Harry Smith

Allen Ginsberg – Harry Smith’s Birthday Party, 1996-7. 2 color lithograph and screenprint, 32 1/4 x 24 1/2

Harry Everett Smith (1923-1991), Harry Smith was born on this day.

Here‘s the footage of Harry accepting his Grammy, it’s a touching moment. Here‘s more typical Harry – “Boy, Am I In Trouble! “. Here are some of the masterpieces he’s justly famous for – Mirror Animations 1957 (from Early Abstractions 1946-57) and this excerpt from his Heaven and Earth Magic. Heck, why not watch the whole thing (and his remarkable Late Superimpositions too) over here on the extraordinary Ubuweb site.

Ubuweb also hosts this 1965 interview with P. Adams Sitney
Heres Allen interviewed about Harry (in June 1993 by Hal Willner) and again (in September 1995 by Paola Igliori).

Think of the Self Thinking is worth picking up.

American Magus is seemingly becoming quite a rare item too.
Raymond Foye’s illuminating introduction to Harry is however available here and should on no account be missed.
Now to turn to some music. Clarence Ashley and Richard Rabbit Brown are great but why settle for just samples, two samples barely do justice to the incomparable Anthology of American Folk Music

ditto here’s some samples from Harry’s 1973 Kiowa Peyote recording

and, of course, the work he did with Allen, First Blues.
Lionel Ziprin sets the stage for another extraordinary Harry project, the recordings of Rabbi Abulafia.
Paola Igliori made a movie and Rani Singh made a movie based on the Anthology (here‘s information on its soundtrack)

The Internet Archive has a number of Harry’s freewheeling NAROPA lectures (from his time there as resident shaman). He lectures on “the rationality of namelessness”, he lectures on “the Native American cosmos“.

And for the real fetishist, come here, come underground.


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