William S Burroughs at 101 – All of the focus on the Centennial last year, but the time has come around again. February 5 – It’s William Burroughs’ birthday.
To celebrate we’re running this audio – an inspired July 1985 reading at Naropa (select readings from 1983’s The Place of Dead Roads and 1986’s The Cat Inside).
[After some announcements regarding upcoming Naropa activities from Anne Waldman,
(and additional announcements from Allen), Allen, (at approximately two-and-three-quarter minutes in), introduces William Burroughs]
AG: William Burroughs at the present age of seventy-one, has been teaching at Naropa steadily, every … Read More
AG: Okay, so those were his (Charles Reznikoff’s) short things. I’ll finish with some of his longer matters from Volume 1 of his Collected Poems, because I think I mentioned them to you… – (66) – “If there is a scheme..” – [did I read this before here? no?] – “If there is a scheme/ perhaps this too is in the … Read More
[Allen’s read through of Charles Reznikoff’s work continues]
“Asylum Product” (page 122) – “Brown and black felt” – [It’s an asylum product] – Brown and black felt, unevenly stitched with purple thread/what unhappiness is perpetuated in the brown or black of/ this pin cushion lunatic?” – [You’ve seen those. You know, little artifacts of occupational therapy] – “What unhappiness is perpetuated in the brown or black of this pincushion,/ lunatic?” – [Well, what there it is, it’s not so much that the external description is so fine (though it’s there), as this is a thought that everybody’s had seeing … Read More
[New York City Street View, 1917, Broadway, near 17th Street -Photograph – The Brown Brothers via New York Times Photo Archives]
AG: [reading Charles Reznikoff – (20) – There’s three lines I like – “Coming up the subway stairs I thought the moon/ only another streetlight,/ a little crooked” – [“a little crooked” – that’s a funny tone there] – “Suburban River (Summer)” – [more cityscapes] – “In the clear morning the gulls float on the blue water/white birds on the blue water/on the rosy glitter of dawn” – [ah, that’s alright, it’s not really a good one – Then]
[New York Public Library and Bryant Park c.1910 – “just walking around, four in the afternoon”]
AG: It’s amazing how he (Charles Reznikoff) did his work. He was like a saint in that way. He lived in an apartment house near Lincoln Center in New York, one of the new apartment houses. His wife, actually, was a professor of literature at Brandeis and editor of a Jewish magazine, a Jewish Zionist magazine. He helped out with that a little. He lived a very sort of anonymous life in libraries, like a scholar, (like I said), looking up texts.
He … Read More