Herbert Huncke

From Ann Douglas’ recent New York Times review of  The Best Minds of My Generation

“Ginsberg also makes room for Herbert Huncke, whom he calls the “originator” of Beatness. An addict, gay hustler and petty thief, seeking, in his words, the freedom “to become more obscure,” Huncke introduced Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs to the mid-1940s underworld of Times Square. In a bold stroke of canon-stretching, Ginsberg pronounces his sketches of the lower depths, published almost by accident and innocent of literary allusion, “classics.” In celebrating the unlettered Huncke, Ginsberg was suggesting that professionals may have more to learn from … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 327

[Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and William S Burroughs, New York City 1953. (c)The Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Ann Douglas‘  rapturous New York Times review of The Best Minds of My Generation – “Professor Ginsberg’s Notes on the Beats”  leads off this Friday’s Round-Up  – “In a marvelous feat of editing and reorganization, Bill Morgan, Ginsberg’s longtime bibliographer, biographer and friend, has condensed the 100 or so lectures Ginsberg gave in the five courses he taught on the Beat Generation between 1977 and 1994, totaling almost 2,000 pages of transcripts, into a compact and often spellbinding text, preserving intact the … Read More

Buddhism and The Beats (Ginsberg 1993 – Q & A)

Following on from last week’s “Buddhists and The Beats” video -the Q & A, the final segment.

Do we have time for questions.?

AG: Yes, sure

Q: You said that your poetry is a practice as well, so..is it..do you meditate every day? do you use poetry as a practice?

AG: It’s a form of practice. I sit now about forty minutes to an hour every day. There have been long periods where I’ve sat for an hour, two hours, every day, and there have been long periods where I have been on retreats where I would sit all day, … Read More

Buddhism and The Beats (Ginsberg 1993 – I – Introduction)

A real treat this weekend – with gratitude to Robyn Brentano and students from the NYU Ethnographic Film Program – “Buddhism and the Beats.”. “In 1993, Allen Ginsberg spoke to a gathering of students of the Tibetan Buddhist monk, Lobsang Samten, about the impact of Buddhist thought and practice on himself, the Beat writers, and American culture at large”. The full hour-and-a-half tape is transcribed below (continuing tomorrow, and with the Q & A session to be featured here next weekend)

AG: Well, good evening, Rinpoche [Lobsang Samten Rinpoche] and I met very recently at the house … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 324

For all you sticklers for detail out there, Sunday July 17, Allen’s appearance with Sopwith Camel, was in 1966. The following year (1967) found him in London, speaking at Steven Abrams‘ “Legalize Pot Rally”. Barry Miles was inevitably there. There weren’t too many classic moments of the “Sixties when Miles wasn’t  present!  Miles’ 2002  memoir, “In The Sixties” just got re-issued in a profuse illustrated edition – see here.

And speaking of the ‘Sixties counter-culture in England, look out also for this – (and the resulting exhibition – “The British Underground Press of the SixtiesRead More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 323

“Driving The Beat Road” Jeff Weiss recent detailed (and profusely illustrated ) survey, in The Washington Post, “in search of surviving members of the Beat Generation“,  is another  (well, we keep using this term, but it’s true) – “must-read”.

Weiss recounts the circumstances and the details of his interviews (conducted earlier this year) with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima, the novelist Herb Gold (“Gold would be the first to tell you that’s he’s not a Beat, but his legacy and historical context remain inextricable from his more well-branded peers”), and, in conclusion, … Read More

Gay Pride (Allen Ginsberg – Out Since The ‘Fifties)

[Plaque for Allen Ginsberg in San Francisco’s Castro, on the sidewalk, on the Rainbow Honor Walk]

Gay Pride – Allen Ginsberg –  LGBT hero –

Today, celebrating the day,  a little fugitive footage – queer tv – from Network Q’s,  “Out Across America” –  episode 35, from  September 1994 – (for the rest of this particular episode see here).

Filmmaker Jerry Aronson is interviewed, on a sunny day in Boulder, about his film “The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg,”   Allen makes a number of appearances.

Producer-director, David  Surber begins: “Our cinema feature this month is part … Read More

Peter Orlovsky Parinirvana

Peter Orlovsky’s Parinirvana.  Allen Ginsberg’s long-time companion, died, seven years ago, on this day.  Those who knew him will certainly never forget Peter. His remarkable and inspired book of poems, Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs, idiosyncratic spellings and all, is quite like any other book of poems. His papers (now residing at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin) yielded the posthumous companion-piece Peter Orlovsky – A Life In Words.  There is also the sadly-out-of-print 1980 volume, Straight Hearts’ Delight. We’ve quoted from it before. Here’s another letter from Peter … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 317

[Funeral for Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, May 26. 1997, Karme Choling, Tail of the Tiger Buddhist Meditation Center, Barnet, Vermont. Photo: Ray Ellis]

Today is the anniversary of Trungpa’s Rinpoche’s Buddhist cremation ceremony. Thirty years ago today, ‘”more than two thousand students and friends” gathered, “in a meadow ringed with pine and maple trees”, near Barnet, Vermont. (Karme Choling, Tail of the Tiger). Allen’s evocative and richly-detailed poem, (“I noticed the grass, I noticed the hills, I noticed the highways, I noticed the dirt road…”) ,”On Cremation of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Vidyadhara”, written shortly … Read More

Sunday May 21 (Robert Creeley)

[Robert Creeley (1926-2005)]

Robert Creeley continued (from yesterday)

Sunday May 21 – Robert Creeley’s birthday today.

We continue with our transcript of his 1976 Bay Area Writers reading

RC  I thought possibly to read a few of the poems that would’ve come from that time of ..of being in the city…just seeing their titles and…let’s see…”The Bed”  [continues searching] – oh well.. this may get so awkward I won’t bother to ….

Jack’s Blues was sort of written with Jack (Kerouac)  in mind (“I’m going to roll a monkey and smoke it…’…’gone like a sad old candle”) … Read More