William Burroughs – Creative Reading continues – 7


[William Burroughs. Photograph by Allen Ginsberg ]

William Burroughs on Creative Reading continues

WSB: Any further questions?

Student: What do you think of all these codes in Lord Jim. You know, he’s writing about all these kind of unexplained code and then, at the end, he’s… he’s killed, kind of, by the native’s code, and Brierly’s suicide that’s a kind of code. I’ve been kind of wondering what Conrad was thinking when he put all these open-ended codes of conduct into the book?

WSB: Yeah, well, so he says, faith in a fixed code of conduct. Now, this … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 304


[Allen Ginsberg “signing a book at Harry Smith‘s funeral with his montblanc pen”, 1991 – Photograph © Thomas Peters]

Michael Schumachers collection of miscellaneous Ginsberg interviews, First Thought, as we mentioned last week, will be published very soon. Meantime, it’s worth considering Schumacher’s other titles, his masterly distillation of The Essential Ginsberg (out from Harpers in 2015), his remarkable edit of the Ginsberg father-son letters, Family Business, (2001)  and his monumental biography, Dharma Lion (1994,recently re-issued by University of Minnesota Press in an expanded edition, 2016)

A recent review of the latter  the new edition … Read More

Remembering Ray Bremser

Allen Ginsberg on the above image:

Ray Bremser master poet returned to New York after eight years’ absence wrinkle-faced as before, to attend my “Rainbow Body Reading Series” at Brooklyn College & same night read at St. Mark’s Church Poetry Project. Next evening we did two poetry readings shows together for jazz-club Village Vanguard anniversary week celebrations. He left early next morning by bus, for safety from drink, to his upstate New York Utica apartment. Saw him this way the night before all these poetry scenes, at my house, February 21, 1995″

This poem (“Blood”) was recorded in … Read More

John Donne – (Go and Catch A Falling Star – 1)


[John Donne (1572-1631)]

AG: Yeah, well, one thing that I was noticing, which gets introduced here more than before in Donne – contractions – like “find’st” (so you don’t have to say “findest” or “will find”, it’s just “find’st”, so it’s one syllable – “If thou find’st one, let me know” – da-da dad-a da-da-da – “If thou findst one, let me know” – So I get contractions out of that that I make use of in my own poetry. I made a lot of use of the same kind of contraction. Oddly enough, it’s vernacular (it looks literary on … Read More

John Donne – Intro


[John Donne (1573-1631)]

AG: John Donne – Now begins something different from what we’ve been doing. So far, up to now, I have been getting involved with the lines as kind of rhythmic melody and rhythm (or “cadence” was the word that we finally came to, that I finally wound-up using (from Louis Zukofsky). And I think, historically, beginning with Donne, (but Donne is still sung and people wrote music to Donne), there begins here a kind of stiffening of the verse-form  (but Donne still is a melodic genius – but I don’t think Donne wrote his … Read More

William Burroughs – Creative Reading – continues – 5


[William S Burroughs at the Bunker, New York City, 1985. Photo: Allen Ginsberg]

continues from yesterday

Student: Are you familiar with a story called An Outpost of Progress?

WSB Er…..

Student: It’s a (Joseph) Conrad short-story. And the last half of the movie (version).It’s straight Conrad – two totally paranoid traders, in the heart of the Congo, have a real Gothic Western shoot-out, They think that they’re leading each other on, (but…)

WSB: No, I haven’t, I haven’t read it yet.

Student:  (You really have to…)

WSB: Yeah, but there’s some.. there’s some very … He … Read More

First Thought – Conversations With Allen Ginsberg

imageVery happy to announce a new Allen Ginsberg book, due out next month from the University of Minnesota Press, Michael Schumacher’s First Thought – Conversations With Allen Ginsberg, an inspiring collection of transcripts and rarely-seen interviews.

From the publisher’s web-site:  “Here, through previously-uncollected interviews, we encounter Allen Ginsberg elaborating on how speech, as much as writing and reading, and even poetry, is an act of art. Revealing, enlightening, and often just plain entertaining. Allen Ginsberg in conversation is the quintessential twentieth-century American poet as we have never before encountered him; fully present in pitch-perfect detail.”

“Testifying before a Senate … Read More

Gelek Rimpoche (1939-2017)


[Gelek Rimpoche, New York City, February 1990. Photograph by Allen Ginsberg)]

It is with heavy heart and sadness that we announce the death today of Gelek Rinpoche, the great Tibetan lama and Allen’s spiritual teacher.

As announced on his Facebook page – “Kyabje Gelek Rinpoche, our dear teacher and friend  passed away this morning at 6 AM. We will keep him in our thoughts today and every day. Information regarding arrangements will be posted on the Jewel Heart International Facebook Page as we receive it and we ask you to respect the privacy of his immediate family at this … Read More

A Post-Valentine Posting


[Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, San Francisco 1955]

Well, yesterday was Valentine’s Day, let’s make today Valentine’s Day too!.  Here’s a letter from Allen to Peter Orlovsky, dated Feb 15, 1958

Dear Peter: Got your letter yesterday, was so happy to receive it and your sweet sex talk. I had been running around with mad mean poets & world-eaters here & was longing for kind words from heaven which you wrote, came as fresh as a summer breeze & “when I think on thee dear friend / all losses are restored & sorrows end,” came over & over in … Read More

Valentine’s Day


February 14th, it’s Valentine’s Day! – and here’s,  once again (how could we better it),  our annual Valentine Day’s posting


The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction the weight, the weight we carry is love. Who can deny? In dreams it touches the body, in thought constructs a miracle, in imagination anguishes till born in human– looks out of the heart burning with purity– for the burden of life is love, but we carry the weight wearily, and so must rest in the arms of love at last, must … Read More