Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 396

December in Cherry Valley, Paul Kane‘s photograph and memoir-note featured here reminds us of East Hill Farm and Gordon Ball‘s extraordinary custodianship

 

“A Winter’s Day,  Allen Ginsberg’s Farm,  Cherry Valley, NY”,  from significantly later (and post-the classic Ball residency), 1986-87, may be viewed here

 

Allen and his inscriptions. A while back, we featured some of them – here and here.        Here’s another one (courtesy of Rob Plath) – Ouroboros above Mount Olympus

 

Don’t Hide The Madness continues to get good press.  Here’s Jason Tinney in the Washington Independent Review of Books

“Randomly open a page, and the reader will discover Burroughs and Ginsberg riffing and meditating seamlessly, endlessly, without segues — creating a dialogue that spiderwebs into myriad threads, roaming wildly into a forest of topics ranging from the power of buffalo skulls and the spiritual properties of peyote to preferred methods of soup preparation and the best way to eat a grapefruit. There’s rarely a dull moment at the Burroughs house.

For aficionados of these two literary lights and the Beat movement in general, this is an illuminating artifact and essential addition to the collection.”

and here’s Jack Remick in the New York Review of Books

“This is a conversation, but it is more than two men on a speed-rap jag. The temptation for the reader is to go beyond the conversation or to read into it what is not there. The rewards, however, are rich if you stay home and listen to what they are saying. Everything they know is poignant and accessible, and they are afraid of nothing..”

“This book, this hours long conversation, gives us a look at Burroughs and Ginsberg in relaxed mode. Under no pressures to perform, without time limits, we see two men opening their minds in ways that are at once deep and gentle, in ways that show their intimate knowledge of one another..”

“As you read this conversation, it’s important to set aside expectations and to accept the transcript for what it is—a conversation, but a conversation loaded with details, ideas, analyses, and a profound understanding of a moment in American literary history and the people who lived it.”

[William S Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, Courtesy Allen Ginsberg Estate / Stanford University Libraries]

Ira Silverberg’s interview with Lawrence Ferlinghetti in the current Document is a must-read – (“on the old San Francisco, his new novel, and his first 100 years”) – From the interview:

IS: ..I see you in the context of other poets who have been visionary, and I think specifically of Allen (Ginsberg) and the incredible role Howl had, not only for you and for City Lights, but in terms of opening up the culture. I wonder where you see visionaries in poetry.

LF: Well, Allen was a true visionary. I am not..

IS: …As the last man standing of the so-dubbed “Beat Generation”, I wonder where you see the impact of many of the texts you either published or sold on the new generation, on the new century. Which are the prime gems from that school of writers?

LF: Well, Allen Ginsberg prophesied what’s happening today. He really was a visionary, and what’s happening today is his vision in spades. He was extraordinary.

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg. Courtesy Allen Ginsberg Estate / Stanford University Libraries]

Bettissima – An Exhibition of the Life and Letters of Elizabeth Kray. opened this week in New York at Poets House. An important behind-the-scenes force in American Letters,  “Betty” was the director of the 92nd Street Y, from 1954 until her resignation in 1963. Included in the show is this – To her, from October 16, 1954, (regarding T.S.Eliot)

Narrowcast, the new book by literary scholar, Lytle Shaw is just out – on “Poetry and Audio Research” (an intriguing combination) and, naturally, contains a chapter (and more) on Allen, (alongside Amiri Baraka, Charles Olson and Larry Eigner,  as specific case studies).

“In putting Ginsberg’s tape-based inquiry into the American mediascape into dialogue with both FBI and CIA audio research on Ginsberg and others within the counterculture, I hope to…draw out the full political spectrum of sonic field work (and thus question claims, like Ginsberg’s, for tape’s inherently liberatory dimensions)…”, Shaw writes.

Here’s Shaw on The Fall of America,

The Fall of America offers itself as a real-time document of Ginsberg’s resistance to radio’s false allure, the disillusioned poet rolling in his camper through one heartland city after another, each displaying new symptoms of a United States whose malignant effects were stretching across the globe, especially to Vietnam.
Floating in his shifting micro-media bubble, the mobile bard enlists his Uher reel-to-reel to register spontaneous countermedia poems as the nation off-gases toxic media around him.”

For a few choice selections from the book – see here  (note here the section on Ginsberg)
For Evan Kindley‘s review for the Poetry Foundation – see here

Anne Waldman‘s Trickster Feminism is reviewed by Daisy Fried this week in The New York Times

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