Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 213

Elaine de Kooning’s portraits show, opening last week at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC,  includes this striking one of Allen. He was always ambivalent about it, since it showed him glasses off, eyes closed. We, however, like it. More consideration (a week or so later) of the recent pedagogy and poetry – teaching “Please Master” controversy – Here’s Anne Cohen in the blog for the Jewish Daily Forward – “Why Shouldn’t High School Kids Read Allen Ginsberg?”   and here’s “Hermenutic” on Daily Kos – “Allen Ginsberg and The Prudes of Connecticut”. (always, interesting, in … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 64 (Whitman – 7)



Gregory Corso: Al, excuse me, how did the Russians take that book (Leaves of Grass). They don’t mention his homosexuality, you know, but they..
AG: No, nor in America was that mentioned. 
Gregory Corso:  (.. did read and admire him..)
AG: Actually, see, until this year [1978], there never was any real documentation of Whitman‘s erotic life. There is a document published in Gay Sunshine Interviews (in Gay Sunshine magazine),which is an account by Gavin Arthur of San Francisco, the late Gavin Arthur, who
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Meditation and Poetics – 63 (Whitman – 6)


[Walt Whitman (1819-1892)  c.187o – Photograph by Frank Pearsall– via The Library of Congress]

Actually his (Walt Whitman’s) contribution was, well, you could call it generosity. The first virtue, the first paramita – generosity – there. Absolutely totally generous with the display of his feelings. A bodhisattva, in that sense, that he completely opened up his heart and his own mind for inspection – “What I shall assume, you shall assume” 

He was the first person in American history to open himself up to make public what is private, to make public what was so … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 62 (Whitman – 5)

AG: But still, you see, he (Walt Whitman)’s saying.. this has nothing to do with men or women, (it’s) beyond that. See? It’s a question of “Is he proclaiming a universal soul, (with himself as Person), and universal soul that will cover all empathy and every direction, so to speak, egolessly, where the adhesiveness is a natural emanation of any human being, latent in any human being? He’s representing “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I shall assume you shall assume”. [“I celebrate myself/And what I assumes you shall assume..”] –  So he’s saying, “This is

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Meditation and Poetics – 61 (Whitman – 4)


[Walt Whitman and Peter Doyle circa 1869 – Photograph by M.P.Rice, Washington DC – via Ohio Wesleyan University, Bayley Collection]

Student: Allen?


Student: Why does he [Walt Whitman]…in the line it goes, “women my sisters and lovers”…  [“And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers”]

AG: I think he’s just covering himself. He covers himself throughout the book Leaves of Grass)

 He has a natural affinity towards women, actually. He had women friends and boasted that he’s had children too, that he had a
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Carl Solomon and Jack Micheline

Carl Solomon and Jack Micheline this weekend on the Allen Ginsberg blog.   The occasion is the 1982 Jack Kerouac Conference at Naropa These two Beat luminaries were among many notable figures gathered in attendance. Their reading is available (with introduction by Al Aronowitz and supplementary introductions by Allen) –  here 

Al Aronowitz, pioneer of rock journalism

[Al Aronowitz (1928-2005]

Allen Ginsberg:  (approximately eighteen minutes in) – “We have the distinguished introducer, Al Aronowitz here, who introduced me to Bob Dylan and introduced Bob Dylan to The Beatles and also introduced The Beatles to grass (this is Al Aronowitz) – as well as introducing the American public … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 212

Recently surfaced, Allen Ginsberg and the Clash – Ghetto Defendant – an extended version which originally appeared on the bootleg “Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg”

[Allen Ginsberg with Mick Jones, and with Joe Strummer, of  The Clash at Electric Lady Studios in New York, December 1981 at the recording sessions for Combat Rock – Photographs by Bob Gruen]

This coming Monday at the Presentation House Gallery in Vancouver (in conjunction with the on-going Ginsberg photos show), Nude Ghosts, a lecture by Jonathan D Katz Yet another of Michael Limnios’ extraordinary Beat-related interviews – this time … Read More

Jack Kerouac’s Birthday



March 12 – It’s Jack Kerouac’s birthday today. 93 years since his birth in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922. We celebrate with some Kerouac news, and some further reading,

Editor Todd Tietchen is interviewed on the Empty Mirror site here on his new Library of America edition of three Kerouac novels (Visions of Cody, Visions of Gerard, and Big Sur) and declares: “I am editing another Kerouac volume for them, O Rich and Unbelievable Life!: UnCollected Prose Writings of Jack Kerouac, scheduled for publication in … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 60 (Whitman – 3)

[Walt Whitman ( 1819-1892)]

AG:  So how many here have been listening to (Chogyam) Trungpa’s lectures? How many go? He’s just entered into the Mahayana discourse (and his last lecture was on the paramitas, or excellencies of mind, that were by-products of sitting meditation. The excellencies were generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, concentration and intellect, and I’ll be rummaging through (Walt) Whitman to find examples of generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, concentration and intellect). 

Somebody at the lecture last night asked how do these schematic Mahayana Buddhist virtues differ from anybody’s Whitmanic ordinary mind generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, concentration
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Meditation and Poetics – 59 (Whitman 2)

[Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and William Wordsworth (1770-1850)]

AG: So (to) get right into Song of Myself”, and I’ll do as much of it as we can (in an hour) So he [Walt Whitman] begins –  as we had in (William Carlos) Williams  [in “Danse Russe’] – “Who shall say I’m not the happy genius of my household”, (which was really an extension of  a kind of Whitmanic empathy) . So on that common ground, Whitman begins, “I…” –  (this is page twenty-three of the Modern Library version, or whatever page you have of whatever Whitman

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