New Years Eve (Looking Back on 2013 & Forward to 2014)

[“Buddhist (and one non-Buddhist) Action Figures” Photograph by Reverend Danny Fisher 2013]

Last posting of 2013, we thought we’d list a few of our “greatest hits” from the past year – January – Nanao Sakaki and Allen Ginsberg singing “Birdbrain” in Osaka, Japan, February – William Burroughs’ 99th (next year will be Burroughs centennial), March – (speaking of nonagenarians) Ferlinghetti was 94, April – the Beats and the rock muse – “Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll, May – our Bob Dylan birthday posting, (this year – “The Night Bob Came Around” (and the night… Read More

Happy Birthday Patti Smith

Patti Smith AGO exhibit opens

Happy Birthday, Patti Smith, 67 years old today! – Our last year’s birthday posting (including links to many other Allen Ginsberg Project postings) can be found here.  

PattiSmith.Net, is, of course, the official Patti Smith web-site, and that may be accessed here. She, along with Philip Glass, have, for some time now, been performing together, often taking the opportunity to present stunning live renditions of Patti’s “Spell” (Allen’s “Footnote to Howl”) and “On The Cremation of Chogyam Trungpa Vidyadhara”, and Philip’s  “Wichita Vortex Sutra (from “Hydrogen Jukebox”)” – and presenting the full-length … Read More

Robert Duncan

Robert Duncan

The concluding two volumes of the University of California’s magisterial commitment [magisterialis, from the Medieval Latin, master] – to Robert Duncan –  a commitment to publishing his complete Collected Writings in four volumes (the first two volumes, the legendary H.D.Book and The Collected Early Poems and Plays, appearing at the beginning and end of last year, these last two, forthcoming in January, 2014) is, we at The Allen Ginsberg Project believe, cause for considerable celebration and excitement.  We should also perhaps mention (from the same publisher), Lisa Jarnot‘s definitive biography, Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus, and … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 158

“Junge Wilde” (Wild Youth) is the German title for John Krokidas’ Ginsberg-centric Beat movie, Kill Your Darlings (actually, to be scrupulously accurate, the German distributers have chosen both – “Kill Your Darlings – Junge Wilde”). In Italian, it’s “Giovano ribelli” (Young Rebels), just in case that William-Faulkner- (actually, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch) -based title gets “lost in translation”. When it opens (not until next February) in Brazil, it will be “Versos de Um Crime” (Verses of  A Crime? Stanzas from A Crime?). 

Here’s John Krokidas, from an interview with The Back Lot:  “I initially was terrified to contact the Allen Read More

Jack Kerouac’s Christmas

carte de voeux ancienne

NOT LONG AGO JOY ABOUNDED AT CHRISTMAS  “I think the celebration of Christmas has changed within the short span of my own lifetime. Only twenty years ago, before World War II [sic] it seemed that Christmas was still being celebrated with a naive and joyous innocence whereas today you hear the expression, “Christmas comes once a year like taxes”. Christmas was observed all out in my Catholic French-Canadian environment in (the) 1930’s, much as it is today in Mexico. At first I was too young to go to midnight mass, but that was the real big event we hoped to … Read More

Allen Ginsberg & Bob Dylan at the Grave of Jack Kerouac

This little excerpt, this classic excerpt, from Bob Dylan’s lost epic, “Renaldo and Clara” (courtesy of the essential “The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg“, Jerry Aronson‘s deluxe two-disc DVD set).  Bob and Allen, in 1975, in Lowell cemetery (Edson cemetery), on the occasion of a stop-over on the legendary Rolling Thunder tour, famously standing together, beside Jack Kerouac’s grave, musing, (Allen’s certainly taking the lead), in memento mori.  Allen (gesticulating towards the grave):”So that’s what’s gonna happen to you?”  Dylan: “No, I want to be in an unmarked grave.” The clip begins with … Read More

Jewel Heart Howl Reading


Allen Ginsberg reads “Howl” in 1994 at the Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan, at a benefit for Jewel Heart From the program notes: On “Howl, for Carl Solomon” Allen Ginsberg’s writing and first reading of “Howl, for Carl Solomon” in 1955 marked a change in American letters and public life that is still unfolding today. Some felt that both “Howl”‘s words and the act of speaking them aloud were profoundly liberating, while others thought that they were a threat to public order. Ginsberg himself, at the start of writing, felt that the emerging poem could never have a … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 157

[Allen Ginsberg by Dan Bratton (with digital enhancement by Steve Silberman]

New books from the University of California Press noted on the horizon (we’ll be saying more about them all in the weeks ahead) – Robert Duncan’s  Collected Essays and Other Prose and Collected Later Poems and Plays (the introduction to which by the editor, Peter Quartermain can be read here) and (eagerly-awaited) Robert Creeley’s Selected Letters (for those of you who missed it, here‘s a taste from last October’s Poetry magazine – Rod Smith’s introductory note’s here – there’s also a glimpse, some further early missives, … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 11 ( Herman Melville)

AG: Then, another heroic precursor, nineteenth-century, is Herman Melville, as a poet. How many here have run across Melville as a poet? Yeah. Has anybody here read Melville as a prose writer? – Moby Dick?  That’s much more common. And how many have seen his poetry again [show of hands] – Yeah – I think he’s one of the four great poets of the nineteenth-century – (Emily) Dickinson, (Herman) Melville, (Edgar Allan) Poe (and) (Walt) Whitman. His work in poetry isn’t as well known, but it’s great. And he’s got a big thick book. Robert Penn Read More

Expansive Poetics – 10 (A Digression – Metrics)

AG: You all know anapestic rhythm? Is there anybody here that doesn’t know rhythms, I guess. Well, we might as well go to the board. We won’t be using this much in the twentieth-century but, just for those who don’t know, this is standard (or was, at one time, standard) simple measured iamb. [ Allen proceeds to write on the blackboard]. What’s an iambic pentameter line? Does anybody remember one? Student: “Let me not to the marriage of true souls..” [“Let me not to the marriage of true minds] AG: Well, it’s kind of mixed. It’s “Let me … Read More