Fan Mail

We couldn’t resist this. In the spirit of the previous (yesterday’s) plaintive post, and in anticipation of the coming weeks (when more from this 1975 Naropa class will be serialized).

In class, speaking of Arthur Rimbaud, Allen breaks in, to read out loud a Rimbauldian letter he’d received (from a more-than-enthusiastic fan in New Jersey):

“Dear Mr Ginsberg, I am 17, the age when the body’s elixir’s and spirit’s salivas are inexorably brought to a boil I have read and love your poetry and I too, as these impudent verses attest, am a poet” – [(and) so forth.. actually it’s … Read More

Allen Ginsberg reading “Personals Ad” (ASV #24)

Bob Holman, Joshua Blum and Mark Pellington’s 1995 5-part t.v. series, the United States of Poetry presented and projected a pretty eclectic range (to show – citing Whitman’s famous term – the diversity of “these states”) – from ex-President Jimmy Carter to “rock n roll animal” Lou Reed (would that count as a range?), from Amiri Baraka to Johnny Depp – video vignettes (under Pellington’s expert direction). Not surprising (in fact, essential) that the show feature(d) Allen – in this case, reading/enacting his “Personals Ad” – “Poet professor in autumn years/ seeks helpmate companion protector friend…” The poem would … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 52

[Jack Kerouac – 1942 Naval Reserve photograph – courtesy The Archive – Sketches on Kerouac]
We’d be amiss if we didn’t mention the recent publication of the “new”, “losspant” Kerouac first novel, The Sea is My Brother. Penguin Classics have posthumously released it. Here‘s David Barnett’s review in the Sunday Independent and here‘s Stephen Bates and Sarah Churchwell in The Guardian. Further notices and reviews may be read here, here and here.
Back to Allen – and his 1985 interview with John May, (which has, for some time now, been available in our … Read More


“Birdbrain runs the World!/ Birdbrain is the ultimate product of Capitalism”.
Never inappropriate to the times – it seems fitting to, once again, place a little spotlight on this song, this classic polemical lyric – “Birdbrain” – Above, the recorded version, with the Denver-based band, The Glu-ons, (first released on a 7-inch and subsequently included on Holy Soul Jelly Roll) – and here’s a very different version (from Marc Olmsted’s San Francisco band, The Job) – both versions are from 1981
See here Allen in Japan in 1988 performing the song
“Birdbrain runs the Pentagon, his brother runs the … Read More