Allen Ginsberg Reading at The Intersection, San Francisco, 1971

[Allen Ginsberg, 1971]

Another archived reading today (courtesy the irreplaceable PennSounds) – Allen Ginsberg reading at The Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco in 1971

AG: I’ll begin. Most of what I’ll read tonight is poetry from the last twelve months (sic), but I want to begin, prefatory, by a poem written in 1949, part of a book called Gates of Wrath, which will be published by Four Seasons Press, “Stanzas Written at Night in Radio City”      (“If money made the mind more sane…”…”Man runs after his own shadow”) – “Gary Snyder Reading Poesy at Princeton”  (“Gold beard combd down like chinese fire..”….”Gary’s voice echoes hollow under round electric lamps”) – Next, “Eclogue” – [to audience – “If it’s crowded there, there’s probably some more room here”] – So, “Ecologue”, written after reading fragments of Philip Whalen’s “Scenes of Life at the Capital, so this is “Scenes of Life in the Sticks” –  (“In a thousand years. if there’s History/America’ll be remembered as a nasty little Country..”…”Black Magicians screaming in anger Newark to Algiers,/How many bottles and cans piled up in our garbage pail?”), and –  “Next, October fourth, well, a poem “Guru Om”, a by-product of several days of all-day meditation, sitting eight to fifteen hours a day and then writing twenty lines in the evening, “Guru Om” – October fourth, nineteen-seventy” – “Car wheels roar over freeway concrete/Night falls on Dallas..”…”I am leaving the world, I will close my eyes & rest my tongue and hand” –  October fifth, nineteen-seventy – “To look in the City without hatred..”…”Look in halls of the head, nervous leg balls, universe inside Chest dark baby kingdom in the skull.”) – “Have You Seen This Movie?”  – (“Old maple hairy trunks root asphalt grass marge.November branches rare leaved..”…”Lights on cars from Western Lane gray twilight falls on rolling robot land”) – and – “Milarepa Taste”  – two haiku – (“Who am I? Saliva, /vegetable soup,/empty mouth? – “Hot roach, breathe smoke/suck in, hold, exhale – /light as ashes”)

Next, Allen reads (a very early version of) “Hum Bom!” – “A short poem built on the two-syllable Shaivite syllables, Shaivite and Buddhist syllables – H-U-M and B-O-M – H-U-M, long Hum. the long Hum, there’s a short chapter on the long Hum in Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines (and “Bom”, B-0-M, was a Shivite mantra) -( “Hum Bom!  We bomb them..”..”We bomb them”), followed by two less well-known poems – Nothing Personal” – (“Homer’s barque, the rough limit of hard sound…”…’..to brown sand crotch”)  and    “Sierras Hermitage” –  (“Sitting crossed-legged on wooden floor above the tiny desk…”…”I still must be Buddha here/If not, who am I?”)

The first set concludes with “Bixby Canyon Ocean Path Word Breeze” ( “Tiny orange-wing-tipped butterfly/fluttering sunlit..”…”grandmother/oceanskirt/rumbling/pebbles/silver hair ear to ear”) – and (another rare work) ,  “At The Capri” – (“Last poem – “At The Capri” – [to audience]  Can you hear in the back?) – (“Dear/ queer bar, don’t dissolve/like rainbow bubbles, dew drop rose lightning flash world..”….”Heaven , give me the perception to die happy!”)

The reading continues – “I’ll read four poems, poems that are older, which  I’ve been working on and typing up, that I’d never typed and read  here” – Allen reads “An Open Window on Chicago” (“Midwinter night/Clark & Halstead brushed with tis week’s snow..”…”in windy metropolis/waiting fora  Bomb”),  “Elegy for Neal Cassady” –  (“OK Neal/aethereal Spirit/bright as moving air, blue as city dawn..”..”Sir Spirit, an’ I drift alone”/Oh deep sigh”), “Autumn Gold -New England in the Fall” – (Continuation of Long Poem on These States, Auto Poetry to Hanover, New Hampshire)  – (“Coughing in the Morning/Waking with a steam beast, city destroyed…”…”Silent tiny golden hills, Maya-Joy in Autumn/Speeding (at) 70 (MPH”)), and.. (“from) April.. the poem I forgot to include in the first set of recent poems,  (a poem) called Opium Peddling“, “Opium Peddling”  [editorial note – this poem, minus first-line was subsequently published as “Over Laramie” ] –  “CIA chief Helms asks trust/Westerm Air boat bouncing…”…”casting dust gas over/the red plateau/into the New World”)

tape concludes with a section of Allen reading from his famous poem “Howl” ( “I saw the best minds of my generation….”)

[Michael Hennessey at PennSound notes – “(This is) taken from Robert Creeley’s reel-to-reel archives. Creeley’s scant notations on the tape indicate the location of these recordings as San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts in August 1971, and it appears, from Ginsberg’s comments, that these sixteen tracks were part of two, or perhaps three, readings with the split coming between tracks 11 and 12. [“At The Capri” and “An Open Window on Chicago”] The final track, an excerpt from “Howl, Part I” has a different sonic character than the rest of the recordings, and is likely from a separate source.”  He goes on,  “Most notably, this set includes a few short poems that do not appear in Ginsberg’s Collected Poems: 1947-1997, including “At the Capri,” “Sierras Hermitage” and “Nothing Personal,” along with early versions of poems that would appear in his National Book Award-winning The Fall of America: Poems of These States 1965-1971 ]

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