Patti Smith’s Birthday

[Patti Smith & Allen Ginsberg in 1977 in New York City (at a William Burroughs book-signing at Gotham Book Mart) – via Marcelo Noah]

Happy Birthday Patti Smith! – two magical sixes! – 66 years old today!  Patti’s been featured a fair bit on The Allen Ginsberg Project (and will, of course, continue to be featured). We draw your attention, in particular, to last year’s birthday posting (including the famous mistaken-for-a-boy-in-the-Automat encounter!) and this one (Patti and Philip Glass’s filmed recollections of Allen), and also, (highly recommended), this triumphal rendition of Allen’s “Footnote to Howl” (“Spell”) – “Holy, … Read More

Friday Weekly Round-Up 106

[Ben Foster as William Burroughs, Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr, and Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac in John Krokidas’ upcoming film, “Kill Your Darlings”]

[Jean-Marc Barr as Jack Kerouac in Michael Polish’s upcoming film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur – photo by Adam Rehmeier]

“On The Road” featured last week. This week’s “Round-Up” (the last of 2012) begins with a brief note on two further Kerouac adaptations, both of which are scheduled to have their premieres in Park City, Utah, next month, as part of the Sundance Film Festival – “Kill Your Darlings”Read More

Üvöltés – Allen & Lazlo Foldes’ Hobo Blues Band

Our Christmas posting – Allen and the Hobo Blues Band‘s “Come Back Christmas” was from Üvöltés.   Here’s the whole album, released, in Hungary, on the Krem/Hungaroton label in 1987.

The line-up was Laszlo Foldes (vocals), Dezso Dome (drums), Laszlo Fuchs (piano, electric organ and synthesizer & vocals), Egon Poka (bass, guitar, synthesizer & vocals), Rudolf Janos Toth (guitar, violin & vocals) &  Allen (vocals and harmonium).

The track-listing – “Gospel Noble Truths” (sung in English), “Tear Gas Rag“, “Guru Blues”, “Come Back Christmas”, “Cafe in Warsaw”, “Sickness Blues” (again in English) and – side two – “Howl” … Read More

Classroom Survey Results: A Snapshot – Naropa 1976


[“Top of the charts” – Shakespeare (title page of first folio, 1623, with copper engraving by Martin Droeshout)]

Allen, periodically, in his early Naropa teaching, would conduct what he, endearingly, referred to as “a pecker-count” (an impromptu survey of student’s familiarity with various (what he saw as) “essential” authors). An early example of such a “pecker-count” may be found here. In his 1976 Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) lecture course (the course that we’ve been serializing), June 14, 1976, he tries it again, and announces:

“Almost everybody has read some Shakespeare – Well, 44 people (out of 50)
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Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 105

December 21 – Today’s the day for the official U.S. “On The Road” opening. Walter Salles’ film has already been playing (in various versions) in Europe (and elsewhere) for some time now. (See earlier posts about it here and here and here) but today – Winter Solstice – it officially hits the U.S. screens. Here’s a smattering of U.S. press responses. First, Kenneth Turan’s enthusiastic piece in the L.A.Times – “Salles has lovingly crafted a poetic, sensitive, achingly romantic version of the Kerouac book that captures the evanescence of its characters’ existence and the purity of their rebellious … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) – 21 (Jerusalem..& Weep No More…)

Allen concludes this particular July 1976 class at Naropa [see our earlier serialization] on the ballad form

The other (piece) that I had in mind (alongside “As You Came From The Holy Land of Walsingham”..)  was “Jerusalem, My Happy Home”, which is the same basic pattern. [Allen reads “Jerusalem, My Happy Home” – “Jerusalem, my happy home,/ When shall I come to thee?/When shall my sorrows have an end./Thy joys when shall I see..” – That’s a very powerful piece of idealism.

Student: Allen?

AG: (The singer, he) sure wants to go!

Student: It sounds so much like … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads – 20) (As You Came From..)

AG: “As You Came From the Holy Land of Walsingham” is (also) interesting. Robert Lowell got into this, actually, quite a bit. [Allen reads the first two stanzas of “As You Came From the Holy Land of Walsingham” (a poem attributed to Sir Walter Ralegh) – “As you came from the holy land/ Of Walsingham,/Met you not with my true love,/By the way as you came?/ “How should I know your true love/That have met many a one/As I came from the holy land/ That have come, that have gone?”] – Now there’s a funny rhythm, different from anything (that) … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) – 19 (The Unquiet Grave)

AG: Getting back to ballad(s). There was one that Helen Adam didn’t read. She also sent a message about her ballads..where’s that?..yeah,.the ballads she can recommend as her favorites are (were) “Thomas the  Rhymer” and “May Colvin”.. and “Young Tam Lin”. I’ll try and get ahold of those. (But) did she read “The Unquiet Grave”, do you remember?

Student: No

AG: It’s sort of short and interesting. [Allen reads “The Unquiet Grave” in its entirety – “The wind doth blow today, my love,/ And a few small drops of rain,/ I never had but one true love,/In … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) – 18 (Thomas Wyatt 3)

[Sir Thomas Wyatt (1498-1543) – woodcut by Hans Holbein the Younger, drawn c.1540 (published in John Leland‘s Naenia, a poetic elegy in Latin, composed in praise of Wyatt and published on the occasion of his death]

AG: (So) You see how terrific (Sir Thomas) Wyatt is, actually. As I say it’s sort of a shame that, [according to a class survey’}, only seven people (here have ever) read Wyatt. Actually, I have a book of poems called The Gates of Wrath, which were the earliest poems I wrote, and the rhythms of that book were

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