Allen Ginsberg in Asia – another early taste of David S Wills’ World Citizen – Allen Ginsberg as Traveller, (due out later this year – his fourth book, and another must-read from Beatdom‘s spirited editor).
Also from Beatdom this year (we mentioned these titles last week), The Buddhist Beat Poetics of Diane di Prima and Lenore Kandel by Max Orsini, and, Straight Around Allen – On The Business of Being Allen Ginsberg by Bob Rosenthal.
Must-read, certainly, would also be Sudarsan Raghavan‘s piece (first appearing in The Washington Post, and reprinted in the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere) on Mohammed Mrabet – “Rediscovered in the alleys of Tangier, Morocco’s last link to the Beat Generation feels broken” – Raghavan recounts the strangely difficult task of tracking Mrabet down, and his curious anonymity amongst his fellow countrymen
“Outside Morocco, he was still known and appreciated in certain literary circles. In 2016, for instance, Mrabet’s stories were the subject of a BBC broadcast, and his paintings are still sought by European collectors. Inside Morocco, however, there has been silence. “I don’t have any value in my country,” Mrabet said. “They don’t know who I am.” Nor does he exhibit much fondness anymore for the American writers he had befriended. (Truman) Capote, he said, was “a good man.” But, Mrabet continued, the novelist “would come and hug me and kiss me. I hated that.” Mrabet felt the same away about poet (Allen) Ginsberg.”
As for his most-famous collaborator, Paul Bowles, Mrabet is pictured as abidingly bitter – “He stole all my stories..I never received my royalties..” (Bowles’ literary executors deny this). He also blames the Beat writers for destroying Tangier. Their fame and writings, he declares drew “crazy people” and “drug users” to the city. “The writers brought those people with them…They caused Tangier to die.”
For more on fading Beat echoes in Tangier – see here.
William Burroughs news from our good friend Jan Herman (including a heads-up on the projected September 2020 CUT-UPS@60 gathering – two days of events, multidisciplinary events, to be celebrated in London and Paris, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the first publications utilizing the famous Burroughs-Gysin “cut-up” method).
And while we’re on the subject of Burroughs, check out this – a clip from John Aes-Nihil’s William Burroughs in the Dream Machine
and yes, that’s the young Leonardo DiCaprio there. Check out the dynamic at the beginning – Allen photographing Leonardo, Leonardo photographing Allen! – (in 1996, at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), on the occasion of the opening of the Burroughs exhibit)
We’re alerted you already to Simon Warner’s wonderful collection – Kerouac on Record. Here’s Christopher John Stevens review for Pop Matters
Allen Ginsberg and the Hells Angels – that ‘s another story we’ve previously visited. Bill Van Niekerken, library director of the San Francisco Chronicle visited it again this week – “A recent trip to The Chronicle’s basement archive turned up a pack of negatives labeled “Hells Angels Debate.” It’s likely that no one had looked through these negatives in decades, and upon closer inspection Ginsberg appeared in the batch. It was obvious this was a moment from the past that required retelling.” – see more from this story – here