Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 444


A few quick book reviews:

David S Wills on Allen Ginsberg’s recently-published South American Journals  – “As with most of Ginsberg’s journals, letters, and interviews, this collection often includes his ideas on the meaning and significance of poetry. It is “a shoe that fits the mind,” he (Allen) says.”…

“These journals document not only a poet on the move through his physical surroundings but, of course, his internal dialogue. During this period, Ginsberg was grappling with the nature of life and death, vast and changing ideas about consciousness, and the notion of God. Throughout the book, the reader is taken through a confusing array of perspectives and dialogues as Ginsberg tries to argue with himself over these issues. Sometimes he puts forth a confident proclamation, but mostly he is uncertain.”

“(T)his book is a useful addition to Beat scholarship……this is a wonderful book.. Schumacher (Michael Schumacher, the editor) has once again done an excellent job of collecting Ginsberg’s work… this is another valuable addition that should have a place in any good Beat collection”

For the review in its entirety (and depth) – see here 

Thomas Rain Crowe on Bob Kaufman (The Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman) – (a personal account) –  “During the 1970s when I had almost daily contact with Kaufman, and after his cafe table-top oration and that first reading at the Savoy Tivoli (1977), Bob was included in almost every reading that was organized and held in San Francisco and the Bay Area and beyond. It was like something of a second-coming and everyone wanted to hear him again or for the first time….Now, over 30 years since his death in 1986, with his poetry having been translated in several languages and with this City Lights Books publication of  The Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman we now have something that will surely put him in the pantheon of “the Beat Gods” with regards to the general public, as well as with archivists and special collections libraries around the globe.”

For this review/memoir/appreciation in full – see here 

& here’s Patrick James Dunagan on Arcana – A Stephen Jonas Reader   (also from City Lights)

“Jonas, a poet of Boston who died in 1970 at the age of 49, is an American original, as brilliant a wordsmith as any in what might best be termed the poetics of the New American vernacular. The intensity of Jonas’s poetry surprises and delights as his words burst across the page. He introduces a gay, gender-bending, street hustling voice into the Modernist tradition, deeply immersing his work in Ezra Pound’s use of collage in The Cantos while paying due diligence to the intricacies of William Carlos Williams’ poetics of the variable foot and the American idiom”.

and, again,

“Jonas is a figure who has often gone missed in discussions of his peers. He’s the outcast, the true outrider of this tradition who undeniably impacted the work of all those who surrounded him. His home provided a central gathering hub for poets from the 1950s through the 1960s, while also serving as a friendly crash pad for assorted associates trading in various illicit practices. Jonas himself was involved in some light fraud and petty crimes from time to time, but the driving force throughout his life was a passionate dedication to the poetic powers at work upon the page”

Jonas and a very different Boston poet, Robert Lowell, are usefully contrasted here

Still coming to terms with the death of Ram Dass – Here’s more obituary notices – from The Guardian, from the BBC,, from CNN, from USA Today, from High Times, from the Los Angeles Blade 

Here’s a brief Ram Dass primer. 

Here’s the theatrical trailer (from September 2019) for Jamie Catto’s Becoming Nobody – Everybody’s Busy Becoming Somebody Else – Ram Dass

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