CR: When Allen Ginsberg belted the raging words and rhythms of his poem “Howl” in 1955, a generation with a new beat took hold. For five decades he’d been the poet-laureate of protest and heir-apparent to William Blake and Walt Whitman (I think, the last time he was on this show was to talk about Walt Whitman), also an essayist and pacifist, Allen Ginsberg continues in the forefront of the American social debate, a Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the National Book Award for Poetry, he is at sixty-seven, still performing before sell-out crowds of all ages. A new … Read More
[Ai Weiwei with recent Ginsberg materials – Beijing, July 2016 – Photograph by Larry Warsh]Leading off this week with Ai Weiwei displaying some recent Ginsberg materials. We haven’t written of Ai Weiwei for some time (tho’ back in 2011, we were very much monitoring his situation (see, for example, here,here, here and here). The young artist, as is now well-known, struck up a crucial friendship-mentor relationship with Allen, during his period living in New York (New York’s East Village) in the middle-to-late 1980’s and early 1990’s. [Allen … Read More
“Seeking love upon a day, a day of summer’s pride/I left Long Island’s suburbs for the Lower East Side,/The train it roared and thundered,/And I sang above its scream./There’s a cockroach coming towards me/But it cannot spoil my dream./Love! Love! and L.S.D./It shall not spoil my dream/ Blue … Read More
AG: You all know – “My name it is Sam Hall…” – what is it?‘My name it is Sam Hall, it is Sam Hall/”Oh, yes my name it is Sam Hall and I hate you one and all/Yes I hate you all and all goddam your eyes’? – You know that song? That’s also a modern ballad. I don’t know it. And “Waltzing Matilda”, and what not..[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-six-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-six-and-three-quarter minutes in]
AG: And then there’s the other, equally great, American (ballad) “Willie the Weeper”. Do you know that?
“Hark to the story of Willie the Weeper/Willie the Weeper was a chimney-sweeper/He had the hot habit and he had it bad/ Listen, while I tell you ’bout a dream he had./ He went to the hop joint the other night/When he knew the lights would all be burning bright/I guess he smoked a dozen pills or more/When he woke up he was on a foreign shore./ The Queen of Bulgaria was the first he met/She called him her darlin’ and her lovin’ pet/She … Read More
AG: Then there the great ballad of Cocaine Lil (sic) (we’re coming up into modern times!) – Yeah, anybody know this one? – “Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue“?Student: I’ve heard about four or five different versions.AG: You know the tune on it?Student: I’ve heard one that’s Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue, and..AG: Uh-huh. The one I have here. I can read this one. I don’t know the tune, actually (but I heard it years ago)“Did you ever hear about Cocaine Lil?/She lived in Cocaine town on a Cocaine hill,/She had a cocaine dog and a cocaine cat,/They fought all night … Read More
Student: [in media res] ….maybe something like that, and then… I was given sodium pentothel, and, trying to stay alert while going under, the last thing that went was my hearing. All my other senses went before them.
WSB: Well, naturally your sight would go first.
Student: And hearing, that just kind of folded back, and hearing was the first thing that came back.
WSB: Did you remember anything from the operation?
Q: No I don’t (didn’t)
WSB: Well, it’s there, it can be recovered – Yes?
Student: In meditation, I sometimes have the experience of getting bored with
Old-one the dog stretches stiff-legged,soon he’ll be underground. Spring’s first fat beebuzzes yellow over the new grass and dead leavesWhat’s this little brown insect walking zigzagOver the sunny white pay of Su Tung-P’O‘s Poem?Fly away, tiny mite, even your life is tender — I lift the book and blow you into the dazzling Void
Allen Ginsberg 4/20/73Springtime 1973 Cherry Valley meditations (but also fitting for a long hot summer’s afternoon). (on) … Read More