Allen Ginsberg on Jack Kerouac – 2

 “I would say he [Jack Kerouac]  offered his heart to the United States and the United States rejected his heart. And he realized what suffering the United States was in for, and so the tragedy of America, as (Walt) Whitman had seen the tragedy of the United States. “When the singer of the nation finds that the nation has sickened, what happens to the singer of the nation?” This is Gregory Corso‘s question. 

And America, by his day, was sick. Militarily sick. Military-Industrial-Complex had taken over. Hard-heartedness had taken over. Everything that as a Canuck-peasant Kerouac … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on Jack Kerouac – 1

This week (Wednesday) is Jack Kerouac’s birthday. As a warm-up, we present today, a little fugitive item – Allen’s “Letter on Kerouac”. It appeared in the inaugeral (Spring 1970) issue of the magazine Madrugada Dear Barry (Gifford) – Thanks for your kind letter made sense – Someone mentioned reading Desolation Angels (not in paperback yet!) [editorial note – it is now!] and I’ve been thinking about (The) Dharma Bums – those two plus Lonesome Traveller come into focus this decade [the 1970’s] as Gary Snyder also comes into focus. Put all the books side by side and perhaps Vanity of … Read More

Cut-Ups 2 – Brion Gysin

[Brion Gysin with Dreamachine at Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris, 1962  – Photograph by Harold Chapman – © Harold Chapman] 

Weekend of  The Cut-Ups – Two Brion Gysin movies on the Allen Ginsberg Project this weekend. The first, Nik Sheehan’s 2008 Canadian documentary, FLicKeR, (a documentary examining and exploring Gysin’s mind-expanding, trance-inducing invention, the dreamachine); the second, from ten years earlier, Joe Ambrose, Frank Rynne and Terry Wilson’s record of the 1992 Gysin celebrations in Dublin, Ireland, Destroy All Rational Thought (the latter of particular interest, since it features one of the very last filmed interviews with William Burroughs,Read More

William S Burroughs – Cut-Ups


[William S Burroughs from Towers Open Fire (1963)]

Just because February, the birthday month, is over, it doesn’t mean our William Burroughs celebrations, here on the Allen Ginsberg Project are over, far from it!  Here for the weekend, a little more from and about El Hombre Invisible. Looking back on his legendary “cut-up” work (with particular reference to his film collaboration(s) with Antony Balch).

Antony Balch.jpg

[Antony Balch (1937-1980)]

(A new monograph, Guerilla Conditions – Le Cinema d’Antony Balch by French scholar, Adrien Clerc, named after a planned-but-never-completed Balch-Burroughs collaboration,  is scheduled to appear shortly). Meanwhile…


To begin … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 167

Published this past Tuesday in the UK by Penguin and this coming Thursday in the US by Da Capo Press, and edited by respected Beat scholar, Todd Tietchen The Haunted Life – a previously-unpublished, only-recently rediscovered, short (19,ooo word) novella by Jack Kerouac, seventy years after it was written, finally gets to see the light of day. Written when he was only twenty-two and attending Columbia, lost almost immediately (Kerouac left his only hand-written final draft in a New York taxi-cab), re-surfacing thirteen years later in a Columbia University dormitory, and then in 2002 on the auction block … Read More

Expansive Poetics 36 (Shakespeare and D.H.Lawrence)


[William Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens – Act IV Scene 1 – Timon renounces society –  Engraving by Isaac Taylor (1803), after a painting by Henry Howard]

Allen’s Expansive Poetics class continues…  class reconvenes, July 2nd 1981

Allen begins with a reading (Timon’s speech)  from William Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens) AG:  “Let me look back upon thee, O thou wall,/That girdlest in those wolves, dive in the earth,/ And fence not Athens! Matrons, turn incontinent!/ Obedience fail in children! slaves and fools,/ Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench,/ And minister in their steads! To general filths/ Convert, … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 35 – (Hart Crane 3 & Poe)

Edgar Allan Poe AG: And then there’s another funny passage right after that from (the section of “The Bridge”called) “The Tunnel” where (Hart) Crane also picks up on the image of Edgar Allan Poe, whom we’ve already dealt with a little bit. Weird Poe – Poe of the weir, or weird. And he sees a vision of Poe in the subway. Poe, as you know, at the end, his last day – or you may know – was dragged from place to place, voting, from voting-place to voting-place. He’d drunk a little, and was found in the gutter, and was, like, … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 34 (Hart Crane 2 – Cape Hatteras)

[Hart Crane (1899-1932)]

Then he (Hart Crane) goes directly into an address to Walt Whitman – or, in another section of the poem he has an address to Walt Whitman, in the “Cape Hatteras” section. He quotes Whitman to begin with – ” – “Recorders ages hence” – ah, syllables of faith!” – That was one thing he noticed about Whitman. It’s rueful – “Walt, tell me Walt Whitman, if infinity/Be still the same as when you walked the beach/ Near Paumanok” – Long Island – “…your lone patrol – and heard the wraith/Through surf, … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 33 (Hart Crane 1 – “The River”)

[Hart Crane (1899-1932)]

So we have Hart Crane, “The Bridge”, which is the bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn – a whole poem is supposed to be symbolic between present and future, present America and future mechanical scientific space-age America, written in the (19)20’s and early (19)30’s, at a time of Bauhaus architecture, Chrysler Building, space visions, science-fiction, Expressionists, Fritz Lang “Metropolis, visions of futurity. Several elements common between Whitman and Hart Crane are there.  I”ll begin with the section that we have here – “The River” – I don’t have the whole section of “The River”, … Read More

March 1 Birthdays – Lucien Carr & Basil Bunting

Basil Bunting

[Basil Bunting (1900-1985)]

[Lucien Carr (1925-2005)]

Two strangely contrasting birthdays, celebrated today (strangely contrasting? – or maybe not). We’ll draw your attention to fairly comprehensive initial postings on each of our two subjects of study – Basil Bunting – here  and Lucien Carr – here First, the latter. Due to the success of Kill Your Darlings, (out in America on DVD later this month), from a quiet unassuming back-seat, Lucien, (at least in the Dane DeHaan version), has been catapaulted to, clearly unwanted and unsought for, global notoriety, slandered (the movies can do this, even if it is just … Read More