Mind Mouth and Page – 18 (Williams continues)

[William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) – “at home in his landscape”]

AG: …mindfulness, Oriental-style. You can see it already when I interjected the fifty or so haiku in the middle of (William Carlos) Williams’ short poems last time.

What I’ll do today, actually, is go through more Williams, one or two poems, a couple of poems by an Objectivist (quote-unquote) friend of his, Charles Reznikoff, and I had mentioned a specific story by Williams in “The Knife of the Times”. It’s called “The Knife of the Times”. Did anybody get to read that? Can you raise your hands? – so, … Read More

Beat Kitsch

Every once in a while, we visit Beat kitsch (with the essential caveat that “Beatnik” is not “Beat” – that sneering contemporary put-down term, coined, as is now universally recognized, by San Franciscan newspaper-columnist, Herb Caen). Hear Allen with Margaret Mead, as early as 1959, setting the record straight.

 Rod McKuen, the veritable poster-boy for poetic kitsch, was, it seems, under a pseudonym, significantly responsible for this “Beatnik anthem”
We, frankly, prefer this version – Bluekilla (from 1989)

and doesn’t it have more-than-a-passing-resemblance to this “anthem”? (from the heady ol’ days of 1977)

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 78

Memories of Allen, Ginsberg encounters – here’s Greg Tozian’s memories of 1983 (including his Tampa Tribune article).
Antler, Jeff Poniewaz, David Carter and Michael Schumacher will be gathering together to discuss Allen’s life and work at the annual Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books tomorrow evening (July 16).
Here’s a bizarre thing – Allen’s “Howl” analyzed from a Jewish-Christian perspective!
From the “Comments” box in the EV Grieve (our favorite “local” (New York City) blog):
“Allen Ginsberg’s favorite restaurant is now a Starbucks [Starbucks coffee chain]. Is there a more painfully symbolic example of all that is wrong with … Read More

Why Jack Sent His Friends Away

One more gem from the Salem State 1973 Kerouac symposium. We’ve already featured it here and here – but – in answer to a panelist’s question – “Is it true (that) the last time you visited Jack that you were turned away?”
Allen tries to play it down, but Peter (on an anti-alcohol rant) is as vehement as ever – and Gregory emerges as a (happy?) fatalist. Here’s a transcription:
Steve Salvo (moderator): Is it true the last time you visited Jack that you were turned away?
AG: Yeah..his mother (had) had a stroke and..he called us..we spoke on the … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 17 (Pound’s Don’ts)

[Ezra Pound circa 1918 – photo by E.O.Hoppe]
AG: A couple more useful things for you – “A Few Don’ts” – for poets. This is how (Ezra) Pound defines his image (it’s on page 4 of the Literary Essays) – “An “Image” is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time” – That’s very much like the haiku. You could say the haiku satisfies that “intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time” [Allen continues reading from Pound] – “I use the word “complex” rather in the technical sense employed by the newer … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 16 (Tones)


[Tonal diagrams from scientific research into emotional expressivity and acoustics – in (in this particular instance) Western classical music, by Dr Ellezer Rapoport – “Emotional Expression Code in Opera and Lied Singing” (1995)]


[Allen, reading from (Ezra) Pound’s “A Retrospect”] – “3) As regarding rhythm – to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of a metronome” – (The metronome would be the practice of accentual prosody. Duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah. Duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah. prosody – Duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah. Duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah, duh-dah. So this would be “in … Read More

Mind, Mouth and Page – 15 (Objectivism)

AG: There’s an interesting development out of American Imagism which takes into account this problem of how do you deal with your emotions, or your thoughts, or your own speech, or your generalizations, as part of the haiku, or part of the construction of a poem. The Imagists insisted that everything be kept down to the bare minimum of a kind of objective description of the external facts. And by means of combinations of external facts noticed, you can conjure up, as in a haiku, the soul, if you want to, or the spirit, or the feeling, or the thought, … Read More

“Built Like A Brick Shithouse” (Allen Ginsberg to Richard Eberhart on Howl)

Seven years ago on this day, aged 101 (we kid you not!) the poet and teacher Richard Eberhart passed away. Not so much as poet but as reader and critic, Eberhart played a significant, one might even say critical, role in Allen Ginsberg’s life (and, most especially, in the dissemination of his long poem, “Howl”). One of the earliest of the establishment figures to seriously give credence to the literary achievement of the Beats, he was the author, in September 1956, of an important and influential article in the New York Times Book Review , “West Coast Rhythms”. “Ambiguity”, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 77

[oragami Allen Ginsberg mural by the Oragami Meetup Group from last week’s New York City Howl Festival – photo by Michael Natale]
Michalis Limnios at Blues & Gr(eece) has put-together a warm music-based Allen Ginsberg tribute. Interviews with Harvey Kubernik, Debra Devi, Steven Taylor, Francis Kuipers, Marc Olmsted, Jonah Raskin, Yannis Livadas, Elsa Dorfman and Harold Chapman (illustrated with photos by Elsa Dorfman and Harold Chapman – also included is Harvey Kubernik’s extensive essay and CD liner-notes for the 2006 Water Records re-release of the 1966 recording of Kaddish). Look for it … Read More

Old Pond (A Tip of the Hat to Basho)

Remembering Basho (and remembering Allen’s discussion of haiku featured on this blog these past few days – Old Pond”, (originally appearing on the “First Blues” LP recording of 1983, and re-released in CD form, in 2006, on Water Records – please support the independent record companies and buy the CD!),

with Allen joyfully warbling along and Peter Orlovsky on banjo.
A live version of the song (from New York’s 1978 Nova Convention) may be listened to hereRead More