Beatniks (More Beat Kitsch)

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

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 80

[Eric Drooker – “The Lion For Real” from Illuminated Poems]

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

Mind, Mouth and Page – 24 (Contention)

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

Mind Mouth & Page – 23 (Pound and the Vernacular)

[Ezra Pound 1885-1972]
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

Allen Ginsberg Criticizes Bob Dylan (MMP 22)

AG: You had your hand up – Yeah?
Student: I was reading (Ezra) Pound yesterday
AG: What were you reading?
Student: Huh?
AG: What were you reading?
Student: Uh, what were the ones he did right before the Cantos?
Student: Yeah
AG: Selected poems
Student: Yeah, and anyway, all of a sudden four or five lines from (Bob) Dylan came into my head – from “Desolation Row”
AG: Yeah
Student: “T.S.Eliot and Ezra Pound fighting in the captain’s tower while gypsy singers laugh at them and fishermen wave flowers”
AG: Yes
Student: So I just got
Read More

Gay Pride 2012

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

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 79

[Allen Ginsberg’s annotated copy of T.S.Eliot’s “The Waste Land” – from Houghton Library, Harvard University]

At the Vienna Kunsthalle – just recently-opened and up through the summer (till October 21st, in fact) – Cut-Ups, Cut Ins, Cut Outs – The Art of William S Burroughs.

and, more images from – and Ann Knickerbocker’s generous review/preview of – “The Painted Word” (the show currently up at San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery, that we mentioned here, in this space, just last week).
Here’s one of the Burroughs’ images from there:
[William S. Burroughs – Piece For City People, 1993]

Mind, Mouth and Page – 21 (Williams and Meditation)

[William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound, Rutherford, New Jersey, June 1959 – photograph by Richard Avedon]
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

Mind, Mouth and Page – 20 (Williams’ Speech & Robert Frost)

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

Mind, Mouth & Page – 19 (Williams Early Surrealism)

[“Unidentified Man with Pan Flute” (Williams?) – from the William Carlos Williams papers at the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library]
Student: (William Carlos) Williams was involved in the early Surrealist movement wasn’t he? Didn’t he have a hand in some of the journals they did or the magazines that they put out?
AG: Well, he edited Contact magazine, which published the first novel by Nathaniel West, “The Dream Life of Balso Snell”, which was a Surrealist novel, which took place in the.. I think it was the rectum of the Trojan … Read More