A Hole In My Knee Pants – 1975 NAROPA Class Improvisation

We’ve featured two of these before (“Death is…” and “Marijuana makes”, here’s a third -compositional roll-calls, (NAROPA) class collaborations. This particular one dates from July 28, 1975.

AG: If you’re not on the roll, see me after (the class). If you are on the roll, answer. Just fill out (complete) the sentence – “A hole in the pants at my knees..”,”A hole in the pants at my knees..”, No, it’s not [Allen corrects himself] – “A hole in my knee pants…” And you can fill it out any way you want. Like -“A hole in my knee pants … Read More

Beniamino Placido on The Beat Generation (Italian tv – 1980)

Beniamino Placido in Italian (non-Italian speakers be forewarned) – a t.v. presentation from 1980 (from RAI, from Italian television). The first nine minutes sociological background may seem odd, dry – the benign scholarly Placido? (Norman Rockwell? Harry Truman? “God, Mom and Apple Pie”? (he inscribes this, somewhat surreally, on a blackboard that emerges, at the opportune moment, at his side) – but wait! – from approximately nine minutes in, it livens up.
Fernanda Pivano interviews Allen on first meeting Jack Kerouac. This is followed by priceless footage of Herbert Huncke traveling through a bombed-out ’70’s New York, … Read More

1973 Jack Kerouac Conference Part Two

The remarkable Salem State College Jack Kerouac symposium. Part 2. Here’s a transcription of the first ten minutes. Gregory continuing to be mischievous again, Allen insisting, vigorously, on Kerouac’s bodhisattva quality and transcendental genius.

SS: (Steve Salvo, moderator) ..We could do with a little more order. I don’t mean to sound destructive, non-creative or non-spontaneous but I’d like very much for Allen to finish and then I’d like to address a question to Mr Holmes [John Clellon Holmes].

AG:Yeah I did want to .. I had something very definite to put forth.

GC: If this is going … Read More

1973 Jack Kerouac Conference Part 1

We’ve alerted you before to the remarkable Salem State Beat Treasures, the 1973 Salem State College Arts Festival and its focus on Jack Kerouac – the Jack Kerouac Symposium. Featured participants were Kerouac’s friends, local Lowell professor, Charles Jarvis, artist Stanley Twardowitz, biographer Aaron Latham, novelist John Clellon Holmes, Allen and Peter, and Gregory Corso. Predictably, Gregory Corso steals the limelight (or attempts to steal the limelight – we’ve seen that one before too!) – Allen: “Please..don’t interrupt my poetry”. Gregory (unrepentant): “But when I interrupt, I go fast..” The tape (part one, part two … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page (continues) – 10

[William Carlos Williams in Rutherford, New Jersey, 1928 – photo via Beinecke Library]
AG: (That) Pound poem I’ll have to find. (It’s) called “In Durance” – 1907, so probably prior to Williams, Williams probably imitating it. Very American in his statement, but, at the same time, written in an archaic style – “In Durance” – [Allen proceeds to read Ezra Pound’s poem “In Durance” in its entirety] – “I am homesick after mine own kind./ Oh I know that there are folk about me, friendly faces,/ But I am homesick after mine own kind..”..”Beyond, beyond, beyond, there lies..” – … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 9 (Permission)

[Robert Duncan, 1919-1988 – (“Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow/ as if it were a scene made up by the mind, / that is not mine, but is a made place,/that is mine, it is so near to the heart..” – from The Opening of the Field (1960).]
Allen’s lecture on William Carlos Williams that we’ve been serializing here these past two weeks continues.

AG: As you can hear, there’s a similarity between what he (William Carlos Williams) was practicing and the juvenile practice that I was doing, but what I was … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 6 (Williams)

[“William Carlos Williams and unidentified man in front of a Rutherford cobbler’s” via Beinecke Collection, Yale]
Allen’s July 25 1975 “Mind, Mouth and Page” lecture on William Carlos Williams continues – the recording picks up in media res, Allen is speaking of Ezra Pound
AG: “…love that I love with beauty and delight and wit, or something..” “I am homesick after mine own kind” [Allen quotes from Pound’s 1907 poem, “In Durance” here] – If you have a chance, look that up, it’s in Personae by Pound (that’s his early poems) – (“…I know the glory/ of th’ unbounded … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 5 (Williams)

[“William Carlos Williams seated at a typewriter in the upstairs bedroom, 1940s” via Beinecke Collection, Yale]

“The Raper from Passenack” – [Allen reads William Carlos Williams’ poem, “The Raper from Passenack” in its entirety] (“..I wish I could shoot him. How would/ you like to know a murderer?/I may do it..”) – It’s a character again. Like somebody talking for real. Somebody very intelligent, actually. Sounds to me like somebody very intelligent in total shock, coming out of a total shock, but the doctor is listening, Doctor Williams is listening. He’s got to treat the lady. “Invocation and … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 4 (Williams)

[William Carlos Williams, ca 1941 via Beinecke Collection]

Student: Do you know if (William Carlos Williams) made any comments on (J.D.) Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye?

AG: No, I don’t think he ever did. I don’t think he read it. I’m not sure.
Student: I would think that…
AG: I don’t think that..
Student: …that it would be a very interesting book for him.
AG: Yeah, but I think, see, his tradition was more.. it had already been done. The Catcher in the Rye had already been done in Winesburg, Ohio, and other books by Sherwood Anderson, … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 3 (Williams and Kerouac)

[Jack Kerouac, 1944. Photo c. AllenGinsberg Estate]
[William Carlos Williams, Self Portrait (1914) via ACSU Buffalo]

Student: Allen? Had (Jack) Kerouac written, say, On The Road, by the time (William Carlos) Williams met him?

AG: Oh yes, yes.
Student: And Kerouac admired Williams?
AG: Yeah.
Student: Did Williams read any of Kerouac?
AG: Yeah, Williams read quite a bit of Kerouac, and he read his poetry – and liked it. I mean, not a great deal (by the time they met, Williams had had a stroke and was not active reading a lot – he was active writing. … Read More