Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 401

Jenny Holzer –  on World Aids Day (December 1), 2018 – one of a series of roving billboards that appeared last year in New York City

Not to start off on a dark note but it’s Edgar Allan Poe‘s  birthday tomorrow. Here’s Gregory Corso‘s spirited painting of Poe

Speaking of Gregory, don’t miss Gregory Stephenson‘s pioneering research piece – “Poetic  Licence – The Crime and Hard Time of Gregory Corso, or A Portrait of the Poet as a Young Felon”, recently up on Empty Mirror 

and another “don’t miss” piece – Jake Marmer’s review of Iron Curtain Journals in Tablet

“At the heart of Beat poetry was a cathartic, improvisational, and confessional soul-baring – and so it is not surprising that Ginsberg’s journals are excitingly readable.”  “They are inflected with the same aesthetic and literary qualities”, he declares,” as Ginsberg’s poetry”.

Allen’s art as resistance art – see this notice of Indian artist, Shilpa Gupta’s art in India Today

Growing up bohemian – Joseph Nechvatal reviews Tosh Berman‘s book, Tosh – Growing Up in Wallace Berman’s World  just published by City Lights

Wallace Berman and Allen Ginsberg, Topanga Canyon, 1971 -photo: by (& including) Wallace Berman

Allen and the FBI – Remember our (MuckRock)‘s revealing of Allen’s FBI surveillance? (see also Lytle Shaw‘s cogent discussion in the recently-published Narrowcast). Allen, of course, was far from the only writer targeted. We mentioned in our previous posting Herbert Mitgang‘s 1988 digest,  Dangerous Dossiers – Exposing the Secret War Against America’s Greatest Authors.  This research has now been considerably  updated and expanded (thanks to MuckRock and others) – Writers Under Surveillance – the FBI files (edited by JPat Brown, B.C.D.Lipton and Michael Morisy, published at the end of last year by MIT Press) is a harrowing, disturbing, shameful, and salutary collection. The surveillance state has exponentially advanced since the ’80’s and Allen’s time. Douglas Kennedy‘s review of this important book can be read here.

One comment

  1. I taught English in Slovakia in 95/96.

    I was working in Slovakia in 95/96 and my colleague shared his enthusiasm for Ginsberg with me. He had a copy of Planet News, and asked some of our older students what Bouzerant meant (it’s a derogatory term for a homosexual), which features in Ginsberg’s poem Kral Majales.

    We were surprised when the students recalled Ginsberg’s visit to Prague. They remembered his visit fondly. The fact that he had come to visit the Communist State – and was subsequently thrown out was of no surprise to them. They felt that it proved how repressive the Communist state was. To them, Ginsberg represented the freedom of the individual and they respected him because he had taken the time to visit them. I think they felt that they got to share their views, and explain that the Communist state as it was did not represent them. Ginsberg seemed to have gained a lot of respect in Czechoslovakia through his visit – and I’m not sure if Ginsberg, or many biographers pick up on this.


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