Silberman on Conners on Ginsberg & Leary

[Allen Ginsberg, Peggy Hitchcock, Timothy Leary and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, San Francisco, 1963. Photographer unknown. Courtesy Allen Ginsberg Collection/Stanford University]

The Plot to Turn on the World: The Leary/Ginsberg Acid Conspiracy

Our good friend, Steve Silberman, has just posted an extensive interview on his Neurotribes blog with Peter Conners, author of Ginsberg/Leary biography White Hand Society. Steve is master of the interview and this one is no exception. Though for certain Steve will fill you in, you can check out the table of contents and the first two chapters from Conners’ book here. Recent reviews (as we’ve previously noted) … Read More

Beat Musings 1995

[2012 update, unfortunately the segment that was the subject of this post has been pulled]

This surprisingly-sympathetic mainstream-media CBS News, Sunday Morning” segment (timed to coincide with the 1995 Lisa Phillips-curated “Beat Culture and the New America”show) has Richard Threllkald, CBS correspondent, interviewing Allen alongside Michael McClure. “Beat” is, retrospectively, defined as, “an overflowing of exuberance and good will”. Beat culture “wasn’t so much a rebellion as a proposition how to live”. Of contemporaneous times (1995): “They say the new generation is alienated, slacker, apathetic, deadened of feeling when actually there is an enormous amount of feeling … Read More

Beat Treasure – UND Writers Conference 1974

[The City Lights in North Dakota Conference, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, sponsored by the UND English Department, was the first of many Beat related conferences recognizing the cultural importance of the Beats. Clockwise from top left: Michael McClure,Gregory Corso, Miriam Patchen, Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Peter Orlovsky, Gary Snyder, Janie McClure, Shig Murao, Curator (name unknown – female), Joanne McClure Curator (name unknown – male),  March 18, 1974. – Photo by D.Sorensen ]

veritable trove of archival material has just been put on line by the University of North Dakota’s Chester Fritz Library – six (now

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Remembering Bob Kaufman

[Bob Kaufman 1925-1986]
April 18 is the birthday of the late great Bob KaufmanCranial Guitar, his Selected Poems from Coffee House Press, is certainly a good place to start – and check out in there the very useful (28-page) introduction by poet David Henderson (in fact, check out, if you can find it, Henderson’s 1991 NPR documentary (co-produced with Vic Bedoian), “Bob Kaufman, Poet”, it’s a remarkable work in and of itself). Another useful secondary source is A.D. Winans memoir, posted here. Jack Hirschman, at the “Does The Secret Mind Whisper?” celebrations, a … Read More

New York, 1967, What Was Happening?


[Still from What’s Happening? (1967)  (shown on Italian tv – watch – here]


“The prophecies of Marinetti are coming true some of them, the wilder, more poetic ones”, so, gleefully, declares Allen in this quintessentially 1967 documentary film by Antonello Branca, What’s Happening? What, indeed, is happening? Poets and painters and a brash New York City just for that moment in time and space come together. Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg candidly speak (Andy speaks!). Allen appears first (around six and a half minutes in) being interviewed as he walks along the street and then (circa … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 21

[Richard Prince – Untitled (hippie drawing, Allen Ginsberg), 2000-05 crayon and marker on paper]

Richard Prince’s show, American Prayer, which recently opened at, what shouldn’t appear so unlikely a location, the National Library (Bibliotheque Nationale) in Paris, includes, among other works, this work – and a self-professed Beat bibliophile fetish theme. Go here for videos of the show and of the artist. (Richard, incidentally, was, at one time, during the ’80’s, a downstairs neighbor (in Allen’s building on East 12th Street), (which, just conceivably, might be memorialized here, and is certainly – “My landlord informed me that

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Ginsberg and Genet

[Jean Genet and Allen Ginsberg in Chicago, August 1968. photographer unknown]
Jay Strauss writes to us: “In April 1986 I attended a reading at the Walt Whitman Center in Camden (New Jersey). I arrived early and Allen was there, along with a few other people, milling about. I had a two to three books which I asked him to sign. It was two days after (Jean) Genet died and so I asked him if he would write something for Genet. He asked me to follow him, behind the stage into a back room. He held out his hand and and
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Nanda & Luca – Ginsberg in translation 3 – Italy

[ Fernanda Pivano with Allen Ginsberg, Conegliano, Italy, 1995]

The doyenne, the great Italian translator of Beat literature – and indeed of much other significant American Literature (Edgar Lee Masters, Ernest Hemingway, anyone?) – was Fernanda Pivano, who died in Milan, in 2009, aged 92. A crucial disseminator of not only Beat literature but also Beat culture, (her Beat Hippie Yippie anthology appeared way back in 1972), ‘Nanda leaves a long shadow.

She will, of course be forever remembered, frozen in time, as the compassionate foil in the famous 1966 drunk-Jack-Kerouac interview, (one of the famous drunk-Kerouac interviews!

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Staugsmas – Ginsberg in translation 1

Staugsmas, Kadisas, Ir Kiti Eilerasciai (Howl, Kaddish, and Other Poems) translated by Kasparas Porcius and Marius Burokas for Kitos Knygos (Other Books), the first book-length Lithuanian translations of Allen’s poetry recently (belatedly) appeared (it was launched, just a couple of months back, at the Vilnius Book Fair). If you ever wondered how “America” sounded in Lithuanian (!) , check here

There is also footage of Marius Burokas reading his translation of “A Supermarket in California”, and Rolando Rastausko recalls the time, in 1984, when Allen, as part of a PEN group, visited Vilnius. Fulbright scholar and poet-in-residence at Vilnius

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Maikonungirinn – Ginsberg in translation 2

In the last post, we asked you to listen to “America” and “A Supermarket in California” in Lithuanian. How about “Death to Van Gogh’s Ear” in Icelandic?!
Eirikur Orn Nieodahl‘s Maikonungirinn, (Howl), published in an edition with a format not unlike the famous City Lights book, came out in 2oo9. Eirikur, still in his early thirties, remains one of the youngest of Allen’s translators. Poet, novelist (three novels published so far!), translator, performer, his notes on Allen, “Allen Ginsberg Reference Frame” (basic biographical information) can be accessed here. His own work, leaning significantly on the performative
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