Hagiography – lives of the saints – Bill Morris’ provocative and challenging essay, published just before the New Year, has had a lot of us (including us here at The Allen Ginsberg Project) thinking. Creativity and biography, creation and mythography, what exactly is the relationship? Joe Woodward, an ex-student of Allen’s, writing in The Huffington Post, has an interesting take, remembering Allen’s “student potlucks” – (and for those further interested in Allen’s culinary and entertaining skills, we suggest you click here!)
“Ginsberg”, Woodward writes,” beyond the fireworks of his crazed life, was actually a driven, even ambitious, writer. This drive…allowed him to sidestep oblivion; his devotion to his art-making was his ladder over the crevice.” “I’ve haven’t viewed writers, or writing, or art-making”, he declares, “the same since.”
Allen in Vancouver
Memories of Allen continue to be evoked by the film release (and now the DVD/BlueRay release) of Howl. Canadian poets, George Bowering and Stan Persky are quoted in Tom Hawthorn’s article, “Remembering Ginsberg and the Summer of Poetry,” (that summer being 1963, date of the famous Vancouver Poetry Festival, organized by Warren Tallman –digitalized recordings by Fred Wah from that Conference are available online at the Slought Foundation)
Some Recent Reviews
Paul Buhle’s review of the recently-expanded City Lights edition of Kaddish, in Zeek, A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture is worth catching. And, speaking of Ginsberg City Lights reviews, Peter Conners’ dual Ginsberg-Leary biography continues to get good reviews, here’s another one that comes via Popmatters.
And here’s one on the new Howl DVD:
Howl has quite an excellent collection of extras. A making-of featurette titled, “Holy! Holy! Holy! The Making of Howl,” is a full 40 minutes, but also viewable as individual shorts. The topics range from Ginsberg and his story to cinematography and locations to set design, production & costume design to the animation used in the film and its dual directors. Using interviews with cast, crew, and Ginsberg collaborators, it provides an in-depth overview of the movie and its many facets. It’s also a nice departure from the typical, fluffy promotional piece.
People have been asking where’s the least expensive place to buy the Archer Prewitt designed Ginsberg figurine. We’ve seen it for as high as $60 (ouch!) So far it looks like Movie Replica Direct has the best deal at $39.95, but they’re backordered.
We’ll leave you with this beautiful recording of Allen’s 1977 reading of “Mind Breaths” at the 92nd St Y. (the entire evening is also available, and available for listening – here