Basquiat and Blake

[Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)]

[William Blake (1757-1827)]

August 12th – We remember two unlikely-to-be-yoked-together heroes. Jean-Michel Basquiat and William Blake, both of whom died on this day,

From the account of Blake’s death by his contemporary, George Richmond (to fellow Blake acolyte, Samuel Palmer) – “He died on Sunday night at 6 o’clock in a most glorious manner. He said He was going to the Country he had all His life wished to see & expressed Himself Happy, hoping for Salvation through Jesus Christ – Just before he died, His Countenance became fair, His eyes Brighten’d and He burst … Read More

Quit Speed – Allen Ginsberg’s 1967 Plea to Peter Orlovsky

August 10 – Fifty years ago today. Allen in London, writing to his beloved, Peter (Orlovsky) in New York City, warning him, pleading with him, about amphetamines (“meth”) – “I’d rather be with you than without you. Stop meth, cool everything, come over here”

Dear Peter,

Irving (Rosenthal) wrote and Barbara (Rubin) wrote, said you were on meth, then, thinking house was afire, window moldings bugged or electrified, etc, and had begun taking them out . I don’t know how far you are into that thought process, but I am worried about the house, my manuscripts, etc. I can’t … 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

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

1967- Ginsberg-Corso-Berryman at Spoleto

The recordings of Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso (and of an unlikely third-party, John Berryman, at the 1967 Festival of Two Worlds (“Festival dei Due Mondi”) at Spoleto in Italy, organized by Gian Carlo Menotti is the focus of this weekend’s post

[Allen Ginsberg, Spoleto, 1967]

Allen’s reading (which was also subsequently featured in the recording Ginsberg’s Thing (1969)), was the subject at the time of some controversy.   As his biographer Bill Morgan explains:

“The police in Spoleto seemed to be waiting for him and they picked up copies of the Italian translation of his poem “Who Be Kind Read More

Studs Terkel Interviews Allen Ginsberg, 1976 – part one

[Studs Terkel (1912-2008)]

We’ve already featured the classic 1959 Studs Terkel  WFMT radio interview with Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso in seven sections – here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

We also featured Allen and Philip Glass on Studs Terkel’s show in 1990 – here and here

We’ll be featuring, in the coming weeks, a third, a 1975 session with Allen and William Burroughs

but, first, this weekend, this, (courtesy George Drury and the remarkable trove which is the Studs Terkel Radio Archive) – Allen Ginsberg’s interview … 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 – 307

[Am I Going Anywhere? – artwork, 1990, by Allen Ginsberg  (courtesy of Steve Silberman)]

Michael Schumacher‘s revelationary collection of fugitive pieces, First Thought, Conversations With Allen Ginsberg, out just this month is a must-read.  Here’s an excerpt (Allen on the necessities of drug legalization) – but there’s so much more.

[Allen Ginsberg Campaigning For Drug Reform, New York City, 1963 – Photograph by Benedict Fernandez]

Lawrence Ferlinghetti will celebrate his 98th birthday next week. Here he is interviewed by Penelope Bloom Aprile a student at San Francisco’s  Yick Wo Elementary School.

From the interview:

PBA: … Read More