1989, Ginsberg and Corso – The Conversation Continues – 18

[Francesco Clemente – photo: Allen Ginsberg]

Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso conversation continues

AG: Then I have all these little art books I’m putting out together  with Hanuman Books, you know, it was actually Raymond Foye who got.. who went up to Columbia and itemized and cataloged all my…

GC: Raymond’s good at that. The other guy who’s good at that (is) your friend  Francesco  Clemente

AG: (speaking over) Can I finish this?

GC: You can finish it, but don’t say, you have to tell people can I finish this?, that’ s awful for me, Allen. We were having a nice rapport, and I do keep my mouth shut when you’re rapping. Don’t give me that shit. I want to get Francesco Clemente in here,

AG: We will,  we will.

GC: Foye.. you mentioned Foye  about the good-looking Foye before, right?

AG: Yeah but what I was trying to say was that  he was the first person who went up to Columbia, went through all my photos and began making prints and told me that there was photography there, organized my first show at the Holly Solomon gallery.

GC: I know that. It was very fine too.

AG: So I owe him a lot of.. credit, or thanks, or something. And he also started.. put me together with Clemente to do a whole series of books that we’ve done

GC: Right, the Hanuman Books, you mentioned.. That’s why I mentioned Clemente

AG: No there’s other books

GC: I know. Clemente also helped Hanuman, didn’t he?

AG: Yeah  Lets talk about Clemente a little?

GC: I was saying does Clemente help run Hanuman?

AG: Clemente funds Hanuman…

GC: Okay

AG:  …and is the producer and the backer. But the other work I was doing with.. well, do we want to go over that?

GC: Sure, the big book that you did?

AG: Yeah, so our first project was a little book of improvised haikus and improvised watercolors that he did. And the second was the first edition of “White Shroud”, where I wrote it out (he gave me a Mont Blanc pen and a big huge beautiful-papered notebook and I wrote out the whole thing in script..

GC: Nice.

AG:  and then he did watercolors all around it..

GC: Nice.

AG: ..being really careful because the water could leak over and dissolve the ink

GC: Right.

AG: It only happened in a couple of little squiggles.

Then we did a huge thing that Raymond organized of ..a series of one-line aesthetics, like an (ars poetica) art of poetry (and I haven’t seen the result of that), and did a bunch of single sheaves, haikus) and stuff like that, and I’ve not seen the results of that but they’re all painted.

Now I’m working on some journal notebooks he gave me, writing poems in them as I go along and then I’ll give him the book and he’ll illustrate it.

GC:  (Francesco) Clemente. He’s such a sweet man

AG: Yes (he’s welcome) with his work).

GC: I love him, man!

AG: And you worked with him  What did you do with him?

GC: I didn’t do anything with him.

AG: I thought you did The Golden Dot’” [Editorial note – An unpublished collection of poems by Corso]  ?

GC: Oh yeah, I did, I did something, that’s right.  He did these paintings of.. gold… really solid gold, he painted solid, and on top he put some kind of burnt red sienna over it. And I wrote poems for each one of these, in the book that will come out in the show. Right, they have these kind of programs?  That’s what I did with him, yeah.

AG: It’s going to be nice then.

GC: Yeah – I loved to meet..   He just went to India . He got (to see it) a lot, you know. And, like I say, he must have bought something too.

AG: Yeah and you know the interesting thing is he grew up in Italy in the ‘Sixties and early “Seventies reading a lot of our work. And I found that he and (Sandro) Chia were a lot more interested in our writing than most American painters (were) are –  He was one of the first I really began collaborating with (except for Robert LaVignewho I always liked and I always thought was a good collaborator).

GC: How is he, do  you hear about him today?

AG: Yeah I get letters .He sent me a beautiful big painting the other day, a huge..

GC:  In the mail?

AG: Yeah, a big box.  A big huge scrolled painting that’s really exquisite, an imitation of Saint Sebastian, classical Saint Sebastian naked.

GC: Okay. Arrows?

AG: without the arrows

GC: Yeah. without the arrows.

AG : Without he arrows, just the big nude Saint Sebastian.

He also sent me a big color photo of the original painting (of) (Peter) Orlovsky that he did of Orlovsky, and a little self-portrait that he did of himself.  We’ve been..we ‘ve been talking with each other on the telephone. He’s a great painter and he’s stuck out in Portland and nobody knows his work here.

GC: What Portland, Oregon?

AG: No, I mean Seattle

GC: Seattle?

AG: Seattle, yeah. You remember him don’t you?

GC: Who?

AG: LaVigne

GC: Of course

AG: So he was living across the street from us on East 2ndStreet in the 60s

GC: I remember

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