Allen Ginsberg and “The Shrouded Stranger”

[Lamont Cranston – The Shadow –  “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”]

AG: This isn’t in the the same meter (as Tom O’ Bedlam) but it’s a similar theme – [Allen next proceeds to read, in its entirety, his poem “The Shrouded Stranger“] – So that was somewhat the same theme. And then (Jack) Kerouac, at the same time, was saying, or conceiving.. We were discussing the notion of the shrouded stranger, a ghostly figure, or, you know, a shroud of New York, a shroud of the East River.  So he wrote up… … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 349

Opening tonight in New York, at the New York Public Library, You Say You Want A Revolution – Remembering the Sixties – a comprehensive exhibition, drawn from the library’s holdings, “exploring the breadth and significance of this pivotal era—from communal living and forays into expanded consciousness to tensions around race, politics, sexuality, and the environment”.  Items on display, include manuscripts from Allen, (and from Burroughs and Kerouac), “Changing of the Guards”, (an original typescript by Bob Dylan),  and notations from Timothy Leary on his LSD research, (alongside much else).

It’s Edgar Allan Poe‘s birthday today! – … Read More

The Night Before Christmas

Suitably seasonal – Bob Dylan reads “A Visit From St. Nicholas”  (“The Night Before Christmas”), a poem first published, anonymously, in 1823, and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837. (Some commentators now believe that the poem was actually  written by one Henry Livingston Jr.).

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”

[from Mad magazine’s (Jan 1960 parody – New Mad “Hip” Version -“‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the pad/Not a hipster was stirring not even old Dad..”… Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 342

[Paul Blackburn and company, from the Paul Blackburn papers, Mandeville Special Collections Library, University of California, San Diego]

More big news, archival news, the Paul Blackburn audio collection, long in the safe-keeping of the Archive for New Poetry at the University of California, San Diego, the great trove of New York City poetry recordings (“the most comprehensive oral history of the New York poetry scene between the late 1950s and 1970.”, in the words of Blackburn editor and scholar Edith Jarolim), has finally been digitalized and is now available on line.

The first release of this collection includes … Read More

More on Metrics – 2

[Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco, 1956 – Photograph by Harry Redl]

Allen Ginsberg continues, lecturing his Naropa students on metrics

AG: “Moloch who’s eyes….. da da-da da, da-da da da , da-da da ,da-da da-da da, da-da.. And if you have a gang of choruses going bop-pa-pa-bom, bop-pa-pa-bom, you’ve got something very powerful going on And so, in.. without knowing it, just intuitively, I was using choriambic and variations of choriambic meters, in the Moloch section of “Howl” – “Moloch-who’s-eyes-are-a-thous-and-blind-wind-ows” – (da-da da da-da da da-da da da-da) – “thousand-blind-windows”, “thousand-blind-wind..” “Moloch-who’s-eyes-are-a-thous-and-blind-wind-ows” – So it’s a combination of choriambic … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 328

[Allen Ginsberg among the boxes and archives at Stanford]

The treasure-trove that is the recently-digitalized Stanford archive is starting to unpack itself. Last week, Jay Barmann at the SFist, spotlighted a particularly choice gem (two gems, in fact) – Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, talking backstage, on December 11, 1965, in San Francisco, and then Dylan performing an entire concert with a band. “It comes”, he notes, “via Dylan fan and YouTuberist Keith Gubitz, who, simultaneously, has uploaded a second, similar recording, from December 12, 1965 in San Jose — the latter includes some chatter at the beginning between … 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

The 1973 Glasgow Review Interview

 [Allen Ginsberg at his 1973 Glasgow Press Conference]

We featured here last week, Allen’s interview in 1973 in Scottish International. Featured today is a companion piece from The Glasgow Review  (drawing from the same press conference).  The piece was initially titled “Of Burns and Watergate” (referring to the two main topics).

Interviewer; What do you think of the present state of the Watergate affair?

AG: Well what the underground both in America and England have been saying for a long time now has become accepted currency in the minds of the above-ground, middle-class media. The specific conceptions that are … Read More

Bob Dylan’s Mother

[Bob Dylan, alongside his mother, Beatrice (“Beatty”) Rutman, at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, Washington DC,  1997]

AG: [speaking in 1980, to his Naropa students] – I had supper…  I had lunch with Bob Dylan’s mother  (It was funny ..). She was very plump. She goes in a house with wall-to-wall carpeting and plates on the wall, and little gimmicks and geegaws, and bowls that she picked up from her travels to Las Vegas, (or) Scottsdale, Arizona, where her daughter is… {editorial note -Allen is confused here, Dylan doesn’t have a sister, just a younger brother, Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 319

“Hates dull teachers and Republicans,” , “May all of your 50 children be Democrats” – Yesterday an inscribed copy of Allen’s 1943 Paterson High School yearbook went up for auction (see here for a detailed earlier report)

The estimated value was $3,000-$5,000.  It apparently didn’t  meet that reserve price – too high?

More on the recent digitalization of “Howl”  (recently reported on here and here – and here)

“I don’t think he would be out of touch with the role of history in the last few months,…He’d be pushing for the ouster of Trump. He’d be in the … Read More