The annual Jack Kerouac festival in Lowell, his home town (Lowell Celebrates Kerouac) began yesterday and continues through Monday. This year, LCK is observing the thirtieth anniversary of the dedication of the Jack Kerouac Commemorative and the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of The Dharma Bums. Among the highlights, David Amram (of course!) playing, jamming, improvising, tonight and Sunday, Ann Charters (tomorrow afternoon, giving the Parker Lecture), Brian Hassett and John Cassady (tomorrow night) presenting Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, and much much more. The full schedule can be seen – here
Don’t Hide The Madness, the eagerly-anticipated William S Burroughs-Allen Ginsberg transcription volume is now a couple of weeks away from publication-date. Barry Miles, Burroughs’ biographer, declares ““Steven Taylor’s transcriptions of Bill and Allen’s table talk are so accurate that it is just like being there with them: Bill restless, changing the subject – Allen doggedly pursuing his point. I learned much from it. If only we had them with us now.” – and Gus Van Sant, filmmaker – “”A beautiful book where you are pleasantly sitting with two originators of Beat-ism, amazing to hear them talk with each other touching many different things..”, Anne Waldman – “An endearing and necessary Beat addendum for anyone who feels the shivers of a radical disposition…A tangible, tender, and totally engaging tour de force, and balm for the dystopic time we’re caught in”. We’ll have more on this book in the coming weeks, but, meanwhile, see here for the Publisher’s Weekly review/preview (from way back in August) and Marc Olmsted reviews it for Sensitive Skin – here
Out now, Life In Culture – Selected Letters of Lionel Trilling, edited by Adam Kirsch. From Dwight Garner’s review in the New York Times: “Among Trilling’s students at Columbia was a troubled young poet named Allen Ginsberg. Trilling’s letters to Ginsberg are among the highlights of this book, indeed, you can imagine their relationship – a meeting of stark contrasts, like an Easter Island head conversing with a calliope – being made into a stage play. “What is Batman?” Trilling asks in one of them. Trilling recognized Ginsberg’s genius without truly liking his poetry. When Ginsberg sent him Howl and Other Poems (1956), the book that would make his reputation, Trilling wrote back to say that the poems were dull in their shocking nature and “not like Whitman — they are all prose, all rhetoric, without any music.” Trilling would not respond in kind to Ginsberg’s long, revealing letters; he felt their relationship should remain on the student-teacher level. But Trilling’s letters are warm and sympathetic…”
For more on the Ginsberg-Trilling relationship – see here
Shivastan Press announces a new poetry broadside:
“A mountain outside” – “A mountain outside/a room inside/a skull above/Snow on the mountain/flowers in the room/thoughts in the skull”
– a limited edition of 250 copies craft-printed in Kathmandu Nepal on hand-made paper in collaboration with the Allen Ginsberg Estate.
This is one of four broadsides printed to raise funds to help survivors of the 2015 earthquakes (broadsides by Ed Sanders, Anne Waldman, & John Yau complete the series) See here for further information about Shivastan publications.
We’ll conclude with a note on the passing of a great Buddhist teacher, and scholar, Dzogchen master (and one of the first teachers to bring Dzogchen to the West), Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. He died September 27, at the Merigar Buddhist Center in Italy, the extraordinary community he had helped establish. He was 79 years old. For more on Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche -see here and here