Mind, Mouth and Page – 8 (Ginsberg & Williams)

[Empty Mirror: Early Poems by Allen Ginsberg]
¬†AG: I think I’d written my first Williams-esque poem around 1948. See, I have some here. I started imitating Williams around then… ’48, ’49, I was writing in two styles – I was writing in the style that I learned at Columbia College (which was imitations of (Sir Thomas) Wyatt, (Andrew) Marvell, James Shirley, (John) Donne..) and.. So these are “Stanzas Written at Night in Radio City”, probably begun in ’48 and finished in ’49. In ’48, I had a big vision and heard (William) Blake‘s voice … Read More

Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933)

[Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933) Alexandria, circa 1890, via the Cavafy Archive]
To Peter Orlovsky
When we parted in Tangier
We said ten years or perhaps a few months.
Whatever fate and railroads bring, whatever cities or deserts –
Now I’m in the holy land, alone
reading Cavafy – it’s half past twelve
My letters haven’t reached you, yet you’re somewhere here, Petra or Syria
Perhaps have entered the Gate to this land and are looking for me in Jerusalem –
I wrote to all your addresses and to your mother –
Tonight I am reading books and remembering our old … Read More

Il Poeta Della Beat Generation

RAI (Italian television)’s hommage to Allen is our focus today. Some of the footage we’ve already featured (here and here) but it’s a tight little piece, and particularly interesting, perhaps, for its focus on several of Allen’s iconic photos (plus – added bonus! – you get to hear a little of Allen’s recitation of his notorious 1986 poem, “Sphincter”!)
Notes: To the background strains of “Do The Meditation Rock“, seen with Fernanda Pivano (naturally), whose comments form the essence of the piece – images of Ginsberg, Huncke, Burroughs, Kerouac, Corso, Orlovsky, etc – audio (… Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 71


[Harry Gordon – “Poem By Allen Ginsberg” – (vintage) Poster Paper Dress (1968) – at the Indianapolis Museum of Art]
Today is the anniversary of the death of Hart Crane – see here (and last week we reminded you of James Franco’s ambitious Hart Crane movie.
Also last week, we noted the publication of Sharin Elkholy’s The Philosophy of the Beats anthology. Marc Olmsted’s useful essay in that volume can be read in its entirety here.
Here at the Allen Ginsberg Project, we recognize our (inevitable) predominantly Anglophone slant (and, at times, even USA-New York City bias) … Read More

Elsa Dorfman


[Allen Ginsberg, March 1983. Photo c. Elsa Dorfman]


[Peter Orlovsky, Allen Ginsberg, Steven Taylor, March 1983. Photo c. Elsa Dorfman]

Elsa Dorfman, doyenne of the over-sized Polaroid, one of the most familiar, and most sensitive, photographers of Allen, turns 75 today. Happy Birthday “Ellie”!

We draw your attention to her web-site here (as she explains, “My web site is my obsession”) – it’s based loosely on the Boston/Massachusetts (MBTA) subway map, with different subway lines and stations representing different areas of interest (Allen has, pretty much, a whole line – the orange line, starting at Housebook (“Elsa’s … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 7 (Williams & San Francisco Renaissance)

[Portrait of William Carlos Williams in front of his office, 1950 via Beinecke Collection, Yale]

I think probably the breakthrough was, specifically, when people began recognizing what he [Williams] was doing, and began the contagion spread, and began actually acting on the instruction of his practice. (This was) probably 1948. And I say that, because, in 1948, he went out on a reading tour. He read at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (and I saw him read there, and first understood what he was doing, because before that, I hadn’t been able to read his poems, … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 6 (Williams)

[“William Carlos Williams and unidentified man in front of a Rutherford cobbler’s” via Beinecke Collection, Yale]
Allen’s July 25 1975 “Mind, Mouth and Page” lecture on William Carlos Williams continues – the recording picks up in media res, Allen is speaking of Ezra Pound
AG: “…love that I love with beauty and delight and wit, or something..” “I am homesick after mine own kind” [Allen quotes from Pound’s 1907 poem, “In Durance” here] – If you have a chance, look that up, it’s in Personae by Pound (that’s his early poems) – (“…I know the glory/ of th’ unbounded … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 5 (Williams)

[“William Carlos Williams seated at a typewriter in the upstairs bedroom, 1940s” via Beinecke Collection, Yale]

“The Raper from Passenack” – [Allen reads William Carlos Williams’ poem, “The Raper from Passenack” in its entirety] (“..I wish I could shoot him. How would/ you like to know a murderer?/I may do it..”) – It’s a character again. Like somebody talking for real. Somebody very intelligent, actually. Sounds to me like somebody very intelligent in total shock, coming out of a total shock, but the doctor is listening, Doctor Williams is listening. He’s got to treat the lady. “Invocation and … Read More

Allen on Earth Day

The esteemed and recommended Dangerous Minds site posted this one, a week or so back, Circuit Earth, a 1970 documentary, “with Ralph Lapp, Paul Ehrlich, (the) Broadway cast of Hair, Allen Ginsberg, Redbone, George Wald, Edmund Muskie, Jerry Rubin, Alan Watts, The Black Butterfly, Ed Sanders, and Community Groups and Citizens of Philadelphia”.
As they note, “filmed in Philadelphia during the first Earth Day in April of 1970, Circuit Earth is a fascinating glimpse at the roots of the ecology movement and a sad reminder of how little things have changed when it comes to man’s … Read More

Janet Forman & Regina Weinreich – Beat Generation:An American Dream (ASV #33)

Janet Foreman and Regina Weinreich‘s 1987 documentary, The Beat Generation: An American Dream, is one of the earliest “Beat” documentaries, featuring the always-illuminating, always-transcendent, first-person, “talking-heads” footage (in this one, Ginsberg-Burroughs-Corso-Kerouac-Ferlinghetti, but also Carl Solomon, Herbert Huncke, Ray Bremser, Amiri Baraka, Robert Creeley, Timothy Leary, Abbie Hoffman, Diane di Prima, Carolyn Cassady, Hettie Jones, Jan Kerouac…music by David Amram – all held together by informed commentary/ sympathetic commentary from the legendary Steve Allen).
Here is the movie in its entirety – (artificially divided) in 8 parts … Read More