William Burroughs – Star Me Kitten & The Priest They Called Him


[Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), Michael Stipe (REM) and William Burroughs]

[William Burroughs and Kurt Cobain]

More Burroughs for the weekend – collaborations with Michael Stipe and Kurt Cobain (REM and Nirvana) – “Star Me Kitten” and “The Priest They Called Him”.

Beginning with “Star Me..” (yes, “Star Me” – the allusion is to the Rolling Stones’ “Starfucker” (“Star Star”). The source, is the 1996 collection,  “Songs in the Key of X – Music From And Inspired By “The X-Files“)  Burroughs: “All right. Just something I picked up. A knack of going along with … Read More

William Burroughs – Last Words of Hassan Sabbah


Burroughs-month, Burroughs-year, Burroughs-century. Here’s yet another posting on William. Initially in a letter to Allen, written June 21 1960, and appearing in The Yage Letters, and redacted to appear as part of the first chapter of Nova Express, the spoken version (from which the following transcription is taken) appeared on the 1981 Industrial Records release (spearheaded by Genesis P. Orridge, now Genesis Breyer P.Orridge), “Nothing Here Now But The Recordings” – The Last Words of Hassan Sabbah (you all know who Hassan-i-Sabbah was, right?) … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 173

kathy-acker2 [Bob Kaufman (1925-1986) & Kathy Acker (1947-1997)]

April 18 – Bob Kaufman‘s and Kathy Acker‘s birthday today. For our postings on Kaufman – see here and here. For our posting on Kathy Acker see here

Women of the Beat Generation, a perennially significant topic, gets another airing next week in Randolph, New Jersey. Joyce Johnson and Hettie Jones will be speaking on the subject. Hopefully, there’s been some significant progress since this:

Sociologically and cinematographically of interest, the full movie – “Beat Girl” (sic – “Wild For Kicks” in its 1960 US manifestation), … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 51 (Mayakovsky and the Revolution)

[Vladimir Mayakovsky, detail of a poster design, 1921. – Translation of the title: “Comrades! Beware of falling into those jaws. Let us close ranks to escape such a miserable fate—Strengthen Soviet Rule!”] Ann Charters‘ (July 9 1981) Russian Poetry class continues. Ann Charters: Well, let’s talk about Mayakovsky as a political poet now for a while, because he was most famous for a poem called “Lenin”, which he wrote in 1924, as a eulogy for the dear departed leader, who had made the Revolution and the victory of the Bolsheviks an actuality. As you could hear from … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 50 (Mayakovsky on Esenin)

File:Esenin Moscow 1922.jpg    

[Sergei Esenin (1895-1925)]

AG (to Ann Charters): I did want to interject this (Sergei) Esenin thing, because in that there’s also [as with Akhmatova’s “Requiem] a reference to the bronze-lidded statue Ann Charters: Yeah AG: So they’re all.. This is Mayakovsky’s elegy on the suicide of Esenin,  Mayakovsky’s comment on Esenin’s suicide Ann Charters: This is 1925 AG: (19)25, probably. Esenin, as you remember, his last line, written in blood, is “In this life, to die is nothing new. But, of course to live is nothing new either” – “In this life, to die … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 49 (Akhmatova & Mayakovsky)

[Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), in 1924, aged 35]

June 9 1981 – Allen Ginsberg’s Expansive Poetics class continues at Naropa Institute. On this day, Ann Charters, who, two years earlier, in collaboration with her husband Sam, had published I Love – The Story of Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lili Brik, is the class’s special guest. The emphasis therefore is on Mayakovsky and twentieth-century Russian literature.

AG: ….in the Russian section…  (Anna) Akhmatova  is after (Nikolay) Gumilev (1886-1921) [in the Expansive Poetics Anthology] , a poem called “Requiem”.  Okay? Everybody got it?
Student: That’s the very first poem in … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 48 (A Reminder – Meditation as Counterpoint)

[Allen Ginsberg, Boulder Colorado, June 1994. photo c. Steve Miles]

Allen’s  1981 Expansive Poetics class transcripts continue. Allen speaks out, noting Naropa’s current (1981) financial difficulties, but, “whether or not Naropa survives”… AG: I think one thing we have succeeded in doing [here at the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa Institute] is carrying on something that started with Black Mountain (College), which was that practicing poets teach poetry in a community of poets. The idea here was to add on practicing poets in a community of poets and meditators, which I thought was doubling the consciousness, or doubling … Read More

“Aint No Sin To Take Off Your Skin…” (from The Black Rider)

“When you hear sweet syncopation and the music softly moans/‘t ain’t no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones/When it gets too hot for comfort, and you can’t get an ice-cream cone/t’ain’t no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones/Just like those bamboo babies, down in the South Sea tropic zone/ t’aint no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones.” William Burroughs, Robert Wilson and Tom Waits‘ … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 172

A  rare (rarely-seen) Ginsberg item (that didn’t meet its estimated price in their last big Beat-related auction) – If Not Forever – A Letter to Jack Kerouac (Sore Dove Press, San Francisco, 2008) – went up again on the auction block at the PBA Galleries in San Francisco yesterday (alongside a number of other Ginsberg and Beat-related pieces, the residue, second culling, (third culling, actually) from Rick Synchev’s fabled “Beats, Counter-Culture, and the Avant-Garde” collection. A couple more highlights – (likewise from Sore Dove, 2011),  Poem (“Prophecy” (“Prophecy if I shall find/What I miss..”) (first publication, with … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 47 (Mayakovsky – 4)

[Vladimir Mayakovsky – Costume Art for the Seven Pairs of the Clean and the Seven Pairs of the Unclean from the production of his play, Mystery-Bouffe (1918/1921)] 

AG: Footnote..speaking of menage a trois – Heartbeat.. Ann Charters: Yes AG: … is playing  today and tomorrow at the cinema down on the Mall. I’ve never seen it so I’ll probably go But, in case any of you are curious how Hollywood’s handled it. Ann Charters: The thing about Mayakovsky which is also important to stress is that there is (there are), of course, at least two Mayakovsky’s, the one who … Read More