Continuing today in New York, the inaugural St Mark’s Poetry Project Allen Ginsberg Symposium – For more on that (proposed annual event) – see here
On public television this week, (presented by WGBH Boston and distributed by American Public Television) the beginning of a new tv series and multi-platform digital initiative, Poetry In America. Allen’s poems (“Hymmnn” (from “Kaddish“) and “Hum Bom!” are featured in the opening program
From the program credits:
“Although we think of a poem as something read from a book, poet Allen Ginsberg knew that poetry’s power did not depend upon print, and he drew on the traditions of religious and ritual communities in writing verse that would elevate the spirit, knit together community and even, when necessary, soothe and console the mourner. Joined by rock star Bono former United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, and by a chorus of clergy and religious practitioners, in this episode we read two of Ginsberg’s most emotionally transporting poems”
We’ve already previewed this program (at least, one of the two main poetry readings) – here
Musician Peter Case has some stories to tell – about busking outside of City Lights in San Francisco, and bumping into Allen (“My name’s Allen, mind if I sit in with you?”..”Can you guys play some country blues?”), improvising, while people walked on by, oblivious, unaware that it was the famous Allen Ginsberg playing free for them in the street.
And, driving around the next day with Allen and Peter Orlovsky in their VW van (“Hey, you guys need a ride?”), and Allen name-dropping (“Well, Dylan told me..”). And a contrasting encounter the next day with (self-described) Satanist, Anton LaVey! (“going from Ginsberg who seemed like a benevolent, you know, sort of hipster to this guy that seemed like a malevolent hipster”..)
“These guys were important”, Case goes on, “all those Beats, they were like your big brothers or something, teachers, you know, they were almost like father-figures, I suppose – but they weren’t like anybody’s father, so, old big brothers, you know, (or), yeah, weird uncles ..and City Lights (City Lights Bookstore) was so important.
Barry Miles on William Burroughs – Opening on Monday (May 7), and on show through to June 2nd, in London, at the Westminster Arts Library, an exhibition, drawn from his own personal archives, chronicling the time Burroughs’ spent living in London – (Interviewer (Stephen Coates): “What brought William S Burroughs to London?” – Barry Miles: “He came to London because he was.. he had an affair with this guy Ian Sommerville who was a mathematican, who was still studying at Cambridge, and so, at the end of the summer, Ian came back to London, and Bill simply followed him..” – “And then, in 1967, I think it was, he rented a place on Duke Street, St James, and lived there until 1974, so he was there (in London) for quite a long time…” ). For more of this illuminating interview – see here
Miles will be formally interviewed later in the month (May 30), by Frank Rynne, as part of the Salon For The City’s Naked London Lunches series. There will also be a guided walk of Burroughs’ London on May 26 with writer Antony Clayton and esoteric scholar Dr. William Redwood. Miles also speaks to Richie Troughton of The Quietus – here