Walt Whitman’s Birthday

[Walt Whitman, circa 1863-64, Washington DC – photograph by Alexander Gardner – courtesy the Alderman Library, the University of Virginia, via The Walt Whitman Archive]
“The Good Grey Poet”, the immortal Walt Whitman, lurker in supermarkets, was born on this day. Our last year’s (2011) birthday-posting has been (surprisingly?) hearteningly, among our most-visited posts (we pray, given his commitment to candor and health, for scholarly pursuit, not for mere prurient interests). That posting included information about the truly remarkable Walt Whitman Archive, whose praises we continue to sing (We “sing the Body Electric“?). … Read More

Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010)

[Peter Orlovsky, San Francisco, 1955. Photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Thinking of Peter Orlovsky. It’s been two years to the day since he passed away. Vintage Peter.

Allen’s photo above catches the glee and mischievousness in him. Of the two videos that follow, the first, here is from his reading in January 1978 with Steven Hall for New York’s PAP (Public Access Poetry), a few months before the publication of his City Lights book, “Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs”. Following a few short poems from Steven, he begins (approximately two-and-a-half minutes in) with “Frist Poem” … Read More

Harry Smith (1923-1991)

[“Harry Smith at kitchen table. 437 East 12th Street. Apt 22, he lived in tiny guest room off to the side of the kitchen, suffered compression fracture of knee, bumped by car on First Avenue corner, so stayed on nine months before moving up to Cooperstown for half a year – still drank two bottles of beer in his room, taped ambient sounds on New York Lower Manhattan with a Sony Pro-Walkman microphone wrapped in towel on outside window ledge, kitchen and front room. Night, June 16, 1988, another stay for several weeks before we both moved to Boulder –
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Mind, Mouth and Page – Williams continued (11)

[William Carlos Williams, reclining on the roof of the Passaic Central Hospital, 1936 – photo c. Beinecke Library]
AG: We left William Carlos Williams in his kitchen, waiting for the water to freshen at the sink tap at one in the morning, and since then, I’ve been back to my kitchen, and, for the first time in my life, watched myself wait for the water to freshen at the sink tap, and was getting a great deal of kicks out of that. And in the last lecture (here at Naropa) by (Chogyam) Trungpa (Rinpoche), there was some advice to … Read More

Gospel Noble Truths (more Ginsberg in Olomouc)

Courtesy of David Hrbeck, earlier this year, we featured wonderful footage of Allen reading, in 1993, in a high-school gymnasium in Olomouc, in the Czech Republic (along with an actor, Mikuláš Pánek, reading, eloquently, the Czech translations), “Sunflower Sutra”, “Kral Majales”, “Kaddish”, “Return of Kral Majales”. Here’s an additional poem from that reading (first in Czech, and then in the English), the wise, profound and deeply moving “Gospel Noble Truths”.
Here’s another rendition (also from Allen’s 1993 Czech tour, this one recorded at the American Cultural Center in Prague)
and here’s Kirt Markle’s video experimentation on yet another rendition.
Allen’s … Read More

Robert Kuperberg’s Le Retour de la Beat Generation

Last weekend we had an Italian contextualizing, this weekend, it’s a French contextualizing (via the US), Robert Kuperberg‘s 2011 documentary, “Le Retour de la Beat Generation” has some (arguably) dubious “Beat” personages (Peter Fonda on Easy Rider?), it also has Gerald Nicosia (author of “Memory Babe – A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac”), Elisabeth Guigou (socialist, and author of “La Beat Generation et son influence sur la Societe Americaine” (The Beat Generation and its influence on American Society”), not to mention, Craig Detweiler (identified as “Professeur Cinema, [at the Christian-based (sic)] Université Pepperdime” (Pepperdime University in … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 75

On The Road’s Cannes debut has to be the lead news. Here’s a link to a copy of the press packet. Here’s the AP wire story. Here’s Steve Chagollan’s interesting background article for The New York Times. Joan Dupont also reports on the movie for the Times – and Manohola Dargis, on their blog, provides an early, (not entirely unsympathetic), review. Carlo Marx, Allen’s character, she observes, is “played with energy and heavy glasses, by the pretty, deeply un-Ginsbergian British actor, Tom Sturridge”.
The curmudgeonly British reviews, noted earlier, continue – with this one, from Kaleem Aftab in … Read More

Bob Dylan’s Birthday

Allen Ginsberg, Roger McGuinn, Bob Dylan, and friends at Allen’s East 12th Street apartment, October 15, 1975 – photo c. Gerard Malanga]

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan! Allen’s hero, Bob Dylan. Revisit some of our previous Dylan posts,
starting with our last year’s birthday-blast (well, of course, it just had to start with that video for Subterranean Homesick Blues!) – And check out our portfolio of these pictures of the two of them together – and then there’s also the maverick compositions, composition one and composition two. Regretfully, we can no longer show you Renaldo and ClaraRead More

On The Road (Cannes Reviews)

[Sam Riley – Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) & Tom Sturridge – Carlo Marx (Allen Ginsberg) in Walter Salles’ On The Road]
Walter Salles’ On the Road movie premiered last night and the first reviews are starting to come in. The commonly-held view is that it doesn’t disappoint, but then neither does it set you on fire with that transcendental “Beat” energy, (corollary how could it? how is it possible to duplicate the book?), here’s Justin Chang in Variety:
“A classic novel’s long journey to the big screen comes to a gratifying but not exactly triumphant end with “On … Read More

A Hole In My Knee Pants – 1975 NAROPA Class Improvisation

We’ve featured two of these before (“Death is…” and “Marijuana makes”, here’s a third -compositional roll-calls, (NAROPA) class collaborations. This particular one dates from July 28, 1975.

AG: If you’re not on the roll, see me after (the class). If you are on the roll, answer. Just fill out (complete) the sentence – “A hole in the pants at my knees..”,”A hole in the pants at my knees..”, No, it’s not [Allen corrects himself] – “A hole in my knee pants…” And you can fill it out any way you want. Like -“A hole in my knee pants … Read More