Our posting of a little “Beat kitsch” (only peripherally-related), a couple of weeks back, got such a good response, we’re reluctantly posting a little more. “Beatniks” and “Beat poetry” in the film world, this time, (tho’ we begin with the necessary caveat – that we’re surveying not the art and the artists but crude sociological and advertising stereotypes. As Joyce Johnson puts it, in her 1987 memoir, “Minor Characters” – “Beat Generation” sold books, sold black turtle-neck sweaters and bongos, berets and dark glasses, sold a way of life that seemed like dangerous fun thus to be either condemned or … Read More
The Lion For Real – Bryant McGill has helpfully put up multiple translations of this classic Allen Ginsberg poem (in French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish, along with the original English). The multi-lingual Lion For Real may be accessed here.
This past Monday, the Library of Congress opened the show “Books That Shaped America”, 88 initial titles – “Howl” is, of course, among them (“On The Road” too). The list is, they point out, “not a register of the “best” American books – although many of them fit … Read More
Student: Do you think that he (Pound) really got off on the poetry? – or (wasn’t it) just the fact that they were cutting away from writing in a royal tongue, and (he was) just.. going at it, like a professor – out to put out a book, because (maybe) somebody’s out to throw him out of his chair, if he doesn’t get published in the next year, (“‘publish or perish”), and.. (so just more of the usual bullshit-academics)
AG: You have too much resentment. Are you finished (with) your question? You have too much resentment against what you think … Read More
Allen’s 1975 lecture (that we’ve been serializing) continues. More on Ezra Pound.
AG: Ok. We need a whole course on Pound (alone), but, briefly, they (the early American modernists) were faced with the problem, 1905-1910, (that Walt) Whitman had already broken apart the old forms. Pound had a little poem..[“A Pact”] – he didn’t like Whitman, because, at first, he thought that Whitman was too unsophisticated and too cranky and too American-provincial, compared to his friend Henry James (who was almost a contemporary of Whitman’s). In other words, that’s “so refined a mind that no … Read More
Gay Pride weekend here in New York City and we’d direct your attention, of course, to these previous postings here, and here.
We’ve been intending to mention it before – it’s been out for a few months now – but, better late than never, Christopher Bram’s – Eminent Outlaws – The Gay Writers That Changed America (gay males, it should be pointed out – no women authors are covered in the book – his original concept included lesbian writers, but his editor advised him against it – “He was right”, Bram now concedes, “I was able to find … Read More
AG: Well, I’ve been making a great thing about, all through the course, trying to correlate some of (William Carlos) Williams’, perceptions, practices, attitudes, and mindfulness, with the mindfulness practices that you are all familiar (with), or most of you are familiar with, here [at Naropa], who have undertaken some practice of meditation. We finally come to the intersection point of the two – a great dramatic moment in the history of American Literature. How many here do practice meditation? or have … Read More
Student: Could you say something about (William Carlos Williams’) “The Desert Music” (1954), in the context of this direct observation, mindfulness.
AG: Well, I’m going to build up to that in another class. I’m going to do Williams chronologically. By the time he gets old, and in “The Desert Music”, there’s a great deal of generalization. There’s a lot of detail in it, but there’s also an enormous amount of generalization. In … Read More