Cool Beat

[Allen Ginsberg – photo by Art Perry]

Ten years on from the publication of Lewis MacAdams’ The Birth of Cool (a cultural history of the term), and over fifty years since the first publication of such seminal Beat texts as Alan Watts’ “ Beat Zen, Square Zen, Zen ” and Norman Mailer’s “The White Negro ”, film-maker, Zen priest, and all-around agent provocateur Noah Buschel sets the cat among the pigeons with his little essay for Hammer to Nail on-line magazine, Obliterate the New Hipster . “True mavericks like Gary Snyder and Phil Whalen and Don Cherry”, he writes, “have … Read More

Holy March 30 (Carl Solomon)

[Carl Solomon and Allen Ginsberg at the West End bar, New York City, 1978. photo. c. Michael Uffer]

“Holy Peter, holy Allen, holy Solomon…”

“Carl Solomon, I’m with you in Rockland..” Carl Solomon (1928-1993), famed dedicatee of Howl, was born on this date,March 30. < Footage of Allen (accompanied by Ed Sanders) reciting the Heart Sutra, in memoriam, on the occasion of his passing, can be found here

Allen, quoted in Spin magazine, July 1997: “I had a great dream the other day of Carl Solomon, who died several years ago. I meet him in the afterlife and say, “How is it there?” He says, “Oh, just like the mental hospital, you get along if you know the rules”. I say well, what … Read More

Looking Back On The Chicago Conspiracy Trial

[Allen Ginsberg – Drawing by David Levine from The New York Review of Books, Feb 12 1970]

The death last week of Leonard Weinglass, “perhaps the nation’s pre-eminent progressive defense lawyer”, calls up memories of 1968 and the subsequent Chicago Conspiracy trial (or Chicago Seven – or Chicago Eight – trial) . Weinglass alongside William Kunstler were the two heroic defense attorneys; Allen was a memorable, spirited, witness for the defense. Jason Epstein’s definitive article, in the February 12 1970 edition of The New York Review of Books, about Allen’s participation (The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: Allen Ginsberg

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Belatedly Annotating Kaddish

Here’s an interesting curio sent on to us by Micah Berul, one of Allen’s ex-students from Brooklyn College, who writes: “Going through some old things, (I) came across an essay on “Kaddish” (that) I wrote while a student of Allen’s…in 1995 or 1996, in his class, “A Literary History of the Beat Generation”” (editor’s note: Allen taught classes under this heading both at NAROPA and at Brooklyn, most notably, in 1987 in Brooklyn, along with a reading series under that title). Micah goes on: “He was kind enough to mail me my essay back after the semester ended with his … Read More

Frank O’Hara

[Frank O’Hara. Still from Frank O’Hara reading “Fantasy” March 5, 1966, viewable at ]

Still from Frank O’Hara reading “Fantasy” March 5, 1966, viewable at Today is Frank  O’Hara’s Birthday – This is Frank reading “Fantasy (Dedicated to the Health of Allen Ginsberg”

Happy Birthday, Frank! and here from ABE books is, what the bookseller refers to as a “talismanic object” Allen on O’Hara (writing, November 1966, in The Village Voice): “He (O’Hara) was at the center of an extraordinary poetic era…which gives his poetry its sense of historic monumentality. And he integrated purely personal life … Read More

Song (“The Weight of The World..”)

[Ragnar Kjartansson via Little Scandinavian]

We forgot to mention yesterday that Ragnar Kjartansson continues, indeed is close to concluding, his site-specific performance(s) of “Song”, which opened, earlier this month, at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art. “For “Song”, the museum tells us, Kjartansson “wished to abandon the brutal masculinity of Viking landscapes and suits of armor for the peacefulness of family and femininity embodied by his (three) nieces, their voices echoing in the Hall of Sculpture as they sing the central lyric: The weight of the world/is love..” Those words repeated over and over. Here’s Allen reading the poem … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 18

[Allen Ginsberg 25th Anniversary Reading of Howl, 1981 – photo by Marvin Moore]

Marvin Moore’s extraordinary picture of an ecstatic Allen reading from Howl at Columbia University in 1981, on the occasion of the poem’s 25th anniversary, heads up our weekly round-up. Further images (a studio portrait (from 1985), two portraits of Allen in the street (from the same day) and Allen and Peter in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1992) can be accessed here. Check out his website for more indepth look at his work. Two new Allen biographies that we’re looking forward to – Well, Steve Finbow … Read More

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights Bookstore editorial office, North Beach, San Francisco, May 22, 1988. Photo. c. Allen Ginsberg]

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is 92 today. Can it really be the same Lawrence Ferling(hetti) who is featured here Ferlinghetti’s page at City Lights and the center for all Ferlinghetti information is here. Here’s him reading and speaking on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of City Lights Bookstore in 2003 His most recent poem, “Song of the Third World Birds” was published just a few weeks ago, March 2nd, in his local rag, the San Francisco Chronicle, and, we’ve linked to it … Read More

Beat Atlas by Bill Morgan

Bill Morgan’s new book is just out from City Lights.Rick Dale of The Daily Beat, one of the earliest reviews, gives it an enthusiastic “thumbs-up” – “I absolutely love this book. It’s quirky, interesting, and practical.. Beat Atlas has my highest recommendation”.

Nancy Peters, in her introduction, writes “Bill Morgan provides a comprehensive bird’s-eye view of the proto-Beat presence across America, and this alone illuminates an important area of literary history and geography. But even better, he also maps the complex, ever widening nexus of poets and visionaries who, for half a century, wrote to each other, performed together, supported … Read More