Allen Ginsberg reads White Shroud

Featuring today, Allen Ginsberg, reading the title poem of his collection, White Shroud – Poems 1980-1985

AG: “And it was, like, a long conversation with my long-dead mother.”

Interviewer (Tom Vitale): And how did you go about writing “White Shroud”?

AG: Oh I just woke up from dream and realized that it was an extraordinary dream because of by the feeling in my body of joy and bliss and illumination and relief at having seem my mother again and having finally had a chance to talk to her and reconcile with her – and her in such funny shape as an old bag-lady in the West Bronx.”

“I am summoned from my bed/ To the Great City of the Dead..”

Opening page of “White Shroud”

and the poem ends with the immortal lines: “…I returned/from the Land of the Dead to living Poesy, and wrote/this tale of long lost joy, to have seen my mother again!/And when the ink ran out of my pen, and rosy violet/illumined city treetop skies above the Flatiron Front Range/I went downstairs to the shade living room, where Peter Orlovsky/sat with long hair lit by the television glow to watch/ the sunrise weather news, I kissed him & filled my pen and wept.”

Here’s a sample page from the beautiful limited edition of the poem that he made with the artist, Francesco Clemente.

from “White Shroud” – Allen Ginsberg &  Francesco Clemente, 1983 – Ink, pencil, water-color on paper 17 1/2  x 26 3/4 ins

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