Walt Whitman’s Birth-day

Walt Whitman was born on this day, May 31st, 1819, at West Hills, Huntington, Long Island.

[Walt Whitman’s birthplace – Photograph courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C]

Later on in his life:

“After more than forty years’ absence, the author of Leaves of Grass, and founder of this paper [sic] has been visiting our town the past week in company with Dr. R. M. Bucke, of London, Canada, who is engaged in writing a life of “the good gray Poet.” They put up at the Huntington House, and spent several days in calls … Read More

Peter Orlovsky Parinirvana

Peter Orlovsky’s Parinirvana.  Allen Ginsberg’s long-time companion, died, seven years ago, on this day.  Those who knew him will certainly never forget Peter. His remarkable and inspired book of poems, Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs, idiosyncratic spellings and all, is quite like any other book of poems. His papers (now residing at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin) yielded the posthumous companion-piece Peter Orlovsky – A Life In Words.  There is also the sadly-out-of-print 1980 volume, Straight Hearts’ Delight. We’ve quoted from it before. Here’s another letter from Peter … Read More

Memorial Day – Harry Smith’s Birthday

Harry Smith‘s birthday today, born in Portland, Oregon, May 29, 1923.

Allen certainly admired, and took a great many pictures of Harry (more indeed than almost any other subject).  Here is just a sampling of a few of them, various locations, but mostly in Allen’s kitchen, East 12th Street NYC, 1984-1989.

See also other Harry Smith Birthday postings on the Allen Ginsberg Project –  here, here, here, and here. Also, for example, here and here. 

 … Read More

Larry Fagin (1937-2017)

Larry Fagin, poet, editor, teacher, long-time leading member of the so-called “New York School” of poetry, died yesterday. He was 79 years old. An important co-worker with Allen at Naropa (and, coincidentally, upstairs neighbour in his 12th Street tenement in Manhattan), he was, (though not himself a Buddhist), alongside fellow St Marks poet, Anne Waldman, one of the key figures in the initial years of that on-going experiment. Allen himself was quite unequivocal – “I don’t know of a better editor and teacher of poetry and prose than Fagin”, he once declared. Larry’s early teaching there can … Read More

Allen Ginsberg at Cheltenham 1993

Allen Ginsberg, in 1993, reading at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in England. The feature today on The Allen Ginsberg Project. Allen reads a selection of poems, (mostly from White Shroud and the, subsequently-published Cosmpolitan Greetings

Introduction: Good evening everybody and some of you I’m sure came to the event where Allen Ginsberg was being interviewed by John Calder here today and will have suffered as Mr Ginsberg did the problems of the weather and British Rail. Years ago Allen Ginsberg wrote of Jack Kerouac that he was the sole full-moving thing, earlier today I’m afraid Allen Ginsberg was the sole … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 317

[Funeral for Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, May 26. 1997, Karme Choling, Tail of the Tiger Buddhist Meditation Center, Barnet, Vermont. Photo: Ray Ellis]

Today is the anniversary of Trungpa’s Rinpoche’s Buddhist cremation ceremony. Thirty years ago today, ‘”more than two thousand students and friends” gathered, “in a meadow ringed with pine and maple trees”, near Barnet, Vermont. (Karme Choling, Tail of the Tiger). Allen’s evocative and richly-detailed poem, (“I noticed the grass, I noticed the hills, I noticed the highways, I noticed the dirt road…”) ,”On Cremation of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Vidyadhara”, written shortly … Read More

Edward Herbert

 

[Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Chirbury (1583-1648) ]

Continuing with Allen’s 1980 Naropa lectures, he seems here under the impression that he’s annotating further the poems of George [sic] Herbert, These next poems , however, are, in fact, from Herbert’s older brother, Edward Herbert, himself  (amongst other achievements) an accomplished poet.

AG: So, then, there’s…in an excellent book, Minor Poets of the 17th Century, an Everyman paperback. There’s a couple of funny things, there’s the little note to Ben Jonson (since we know Jonson reasonably well),  Jonson had translated Horace and learned a good deal from … Read More

Bob Dylan’s Birthday

 

Bob Dylan‘s birthday today. 76 years old

“On Reading Dylan’s Writings” – “A poem for the laurels that you win,” – Allen Ginsberg in Buffalo, circa 1974.

Courtesy the ever-extraordinary Pennsound (and with a special shout-out to George Drury)

The audio may be listened to –  here

AG: I’m reading Bob Dylan’s Writings and Drawings  book  (1973)

[superceded now by this one (2016)]

[and, well, also, this one]

[Not forgetting..]

[and even..]

Now that it’s dust and ashes now that it’s human skin Here’s to you Bob Dylan a poem for the laurels you win Sincerest form of … Read More

George Herbert – 10 – (“Misery” and “The Quiddity”)

[ “Man is but grasse/He knows it -. fill the glasse…” (George Herbert)]

AG: Okay, well, there’s a couple other poems (of George Herberts) that while we have time I’d like to check out with you. In the (W.H.) Auden anthology (that is to say, a book that I’ve mentioned a number of times to you as one of the great anthologies –Poets of the English Language Volume 2 – Marlowe to Marvell, Viking Press, there is “Misery”, a little thing called “Misery”, which has this very nice refrain. The whole poem I don’t want to go … Read More

George Herbert – 9 (“Love” – 2)

[Portrait of George Herbert in Bemerton by William Dyce (1806-1864)]

Allen Ginsberg continues to examine George Herbert’s poem “Love”

Student: Allen, isn’t there a sense, in that last bit, of a change from “My dear” to “I will serve you”?

AG: Yes, I was wondering what that means. I don’t understand that.

Student: Well, he seems to be feeling unworthy even though he’s..

AG: Oh yes, he’s been saying that all along

Student: He takes the heat off, Love takes the heat off. Obviously you’re worthy to be here because whatever sin you brought it was paid for by Christ … Read More