John Giorno’s visionary Dial-A-Poem project has been revived, as part of a show currently up at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Ecstatic Alphabets. Ring 1-347-763-8001 (1-347-POET-oo1) if you’re in the U.S. to hear selections. Allen’s contributions are “Why is God Love, Jack?”, “Morning”, “Hare Krishna Mantra”, “Shiva”, “I’m A Victim of Telephone” (sic) and “CIA Dope Calypso. As we have previously reported, the poems have, for some time now been available as an internet presence on Ubu Web. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) is now hosting its own page for them.
Richard Avedon’s blockbuster show (noted here last week) continues to grace the walls at the Gagosian Gallery (also an on-site opportunity for those of you in New York) – A chance to see, not only the rarely-exhibited large-scale Ginsberg family portrait, but also a number of other great images
The Gagosian has produced an impressive illustrated catalog with an essay on Allen, “Landsman Lensman: Richard Avedon and Allen Ginsberg”, by Bob Rubin, that is well worth perusing. We hope to be featuring sections from that in the coming days.
Allen Ginsberg encounters/memories. We continue to solicit them. Here‘s Hungarian novelist Lazlo Krasznahorkai‘s recollections of Allen’s critical intelligence (from an interview in the magazine, Guernica): “When I was first in the U.S. and in New York, I was a guest of Mr Ginsberg. He helped me find a technique, a way to build a neutral background for (the novel), War on War, specifically, a very neutral New York City. The hero is very eccentric, and his story is too, so I needed a neutral city instead of a real one, a New York without colors, without the unexpectedness, without motion. And because New York is not at all neutral, especially when you first see it, I had a problem making it neutral. I talked to Allen about this theme night after night during my visit, and he gave me very interesting advice. But it wasn’t only about War and War, Allen talked about philosophy, about Buddhism, of course, and about some of the important figures from the last four decades of American history. He was also very interested in my experiences in Eastern Europe. That time I spent with Allen and with his other friends was really great for me”.
Finally, we at the Ginsberg Project, like so many, were genuinely saddened to hear of the untimely death, last week, (from cancer) of Buddhist and Beastie Boy, Adam Yauch. He was only 47, but packed an extraordinary amount into those 47 years – not the least of which, the establishment of the Milarepa Foundation (named after the great Tibetan poet-saint), and the formation of Oscilloscope Laboratories, an independent film production and distribution company, distributors of, among numerous other titles, the Allen bio-pic – Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Howl, and Yoni Leyser’s William S Burroughs: A Man Within. We salute his irrepressible energy and regret his passing.