The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of The Beats As Taught by Allen Ginsberg is just out (this past Tuesday) from Penguin Books in England. Next Friday, Grove Press will publish the American edition. Interesting to compare the covers perhaps – the more sober UK edition, the more brash, more jazzy American? – Either way, it’s another essential Ginsberg book. Reviews are already highly positive:
Publisher’s Weekly – “A gold mine for anyone interested in beat literature . . . Ginsberg reads and thinks like a poet; interested in language and style, he abandons narrative to leap from image to image, yoking grandiloquent statements with pungent summations and deadpan remarks. Fans of the period will embrace Ginsberg’s raconteur style and insider knowledge about his friends and their achievements.”
Kirkus Review – “Authoritatively edited by (Bill) Morgan from course material and tapes . . . While many classes were as free-wheeling, digressive, and opinionated as anyone might expect from Ginsberg, most offered close readings, literary background, candid recollections, and cogent analyses, highlighting both craft and literary influence . . . A rich sourcebook for literary historians and fans of the passionate, iconoclastic Beats.”
and Library Journal – “Jack Kerouac may have coined the term Beat Generation, but it was Ginsberg’s indefatigable energy that shaped and sustained one of the most significant movements in American literature . . . Morgan, a leading authority on Ginsberg and author of numerous books on the Beat Generation, has done a superb job organizing and editing the material, while preserving the poet’s voice and lecture style . . . Essential reading.”
We announced this book a couple of months ago. So happy that it’s finally appeared.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko‘s passing last weekend, an important moment not only for poetry but an important cultural moment. Here’s his significant and lengthy New York Times obituary (and a further note) Here is the TASS (Russian News Agency) announcement. Here he’s remembered by RT (Russia Today). Here are the AP, UPI, and the Reuters reports. Here is the announcement of his death in The Guardian.
There is a comprehensive posting about Ginsberg/Yevtushenko on The Allen Ginsberg Project – here
Bob Dylan quietly picked up his Nobel Prize for Literature over the weekend – and, on the occasion of the release of his new record, Triplicate, spoke (rare for him?) at some considerable length – A “Q & A” with interviewer, Bill Flanagan
John Shen Sampas, (alongside Jim Sampas, the new executor of the Jack Kerouac Estate), seems to be winning some hearts, with the announcement of his support for turning Jack’s old ramshackle St Petersburg, Florida house into a permanent Kerouac museum – See here (and for the back-story – see here)
Opening this Sunday (at one o’clock) at the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, (and continuing through to May 28) Anna Gallagher-Ross’ Whispers In The Grass and The Brig multimedia exhibit, “featuring archival materials from the Living Theatre records and police surveillance files, films by Jonas Mekas and Storm de Hirsch, original interviews with company members and their friends, and a staged reading of transcripts from a criminal trial, as well as other documents”. Prominent among the documents, “a high resolution facsimile of a letter Allen wrote, in June 1963, to the New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau on behalf of the Living Theatre, on the occasion of their trial.”
Here’s a little excerpt of Jonas Mekas’ 1964 “..Brig”
“I went to see The Brig, the play, the night it closed. The Becks were told to shut down and get out. The performance, by this time, was so precisely acted that it moved with the inevitability of life itself. As I watched it I thought: Suppose this was a real brig….I had to film it,” (Jonas Mekas)
William Wordsworth’s, Daniel Ellsberg’s and Billie Holiday’s birthday today. Plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Oh, and, in case you missed it, a photo-portfolio celebration of Allen on Literary Hub this week.