Charles Olson (1910-1970)

[Charles Olson, “Poet Maximus elder”, during the Vancouver Poetry Conference, July 1963 c. The Allen Ginsberg Estate]
January 10 – 42 years ago today – Charles Olson died. We’ve linked already to Henry Ferrini’s documentary movie, Polis Is This. His (Olson’s) EPC page (out of the University of Buffalo) may be accessed here. His PennSound (University of Pennsylvania) audio recordings page may be accessed here. Storrs (University of Connecticut) is, of course, the singular repository of his archives.
Allen and he first met in Harvard in 1959, but the crucial first conjunction, perhaps, was the 1963 Vancouver
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Herbert Huncke (1915-1996)

Beat aficionados, today is the birthday of Herbert Huncke, “the original Beat”. Comprehensive info’ on him is available here, here and here.
American Hipster, Hilary Holiday’s long-awaited biography is due out this Spring (a brief excerpt from the opening chapter can be read here).
and, for those of you who missed it, there’s a quaint story Jonathan Lethem tells in a recent (October 2011) issue of the New Yorker. “Allen Ginsberg had taken a carton of his collection “Planet News” and autographed every copy “To Herbert from Allen with love”. He then gave them to Huncke … Read More

Robert Duncan (1919-1988)

[Robert Duncan, Anne Waldman, unidentified male, and Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche – June 1976, Boulder Colorado. Likely taken shortly before the reading with Helen Adam, mentioned below. Photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

January 7 marks the birthday of the great master poet and mage, Robert Duncan, born in 1919, died in 1988, he would have been 93 today. As an entry into his work, one can happily rely on the invaluable resources at PennSound, an extraordinary trove (the extraordinary trove) of recorded (poetry) audio. His May 1959 reading at the Poetry Center at San Francisco State is there (tho’ not, … Read More

Louis & Allen 1975 Naropa Class – Conclusion (Hart Crane)

AG: Okay to Hart Crane – another example of that genius and stupidity mixed. The reason he’s interesting to read right at this point is we went through the breakthrough in the late 19th century of the old verse forms, through Rimbaud, Whitman, and then on to the great 20th century voices, Lorca, Apollinaire, Mayakovsky (and you heard Esenin’s voice), some lesser voices, but total voice, like “Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan”[Vachel Lindsay], total vocalization. One man who tried to get it all together was Hart Crane. Hart, (a) terrific first name! – from Cleveland. His father was … Read More

Louis Ginsberg Guests In Allen’s 1975 NAROPA Class – part two – (Vachel Lindsay & John Keats)

[Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931)]

Student: Allen said the other day when he mentioned you were coming that you might say something about Vachel Lindsay

Louis Ginsberg: Vachel Lindsay? No, not particularly. I used to like him. He’s called “The Poet in Vaudeville” [Lindsay himself referred to his compositions as “the Higher Vaudeville’] and he had a very strong rhythm, he accented it. For instance, he had some lines that, if I can remember.. “Big fat bucks in a wine-barrel room, ram-bam-bam, bam able”. Right, “In the Blood of the Lamb”. Do you remember some of the lines?

AG: Actually, is … Read More

Louis Ginsberg Guests In Allen’s 1975 NAROPA Class – Part One

[Allen & father Louis Ginsberg, teaching course at Naropa, August 1975. Photo c. Rachel Homer]
AG: Okay, my father and I have given poetry readings together in the past, and he’s one of my gurus of poetry in a sense that he first taught me verse and first taught me sound, so I thought, getting it from the horse’s mouth, since he was going to be here, it would be a good idea for us to teach together, because we’ve never taught poetry together. I’ll turn the class over to you for about three quarters of an hour to go … Read More

Naropa 1975 Another Classroom Improvisation

[Kobun Chino Roshi, sitting Sesshin, Naropa University, July 1989. photo.c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

We recently presented the “Death Is..” Improvisation”. Here’s another, from our continuing NAROPA lecture transcriptions (from a class conducted on July 9 1975, where Allen’s special guest was his father, Louis Ginsberg).

Randy Roark explains (and notes): “ The class begins, again, with a roll call. This time the students have to respond by saying whatever is on their mind. As the roll continues, Ginsberg begins to try to steer the class into composing a continuous poem about their environs. The following

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A Poet On the Lower East Side: A Docu-Diary (ASV #27)

Istvan Eorsi has already been profiled on The Allen Ginsberg Project – here. In 1995 he brought a Hungarian film crew (lead by director Gyula Gazdag) over to New York to film Allen in his downtown environment. “A Poet On The Lower East Side: A Docu-diary” was the result, “a free-wheeling cinéma vérité documentary”, in the words of one reviewer. To continue (and providing for us a useful synopsis): “Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg, host(s) radical maverick Hungarian writer, poet and translator, Istvan Eorsi, on his one-week visit in May 1995 to the Lower East Side. The(se) soul-mates talk about … Read More