“In the Beat constellation, Allen Ginsberg’s star now shines more brightly than the rest…There would have been no Beat phenomenon without Ginsberg, logorrhoeic poet and protester, illustrious, predatory queer, inventor and supporter of colleagues and hangers-on, impresario and self-appointed hero of a tradition that he put together from all kinds of sources – Buddhist, Hebraic, European, pre-Columbian – in order to loosen the American grain and leave a lasting trace….He had all-consuming ambition, and a promiscuous sense of the poetic canon, which included much of the new American work on offer…”
Harding, in his review of the still-ongoing Pompidou show, focuses on Allen as the center of the Beat movement (provocatively, not Kerouac or Burroughs?). His overview of the retrospective is a challenging and worth-reading one (and one, finally, respectful and complimentary)
“Philippe-Alain Michaud has covered as many bases as a curator can hope to do. His show at Beauborg is planned in the manner of a defensive shield – incoming criticisms probing for gaps will simply bounce off, detonating in the ether, once they encounter his dome of contingencies and associations, fashioned from a wealth of manuscripts, published texts, paintings, drawings, photos, sound recordings, experimental films, home movies, typewriters, phonographic players, tape recorders, even a Burroughs adding machine, invented by the big man’s grandfather…”
More on Allen:
“Ginsberg’s libertarian urges fed naturally into the hippie movement, and his politics led fluently from a horror of nuclear weapons to staunch opposition to the Vietnam War and the American imperium…His standing as a poet was assured in 1965 by an invitation to the Berkeley Poetry Conference…as a colleague rather than a Beat figurehead. He was given a Guggenheim grant that year and bought a VW camper van. His idea, I guess, was that he and his lover, Peter Orlovsky would achieve tantric sublimation as they trundled around America from sea to shining sea, and from there to the rest of the universe…”
The piece may be read in its entirety – here
David Cope (who we’ve featured previously on The Allen Ginsberg Project (here, here, here, here and here – and also here) appeared recently on the Charlie Rossiter program, Poetry Spoken Here, to discuss his long-time friendship with Allen, his forthcoming collection of their correspondence, and to read an elegy (two elegies, in fact).
That conversation may be listened to – here
William Burroughs’ more obscure work continues to be unearthed and celebrated on Dangerous Minds. We noted last week their revival of an old Oui magazine article – “My Life In Orgone Boxes” (on his Reichian experiments). This past week they followed up with “William Burroughs – Scans of His Porn Mag Articles” (with a tip of the hat to the source – the irreplaceable Reality Studio and the indefatiguable Jed Birmingham).
Reality Studio for all your Burroughs needs.
We noted also last week the Elliott Sharp-Steve Buscemi “Rub Out The Word” William Burroughs celebration. There will be a performance and special release party this coming Wednesday in Brooklyn (for those of you in the vicinity) at the Issue Project Room (an official 2016 Brooklyn Book Festival event)
Parra, Miguel Grinberg, Allen Ginsberg (by an unknown photographer), in Cuba in 1965:
Tony Perrottet’s recent profile of Boulder, Colorado, in the New York Times, has, naturally, some intriguing Ginsberg moments. He tracks down Allen’s old “long-term residence..in the quiet back blocks of the town”:
“Stone steps led up from a sleepy lane to a quaint cottage with a “Bernie for President” sign in the window. The current owners, Steve and Jennifer Hendricks, welcomed me in for iced tea.. They admitted that they had known nothing of Ginsberg’s life here before moving in five years ago. “We do get a few poetry fans every year”, Mr Hendricks said. “Not many”. The interior of the house has been renovated they said, but its exterior has barely changed since the glory days….”