Barry Farber Interview – 5 (continues)

On May 4, 1970, four unarmed students at Vietnam War protests at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, were killed by National Guardsmen – the iconic image here shows, on the ground, one of the deceased, Jeffrey Miller, shortly after the shooting – Student Protest –  “After Kent State, after Kent State, people got really scared” (Allen Ginsberg, 1976, to Robert Goodman and Barry Farber on the Barry Farber show)

Allen Ginsberg on the Barry Farber show continuing from here

Robert Goodman, a young journalist, rails, rather vacantly, against, his 1970’s student contemporaries, Jonathan Robbins, (seventeen years old, even younger than Goodman)  continues his punk onslaught and reads a poem of his, “A Dream in Stone”.  Allen engages with both of them and with the shows’ host, Barry Farber.  

Robert Goodman: We were talking, while you were off the air about ..I got the feeling that a lot was being left out. Now, I felt, to a certain extent, really alienated, in a lot of ways, because of what’s going on right now as far as people my age – I’m twenty-two – and literary ways, and actually getting up and saying things, expressing themselves in ways that they may have in the past but no longer will, There is this great fear and this great alienation and this sort of decline of self-expression, especially on the college campuses that I’ve been to – a lack of breeding, a lack of education, a lack of culture, I don’t know what word to use, I just find the level of consciousness of students, nowadays, especially in New York, to be at an incredibly low ebb.
AG: But what’s the fear? and what’s being unexpressed. Can you specify?
RG: Okay, the fear of…okay, the fear and the lack of expression are basically one, okay?
AG: Sure.
RG: They’re afraid to express themselves about things that are really troubling them
AG: Like?
RG: Like..why people are getting into things in their courses, why they’re hassled by professors, why people aren’t going out and doing things which means something to them, why they’re basically talking about a lot of dribble..
AG: Like what?
RG: What?
AG: Be specific.
RG: Okay, why a particular individual will talk around a….
RG: …..a way they feel about budget cuts in a city university, okay? They will say, “Well, it’s not the way that it was supposed to be done”. When, basically, they want to say, ”Well that’s not the way I want it done, I’d like to have it done this particular way but I’m afraid to open up my mouth, so therefore I’ll shovel it beneath the ground. They’re afraid to go in a classroom.. I’ll give an example. I had a particular oral interpretation course a year ago and for my last piece of work I had to do three different readings, and one of them was your piece (Allen), was an excerpt from “Kaddish” (and one was a piece by Jean Paul Sartre) and when I had gotten through with the presentation, people looked at me, and said, “Who are these people?”. I find the level of consciousness to be very very low
AG: Of literary consciousness?
RG: Yes, literary consciousness, and self-awareness. And I feel a void. And I also feel a lot of jealousy of..
AG: Who?
RG: Who? – kids – of things that had happened in your generation. You (Barry Farber) had mentioned in the ‘Sixties how I was the generation after Allen, how we missed out. It’s sort of like you, flying from people that I talk with, kids that were 1970 Grateful Dead freaks, feeling that they were left out of what happened in Haight Asbery in the 1960s – “Oh, if I’d only been part of that!”
AG: Jonathan (Robbins) her feels that he was left out from what happened in France in 1840 with Baudelaire and later with Rimbaud.. He’s longing for another moon-lit era.
JR: Oh, you have nothing to be concerned about. I am here.
AG: Right, Jonathan, assert yourself . Jonathan’s not afraid to express himself He has a poem..
JR: Yeah.
AG: We have time?
BF: Sure.
JR: Yes, this is the last section of a poem called “A Dream In Stone”, which is a sort of arabesque. – {Jonathan Robbins reads] – (“When under my clothes, through the holes, the wind undulates like actual soul…”…“old carrion, the dirge of drought/bloat and seal my howling mouth”).
AG: That’s pretty strong for a..
BF: For a seventeen-year-old?
AG: Yeah.
BF: Yeah.
AG: That’s better than I wrote when I was that old, I’ll tell you that!
BG: Do you sit down and write a poem like that or does it hit you like a freight-train?
JR: Everything I write is composed by the Burroughs cut-up technique
BF: What does that mean?
JR: You take a page of writing, your own, or someone else’s and cut it into four pieces and re-arrange it in any order except the correct one, type up the results…

The Barry Farber-Allen Ginsberg interview will continue and conclude tomorrow

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