night) was a little off-center because of the celebrity of one earlier Six Gallery reading, many in the audience had been there. Some thought it was a hoot party, which it was, but they didn’t get the non-wine sublimity … Read More
Q : Is it true what they say about all these guys, who criticize, in the ‘Fifties, like in
J.D Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye, Holden Caulfield – Were they all “Holden Caulfields”, all these idealists?
AG: Well, sir, everybody was kind of stupefied, you know – about sex, for instance, I mean, nowadays , Holden Caulfield would have a little sexual adventure. Nowadays, young kids get much more information. Everything’s much more open, you know. Nobody is…. The imagery is there, as it is in a primitive community, or there is in a farm community, where kids see cows … Read More
Q: (One of the most disturbing themes I think I see studying your poetry deals with tragedy…)
AG: One of the most persistent themes that deals with..?.. that’s appearing..?, studying my poetry.. – yes?..
Q:…that deals with.. the amount of pain and agony that life represents – (and) the
liberation that death brings..
AG: (Oh, so, curiously enough, the pain that life represents, and…?)
Q: The liberation…
AG: The liberation of death.. That’s specifically in (Jack) Kerouac’ s sonnet-like poem [“211th Chorus’] – “Poor! – I wish I was free/ of that slaving meat … Read More
[Nicanor Parra, Miguel Grinberg & Allen Ginsberg in Havana, Cuba, February 1965]
Following his October 31 1969 reading in Montreal,Allen answers a number of questions from the audience.
Q: What happened in Havana?
AG: What happened in Havana? To me? I got kicked out of Havana or arrested in the morning, one morning, for having complained, loudly, to friends and newspaper reporters and local bureaucrats and literary people that the government was kicking all the fairies out of the theater-school, and was arresting and bugging young poets of the El Puente group (the Bridge group) for being too beatnik … Read More
[Jack Kerouac’s original hand-drawn cover for On The Road]
[Jack Kerouac photographed by Allen Ginsberg – caption reads: Jack Kerouac wandering along East 7th street after visiting Burroughs at our pad, passing statue of Congressman Samuel “Sunset” Cox, “The Letter-Carrier’s Friend” in Tompkins Square toward corner of Avenue A, Lower East Side; he’s making a Dostoyevsky mad-face or Russian basso be-bop Om, first walking around the neighborhood, then involved with The Subterraneans, pencils & notebook in wool shirt-pockets, Fall 1953, Manhattan.“]
Allen Ginsberg: I might as well supplement what Gregory said about the mussed hair and the crucifix … Read More