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

The Decline of English Poetry

[William Cowper (1731-1800) – “… William Cowper, who was completely crazy …”]

Allen’s been discussing the poems of Robert Herrick

AG: There’s a nice, … but then, something that happens now, from here on out. It started. You got a shot of it in (John) Donne with that masochistic religion, and the interiorization of the spirit into some kind of deus ex machina outside, on the other side of the clouds, that’s supposed to come and rape your mind. And then, from then on, there’s all these different varieties..it gets squeezed..English poetry gets squeezed more and more into this … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 325

Allen Ginsberg in the Archives at Stanford University

Today big news to report, Stanford University have finally completed a monumental task – the audio/video elements that were reformatted from the Ginsberg papers are now available as streaming media through their catalog. We’ll be focusing more on this in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile to access the Ginsberg catalog immediately – see here

(and read Stanford’s announcement of this, indeed,  major “cause for celebration” – here)

Today, please be aware,  is Hart Crane‘s birthday (born 1899. died off the Gulf of Mexico).

Allen to his Naropa students (in 1978):  “Does … Read More

More Metrics

[The Foot]

[Human Spine Anatomy]

AG: .Well, the feet would be the… well, basically, the number of stresses in a line would be the number of feet, basically, number of stresses, as distinct from syllables. And a foot would be a varied kind of feet (da-da, da-da, da-da, da-da) – Tyger, Tyger ( da-da, da-da – da-da da) – So there’s four feet in “Tyger, Tyger burning bright” (that’s four feet -right?) – I think the Greek word is “metron” maybe for measure..I don’t know, I’ll have to check that out – hard to find a Greek nomenclature … 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 – 323

“Driving The Beat Road” Jeff Weiss recent detailed (and profusely illustrated ) survey, in The Washington Post, “in search of surviving members of the Beat Generation“,  is another  (well, we keep using this term, but it’s true) – “must-read”.

Weiss recounts the circumstances and the details of his interviews (conducted earlier this year) with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima, the novelist Herb Gold (“Gold would be the first to tell you that’s he’s not a Beat, but his legacy and historical context remain inextricable from his more well-branded peers”), and, in conclusion, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 322

The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience, as tuned by Allen Ginsberg on Omnivore Recordings  (first time on CD & digital, including rare and previously unreleased material).  As anticipated, the raves are coming in.

Here’s Thom Jurek on the allmusic web-site, singing the praises of what he refers to as a “treasure” of a document.

“It’s impossible to overestimate Ginsberg’s  influence on American culture; likewise, these recordings are nothing less than an integral, inseparable part of his oeuvre. It’s obvious that while Ginsberg took great delight in making these recordings, he also took them very seriously; his intent is … Read More

Ben Jonson on Shakespeare

AG: Well ,  I think people should go ahead and read the thing on Shakespeare      [Ben Jonson’s “To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr William Shakespeare”] by yourselves,

I won’t go over it, except a couple of phrases in here – (page 260)  [sic] -It’s a real good poem. It’s an interesting poem, and it’s well-written, and it’s very.. it’s full of energy, at a certain point – “I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!/ The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!” – (he really gets with it)

But.. later on, he has a … Read More

1974 – Scottish International Interview

[Allen Ginsberg – Photograph(s) by Ian Dryden]

We’ve previously featured here footage from Allen’s 1973 visit to Scotland     ( a reading for the Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow). We also featured some grainy footage (and some transcription from his press conference). Here (with some duplication) is the interview that appeared in Scottish International, September 1973. Allen, as a note in the magazine reveals, had been visiting with Chogyam Trungpa (in exile then in Scotland)  and the Buddhist community at Samye Ling monastery at Eskdalemuir, near Dumfries, as well as giving readings and traveling around.  He had also taken time … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 321

Today is the official release day for The Complete Songs Of Innocence And Experience, Allen’s Blake settings, re-released on CD and Digital by Omnivore Recordings, for the first time, (plus a second disc of rarities and previously unissued songs). For earlier announcements on the Allen Ginsberg Project  – see here and here.

 Gordon Ball (from Pat Thomas‘ illuminating and extensive accompanying booklet of sleeve-notes) in answer to the question, “Why William Blake?”::

“Allen always saw poetry and music as linked, not separate, art forms…and had a long history with Blake going back to that 1948 vision or … Read More