Calcutta College Street Coffee House turns 50

[College Street Coffee House, Calcutta. Sunil Ganguly Foreground, Peter Orlovsky to his left. Summer 1962. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Unfortunately this is the only photo Ginsberg snapped at the coffee house where he & Peter spent hours talking poetry with among others the Krittbas writers Sunil Ganguly (in photo above), Shakti Chattopadhyay and Sarat Kumar Mukhopadhyay during the summer of 1962. In commemorating the 50th aniversary, The Calcutta Telegraph give us a little background and history to this Bengali literary landmark & institution.… Read More

Taylor Mead & Allen Ginsberg, Beat Studies Papers, Naropa’s New President….

image: Taylor Mead & Allen Ginsberg. Sebastian Piras

A little over 12 years ago photographer Sebastian Piras brought Taylor Mead over to Allen’s new loft to film a conversation between the two. A version of that is now up on You Tube and interaction between the two is as amusing as one might expect. Allen had just moved into his loft space that month, and would only be alive another 2 months or so. Jump over to Sebastian’s website for more. While you’re at it, it’s definitely worth checking Sebastian’s nifty pocket photobook A Pocketful of Contemporary Artists collection of … Read More

Fried Shoes /Cooked Diamonds

I came across this You Tube segment of a Gregory Corso class while perusing Elephant Journal’s recent story on Naropa Univeristy. To my great delight it links you to the complete streaming of Costanza Alione’s fantasticly entertaining documentary on Naropa’s early days Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds. The entire cast of characters are all there in full color, William S Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Amiri Baraka, Anne Waldman, Peter Orlovsky, Allen’s Italian Translator Nanda Pivano, and many more. A most playful film very much worth watching.

2012 update – A more expanded version of this post is available on our “Annotated … Read More

The Beats: A Graphic History

By Harvey Pekar, Nancy J. Peters, Penelope Rosemont, Joyce Brabner, Trina Robbins and Tuli Kupferberg

(Hill and Wang; 199 pages; $22)

We haven’t had a chance to check out the graphic novel The Beats: A Graphic History so for now we’re relying on Gerald Nicosia’s review in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle. He points out some troubling factual errors, some fairly egregious ones in fact, but is even-handed enough to point out the books strong points, of which there seem to be many.

However, our favorite, without a doubt the most amusing & no-holds-barred vicious review, comes via Greg … Read More

George Schneeman: Painter Among Poets 1934 -2009

schneeman

Allen Ginsberg posing for painter George Schneeman – Photograph by Harvey Wang

New York City painter George Schneeman passed away this January. He was a frequent collaborator with generations of Lower East Side poets, including Ted Berrigan, Larry Fagin, Dick Gallup, Alice Notley, Bill Berkson, Anne Waldman, Ron Padgett and Allen Ginsberg, and very much part of the neighborhood’s cultural fabric. Anne Waldman’s wonderful short appreciation of his life in the current Poetry Project Newsletter (below) is a moving introduction to the painter among poets for those unfamiliar. Tributes & poems from Tom ClarkRead More

Ginsberg in Charleville December 1982

[Arthur Rimbaud. Musee Rimbaud, Charleville-Meziers]

[Allen Ginsberg & Simon Vinkenoog at Musee Rimbaud. December 1982. Courtesy Joep Bremmers]

Dutch writer & scholar Joep Bremmers has been working on a Journals project transcribing Ginsberg’s European Tour journals from December 1982-February 1983, meticulously footnoted alongside the originals. They begin with Ginsberg’s trip to Charleville, Arthur Rimbaud’s home town, with Dutch poet Simon Vinkenoog, sections of which we’ll post below. Bear in mind this is still very much a work in progress, and will likely form the core of a larger project on Vinkenoog & Ginsberg’s trip to Charleville. Check back for … Read More

Kill Your Darlings

Kulchur Magazine Cover: William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, morningside Heights, New York City December 1944. Ginsberg Collection

We knew it wouldn’t be long before And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks (penned by Kerouac and Burroughs) would find it’s way into some screenwriter’s hands, but didn’t expect it this quickly. This is the first any of us have heard about this one, so no interesting background to share I’m afraid. I can say that with producer Christine Vachon (Boys Don’t Cry, I’m Not There, Savage Grace) behind it, things are off to a very good start. Variety posted … Read More

Call For Papers

image: Peter Orlovsky, Allen Ginsberg and friends. Benares, 1963. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate

Dear Readers, Academics, Scholars, A call for papers to be included in The Transnational/Global Beats: A Collection of Essays Editors: Jennie Skerl and Nancy Grace Publisher: For a Proposal to Be Submitted to Palgrave-Macmillan

It can be argued that the Beats are the only multigenerational avant-garde movement that has achieved transnational status and the only one that has resulted in a mass counterculture. This is an invitation for quality essays that address Beat Generation writers and other artists from the perspective transnationalism and/or globalization.

Possible topics include … Read More

Eliot Katz

I’d like to point out Eliot Katz’s new collection of poems that definitely merits mention here. Love, War, Fire, Wind: Looking out from North American’s Skull, published by Narcissus Press with illustrations by William T. Ayton, covers work from 2000 on.

Allen & Eliot became friends beginning with Eliot’s apprenticeship under Allen at Naropa in 1980, and they remained close due in part to their kindred spirit for activism for humanitarian causes. Posting these two pieces as teasers, “Letter to Allen,” & “Recalling Allen,” since of course they’re Ginsberg related, and give a vivid glimpse … Read More

The Poet That Changed America [Allen Ginsberg, Beat Poet, Naropa, Activist]

In 2006 Naropa University Celebrated 50 years of Howl with an event reflecting on their own beginnings, Chogyam Trungpa’s vision, and how Ginsberg & poetry were so crucial in it’s genesis.

Elephant Journal’s tireless editor, Waylon Lewis, has posted a transcript of some of that evening, in this month’s edition of EJ that sums up a remarkable & inspiring legacy by all who helped to create the school. Read transcriptRead More