60th Anniversary of the Howl Verdict

Today is an historic day.  The 60th anniversary of the landmark Free Speech verdict. On this day in 1957, Judge Clayton Horn declared that “Howl” was not obscene.

As he announced:

“I do not believe that “Howl” is without redeeming social importance. The first part of “Howl” presents a picture of a nightmare world; the second part is an indictment of those elements in modern society destructive of the best qualities of human nature; such elements are predominantly identi­fied as materialism, conformity, and mechanization leading toward war. The third part presents a picture of an individual who is … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 331

[Allen Ginsberg, 1968.  Photo: Larry Keenan Jr.]

More Ginsberg memories (see last week) – Judy Goldhaft, director of The Planet Drum Foundation, recollects an unusual seder:

“For the first time since the crucifixion, there was a total lunar eclipse on the night of the seder in 1968. That apparently happened also on the night of the Last Supper and we were all aware of this. We had a seder near Duboce Park. [San Francisco] The Hells Angels were there and the Diggers were there. My son asked the Four Questions, and…asked  Allen Ginsberg [as tradition … Read More

Saturday May 20 (Robert Creeley)

Robert Creeley would have been ninety-one tomorrow, May 21st (he died in 2005). In honor of the great man and his birthday, we present, this weekend, another transcription from the extraordinary Bay Area Writers series (from back in 1975-76) – (see also here and here) – Rudimentary recording equipment, so there are, understandably, a few technical problems (particularly at the beginning and the end of tape one (the main tape) but.. what a treasure! , what a remarkable record!

RC: I’m curious, like.. I gather some of you.. that this is a class for some of you and some … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 314

Very pleased to note that the Allen Ginsberg Archive at Stanford University has just recently gotten around to providing, for on-line study, a digitalized copy of the iconic “Howl” manuscript/typescript ( an endlessly fascinating document, featuring Allen’s various autograph corrections and annotations)

Allen sent the first six pages of this manuscript to Jack Kerouac, and Kerouac later sent them on to John Clellon Holmes. Holmes notes receipt on the top right-hand-corner, first page – “sent by Kerouac to me, Aug. 30, 1955 / JCH.”

[Jimmy Page and William Burroughs]

Jimmy Page, legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist just recently … 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

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

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 295

howl-and-kaddish

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[Two early French editions from 10/18, Editions Christian Bourgois]

 

The European Beat Studies Network’s 2017 Annual Conference, the sixth, (this past year (2016), it was held in Manchester, England), will have a decidedly Francophile bent this coming year – “Paris Interzone – The Transcultural Beat Generation (Collaboration, Edition, Translation)”.

From the announcement by the conference organizers:

“This year’s conference will honor and address the key role that the French capital and Francophone cultures have played in the transculturalism of the Beats, by welcoming submissions in both French and English and holding a plenary session on language barriers and … Read More

Michael McClure’s Mephistos

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[Michael McClure, Mephistos & Other Poems, City Lights Books, November 2016]

Michael McClure‘s new book of poems has just been released by City Lights:    “A landmark work of bio-romanticism, Mephistos and Other Poems is (McClure’s) first completely new collection in five years…. The title sequence, “Mephistos” stems from (his) ongoing “grafting” experiment, growing new poems from fragments of his older works. “Some Fringes: is a series of haiku-like nature poems, while the seventeen-part “Rose Breaths” derives from the poet’s practice of meditation. The freestanding poems grouped under the title “Being:” pay homage to many of McClure’s collaborators and fellow … Read More