Salem State Beat Treasures Resurface

Allen Ginsberg, April 5, 1973, at Salem State College, via Salem State Archives flickr

Last year, you may recall, we reported on a wonderful trove of Beat materials on-line, courtesy of Salem State College – the audio (and video) archives from their April 1973 Jack Kerouac Symposium, organized by John McHale (this was the very first academic conference on Kerouac, following his death in 1969). The conference featured Allen, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, John Clellon Holmes (all, notably, “characters”, featured in Kerouac’s books), along with then-Kerouac-biographer, Aaron Latham, Lowell acquaintance, Professor Charles Jarvis, and Northport, New York acquaintance, artist Stanley Twardowicz. Unfortunately, the technology (RealOne Player) proved to be less than satisfactory. We are happy to report now that the material (courtesy You Tube) is swiftly becoming available. Check out the extraordinary Beat treasures on SSU’s You Tube channel here.

Among the works up so far: Allen on Jack – “The Town and City Sonnet” by Jack Kerouac recited by Allen Ginsberg (“I dwelled in Hell on earth to write this rhyme,/I live in stillness now in living flame..”); from “The Scripture of the Golden Eternity” – Number 64 – (“a direct transcription of his (Kerouac’s) own transcendental experience”); “The Moment’s Return” (“referring to a myth in Kerouac’s Dulouz legend..”); “The Shrouded Stranger” (“which was conceived about the same time as Kerouac’s Dr. with, I think, one line written by Kerouac..”);“Why Is God Love, Jack?” (a direct address, from 1963); Fragment, 1956; Ignu (“Ignu was a word invented by Kerouac..”); Memory Gardens (an elegy for Jack, “a note coming from Kerouac’s funeral in Lowell..”); Sunflower Sutra, The Lion for Real – and, accompanied by the harmonium, “Pull My Daisy”, “Prayer Blues“, and, “to finish with a Buddhist mantra” – “Gate” – the Perfect Wisdom Sutra (after initial requisite interruption by Gregory!)

Gregory Corso’s own contributions are also very well worth catching, readings from Mexico City Blues here and here; a reading of the last stanza of “Elegiac Feelings American” (“for the dear memory of John Kerouac”), and recitations of old favorites, “The Last Gangster”, “Sea Chanty”, “The Mad Yak”, and “This Was My Meal”.

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