Friday’s Weekly Round-Up -393

Allen Ginsberg with poet Andrei Voznesensky, together in Moscow, 1965

Linda Levitt reviews the Iron Curtain Journals for PopMatters“Allen Ginsberg’s Journals Offer Insight Into Poetry, Culture, and Politics During the Cold War”

“The reader who is familiar with Howl  will find a similar experience in reading Ginsberg’s journals: words and scenes rush at you like a tidal wave, leaving you immersed and breathless, then, with surprising immediacy, lift you to another scene, sometimes frantic, sometimes serene. Yet there’s a core of Ginsberg’s essential being that’s always present, threading together these disparate scenarios….Throughout the journals, it’s clear that Ginsberg is not constrained by cultural differences, as he sees kindred humanity everywhere he travels.”

and from “Ginsberg Goes Behind Enemy Lines“, David S Wills‘ review in Beatdom

“In Iron Curtain Journals, we follow Ginsberg’s wild ride from a stopover in Mexico, through both deportations, [Cuba and Czechoslovakia] to London, Paris, and finally an unpleasant stop at customs back in the U.S. We get inside his mind and gain a new perspective on some parts of the journey – presenting a pretty different take from what appears in the major Ginsberg biographies…..”

“…much of this book is tremendously valuable to scholars, and doubtless entertaining to Beat and counterculture enthusiasts, too. It offers insights into Ginsberg’s mind at an important stage in his life, as well as a look behind the titular Iron Curtain from a very unique perspective…..there is plenty here that will be news to even ardent Allen aficionados… is…a superb book and deserves a place alongside the other great collections of  (his) work.”


Allen in the galleries in London. Dara Birnbaum’s show. (at the Marion Goodman Gallery, up till January 12)

“Transmission Tower: Sentinel, [one of the works] constructed out of real sections of a transmission tower and mounted television screens, addresses the power of rhetoric. Footage of Allen Ginsberg reciting his anti-war poem, Hum Bom!, plays out on the line of screens. In contrast, footage of George H.W. Bush giving his presidential nomination address descends the monitors, evoking the arc of a falling bomb. Birnbaum contrasts Ginsberg’s emphatic and raw recitation with Bush’s highly scripted speech.”

Marc Olmsted reviews Max Orsini‘s book on “Beat Buddhism’, The Buddhist Beat Poetics of Diane di Prima and Lenore Kandel in Empty Mirror  – For more on this see an interview with Orsini – here 

John Giorno is interviewed by office magazinehere 

Piero Heliczer‘s daughter talks about her father – here

More contexts for Steve Silberman’s recently re-discovered Allen Ginsberg-Bob Dylan interview here and here  

and, for no particular reason, more Ginsberg-and-Dylan, (singing jubiliantly together on Vomit Express)


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