Allen Ginsberg at Cheltenham 1993

Allen Ginsberg, in 1993, reading at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in England. The feature today on The Allen Ginsberg Project. Allen reads a selectionof poems, (mostly from White Shroud and the, subsequently-published Cosmpolitan Greetings

Introduction: Good evening everybody and some of you I’m sure came to the event where Allen Ginsberg was being interviewed by John Calder here today and will have suffered as Mr Ginsberg did the problems of the weather and British Rail. Years ago Allen Ginsberg wrote of Jack Kerouac that he was the sole full-moving thing, earlier today I’m afraid Allen Ginsberg was the sole un-moving … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 316

[Allen Ginsberg with Jon Sholle at the recording for Allen Ginsberg/William Blake – The Songs of Innocence and Experience]

Excited to have received early advance copies  of  Pat Thomas‘ remarkable follow-up to the The Last Word on First Blues  CD-set, (release-date isn’t until June 23) – the  two-CD re-packaging of the Blake songs – The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience.

For a previous announcement on that important and highly-anticipated project – see here

Did we mention, May 8th, Gary Snyder‘s recent 87th birthday – this?  (an extensive and illuminating interview in Lion’s Roar ) –  … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 313

[Allen Ginsberg reading and lecturing in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, 1993]

Allen’s new book, The Best Minds of My Generation, selections from Allen’s lectures (not to be confused with the lectures transcribed here on the Allen Ginsberg Project), “mercifully reduced to 455 pages, shorn of repetitions, student interventions and Ginsberg’s habit of beginning every sentence with “So” – (sic) – as the reviewer in the London Times would have it) continues to impress one and all.

Here’s an excerpt from Gaby Wood‘s review in London’s Daily Telegraph:

“Lovingly edited from recordings by Bill Morgan, who has … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 312

Great news! – Omnivore Recordings, and Pat Thomas, (who gave us last year the extraordinary The Last Word on First Blues), are issuing, as a two-CD package, Allen Ginsberg’s The Complete Songs Of Innocence And Experience,  is both a reissue of Allen’s original Blake release from 1969 on MGM, with the unreleased 1971 recording sessions that were to be Blake Volume 2.  The release will include, along with the two CDs, a booklet featuring several unseen photos, alongside revealing new interviews, conducted by Thomas himself, with the original session musicians. Release-date is June 23.  For more … Read More

John Donne – 15 (Conclusion)

Allen Ginsberg on John Donne concludes

AG: There is a poem of (John) Donne‘s which is not in the book which I would like to lay out. I think it may be his last poem or toward his last poem, his last, death, poem – “A Hymn to God The Father”, which doesn’t seem to be in this book, though it’s one of his best, in terms of puns. There is a late poem on death, at the end here (of your book), “Hymn To God In My Sickness, but I’ll read this other one because … Read More

Body & Soul – John Donne continues (John Donne -12)

[The Reunion of the Soul & the Body – William Blake – Etching – 296 mm x 232 mm – illustration to Robert Blair’s “The Grave” (1808) ]

Allen Ginsberg’s comments on John Donne’s “The Ecstasy” continues.

AG: So…. “That abler soul which hence doth flow/Defects of loneliness controls” – (controls the defect of being lonely – it’s just an inversion in the syntax there that makes it a little confusing – that love, that the abler soul controls loneliness’s defects ) – “We then, who are this new soul, know” – (in other words,, they get smart,, they … Read More

Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Conclusion)

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Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Naropa class on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, continuing from here, concludes today. 

Student: Are there (Greek) epic poetry rhymes like this? (like Shakespeare’s Sonnets’ sequence)?

AG: Yes, some are. Some of them are very complicated. Well, not necessarily rhymes. I don’t think that Homer is rhymed, is it? – Homer ain’t rhymed, (but) Homer is just as complicated and different in other ways (Homer’s measured by the vowel-lengths of things – hexameter) – but it’s longer No, (Sir Philip Sidney’s) “Astrophel and Stella”, I think, is a longer Sonnet sequence, possibly.. Others.. There’s ones that mention … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading At Warwick University, 1979

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[Allen Ginsberg at the Atheneum Bookshop, Amsterdam, November 1979. photo: Hans van Dijk / Dutch National Archives]

Allen Ginsberg Reading At Warwick University, 1979  (continuing from yesterday)

AG: I’ll begin since – oh we were discussing the subject . I’ll begin with a song dedicated to another fellow in prison, David Solomon who’s in Brighton…in Bristol jail, as he was sentenced to ten years as part of that big LSD conspiracy bust about a year or two ago – what was the name of that? Julie Operation Julie

[Allen sings a version of “Dope Fiend Blues”- “Dope Fiend Blues Shuffle”]… Read More

Poetic Inspiration

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Student: Spirit?

AG: As respiration, inspiration, spiritus, Holy Spirit! (the holy breath)…let me see what it says here [Allen points to his book (a dictionary)] – I don’t think this is etymological.. it may be…let’s see.. “spiritus” – How many did not know spirit meant breath, breathing? – and how many knew? [show of hands] – That proves it. Most knew. In other words, it’s known.

Peter Orlovsky:  (I suppose) “Spirit”  (is) when you die you go up to heaven.

AG: Well, you go into the air. You fade into the air. [Allen, reading from the dictionary] – “… Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading in Baltimore -1978 -1

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[Allen Ginsberg, performing at the Maryland Institute College of Art via MICA Digital Initiatives Unit]

Last weekend we featured a reading by Allen at the Maryland Institute of Art dating from 1969 (one of a number of extraordinary tapes recently digitalized and made available on-line by the Institute’s Decker Library). Today we feature another from that trove, Allen reading and performing at that same venue almost a decade later. Once again, alongside his own work, (accompanied by the ubiquitous harmonium, and a hastily picked-up, confessedly under-rehearsed, guitar-player – “Hoppy from The Moronics”), he performs versions of William Blake, Read More