Allen Ginsberg reads Iron Horse in London – 1967


Iron Horse Allen Ginsberg, 1973, Coach House Press, Toronto

From the University of Iowa’s University Archives Allen Ginsberg recorded in London in August of 1967

AG: Beginning then (first) with an invocation to Sarasawti, Hindu goddess of  learning music and poetry, and mantra, Bengali mantra to Saraswati –  Jaya Jaya Devi….”(“Victory Victory goddess..”)

If you can’t hear me, as I go along, will you interrupt me, and if you can’t hear my father also, let us know. What I’m going to read now is a continuation of a long poem on these States, part of.. I read part at the International Poetry Festival and part at a reading I gave at the Roundhouse. At the Roundhouse, the reading I gave from this piece was a long poem called “Wichita Vortex Sutra”. This is a companion piece to that, written a year later, (the “Wichita Vortex Sutra” and this both being tape-recordings of my consciousness in the Unites States in an era of hallucination and war). This part is called “Iron Horse”, written on a train between San Francisco and Chicago with an appendix on a bus between Chicago and New York’

[Beginning at approximately four-and-a-half minutes in, Allen reads (from) his poem “Iron Horse” – (“Night darkling over Mohave Desert,/Yellow planet-light disappearing, mounds westward…”… “Both died of bullets.”  (and) – “moving on, Chicago to New York, “I wanna go out in a car..”.. ..””In my twenties I would have enjoyed making love naked/ by these brooks” – [Editorial note, this version of the poem  differs somewhat from the published version of the poem, beginning late and breaking off early in both sections]

[Audio for the reading can be listened to – here]

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