First Round-Up of the New Year. Let’s get right to it.
A shout-out to our good friends at Empty Mirror (Empty Mirror – sic) for the publication (re-publication) of Loretta Graceffo’s “Resisting the Thought Police – The Untold Story of Allen Ginsberg’s Stand Against College Censorship”, an account of the fracas that erupted in 1969, (nota bene, at the height of the Vietnam War), at the small Jesuit college of Saint Peter’s (Jersey City, New Jersey), following the censorship (punitive removal of funding) of The Pavan, their fearless and outspoken student literary-magazine.
Allen and his father Louis came down to read for the students (“two Ginsbergs for the price of one”) even tho’ Allen was on crutches, a result of his recent road accident. Graceffo quotes Allen’s prescient words (from his letter to the authorities, reasserting the importance, indeed the necessity, of free speech, in wholehearted support of the students and the magazine.
“There are no pure motives and never have been in the censorship of poetry,”…’ “This country was not founded for a bunch of prurient bureaucrats to rush around being thought police over Citizen’s poetry.”… “Be careful whose door you bust, whose poem you censor, and whose photography you declare too ‘private’ for the public eye. This generation of students and poets have found out many embarrassing secret facts about the way of life we have lived which has led to a planetary ecological crisis, secrets of police state, overpopulation, thought control, destruction of human nature. If we cannot make these images public neither the nation nor the world will survive.”
“planetary ecological crisis.. police state, overpopulation, thought control, destruction of human nature…” Allen’s words ring true right now, in 2020, as they did in 1969.
Walt Whitman bicentennial comes to a close, but the significance and importance of Whitman is clearly (and happily) not forgotten. Ed Simon, at years end, writes, in the New York Times, of “Why We Need Walt Whitman in 2020“. Previously, in the Times, a follow-up on the story (previously reported here) of 99 Ryerson Street, Whitman’s old house – “Should Walt Whitman’s House Be Landmarked? – It’s Complicated” – Our answer (unambiguously) “Yes it should!”
The Allen Ginsberg Project. You may not have noticed yet, but hopefully will notice soon, a significant change in our look – we’ve changed fonts (or are about to be changing fonts) – but, more importantly, over the past couple of years, have done extensive work on our not-inconsiderable archives (see the left-hand column of this page) The change-over (back in November 2016) from a “Blogspot” to a “WordPress” template, resulted, it has to be said, in a few problems – but we’ve been systematically working away, ironing them all out, and we think we’ve reached the stage now where we feel we can finally dispense with the former, have the one readable accessible archive. There will still be dead links (unavoidable given the voluminous number of links potentially active on this site) and will welcome alerts regarding any significant ones, but, basically, we’re good to go (covering approximately 10 years, over 3,000 posts!)