January, 1959 – The Big Table Howl

photo: chicago review

Irving Rosenthal & staff at Chicago Review

 Clockwise: Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Paul Carrol, Chicago at time of Big Table reading, January 1959. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate

Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Carroll, Peter Orlovsky, Chicago, 1959 – Photograph  courtesy Allen Ginsberg Collection

The first issue of Big Table

The 1959 Big Table Chicago reading of “Howl” is our special feature this weekend.

A recording of this historic reading is available here

(“Footnote to  Howl” is here)

Also read on that occasion were “Sunflower Sutra”, “A Supermarket in California”, “Transcription of Organ Music”, “America”, “In Back of the Real”, “A Strange New Cottage in Berkeley“, “Europe! Europe!” and “Kaddish, part 1

The whole reading (Allen’s reading in its entirety) may be listened to here

The event, you may recall, was a benefit for a newly-established magazine, Big Table (born as a result of the flagrant censorship of the student magazine, the Chicago Review)

– fearful of Kerouac, Dahlberg, and Naked Lunch?
fearful of the Beats?

For two detailed accounts of these events see here (the Chicago Reader)
or here (The Village Voice).

Here’s a note from Paul Carroll (almost fifty years later)

“Big Table” – that was Jack Kerouac’s suggestion.

See also other readings of “Howl” on the Allen Ginsberg Project – here, here and here

Allen Ginsberg – in San Francisco  Photograph by Harry Redl

Allen Ginsberg, Irving Rosenthal, and  Peter Orlovsky, 1959  – Photograph courtesy Allen Ginsberg Collection

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