Ginsberg Encounters. We haven’t featured one for a while but here’s poet Steve Turtell‘s recollection of Allen Ginsberg, Teacher – “He was tough and he was indefatigable”… “being his tutee was a great gift”, “he was the single best teacher I’ve ever had” (Turtell was one of 16 MFA students of Allen’s in 1995 at Brooklyn College)
And here’s Ivan Goldman [2017 update – this link is no longer available], equally moved by his encounter with Allen twenty years earlier – “I interviewed lots of famous people over the years. Most of them I barely remember. Allen was one of the two most impressive people I ever spoke with…Allen’s conversation was another form of poetry” (the other singularly “impressive” interviewee, it turns out, according to Goldman, was a surprisingly-articulate Marshall McLuhan).
Hawaiian media mogul Jay April is another who places his Ginsberg encounter right at the very top of the list – “When asked to recount his most memorable moments both on and off the air”, Sarah Ruppenthal notes (in the midst of her profile of him), “he lists three – “One was when Allen Ginsberg read a poem into my tape-recorder just after he finished writing it – another was when 300 tiny, rare and endangered Hawksbill turtle hatchlings emerged from a nest in the sand and scampered down to the sea..” – And the third? – get ready for the bathos – being insulted on his radio show (a kvetch, a ‘friendly insult’) by comedian Jackie Mason.
Allen’s Columbia University teacher, Lionel Trilling, should be the subject of a post on his own here on The Allen Ginsberg Project (and he will be). Meantime, we’ll alert you (again) to Adam Kirsch’s highly-informative 2009 piece, “Lionel Trilling and Allen Ginsberg: Liberal Father, Radical Son”. Reason for bringing his name up this week? – The American Reader (aside from informing us of additional Ginsberg-Trilling sources – e.g. here ) re-prints Allen’s polished and precocious September 1945 letter to his then-professor, chiding him (Trilling), for his inability to properly appreciate Arthur Rimbaud – “(Y)ou possibly approach Rimbaud viewing him as another eccentric French Satanist somewhat in a class with Maldoror, fit to be the prophet of the Mexican Hashish Surrealist Quarterly”, Allen writes, “I approve of Rimbaud because unlike the heroes of the Columbia Bookstore, he survived and mastered these visions, and rose above them…”
Laura Elizabeth Davidson has neatly juxtaposed a number of poems of Allen (from Mostly Sitting Haiku) with paintings by the great Lebanese-American poet-painter Etal Adnan. Those juxtapositions may be viewed here
and Ginsberg Recordings – Ginsberg Recordings! – the first digital release from Holy Soul Jelly Roll was announced earlier this week (Ashes and Blues), so next Tuesday (September the 11th) it’s going to be the second segment (Ah!). Here’s the run-down – Wales Visitation, The End, I am Victim of Telephone, City Midnight Junk Strains (for Frank O”Hara), Who Be Kind To, First Party at Ken Kesey’s with Hell’s Angels, Wichita Vortex Sutra Part 3, Pull My Daisy, Pacific High Studio Mantras, & a range of Ginsberg-Blake settings – The Echoing Green, The Lamb, Little Boy Lost/Little Boy Found, Laughing Song, The Sick Rose, The Fly, Voice of the Bard, Infant Joy, A Cradle Song, School Boy, A Dream, and Nurses Song (both from Innocence and Experience) – “and all the hills echo-ed”