Steve Silberman’s HotWired Interview

Allen Ginsberg sees the World Wide Web for the first time – Allen Ginsberg with Steve Silberman, San Francisco, December 1996

We’ve been quoting these past few days from Steve Silberman’s December 1996 interview with Allen for HotWired, a brief exchange about Allen and some of the jazz greats (Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker), but all that was only a tiny sliver, and we figured we should spotlight and draw your attention to the whole thing. The interview (included also in Spontaneous Mind – Selected Interviews 1958-1996) took place on December 16, in the HotWired offices in San Francisco. Steve, on his website, adds [added – sic] this interesting “additional note” – “Following our conversation, I showed Allen The World Wide Web for the first time. I’d been telling him about the self-publishing samizdat aspect of the Web, knowing that he’d make a point of donating his work to small labor-of-love ‘zines even after he was the best-known poet in America. I took Allen immediately to the page on his work at Levi Asher’s Literary Kicks site, clicking through Jack Kerouac‘s and Neal Cassady‘s names to demonstrate hypertext to him. Allen didn’t say much, and then I took him to a search engine, where a search on the phrase “allen ginsberg” called out 2,000 hits – probably the maximum. He looked at all the pages built in his name. “Thank God I don’t know how to work this,” Allen sighed.”

An earlier (1987) interview conducted by Steve with Allen (No More Bagels) is available here. [2017 update – sadly, that interview is no longer available on-line] –  That interview appeared in September 1987 in The Whole Earth Review.

One comment

  1. ginzie WAS the internet …

    (" if yr going to be in desmoines, here are 3 people you might look up … " )

    ( " if yr doing anthology on [such-and-such] here are 3 poets to ask [ addresses included in the note] … ")

    this, going back to when media would ask him about the beats & he'd hip them to corso whalen snyder etc

    Heigh Ho

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