Kaddish, 1959, (the Robert Creeley Recording)


         [Kaddish (50th Anniversary edition), Allen painted by Naomi, Allen & Naomi]

Allen’s classic poem “Kaddish” has been featured on several occasions on The Allen Ginsberg Project (notably here, herehere and here).  Today, we’re doing so again. Today’s version (noticeably missing Part II) – (low-, but nonetheless serviceable, fidelity) is from a recording included in the Robert Creeley collection (the collection of audio tapes bequeathed by the Estate) currently available on the University of Pennsylvania’s unparalleled PennSound site.  The tape, as UPenn’s curators inform us, “appears to have been recorded at the Creeley’s home … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 217


[Lawrence Ferlinghetti standing outside his “Banned Books” display at  City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, in the early 1950’s]

The David Olio “Please Master” Censorship case – some update.  Steve Silberman, over at Our Allen, has been doing sterling work marshalling (sadly necessary) some defense.  An enthusiastic highly-regarded Connecticut high-school teacher lost his job. 


[David Olio]

Here’s word from someone not unfamiliar with defending Allen Ginsberg and free speech issues – Lawrence Ferlinghetti “As the original publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, City Lights Books fully supports David Olio as a high school teacher of poetry. We … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 76 – (Walt Whitman Lists – 4)

[“The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp.” (Walt Whitman)]

Allen in his Naropa class continues his line-by-line examination of Section 15 of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”

AG [reading Whitman]: – “The one-year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago borne her first child,/The clean-hair’d Yankee girl works with her sewing machine or in the factory or mill/ The paving man leans on his two-handed rammer” – (that’s a good one!)
Peter Orlovsky [sitting in on the class]: Rammer?
AG: “…rammer”
Peter Orlovsky: What’s a “rammer”? You ram … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 75 – (Walt Whitman Lists – 3)

AG [continuing to read from “Song of Myself” and quoting Whitman]: “The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that helps fill the Huron”. What is “The Wolverine”? Does anybody know?

Student: It’s a little..
AG: “The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that helps fill the Huron” – the Huron River, the Huron..
Student: .. River
AG:  ..River.
Student (2): Huron Lake
AG: Lake?  Lake.
Student: (It’s still, in parts of Michigan, a river.)
Peter Orlovsky [also sitting-in in the class]:  (And the) wolverine is a little animal.
AG: I imagine, but a wolverine doesn’t..
Student: (No, it isn’t … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 74 – (Walt Whitman Lists – 2)

[“The jour printer with grey head and gaunt jaws works at his case/He turns his quid of tobacco, his eyes get blurred with the manuscript.” (Walt Whitman)]


AG: So the Whitman text (section 15 of “Song of Myself” in Leaves of Grass) is a pretty good example of somebody paying attention to detail. Now in this case you don’t have to write a big poem with a theme (though there’s an underlying theme), with a single central theme, no, no need. At least have things that you saw. At least you’ve got in here things seen and heard … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 73 – (Walt Whitman’s Lists – 1)

[“The List Poem”, “Catalog Verse” – & from the ms. of Christopher Smart’s “Jubilate Agno“]

August 4, Allen Ginsberg’s 1978 class at Naropa Institute, Meditation and Poetics, continues. Allen begins an examination of Whitman’s poetic enumerations (but, before he does, expresses some pedagogical frustration)
AG: We were going to do section 15 of (Whitman’s)  “Song of Myself”, which is a catalog  (like the “list poems” that have been taught, if you’ve taken Anne Waldman’s class).
The archetypal and exemplar of American list poems, and another list poem of great grandeur and immensity in imagination is Christopher Read More

Judith Malina (1926-2015)

A page turns. One of the great pioneering American counter-cultural icons, Judith Malina (co-founder with her late husband Julian Beck) of the groundbreaking revolutionary theatre troupe, The Living Theatre, died this past Friday, (at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey, where she had been living, in assisted living, these past few years). She died following complications from lung disease. She was eighty-eight.  Her obituary by Bruce Weber in The New York Times may be read here  An appreciation en francais may be read – here and in italanio – here and here  Internationally respected … Read More

Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Ken Kesey at the 1982 Jack Kerouac Conference


 [Vintage Ephemera – Poster from the 1982 Naropa Jack Kerouac Conference]

Another classic piece of audio this week from the 1982 Jack Kerouac Conference. We’ve been featuring a number of recordings from the Conference in the past few weeks. See, for example, here, here, and here, here and here.

Today – Lawrence Ferlinghetti reads Jack Kerouac (from the then-unpublished Pomes All Sizes

and Ken Kesey speaks (presciently) of marijuana de-criminalization and reads an early draft of his classic  “Now We Know How Many Holes It Takes To Fill The Albert Hall” (a piece originally … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 216


Hal Willner‘s 60th anniversary celebrations in L.A.  for “Howl” this past week turned out to be a grand success.  From Tim Grierson‘s account of the evening, for Rolling Stone: “Nearly 60 years after its first public reading in October 1955, a concert was held in downtown Los Angeles to honor “Howl”, Allen Ginsberg’s epic zeitgeist-chaneling poem that wrestled with sexuality, creativity, drugs, capitalism and the contradictory forces that were shaping mid-century America. Although not as consistently revelatory as the poem itself, “A Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”” could be as

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Baudelaire’s Birthday

[Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)  circa 1862 – Photograph by Etienne Carjat]

Baudelaire would have liked Billie Holiday” (Allen Ginsberg journal note, December 1960). 
(Actually, we just finished celebrating Billie Holiday on the occasion, this past Tuesday, of her centennial, but today it’s Charles Baudelaire – April 9,the anniversary of the birth of Charles Baudelaire).
November 1957, three years previously, Allen’s in Paris, writing to Jack Kerouac
“Not yet explored Paris, just inches, still to make solemn visits to cemeteries Père Lachaise  and visit Apollinaire’s menhir  (MENHIR) and Montparnasse to Baudelaire.”
[Baudelaire’s grave in Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris]
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