Allen Ginsberg on David Letterman Show, 1982

Allen’s late-night American tv appearances – We’ve already featured a previous one (from May 10, 1994 on the Conan O’Brien tv show) –  here’s another appearance, the previous decade, (from “Late Night With David Letterman” – this program was broadcast on June 10, 1982, on NBC)

Memorable is Letterman’s shocking confession that he hadn’t actually read On The Road !  Also, we vividly recall Allen taking up sixty valuable seconds of network time, with a discomforting (for Letterman and for NBC) on-air meditation  (Letterman getting increasingly antsy) – it seems that segment is missing from this version. Perhaps someone … 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

Allen Ginsberg in Austin – Interview – 1978

Interviewer: So we want to figure out what’s best, you know, what will be most comfortable for you. What I want to do is an oral history of the ‘Sixties and Austin’s an interesting area because there’s a major university with a lot of anti-war… There was a segregtion case, a very famous law case here in 1959. There’s been an awful lot of work with the valley farm workers and Chicanos, plus we”ve got the Rothschilds here [sic], we’ve got all of LBJ‘s legacy. Basically, Austin’s sort of conservative but with the university and the State Capitol here, … Read More

Bonnie Bremser

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Yesterday we spotlighted Ray Bremser, today we spotlight his sometime-wife Bonnie (nee Frazer) Bremser and the extraordinary document Troia-Mexican Memoirs (1969) (published in England as For Love of Ray (1971)), a “lost classic of Beat experimental writing.”

Heike Mlakar, in her 2007 book, Merely Being There Is Not Enough – Women’s Roles in Autobiographical Texts by Female Beat Writers, notes:

“The male-dominated Beat circle offered women only restricted freedom. For The Love of Ray, as well as the memoirs of other Beat women, criticizes the fact that women were doubly suppressed, by “square” society at … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 300

[“Ground Zero for the Beat Generation” – Unidentified Woman reading from “Howl” inside the 7 Arts Coffee Gallery in New York City, c.1957 – Photograph by Dave Heath]

No Friday-Round Up last week, so a little catch up today, starting with Sean Elder’s Gary Snyder interview, “National Treasure,” in Lion’s Roar.

 [Gary Snyder at the Center For Interfaith Relations’ 2014 Festival of Faiths: Sacred Earth, Sacred Self]

GS: “The first time I met Allen Ginsberg was at Rexroth’s house—Allen had just come up from Mexico. The first time I saw  Kerouac was when Allen brought him to … Read More

Ginsberg-Taylor-Orlovsky-Pickard 1979 Warwick continued

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[Allen Ginsberg and Steven Taylor, 1979]

Allen Ginsberg, Steven Taylor, Peter Orlovsky and Tom Pickard reading at Warwick University, November,  1979  continues from here

AG: Steven Taylor, please favor us with a song (Steven Taylor being a poet as well as being a musician)

ST: I’m going to sing a song that I wrote after first reading the poetry of Anna Akhmatova, the Russian woman poet who was banned by (Joseph) Stalins government in 1929 and was not published after that time. She identified with the wife of Lot in the Bible, who was turned … Read More

Quentin Crisp

[Allen Ginsberg with writer, raconteur, wit, Quentin Crisp, at the Kiev Restaurant, NYC, 1995]

Seventeen years since the passing of Quentin Crisp, the unforgettable Quentin Crisp. Crisperanto – The Quentin Crisp Archives – are lovingly and comprehensively curated by archivist/curator Phillip Ward.   So much extraordinary material there.  Don’t miss it. Here’s just a little sampling of the man himself, starting with his acting debut in the 1967 short, Captain Busby (based on a surreal poem by Philip O’Connor)

And Bernard Braden’s BFI interview the following year (“the year “ The Naked Civil Servant” was first published and … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round Up – 293

Bob Dylan, The Mann Center, Philadelphia, July 13, 2016. via Bill’s Music Blog

So Bob Dylan won’t be heading over to Sweden to pick up his Nobel Prize for Literature on December the 10th. The Swedish Academy said Wednesday that Dylan told them he “wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments made it unfortunately impossible”. He is still, however, required to give a Nobel lecture some time between now and next June.

Rolling Stone announces it here, The Guardian here, here in the New York Times.

More Dylan news – and a must-read – (in … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 292

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It’s been a monumental week.   Here at the Ginsberg blog now on Ginsberg.org we’re transitioning (as you see) from our old site to our new presence (part of the spruce-up of the entire site). Some work remains, protecting and reconstituting our archives, (not to mention, other aspects of the site), meticulously going through old posts one-by-one, so bear with us.

Meanwhile, like the rest of the world, still reeling, Here’s the ACLU’s statement.

Not enough that a madman is handed keys to the world.   The death, yesterday, aged 82, of poet-troubadour legendary rock star, Leonard Cohen.  R.I.P.

Rolling Read More