Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 12


Allen and Jack – The Letters

Ellen Pearlman‘s recent review of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters in the current Brooklyn Rail, reminded us again (as if we needed reminding!) of the centrality and importance of that book. We noted it here last year, both pre-publication, Publisher’s Weekly, and post-publication (a whole slew of reviews, seven in fact, including two in the New York Times!). Amplifying that link that leads you to those reviews, here’s links to a whole bunch more.  Michael Dirda’s review in The Washington Post can be found here. Donald Faulkner for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, here, Paul Maher’s thoughtful piece for PopMatters here Michael H Miller writes in the New York Observer, and Kathleen Daley in the New Jersey Star Ledger. Jonah Raskin’s review (for the Beat Studies Association) may be accessed here. Granta, the English magazine, as well as featuring excerpts from the book, featured in its July 2010 coverage, a fine interview with editor, our dear friend, Bill Morgan.

Ellen Pearlman in her essay, writes:

What is clear from reading through these 450 pages of Kerouac’s and Ginsberg’s correspondence is how absolutely certain they both were of success, of the impeccability of their vision, the importance of their work, and of the snobbery and ignorance endemic in much of the publishing and literary worlds


Interestingly, that chimes in with another recent posting on Allen. Bob Ingram, writing in The Broad Street Review, about the legendary “underground newspapers”, Underground Newspapers: The First Blogs, and, in particular, his tenure, “back in the seventies”, as editor of the Philadelphia “alternative newspaper”, The Drummer:

Hell, even Andrew Wylie, now the arch-druid of today’s literary agents, wrote for The Drummer with his partner, the elfin Victor Bockris, under the byline Bockris-Wyle. I remember they did a two-part interview with the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. I was at my desk in The Drummer’s office on Germantown Avenue in Nicetown, typing Ginsberg’s name for some reason, when the phone rang and – lo and behold – it was Allen himself.

“Wow, Allen, man,” I exclaimed. “I was just typing your name.”

He replied he didn’t have time for any metaphysical bullshit; he wanted to correct some errors in Bockris-Wylie’s interviews so that literary critics 50 years later would have the right information. That’s how sure he was of his place in American poetry.

Speaking of rave reviews, here’s a nice one of Allen’s current London photo show, by a self-confessed “massive fan of the Beats”, in Lomography magazine. The title, The Photographic Genius of Allen Ginsberg, says it all.


Last week, we noted Allen’s doodles and some of his more inspired, more sophisticated, drawings and inscriptions – stumbled across this 1994 drawing this week (for the New York book-seller, Paul Rickert). Ah!

There must be a whole bunch of such mini-masterpieces out there.

Meantime, to give this whole topic some kind of context, here’s an overview, Idle Doodles by Famous Authors, by Emily Temple (“After all, John Keats”, she writes, “doodled flowers in the margins of his manuscripts..”)

Rainbow Honor Walk

As reported in The Advocate. (Will Kane in the San Francisco Chronicle breaks the story), Allen is one of the first batch of twenty people (“chosen by local residents and merchants”) to be celebrated, literally, on the streets of the Castro, on the Rainbow Honor Walk. An equivalent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame it’s proposed there be a strip along Market and Castro Street with name-plaques and everything, “that recognizes LGBT notables” – Like who?.. well, among the first twenty names, Oscar Wilde, Frida Kahlo and….Allen Ginsberg!

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