Bob Dylan’s Birthday – 1 (Happy 75th, Bob)

Bob Dylan is 75 years old today. Last night the party began and today it continues at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Festivals and celebratory events all around the country (all around the world!). As ever, we draw your attention to the incomparable Expecting Rain (Dylan site) for further details and for all of the Bob news. Happy 75th, Bob!

[Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, Edson Cemetery Lowell, Mass. 1975, photo c.Ken Regan] … Read More

Basic Poetics – Ballads – (Little Musgrave & Lady Barnard)

Allen continues with his survey of the English and Scottish ballad tradition

AG: There’s actually just a great mass of delightful material to cover with the ballads. And where we left off was with “the chanering worm doth chide”, I seem to remember, was that it? and Susan [sic] looked up the “channerin’ worm” in the Old English Dictionary (OED) and it was what? muttering? mumbling worm?

Student (SE): Muttering
AG: What else?
Student: Grumbling.
AG: Grumbling. Do you remember any more of the words? Muttering, grumbling..
Student: Well, fretting.
AG: Fretting
Student: There was…
AG: But “muttering worm” is
Read More

May 21 – Robert Creeley’s Birthday

[Robert Creeley – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg – [Ginsberg caption: “I wanted to focus on a sharp clear eye – Robert Creeley’s friendship, July 1984, Boulder” ]

Robert Creeley‘s birthday (he would have been ninety years old today). Previous birthday salutes to Creeley on the Allen Ginsberg Project here, here, here and here

Further Creeley postings (on the occasion of the recent publication of his Selected Letters) here

Today, we hear him speaking on the subject of first meeting Allen, and reading two of his favorite poems (of Allen’s) – “Transcription of Organ Music“ … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 269

We mentioned last week the upcoming Beat & Beyond gathering, scheduled for June 3 to June 8 in New York. Here are the details.

The six-day festival kicks off with a Happy Birthday Allen evening – “The celebration includes readings, music and remembrances of the times and its continuing influence by such important figures as Michael McClure, Ed Sanders, Bob Rosenthal and Peter Hale (from the Ginsberg Estate), Len Chandler, and Bob Holman“. The evening will include a round-table discussion led by producer Pat Thomas on the recently-released (official release-date’s today!) Ginsberg box-set, The Last Word Read More

Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac, December 17 1950

[Reproduction of the first page of the “Joan Anderson Letter” from the Christie’s web-site – © Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady]

Christie’s auction house in New York yesterday announced the upcoming sale (June 16) of the legendary Joan Anderson letter to Jack Kerouac from Neal Cassady

After an eighteen-month legal battle, the court case has finally been settled, clearing the way for the auction next month.

See Sam Whiting’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle – here – for more background details.

Prior to the June 16 auction-date, the letter will travel on a preview tour to … Read More

The Last Word on First Blues

The eagerly-awaited Allen Ginsberg three-CD box-set, The Last Word on First Blues, is officially released tomorrow.

Here is the track-listing


Disc One1. Going To San Diego2. Vomit Express3. Jimmy Berman (Gay Lib Rag)4. Ny Youth Call Annunciation5. Cia Dope Calypso6. Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag7. Sickness Blues8. Broken Bone Blues9. Stay Away From The White House10. Hardon Blues11. Guru Blues
Disc Two1.Everybody Sing2. Gospel Noble Truths3. Bus Ride To Suva4. Prayer Blues5. Love Forgiven6. Father Death Blues7. Dope Fiend Blues8. Tyger9. You Are My Dildo10. Old Pond11. No Reason12. My Pretty Rose Tree13. Capitol Air
Bonus DiscMore Rags, … Read More

Basic Poetics – Ballads (The Wife of Usher’s Well)

AG: So “The Wife of Usher’s Well” – another great classic among them. (It) has.. One thing you can see in this one, which is throughout all the ballads, but one thing I noticed is that.. well, the simplicity of the moral is exemplary clear, for one thing, whatever is being said, in this particular case, the moral point is right there, right up front, but the images, or the life depicted, is really elemental archetypal home-grown bare, so that you have, in this case – “a wealthy wife was she” and “She had three stout and stalwart sons,/ And … Read More

Basic Poetics – Ballads ( Lord Thomas and Fair Annet & The Unquiet Grave)

[Illustration by Vernon Hill for “Lord Thomas and Fair Annet” from Ballads Weird and Wonderful by Richard Pearse Chope (1912)]

AG: Then, the next one [the next ballad] in our book, “Lord Thomas and Fair Annet” – “Lord Thomas and Fair Annet/ Sate a’ day on a hill” (sat all day upon a hill) –  (that’s (page) ninety-one). In a way, it’s like, you know, “…the princess and the prince/ Discuss what’s real and what is not“, just a setting of that (but I think that’s where (Bob) Dylan got that particular image. There’s one funny line … Read More

Sir Patrick Spens – 2 (Child’s Ballads & Percy’s Reliques)

AG: Reed (Bye), I’m sorry? Reed Bye [sitting in on the class] : This Oxford version [of “Sir Patrick Spens”] has quite a few more verses. AG: It does? RB There’s the whole sinking of the ship… AG: Well, read it, then. Can you read this? You mean they left out verses here? – Yes – How many have they got?, they’ve got eleven RB: Well, you have to read the whole thing, there’s actually twenty-two. There’s a verse number four, has a note, actually, from the King, saying “To Noroway, to Noroway/To Noroway o’er the faem/The King’s daughter … Read More

Allen Ginsberg and Miguel Algarin – 1994 Naropa 20th Anniversary Reading

The following is the first part of a July 1994 Naropa reading, celebrating, as is pointed out, the twentieth anniversary of Naropa (Naropa now girding up for its forty-second summer season). The readers on this occasion are Allen Ginsberg and Miguel Algarin (Miguel Algarin reads first). Introductions are by Andrew Schelling and by Anne Waldman. A second part, the concluding part, to this reading (featuring Gary Snyder and David Amram) will be posted here on the Allen Ginsberg Project in the weeks ahead. Andrew Schelling begins by welcoming the company and noting the significance … Read More