Throughout the summer, Nathan Gelgud, a correspondent for The Daily, (The Paris Review‘s blog), has been posting a weekly comic about the writers, artists and demonstrators who attended the controversial, highly-contested 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention.
Check out all eight episodes (so far), including this, the most recent one, “The Court Objects to Allen Ginsberg“ – here
& another delightful Allen Ginsberg moment that just last week (re)surfaced – From back in the election year of 1972 – Allen famously instructing the avuncular, Walter Cronkite – on meditation and mantra-chanting!
Fellow CBS news anchor, Bob Schieffer, vividly, recalls it –
Cronkite: (“That’s a pleasant sound. That’s not bad at all – AH! – very relaxing.”) .– here
AG: “After I met Chogyam Trungpa, for the rioting after the Hanoi Harbor and the increased bombing under Nixon about 1972, he suggested using the mantra “AH” instead of “OM”, because “OM” was much too foreign-sounding, while “AH” was just a good old American Fourth of July sound, like, “Ah, fireworks!” . Also it goes out as purification of speech and a measure of the breath. I did try that.”
(Allen Ginsberg (in) “The Vomit of A Mad Tyger“)
[Allen Ginsberg & Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Mackey Auditorium, Boulder Colorado, May 1972. photo: Bob Morehouse]
Two great reviews – (“The Last Word on First Blues“ continues to get great reviews)
“This is far more than your run-of-the-mill cultural artifact or satanic scheme to add a few cents to the poet’s estate” [ – damn right, Mike! – ].”What Ginsberg does here is what he fearlessly always contributed – the dark corner truths behind our national lunacy. A lunacy that, at the moment, has either reached its predictable heights or its bottom-feeding sewer-sucking noir. Allen never shied away from either..”..”Ginsberg, who was never beholden to any cultural convention or societal paradigm, adapts that modus operandi to his songs and strips back America’s sick layers (at times better than any songwriter working the boards today dares to transmit)..”
and John Paul in Pop Matters:
“…though these recordings span more than a decade, there is a coherence that speaks to Ginsberg’s consistency in both thought and approach to everything he laid his hands on. Cut through with humor and social commentary, it’s an alternately amusing and troubling collection of ideas. Ultimately, “The Last Word on First Blues” is an exhaustively comprehensive collection featuring the original album and, on the collection’s third disc, live and other period recordings. It’s all the Ginsberg, musician, you could ever hope to have and more.”