Henry Ferrini – Kerouac and Olson

Henry Ferrini’s impressionistic evocative Lowell Blues (2000) is a honeyed melancholic visual poem (somewhat imposed upon in this version by Journeyman Pictures intrusive logo!), with home-town boy Jack Kerouac’s words always at the center, featuring Lee Konitz’s mournful alto sax, and distinctive readings of Kerouac’s distinctive prose, by such distinctive voices as (those clearly belonging to) Robert Creeley, Gregory Corso, Carolyn Cassady, Johnny Depp, David Amram.. We even catch isolated fragments of Kerouac himself.

Henry’s most recent (2007) movie about the great poet-historian Charles Olson and his home town, the fishing port of Gloucester, Massachusetts, can be viewed, in its … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 23

[Allen Ginsberg, stopped along the road on his trip from Montana, to meet Nanao Sakaki, Chogyam Trungpa, Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das, in New Mexico, early June 1972, a week or so after the story mentioned below. photo likely snapped by Tsultrim Alione, with Allen’s camera]

Kim Seong-Kon, a professor at Seoul National University, bemoans the weakness of his country’s intellectuals, and holds up Allen as a model for independent thought (and action!), in an article for the (English-language)Korea Herald – Where is Korea’s Allen Ginsberg?. “No hope Communism, no hope Capitalism..” – “Thirty years have passed, and yet … Read More

Carolyn Cassady’s Birthday

[Carolyn Cassady]

Carolyn Elizabeth Robinson from Lansing, Michigan, Carolyn Cassady, is 88 years old today. [April 2013, she makes 90 & see note on her passing in September 2013 – here]

“The only reason anyone’s interested in me is because I was married to Neal Cassady and the lover of Jack Kerouac”, she declares, forthrightly, at the outset, in the trailer for the new documentary movie Love Always, Caroline, a movie made by two Swedish women, Maria Ramstrom and Malin Korkeasalo, on her blessed and cursed life (a blessed one, mostly!). “This is a film about a … Read More

Rimbaud via Ashbery

May 16 is the official publication date, but we couldn’t hold off posting a note about this much-anticipated book from Norton – John Ashbery’s translations of Arthur Rimbaud’s Les Illuminations. Read Fertile Destabilization – On Translating Rimbaud’s Illuminations, Ashbery’s note in the current Poetry magazine, and also The Illuminated Text, his phone-interview with Claude Peck for the on-line Rain Taxi. Check out too the video of him reading (at the New School, a few months back) one of the translations in the book, “Promontory”. “This is the book that made poetry modern”, writes poet J.D.McClatchy, “and John … Read More

Hart Crane’s Jump

 [Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 – April 27, 1932, photograph by Walker Evans]

Today marks the anniversary of the tragic death of the great American poet, Hart Crane (soon to be portrayed in the movie, The Broken Tower, by “our very own” James Franco!). Poete maudit, legendary suicide (“goodbye everybody!”) – Janet Hamill has most of the basic details.

Here’s William Logan in Poetry magazine, around the time of the publication of the Library of America’s edition of Crane’s Complete Poems, writing in defense of his less-than-committed response (“I’ve always loved Hart Crane, but I love him in fractions”): … Read More

Ira Cohen (1935-2011)

[Ira Cohen 2003, photo taken by Goerg Gatsas]

“Working at the Buddha factory, I dreamt one day I would be free”. Poet, publisher, photographer, film-maker, legendary “Beat” presence, Ira Cohen died last night in Manhattan. He was 76. For more on his considerable life-time achievement see here. For videos of him reading his poetry see here,  here, and here interview with him for Jacket magazine may be read here. R.I.P. Ira.… Read More

Allen Ginsberg and Paul McCartney

Every so often we go trolling through ABE books, looking at all the high-end Ginsberg items, Did you know a signed first-edition (first printing) of Howl in the proper (pristine) condition (Howl’s first printing was actually a small mimeo edition, circulated privately among friends) can set you back over 5000 dollars? One interesting item we noticed was this, Allen’s inscribed copy of his (UK) 1967 Cape Goliard volume, TV Baby Poems, inscribed to Beatle Paul McCartney and then re-inscribed “To R von Kauffungen, who bought this copy in N.Y. at a book fair 1978″. “It is … Read More

Ginsberg and Shakespeare

Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday.“When icicles hang by the wall/And Dick the shepherd blows his nail”Allen particularly liked that line, and the whole “Song” (from Love’s Labors Lost (1598)),he taught it on several occasions. A recording of his January 1980 class in “Basic Poetics”, at NAROPA has him reading the poem and remarking on it (the reading and commentary take place about four minutes in).In July 1984, he came back to it in his class, situating it, as he had before, in the context of his Mind Writing Slogans, accuracy, precision (the reading of the … Read More

Fridays Weekly Round-Up 22

[Patrick Fischler – the next Irwin Garden/Allen Ginsberg?]

Those Beat movies just keep on coming. Last week, we mentioned the film adaptation of The Beat Hotel. This week the hot news is that Kerouac’s Big Sur is being adapted as a movie. Not that it hasn’t already been. Curt Worden’s 2008 documentary, One Fast Move or I’m Gone covers pretty much the same territory. Joseph Jon Lanthier’s review of that movie, for Slant magazine, can be found here. But this is adaptation, not documentation, so we’re talking On The Road 2 here! Jean-Marc Barr has been cast as … Read More

More Beat Treasures (SFSU)

[Allen Ginsberg reading at SFSU, November 1955. Photo c. Walter Lehrman.]

Following our news of the UND tapes, more archival gems, we are happy to report, are emerging. The poetry archive, The American Poetry Archives at The Poetry Center at the State University of San Francisco has been hard at work digitalizing its unparalleled collection (“over 4,000 hours of unique original audio and video master recordings, 1954-present”). The Poetry Center Digital Archive, as it’s so named, is now up and running and an absolute must-visit spot. You can access their growing collection here (the full Poetry Center

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