Allen’s Recordings at the Woodberry Poetry Room

Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room (like San Francisco State on the West Coast, who we’ve reported on earlier) are in the process of digitalizing and putting on-line their extraordinary collection of poetry-recordings. We urge you to check them out here, on their web-site, at the so-called “Listening Booth” – unique recordings by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, John Wieners, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, to name but only a few of them. Allen’s contribution consists of three tapes – the first, a joint-reading with Peter Orlovsky from 1964 – the second, (as he announces it), “Allen Ginsberg, November 17, 1964, reading a scattered random selection of poems” – the third, 22 years later, with Steven Taylor, in 1986, a considerably more focused set. The “set-lists” as follows:

tape one – opening with Hare Krishna chant – The Change: Kyoto-Tokyo Express – Sanskrit strota chant (invoking Saraswati) – Why is God Love, Jack? – I am Victim of Telephone- Sunflower Sutra [- Peter Orlovsky reads [from Straight Hearts’ Delight] Peter Jerking Allen Off (Sex Experiment) – Morris – Second Poem] – Allen closes with Describe: The Rain on Dasawamedh Ghat [from Indian Journals]

tape two – Allen reads Pull My Daisy – then [from Empty Mirror] “I feel as if I am at a dead end” – “Tonite all is well..” (2 takes) – After All, What Else Is There To Say – The Trembling of the Veil – Metaphysics – In Death, Cannot Reach What Is Most Near – In Society – This Is About Death – Sunset – A Poem on America. – then [from Reality Sandwiches] – The Green Automobile – Love Poem on Theme by Whitman – Malest Cornifici Tuo Catullo – Dream Record, June 8 1955 – “Back on Times Square, Dreaming of Times Square – To An Old Poet In Peru – [from Kaddish] – The End – Magic Psalm – concludes with (unpublished) poem-journal notation, To Boston (November 11, 1964)

tape three – (following introductions by Vivian Wong & Michael Blumenthal) – Gospel Noble Truths, Hard-On Blues – Airplane Blues – Don’t Grow Old – Father Death Blues – Plutonian Ode – After Whitman & Reznikoff (excerpt) – Do the Meditation Rock – [Steven Taylor sings Just Like a Jail (words by Tuli Kupferberg) – [from White Shroud] – The Little Fish Devours the Big Fish – Those Two – Why I Meditate – 221 Syllables at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center – Arguments – White Shroud – Surprise Mind – Written in My Dream by W.C.Williams – Reading Bai Juyi – Prophecy – Moral Majority – Jumping the Gun on the Sun – concludes with two settings of William Blake, The Nurse’s Song and The Tyger

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