Allen Ginsberg in the studio, recording William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience”
Amanda Petrusich, writing in The New Yorker
“The membrane between poetry and“song,” as we think of it in 2017, has always been flimsy and permeable; once all poems were songs. Ginsberg’s weird, wobbly singing (in “The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience” CD) is sometimes dissonant, but it gets at something essential to Blake’s work. It’s as good a narration of the phases of a life as I can think of..”
Might we recommend, as a holiday gift, this holiday…?
The re-release of Allen’s William Blake settings earlier this year was a signal event. For more info’ on that re-issue – see here
William Gass, Allen Ginsberg, and Arthur Miller in an elevator in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1985
Cartooned history. We were looking at that just the other week – Don’t miss Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall‘s latest John Wilcox cartoon manifestation of the trials and tribulations of the late great Lenny Bruce (with a cameo appearance by Allen) – on Boing Boing – here
SFMOMA’s open-handed Open Space site continues to inspire – We already noted their feature, a few weeks back, on Joanne Kyger. Don’t miss (it’s up now) Justin Desmangles‘ comprehensive essay/memoir on Beat legend, Ted Joans – “Remembering Ted Joans Black Beat Surrealist”
Ted Joans (1928-2003) – Photograph by Larry Keenan
For more on Ted – see Empty Mirror – and our own Ted Joans posting – here
John Keats (1795-1821)
It’s Negative Capability Day next Thursday – two hundred years since that classic letter!
– from a note written to his brothers, George and Thomas, and dated December 21, 1817)
“I had not a dispute but a disquisition with (his friend (Charles Wentworth) Dilke
on various subjects. Several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously – I mean, Negative Capability
, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason…”
“The really interesting word here is “irritable”, Allen notes
. “which in Buddhism we take to be the aggressive insistence on eliminating one concept against another, so that you have to take a meat-axe to your opponent or yourself to resolve the contradictions…That’s a completely polarized version of the universe – the notion that everything is black and white.”
Ginsberg zeitgeist, inescapable Allen, (but, well, ain’t it always just so!) – So, we forgot to mention Bono & U2’s “shout-out”
on tv’s Saturday Night Live,
a couple of weeks back – (see if you can find it, buried in the recorded video of their performance – here
and Allen as an answer in the popular quiz-show, Jeopardy,
– Ah, when you’re a quiz-show answer, (or a crossword-puzzle answer) – that’s really something! – ha! – then, you really know you’ve made it!