Thelonious Monk Centennial

[Thelonious Monk and Allen Ginsberg, Monterey, CA, 1963 – Photograph (c) Jim Marshall]

Jim Marshall‘s remarkable photo of an awe-struck Allen, regarding Thelonious Monk, backstage, in 1963 at the Monterey Jazz Festival.  Today (we’re always happy to celebrate) is Monk’s birthday. Born October 10, 1917, it’s even more than that – it’s his Centennial !

There have been Centennial celebrations all this year, (most recently, April’s events in New York at Lincoln Center, and, this past weekend, with Jason Moran and Kenny Baron at the Kennedy Center)

and this coming weekend, if you’re in the … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on the Opening of Paradise Lost

[William Blake – The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (1808)]
Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa‘s brook that flow’d… Read More

Allen Ginsberg 1974 San Francisco tv Interview – “I Believe” – part 2

continuing from yesterday – (transcript of Allen Ginsberg and Father Mike S Riley’s 1974 conversation picks up approximately sixteen-and-a-half minutes in)

MR: What’s a nice Jewish boy like you doing with all of the Christian metaphors and analogies?. It’s just “Christ,” “Jesus, “”the Church”, “Crucifixtion”…

AG: Well, what I’ve been talking (except to the reference to St John of the Cross) has mostly been formal Buddhist dharma, which is a perception of the Universe as transient, in the sense of..    The basic.. first basic thing is – all the constituents of being are transitory. So that’s why I’ve … Read More

Allen Ginsberg 1974 San Francisco tv Interview – “I Believe”

Continuing our spotlight on some of the video treasures in Stanford University’s recently-digitalized archive – Allen on San Francisco television (KPIX) in 1974, interviewed by Father Mike S Riley on his inter-faith tv show, “I Believe”

[Allen begins reading from “Sad Dust Glories”]  – “When I sit/I see dust motes in my eye/Ponderosa needles trembling/shine green/in blue sky./Wind sound passes thru/ pine tops, distant/windy waves flutter back/oak leaves/and leave thenm still/like my mind/which forgets why the blue jay across the wood’s clearing/squwks, in mid-afternoon.”

MR: Welcome to “I Believe” and Allen Ginsberg. Allen, I suspect that a lot … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 336

[The Boott Mills seen from Centralville  /  Lowell, Massachusetts, 1989 -Photograph  © John Suiter – see “Kerouac’s Lowell – A Life On The Concord and Merrimack Rivers“]

Just a reminder that it’s Kerouac celebrations in his home-town of Lowell this weekend. Festivities have already begun, but plenty’s still happening –  you can see the full-schedule (all the events taking place over this weekend, and into next week) – here.

[Jack Kerouac]

And also from last week’s Round-Up – (following on, and as part of, theBig Beat Night“) – the Lawrence Ferlinghetti exhibit in BresciaRead More

Ginsberg Reads Milton

Student: Has he (Milton)  (argued) to drop rhymes?
AG: No, but we’re talking… he’s talking about Paradise Lost,  His earlier works he had rhymes (and some not-rhymes). He’s a great rhymer, he knows how to rhyme.
Student:  (A fifty-percent thing, you know  – he doesn’t, and then he follows it with rhymes)
AG: Me too, yeah, my first book (The Gates of Wrath)  is all rhymes, and I go back to it occasionally. But he’s saying for heroic verse. For heroic verse, heroic rhetorical verse, that rhyme
Read More

Milton’s Poetic Measure

AG: Now how dare we assume that it’s meant for speaking aloud anyway? (aside from all the evidence that I’ve been producing in the last four months, three months). Well, what we have is (John) Milton’s own book on that. And so, he’s got for Paradise Lost  (not in your book but in a complete Paradise Lost),  there’s a thing, a little preface he gives to Paradise Lost called “The Verse” – (and he’s telling about the verse-forms). So this was his particular scheme. Now he did Greek and Latin and he knew it real well and he wrote … Read More

60th Anniversary of the Howl Verdict

Today is an historic day.  The 60th anniversary of the landmark Free Speech verdict. On this day in 1957, Judge Clayton Horn declared that “Howl” was not obscene.

As he announced:

“I do not believe that “Howl” is without redeeming social importance. The first part of “Howl” presents a picture of a nightmare world; the second part is an indictment of those elements in modern society destructive of the best qualities of human nature; such elements are predominantly identi­fied as materialism, conformity, and mechanization leading toward war. The third part presents a picture of an individual who is … Read More

Vowels and Music – (Poundian Poetics)

continuing with Allen’s commentary in his 1980 Basic Poetics Naropa class on Ezra Pound’s Manifest”

AG: I was talking about it [about “melodic coherence” and Hart Crane’s “Atlantis”].  There’s partly some element of cadence – da da da da-da da da da –da – “O Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits” – that’s the rhythmic cadence.   So melodic cadence of those vowels – “encintured sing/ In single chrysalis” – “encintured sing/ In single chrysalis” – that’s melodic coherence – That make sense? Mel-o-dy? tune-al coherence

And “of the tone-leading of the vowels” -. “tone-leading of the vowels”  (… Read More

Allen Ginsberg – Richland College reading – part 2

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Richland College reading – continuing from yesterday

AG: So I would say now move on to.. 1956- moving on from 1956 to 1976. I have a series of poems which will require some music also – “Father Death Blues” – if we can get together on the stage –

My father died in 1976 in midsummer and I wrote a series of poems while he was alive because I spent a lot of time with him during the previous..during the winter that he was wasting, He was quite old and not in pain because it was a … Read More