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 Ginsberg Estate or any of the Beat estates while writing the movie because I thought I’d suddenly try to write up the legends of who they later became in life. I wondered perhaps if my depictions were inadequate”..”I think the greatest encouragement I’ve gotten was from people who worked with Allen Ginsberg and people who’ve worked with the Beats. They absolutely loved the movie and told me that Allen himself would’ve loved it. That was the greatest compliment of all”..”Hearing now from people who were really close to him…hearing those kind of compliments – it’s humbling, and makes me proud that the work that Austin (Bunn) and I did researching the project and creating the characters was close to the truth and served one of my idols justice.”
Er.. hold on a second – here’s Bob Rosenthal, Allen’s long-time (twenty-year) secretary, addressing the issue of “truth” and ethics, in a piece we published here in February (shortly after a post-Sundance pre-release, pre US-release, screening) – “The film, “Kill Your Darlings”, confuses me greatly”, Rosenthal writes, “..(T)he film takes its own title too seriously. The large fabrications in the film are not so worrisome as the small ones. In any case when the truth is stepped on and the nuance of truth is denied the message become’s moribund…. “Kill Your Darlings” purports to be sensitive to the characters but falls into reductive cliches and hurts those who knew and loved those characters..”
Marc Olmsted and Brian Hassett follow up here, citing numerous particular instances and weighing in on this all-important issue of responsibility and truth.

[Lucien Carr (1925-2005)]

[Dane DeHaan (as Lucien Carr) and Daniel Radcliffe (as Allen Ginsberg) in John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings” (2013)]

That having been said, there’s no question that “Kill Your Darlings” ( or “Ubij svoje najdraže” – that’s its Croation title!) has met with a singularly rousing and enthusiastic response. We strongly urge you to go see it. For our various “Kill Your Darlings” postings (reviews postings)  see here, here, here, here, and here – with doubtless more to follow.

[Allen Ginsberg teaching at Brooklyn College, 1991 -Photograph by Christopher Funkhouser]


Allen as a teacher – The writer Kirpal Gordon recently published a heart-felt memoir – “Allen Ginsberg expressed in his person a remarkable quality of courage and being his summer apprentice at Naropa in 1978 helped give me the courage to change my life..” – “Allen’s was a calm voice. I was knocked-out by his spoken-word delivery and how he used music to enrich his long lyrical lines with (Walt) Whitman and (William) Blake as touchstones. I read, liked & taught his work to inmates in maximum security and eighteen-year-olds on a campus nicknamed Sin City. But meeting with him at his Boulder apartment, sharing work every other day (he was finishing “Plutonian Ode”), doing readings with him, going to his class and hanging out with him at parties – that was the thing..”

The improbably-named “50MillionChickens” (on the social-media site Reddit) picks up the story several years later – with an account of Allen teaching at Brooklyn College – “He helped me make a commitment to actually writing honestly about myself and my own view of the world I lived in. He would be brutally dismissive of any poetry that had any pretense or any hint of fakery in it. It was like he was a really well-defined bullshit-detector and he could red-line bad poetry like nobody else. He was able to help me highlight the “moments” in my own poetry where my own true self really came through and had something to say. I could then gut the rest of it and build on the true insight.” (This is just the beginning of what is a clear, unvarnished, portrait of Allen that is well-worth reading – for the whole piece (the author responds to questions about Allen and (Neal) Cassady, Allen and (Jack) Kerouac, Allen and (William) Burroughs, etc), see here). 

Don White – “Allen Ginsberg and Me” – “When Allen Ginsberg died, I cried. And cried. I couldn’t stop the tears. I was forty-four years old, married with two small sons, an English teacher, a school administrator living in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and I cried”.

Troubling news this week about Amiri Baraka, On Monday, he was rushed to the Newark, New Jersey’s Beth Israel Intensive Care Unit in critical condition, for, (so far), unspecified reasons. On Christmas Eve, his son, Councilman Ras Baraka of Newark’s South Ward, through a spokesman, announced that he “seems to be steadily getting stronger”, and, hearteningly, the message this morning was that “he continues to improve” and that “his condition is not dire”, tho’ the family remained deeply concerned and on high alert, and have decided to keep publicity to a minimum. We all have him very much in our thoughts   

Amiri Baraka in Gloucester Speaking on Charles Olson and Sun Ra on the John Sinclair blog. We were going to run this anyway. So here it is.   

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