[Allen Ginsberg in the studio, recording William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience”]
Amanda Petrusich, writing in The New Yorker
“The membrane between poetry and“song,” as we think of it in 2017, has always been flimsy and permeable; once all poems were songs. Ginsberg’s weird, wobbly singing [in “The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience” CD] is sometimes dissonant, but it gets at something essential to Blake’s work. It’s as good a narration of the phases of a life as I can think of..”
Might we recommend, as a holiday gift, this holiday…?
The re-release of Allen’s William Blake settings earlier this year was a signal event. For more info’ on that re-issue – see here
[William Gass, Allen Ginsberg, and Arthur Miller in an elevator in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1985]
Cartooned history. We were looking at that just the other week – Don’t miss Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall‘s latest John Wilcox cartoon manifestation of the trials and tribulations of the late great Lenny Bruce (with a cameo appearance by Allen) – on Boing Boing – here
SFMOMA’s open-handed Open Space site continues to inspire – We already noted their feature, a few weeks back, on Joanne Kyger. Don’t miss (it’s up now) Justin Desmangles‘ comprehensive essay/memoir on Beat legend, Ted Joans – “Remembering Ted Joans Black Beat Surrealist”
[Ted Joans (1928-2003) – Photograph by Larry Keenan]
For more on Ted – see Empty Mirror – and our own Ted Joans posting – here
[John Keats (1795-1821)]
It’s Negative Capability Day next Thursday – two hundred years since that classic letter!
– from a note written to his brothers, George and Thomas, and dated December 21, 1817)
“I had not a dispute but a disquisition with (his friend (Charles Wentworth) Dilke
on various subjects. Several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously – I mean, Negative Capability
, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason…”
“The really interesting word here is “irritable”, Allen notes
. “which in Buddhism we take to be the aggressive insistence on eliminating one concept against another, so that you have to take a meat-axe to your opponent or yourself to resolve the contradictions…That’s a completely polarized version of the universe – the notion that everything is black and white.”
Ginsberg zeitgeist, inescapable Allen, (but, well, ain’t it always just so!) – So, we forgot to mention Bono & U2’s “shout-out”
on tv’s Saturday Night Live,
a couple of weeks back – (see if you can find it, buried in the recorded video of their performance – here
and Allen as an answer in the popular quiz-show, Jeopardy,
– Ah, when you’re a quiz-show answer, (or a crossword-puzzle answer) – that’s really something! – ha! – then, you really know you’ve made it!