Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 436

Moloch in Polish translated by Maciej Goralski (with musical accompaniment).  Yes, these are indeed dark times. 

Speaking of “Howl” and speaking of censorship. Yes, it is 2019 not 1957 – somewhat amazed to find this headline in the Steamboat Springs (Colorado) local newspaper – “Ginsberg’s “Howl” sparks controversy in Steamboat schools”

“Sixty-two years after the publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s book, Howl and Other Poems, went to court over charges of obscenity, similar charges were leveled against a Steamboat Springs High School literature teacher and the school district as a whole.”

The article goes on to quote one “concerned parent”, Ken Mauldin, addressing the School Board:  “How is it possible that a teacher in this district can introduce into a classroom a reference to people, quote, ‘who let themselves be f*** in the a**  by saintly motorcyclists and scream with joy’ and still be in a classroom today?”

and (check out the accompanying “Comments” section), Brett Carson, who brought up the original complaint: “..My daughter came home one day soon after school got started and showed us this poem “HOWL” she was reading. My wife and I were pretty dumbfounded by the content. Very Vulgar and pornagraphic (sic)..”

and the arrogance, pomposity – and sheer ignorance – of Paul Hughes in a follow-up, in the Letters column: ” I taught English in college for nearly 20 years, and I never assigned Ginsberg’s work in classes where poetry was on the syllabus. But my reason was not that it was vulgarity-as-poetry intended to shock and offend; I simply thought that is was just bad poetry.  After you got past “Ooo, can he say that?,” there was nothing left worth reading. Ginsberg will be a footnote to the history of American poetry – a minor poet whose reputation would rest solely on his daring to use language that other poets found beneath them..”

Mercifully, sane heads prevailed. Jay Hamric, director of teaching and learning for the Steamboat Springs School District, is quoted:  “There was quite a consensus,” Hamric said, among the review committee, that “Howl,” “has educational value and merit.”  “Howl” contains offensive language, (he) acknowledged, and language that offends different people in different ways. But at the same time, “some of the best learning experiences” come from being able to “talk about controversial issues in a safe learning environment, where a teacher can support safe conversation, and views can be expressed in a respectful, monitored way..”

back to more elevated (and tolerant) comprehension

David S Wills reviews David Stephen Calonne’s new book of Ginsberg interviews (noted here the other week) for Beatdom  

“…In this book, we see Ginsberg discussing the usual topics (poetry, politics, meditation, homosexuality, drugs) but there is little in the way of repetition, it is all in chronological order, and we see the many different aspects of Ginsberg’s complex and changing personality. He was a contradictory man, and this is abundantly clear from these interviews. The depth of material compiled into a rather slim volume is impressive, and David Calonne has done well to find interviews not in the other collections, but which are valuable by themselves and add up to a quite comprehensive gathering of Ginsberg’s ideas.”

Wills begins his review with an observation  from Straight Around Allen‘s  Bob Rosenthal – “Allen considers (considered) the interview to be his personal art form”  – “If an interviewer posed an intelligent question – or one that simply interested (him) – he would speak at length on the topic, creating answers that were practically essays when transcribed.”

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)

“You got eyes” – Jack Kerouac‘s famous assesment of Robert Frank  –  Joyce Johnson examines at length in the New York Review of Books  Jack Kerouac and Robert Frank’s shared vision.

“The special clarity that can be achieved through a pervasive sense of otherness was something Jack shared with Robert. Both contributed to the real richness of America by being artists who understood that the feeling of exclusion is as American as apple pie.”

The entire article (essential reading – Johnson has first-hand experience, she was the one who first introduced the artists) can be accessed here

More on Jack – Paul Maher, Jr. writes “On Making Sense of The World at Jack Kerouac’s Directive

The Cape Cod Times remembers Kerouac in Hyannis

The Tampa Bay Times unearths old St Petersburg, Florida sports stories

October’s gone but we haven’t forgotten Jack.

Bob Kaufman (1925-1986)

& Bob Kaufman celebrations on the East Coast (New York and Brooklyn) next week –  Tuesday night at Anthology Film Archives there’s a special showing of Billy Woodberry’s Kaufman movie followed by a discussion with Andy Clausen, Maria Damon, Richard Hell and David Henderson, moderated by Raymond Foye. Wednesday, the following day, the 6th, at Spoonbill & Sugartowna reading with Raymond Foye & Christopher Stackhouse.  Foye will read from a memoir discussing his friendship and publishing relationship with Kaufman, and  Stackhouse will read from the new collection (as well as some of his own poems) and discuss the relationship of Kaufman to two seminal figures – Hart Crane and poet-painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. On Thursday, at the Howl Happening space – “Celebrating Bob Kaufman An evening of poetry, film & music”, featuring Foye & Stackhouse again, Uche Nduka, Patricia Spears Jones, Kaye McDonough, Maria Damon, Anne Waldman, and a special performance by poet David Henderson (performing with bassist William Parker and trumpet, flute and reed player Daniel Carter).

and in today’s San Francisco Chronicle

Abbie Hoffman – can we make the pun again?  Steal These Papers?  – recently had his archives purchased by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.  For more information on that story see – here 

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