Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 313

[Allen Ginsberg reading and lecturing in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, 1993]

Allen’s new book, The Best Minds of My Generation, selections from Allen’s lectures (not to be confused with the lectures transcribed here on the Allen Ginsberg Project), “mercifully reduced to 455 pages, shorn of repetitions, student interventions and Ginsberg’s habit of beginning every sentence with “So” – (sic) – as the reviewer in the London Times would have it) continues to impress one and all.

Here’s an excerpt from Gaby Wood‘s review in London’s Daily Telegraph:

“Lovingly edited from recordings by Bill Morgan, who has … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 312

Great news! – Omnivore Recordings, and Pat Thomas, (who gave us last year the extraordinary The Last Word on First Blues), are issuing, as a two-CD package, Allen Ginsberg’s The Complete Songs Of Innocence And Experience,  is both a reissue of Allen’s original Blake release from 1969 on MGM, with the unreleased 1971 recording sessions that were to be Blake Volume 2.  The release will include, along with the two CDs, a booklet featuring several unseen photos, alongside revealing new interviews, conducted by Thomas himself, with the original session musicians. Release-date is June 23.  For more … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 311

[Hal Chase, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, Morningside Heights, next to Columbia College, New York City, Winter 1944-45. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats – Bill Morgan’s masterly collection of Allen’s teaching wisdom   (from Naropa and Brooklyn College) appears today (official publication-day) from Grove Press (Grove Atlantic).

Here’s a few lines from Anne Waldman‘s lucid introduction:

“Allen Ginsberg devotedly, and with a loving perseverance, incubated these lectures on his primary literary Beat colleagues during his first teaching job at … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 309

The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of The Beats As Taught by Allen Ginsberg is just out (this past Tuesday) from Penguin Books in England. Next Friday, Grove Press will publish the American edition.  Interesting to compare the covers perhaps – the more sober UK edition, the more brash, more jazzy American? – Either way, it’s another essential Ginsberg book.   Reviews are already highly positive:

Publisher’s Weekly – “A gold mine for anyone interested in beat literature . . . Ginsberg reads and thinks like a poet; interested in language and style, he abandons narrative to … Read More

Instigating the Howl Trial – March 25, 1957

Sixty years ago today, the US Customs, in the person of Collector of Customs, Chester MacPhee, confiscated five-hundred-and-twenty copies of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”  – a pivotal moment  

From Bill Morgan‘s  Howl on Trial – The Battle for Free Expression:

“The Collector of Customs, Chester MacPhee, confiscated 520 copies [of Howl ] because, as he said, “The words and the sense of the writing is obscene…you wouldn’t want your children to come across it.”   U.S. Customs Law required a Federal Judge, upon application of the U.S. Attorney,  to grant permission to destroy the books. But, as [City Lights publisher, … Read More

Allen Ginsberg in Austin – Interview – 1978

Interviewer: So we want to figure out what’s best, you know, what will be most comfortable for you. What I want to do is an oral history of the ‘Sixties and Austin’s an interesting area because there’s a major university with a lot of anti-war… There was a segregtion case, a very famous law case here in 1959. There’s been an awful lot of work with the valley farm workers and Chicanos, plus we”ve got the Rothschilds here [sic], we’ve got all of LBJ‘s legacy. Basically, Austin’s sort of conservative but with the university and the State Capitol here, … Read More

John Donne (continues – 7)

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[ John Donne (1572-1631)]

AG : “A Valediction..(Forbidding Mourning)”  (by John Donne) (page two-thirty-nine). That was like… here you find a..the acme of Donne in his use of  images from cartography, compasses and spheres, and.. and I think that, like, is nowadays you have heavy-metal comix, or (William) Burroughs‘ poetry which has a lot of space-age imagery (android space-age martian heavy-metal). So, in those days, because of the adventures in America reported back, there’s a lot of.. everybody was hung up on the sort of apocalyptic imagery of a New World, and sailing, and making maps. There’s a … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 305

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Hot news from Real Gone Music – reissues of two essential Beat albums (limited editions in vinyl) – Allen’s classic 1966 recording of Kaddish and the Jack Kerouac-Steve Allens recording Poetry For The Beat Generation, (Jack’s debut as a recording artist).

Both are officially due out April 7, but pre-ordering will be available and details will be announced soon.

For further information on both these records – see this comprehensive article –  here 

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& Just out from the Cambridge University Press, and available in paperback – The Cambridge Companion to The Beats – edited by Steve BellettoRead More

Bonnie Bremser

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Yesterday we spotlighted Ray Bremser, today we spotlight his sometime-wife Bonnie (nee Frazer) Bremser and the extraordinary document Troia-Mexican Memoirs (1969) (published in England as For Love of Ray (1971)), a “lost classic of Beat experimental writing.”

Heike Mlakar, in her 2007 book, Merely Being There Is Not Enough – Women’s Roles in Autobiographical Texts by Female Beat Writers, notes:

“The male-dominated Beat circle offered women only restricted freedom. For The Love of Ray, as well as the memoirs of other Beat women, criticizes the fact that women were doubly suppressed, by “square” society at … 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