William Burroughs 1975 – 1

                    [William S Burroughs – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg – © The Estate of Allen GinsbergToday we begin a four-part transcription of a class given by William Burroughs (“Poetry Academy – Writing Methods Class”) on June 12 1975 at the Naropa Institute.

WSB: (We covered) territory in the last class and I’ll recapitulate very briefly some of that. I spoke about pictorial scripts and the difference between a pictorial script and an alphabetical language. And I think that the development of a practical pictorial script might be a real step towards a … Read More

Friday’ s Weekly Round-Up – 271

Starting on Sunday – week one of the Naropa Summer Writing Program (a four-week program through to July 9) – “Indra’s Net Poetics“.  This week – “Hive Mind”. Coming up – “Grids, Maps & Constellations“, “Science & Sanity“, and “Labyrinths of Community, Labyrinths of Performance”

No Friday Round-Up for a couple of weeks, so a lot to catch up on.  Allen’s box-set CD (The Last Word on First Blues) continues to get positive notices.  Here’s Grant Britt’s review in No Depression. Here’s a notice (in Spanish) on the Vomb web-site. Here’s … Read More

Numinosity of Place – (Allen Ginsberg to John J Dorfner)

Here’s an extraordinary item that we’ve been meaning to post, to gently remind readers about – Allen’s note to Jack Kerouac scholar, John J Dorfner, from November, 1992  (it became the foreword to his 1993 volume, Kerouac-Visions of Lowell)

For John J Dorfner Kerouac made Lowell sacred  by his attention to it, as Homer did the walls of Troy, as Dante his Florence, as Blake his London as Pound his Venice, as W.C.Williams his Paterson, as Thos. Wolfe his Asheville – so any later illumination of the site flashes with sacred fascination Allen Ginsberg 11/25/92 A simple, succinct testimony … Read More

Basic Poetics – Ballads – (Mary Hamilton)

[Mary Hamilton Before Execution, St Petersburg – Pavel Svedomsky (1849-1904)] 

AG: “Mary Hamilton” – I think there is a recording of “Mary Hamilton” by Joan Baez. Did we ever track that down? Anyone got 1t? – Well, I’ve heard of it, I’ve heard her sing it, I think. That, or “Lady Hamilton” or something. Does anybody know it? know of it? – Well, stanza two – “He’s courted her in the kitchen/He’s courted her in the ha’/He’s courted her in the laigh cellar,/And that was warst of a”” – And then, in stanza nine, there’s a great detail, great psychological detail… let’s … Read More

The Poems of Basil Bunting








Thrilled to be able to announce the publication  (publication-date is June 16 ) of a new edition of The Poems of Basil Bunting, lovingly and attentively edited by Poetry magazine editor, Don Share.

“This is the first critical edition of the complete poems, and offers an accurate text with variants from all printed sources”.   Share, “annotates Bunting’s often complex and allusive verse”,  Faber and Faber, the publishers, note, “with much illuminating quotation from his prose writings, interviews and correspondence. He also examines Bunting’s use of sources (including Persian literature and classical mythology), and
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Basic Poetics – Ballads – (Johnie Armstrong)

 [Johnny Armstrong – Henry Hetherington Emmerson (1831-1895) Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne]

Allen’s 1980 Naropa course on the Scottish and English ballads continues with a note on another of the Border ballads – “The Ballad of Johnie Armstrong‘ – and who was Johnie Armstrong? – only one of the most famous (or one would have to say, infamous) “Border reivers”, scion of the notorious Armstrong clan, “Johnnie of Gilnockie”, raider and plunderer, for many years, operating along the lawless Anglo-Scottish border. In 1530, King James V of  Scotland  captured him, having initially lured him and … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Birthday Celebration Continues – Ginsberg Portfolio – 2












[Top to bottom: Stephen Miles 1994;  Photographer / Date unknown; Photographer / Date unknown; Photographer / Date unknown; Photographer / Date unknown; Photographer / Date unknown; Gordon Ball 1971; William S Burroughs 1953, NYC;  Photobooth 1946, Sheepshead Bay;  Photobooth, Mexico 1954;  Chester Kessler 1959, San Francisco;  UPI June 1966, New York City. ]… Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s 90th Birthday Celebration Continues – Ginsberg Portfolio – 1









[top to bottom. Unknown, ca 1995;  Photobooth 1989; Elsa Dorfman 1996;  Maine news media services 1969; Wayne Slater, Denver 1982;  Gordon Ball 1971;  Jon Gilbert Fox 1965;  Lisa Law 1967;  Photobooth ca 1963;  Harold Chapman, Paris 1957;  Photobooth 1951; Photobooth Merchant Marine Training, Sheepshead Bay, 1946] 

 … Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s 90th Birthday!

[Allen Ginsberg at his bedroom meditation shrine,  East 12th St, New York City, Autumn, 1995.Photo: Slava Mogutin]

Born Newark, New Jersey, June 3 1926. Today would have been Allen’s 90th birthday!   

In New York, Bob Holman and Jane Friedman’s six days of celebratory events kick off with a “Happy Birthday Allen” evening – The celebration includes readings, music and remembrances of the times and its continuing influence, by friends and contemporaries, such as Michael McClureEd SandersBob Rosenthal and Peter Hale (from the Ginsberg Estate), Len Chandler, and, last but not least, Holman himself. Tonight’s … Read More

Ed Sanders on the Life of Allen Ginsberg – 2

continuing from yesterday, Ed Sanders on the early years of Allen GinsbergSo Allen then, by the end of high school learned that he was gay. And he had a crush on a guy from Paterson High School who was..who went to Columbia. So he.. (so, let’s talk about happenstance!), so Allen wanted to go to Columbia also. And, Allen’s mother, I think when he first went to Columbia, she was hospitalized again. So, in 1943, occured Allen’s first vow that I found. (He was prone to vows. He made his famous vow with Neal Cassady, he made another vow … Read More