Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 387

[Allen Ginsberg – Poetry Center reading of “Howl”, San Francisco, November, 1955 –  © Walter Lehrman and the Walter Lehrman Beat Generation Photo Collection at the Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University, Logan, Utah]


A little anniversary slipped by last Sunday – October 7th – the legendary first (public) reading of “Howl” – “6 Poets at 6 Gallery” –

Ariel Kates remembers it  (in “Off The Grid” – the blog for the Greenwich Village Society For Historical Preservation). We’d also draw your attention to Simon Watts’ report (with testimony by Michael McClure) on the BBC’s World Service  (first broadcast in 2012).

See also our own exhaustive postings (back in 2015) – here and here

It was also, while we’re on the subject of anniversaries, the anniversary of the birth of that great fire-brand, (and never-to-be-forgotten) poet-activist, Amiri Baraka – thinking of you, Amiri (especially in these times)

[Amiri Baraka (1934-2014)]

[The opening of Neal Cassady’s letter to Jack Kerouac, December 17. 1950 – “The Joan Anderson Letter”]

Beat genesis – more Beat genesis – David Ulin writes on Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac and the legendary lost-and-found “Joan Anderson Letter” – (“The Beats Holy Grail”) in a must-read piece in Alta magazine – see here

Ulin examines the family background and the curious post-discovery history of the letter and concludes – “This is not the portrait of a family man, no matter his desire or intention, but of someone coming apart at the seams. “I wake to more horrors than Celine,” he (Cassady) writes, “not a vain statement for now I’ve passed thru just repetitious shudderings and nightmare twitches.”
“Seventeen years later, at his death,”Ulin notes, “not so much had changed.”

“Yes, the letter helped to reshape Kerouac’s ideas on writing; without it, On the Road would have been a very different book. But it also framed Cassady as larger than life, which was both a blessing and a curse.”

[ Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac – Photograph by Carolyn Cassady]

Ulin’s ambivalence about the letter is manifest but tempered – “If “the Joan Anderson Letter” is not a great work in its own right – too self-indulgent, too juvenile, too sloppy in its execution – it is also impossible to read without seeing the seeds, at least, of what Kerouac would go on to achieve.”

Alta also includes a previously unpublished excerpt from Cassady’s breathless and remarkable epistle –  here

V Vale on the William Burroughs’The Revised Boy Scout Manual – here

More on another Burroughs title over the weekend

Opening this week in New York (and following its successful Parisian run in the summer of 2016) – “The Velvet Underground Experience” – a unique and immersive art and music exhibition – “six films, 350 plus photos, 1,000 plus objects, and projections..”  For the next three months, visitors to the Broadway space in New York (718 Broadway)  can participate in “a series of unique and extraordinary experiences, including concerts, special events, lectures, pop-up installations, fashion collaborations, art exhibitions, screenings, performances, and masterclasses.”  For more details about the experience and the events – see here  (see also here and here)

and speaking of New York, if you happen too be there, don’t miss the Fred W McDarragh show – Fred W McDarrah: New York Scenes – up until November 3 at the Steven Kasher Gallery 

and elsewhere – Tipperary, Ireland –  “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?” – Affari Esteri (Edmond Russo & Shlomi Tulzer) will be performing their dance piece “Holy” (based on Allen’s “Howl”) tomorrow at the Excel Arts Center as part of the Tipperary International Dance festival

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