Olivier Julien, (Lecturer in the History and Musicology of Popular Music, at the Sorbonne in Paris) writes:
“Following Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture (2013), Simon Warner partners with Literary Executor of the Estate of Jack Kerouac, Jim Sampas, to go deeper into his exploration of the connections between the great figures of the Beat generation and the music of the so-called ‘rock era.’ Interspersed with exclusive interviews of the likes of Lee Konitz, Graham Parker, Lester Bangs, and Allen Ginsberg, the twenty chapters are signed by an impressive array of journalists, music industry professionals, rock critics, writers, film makers and academics from all over the world. Addressing such issues as the influence of jazz on Kerouac’s ‘spontaneous prose’ style, the lineage between his ‘Beat bop prosody’ and Patti Smith‘s ‘punk rock poetry,’ or his inspiring ‘the myth of the American road’ in Bruce Springsteen‘s lyrics, they shed light on what appears to be a two-way relationship between popular music and the work of the author of On the Road. As Warner puts it: ‘if, for Kerouac, it was jazz that would have the principal impact, then it was rock on which the writer would have the main effect.’”
“When I was working on Dharma Lion (1992). my biography of Ginsberg, I visited his East Village office in New York on more occasions than I can recall. He had file cabinets full of carefully preserved, dated and chronologically arranged folders of his prose, essays, transcripts of journals, photocopies of his published interviews, blurbs, and statements that reminded you, if nothing else, of his unflinchingly active literary life outside his poetry. Included in this menagerie were large binders packed with notes, lectures, reading lists, and study ideas for Ginsberg’s classes. One didn’t have to read through these notes for long to realize that Ginsberg took his teaching chores very seriously. The Best Minds of My Generation combines the best of Ginsberg the teacher and Ginsberg, the agent.. Bill Morgan…has listened to countless hours of taped lectures and stitched together nothing less than a master class on the Beat Generation, as taught by one of its founding members and most eloquent spokesmen. The volume is packed with enough biographical detail, readings from the seminal texts, literary anecdotes and gossip, and analysis to nudge unfamiliar readers towards a trip to their local bookstore.”
from Marc Olmsted in Sensitive Skin on Hard To Be A Saint In The City – The Spiritual Vision of the Beats by Robert Inchausti:
“What Robert Inchausti has cleverly done is organize a series of “sound byte” quotes under a variety of pithy chapter headings that do really ask the right questions. “How do the Beats conceive of the Divine?” “Are there Beat spiritual practices?” “What is the Beat Response to the Spirit of Our Age?’….
Perhaps Gelek Rinpoche said it best when he told Allen Ginsberg that Allen, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs (only their three photos are on the cover of this book) were all going to go to dakini heaven for what they had done for Dharma in the West. (Dakinis are visionary female manifestations of primordial enlightened awareness, given to nakedness, flying around and human bone ornaments, when not incognito.)…..
Allen Ginsberg, of course is always the Great Explainer, and the best of what he has to say here comes from after his own Buddhist maturity post-1970, even when he gets the order of the Eight Fold Path wrong (putting Right Effort (or “Energy” as he puts it) after Right Mindfulness). Still, he always inspires…..
So a majority of Beat writing is American Buddhist pilgrim’s progress, warts and all. It is a tradition that remains relevant and affects many writers and poets working to this day. Robert Inchausti has certainly succeeded in showing this in a book that is both a great introduction and a Crackerjack box with a few surprises for those already thoroughly steeped in the path of Beat.”
“The mythic and the momentary play hopscotch walking the hipster San Francisco streets with this North Beach legend in his latest book, Elegy for My Beat Generation (Lithic Press,Fruita, 2018). Ghosts intrude. Ginsberg, (Gregory) Corso, (Diane) Di Prima (and) Jack “Budada” Mueller. Neeli’s spent his life as part of the Bohemian lit crowd that congregated around City Lights bookstore and the Savoy Tivoli bar throughout the ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties … His knowledge of poetry is comprehensive. He is a rabbi of the lyric. You hear hints and whispers of many older bards lurking in the wings of his spotlights. And he honors their spirits … Cherkovski wrote the definitive biographies of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Charles Bukowski and is working as co-editor on the legendary Bob Kaufman’s Collected Poems. He’s edited West Coast anthologies and been widely published personally, with over a dozen poetry titles to his name … Neeli’s given his heart as well his deep well of wit to this vision: “my love is for lyric didactic luminosity / splashed onto Dharma dreams / released on this rambled terrain”
San Francisco’s KQED looks at the contemporary relevance of Allen (forever-relevant) – “24-year-old California native”, Tenaya Nasser-Frederick: “The fact that you have (in Howl) this metaphor for the military-industrial complex being a god of child sacrifice (Moloch). It just hits you over the head with how pertinent that is”
Notes on last weeks celebration of the re-release of Howl at City Lights