Deborah Baker – Allen in India

Deborah Baker’s A Blue Hand – The Beats in India remains the most comprehensive and most evocative exploration of those times. Here’s highlights from the symposium held in New York in 2008 at the Asia Society to celebrate the publication of that book.
And here’s an excerpt from a gathering that took place in Mumbai that same year (Deborah Baker speaks on a panel alongside Prabo Parikh, Adil Jussawalla and Jerry Pinto)

 Two reviews from The Hindustan Times may be read here and here. The Calcutta Telegraph reviews the book here. (and interviews the author). IBN (Indian … Read More

Duncan Campbell Radio Interview part one

[Buddha – Shakyamuni, The Enlightened One, from the Rubin Museum of Art, New York]
Following Spiritual Poetics, which we’ve been serializing these past two weeks, here’s another unpublished transcript from those times, Duncan Campbell’s 1974 radio interview with Allen. Allen discusses the history of Buddhism and the Beats (pre Naropa), and much else. The interview has been broken down into two parts. The second part will run tomorrow.
Duncan Campbell: Welcome to “Open Secret”. This is a series of discussions that is being recorded in Boulder, Colorado, at Naropa Institute, and I’ve just been talking with Allen Ginsberg … Read More

Duncan Campbell Radio Interview part two

[Allen Ginsberg at Ed Sanders’ Peace Eye Bookstore, East 10th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C, New York City, June 1966 ]
DC: What kind of transformations took place in the (19)60’s? It seems that, for a variety of reasons, some of them political, like sharing that experience of a “social lie”, through the disappointment of radical movements and drug experiences and so on, that maybe a wide variety of people began to turn on to that same kind of rhythm of insight that you took in the (19)50’s.
AG: Yeah, well, I think one reason people shared it
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Oscar Janiger

Oscar Janiger (1918-2001) – Photograph by Michael Sierchio
Ten years ago today, Allen’s cousin, Oscar Janiger, the beloved “Oz”, passed away (or, rather, re-entered cosmic infinity). A remarkable man. Here’s his AP obituary:
“Torrance, California – Psychiatrist Oscar Janiger, an early advocate of psychedelic drugs, who was credited with turning on Cary Grant and numerous other celebrities to LSD, died Tuesday of kidney and heart failure. Janiger was 83. Between 1954 and 1962, “Oz”, as he was known to friends administered almost 3,000 doses of LSD to 1,000 volunteers. Among them were Grant, fellow actors Jack Nicholson and Rita
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Fidel Castro’s Birthday

Fidel Castro was born August 13, 1926. That makes him 85 years old today [August 13, 2011]
The Beat Generation’s particular involvement in Cuba, and in the Cuban Revolution, has been comprehensively explored by Todd Tietchen in his 2010 book, The Cubalogues – Beat Writers in Revolutionary Havana. From the publisher’s description:
“Immediately after the Cuban Revolution, Havana fostered an important transnational, intellectual and cultural scene. Later, Castro would strictly impose his vision of Cuban culture on the populace, and the United States would bar its citizens from traveling to the island, but for these few fleeting years, the … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 36

The Asia Society’s panel discussion to compliment their photo-exhibition – Ai Weiwei: New York Photographs 1983-1993, featured, alongside curator John Tancock and art historian Joan Lebold Cohen, two Ginsberg associates – Bob Rosenthal and Steven Taylor. Both speak eloquently on the subject of New York’s East Village in the ‘80’s, and give fond first-hand recollections/memories of Allen.

And from the West Coast (San Francisco), here’s some photographs and notes from the recent Howl reading at the Cartoon Art Museum

and here’s (courtesy of our friends at the Chronicle Project) a little Allen Ginsberg slide-show

Levi Asher

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Spiritual Poetics 12

[Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara), Bodhisattva of Compassion, Thangka by Rinchen Gyalpo]

It’s interesting that there’s two streams of writing now among younger people that I see – one of which is.. above the ears – sort of psychotic, schizophrenic poetry, maybe modeled on rock lyric and on (Bob) Dylan, or sumpin’ – but it’s all “dancing dominoes behind the minstrel sky”, which Dylan did well that one time, somehow, it fits with him, but there’s a solely imaginary poetry that’s written, and then, there’s a whole bunch of rock poetry, and just private poetry, or school poetry, which does include … Read More

Spiritual Poetics 11 (William Carlos Williams)

[William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) – Passport photo, 1921 – from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University]
So why don’t I get on to a little Williams..Williams’ poems as a commentary to this little book that I just read by Walter Fordham. If anybody’s interested in my poetry, my own practice nearest to that is in a book called Empty Mirror, which is early poems that I wrote, 1946 to 1951. William Carlos Williams was a doctor who lived in Rutherford, New Jersey and died in 1963. Friend of Ezra Pound, and one of the … Read More

Spiritual Poetics 10

Student: When you’re using the notebook technique, how do you deal with the whole problem of the breath? Do you read it out loud as you’re writing it down?

AG: Sometimes. It’s an interesting question whether it’s breath or whether it’s mind-unit. I’ve never figured that out entirely.

Student: That was the next question.

AG: That’s a rule-of-thumb thing and it’s very interesting. What I would suggest is experiment, sit down and experiment with it. The art of poetics is your sitting down alone at a desk, trying to figure how to lay out the lines according to some apprehensible … Read More

Spiritual Poetics 9 (Milarepa Didn’t Have A Tape-Recorder)

Before going on, I would like to read, in that context, a couple of texts – William Carlos Williams, and a little scribbling by (Jack) Kerouac . But I wanted also to continue with the notebook/tape-machine problem. Means. With tape-machines.. if you want to carry them around.. because they’re harder to carry around than a notebook, though it seems, for media-oriented kids, or people grown up in the last ten years, they’re so available, and the petro-chemical wonderland is so bewildering, it seems it may be just as basic as a notebook now, for the high-school kid to carry … Read More