Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 378

Michael Robbins on Book Post – on Gordon Ball’s iconic photograph

“What better image of.. institutionalized complacency could be imagined than the assigning of Ginsberg’s verse to the nation’s future military elite, who – far from being scandalized by lines like “Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb” (from “America,” perhaps Ginsberg’s finest poem)- approach the reading with the dutiful ennui of students everywhere. Howl, like Ulysses and Lolita, has become homework.

But the poem, Robbins notes, “still razzle-dazzles today, this run-on prophetic mode of drug culture and madness, Whitmanian catalogue tuned to Blake-inflected beatific visionary blab with its own ideas about syntax.”

“And what (John) Hollander (with disdain) called Howl’s “hopped-up and improvised tone” is now a default poetic mode. But the original remains a blistering critique of a sick society that remains sick—a total critique..”

See Robbins piece in its entiretyhere  

See more Gordon Ball photos here

The Publisher’s Weekly  review of Don’t Hide the Madness just came out (the book itself will be out in October) -” this must-have resource for beat aficionados”

– read the review in its entirety here:

“Poet and musician Steven Taylor (False Prophet) shares a fascinating and heretofore Jaunpublished transcription of two famous beat authors in conversation. On the occasion of the 1992 U.K. premiere of David Cronenberg’s film adaptation of Naked Lunch, Allen Ginsberg spent several days with the novel’s inimitable author, William S. Burroughs, for a write-up in the London Observer Magazine. Their talk took place at Burroughs’s Lawrence, Kans., home and coincided with an exorcism conducted by Navajo shaman Melvin Betsellie to rid Burroughs of a lifelong demonic presence the writer called the Ugly Spirit. In addition to a detailed run-down of the exorcism, there’s banter about health, diet, and Burroughs’s many beloved cats; serious discussion of his literary influences and cut-up method of composition; and gossip about their eclectic social circles in London, Mexico City, and Tangier. The result is a relaxed, wide-ranging confab, by turns erudite and charmingly down-to-earth, and with plentiful contributions from others, including Betsellie and especially longtime Burroughs associate and bibliographer James Grauerholz. Lightly but helpfully annotated and peppered with Ginsberg’s own snapshots of Burroughs in repose, this must-have resource for beat aficionados will stimulate more casual readers as well with its sense of being in the same room, and thoroughly in tune, with two legendary literary iconoclasts.”

The Beat Generation on Film  – check out Monica Reid’s recent article in Far Out“An Insight Into Beat on Film – Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg And More” – an in-depth analysis/survey of five films – On The Road, Big Sur, Kill Your Darlings, Howl, and Heartbeat.

and for an earlier, more comprehensive, more wide-reaching,  report, a reminder of Jack Sargeant’s classic Naked Lens- Beat Cinema 

Little Boy – here’s the cover image for Lawrence Ferlinghetti‘s forthcoming novel (to be published in March of next year by Doubleday when Lawrence will be turning – remarkable! – a hundred years old).

Sunday, this coming Sunday,  London, at Bunhill Fields,  on the anniversary of his death,  the great bard, William Blake (initially buried in an unmarked grave) will be getting a freshly commissioned, newly erected, gravestone.  The ceremony of unveiling will be marked with “music and personal reflections from eminent & immanent Blakeans who have supported this project over the last twelve years”, according to the organizers, the renowned and energetic Blake Society.  Among announced speakers, the Society’s President, Philip Pullman, and the poet-singer-songwriter-priest-academic Malcolm Guite. The event begins at 3 pm. Proceedings will conclude with a candle ceremony, where everyone will be invited to place one of 191 candles around the grave, marking the 191 years since Blake’s passing.

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