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

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 304

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[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

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

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 299

The Best Minds of My Generation – Very pleased to announce a new Allen Ginsberg publication (due out in April)  from Grove Press – “A Literary History of the Beats” –  (“A unique and compelling history of the Beats, in the words of the movements most central member, Allen Ginsberg, based on a seminal series of his lectures”), edited, (as judiciously and informatively as ever), by Beat scholar, and our good friend, Bill Morgan

From the Grove Press web-site:

“In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem “Howl” and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Allen Ginsberg … Read More