Poe‘s been a little on our mind of late. Recalling Hal Willner‘s 1997 double-cd Closed On Account of Rabies (released shortly after Allen’s death and dedicated to two recently-deceased heroes, Jeff Buckley and Allen).
And Bob Dylan (“I got a Tell-Tale Heart like Mr Poe”) gives Edgar Allan Poe a shout-out on his recently-released “I Contain Multitudes” (that line of course coming from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (section 51) – via Allen – “Do I contradict myself?/Very well then I contradict myself/I am large, I contain multitudes”)
Lou Reed rewrites and revisits “Tell-Tale Heart” (and plenty more Poe) on his 2003 album The Raven – see here and here
and here’s Iggy Pop (from Closed On Account of Rabies) reading “Tell-Tale Heart”
stalking the realms of the dark, of the Poe-world, a little too much lately.
Eliot Katz‘s 2015 volume The Poetry and Politics of Allen Ginsberg remains a unique and singularly important document (no more so than posthumously, in these times – looking back and looking forward – an abiding and poignant question – “What Would Allen Have Said/Done?”)
“This book”, the author writes, “attempts to begin to fill what seems an important gap in Ginsberg scholarship. Although many of Allen Ginsberg’s best poems explore political themes in deeply interesting ways, there has not yet been a serious, book-length attempt to take a deep look at Ginsberg’s politics or at his poetry as political poetry..”
“Allen Ginsberg had a rare ability, through both his poetry and activism, to radicalize young people—to open up their radical eyes—and to help prop open a wide range of difficult-to-find doors to worlds of progressive politics and culture, enabling his work to achieve an enormous influence on six decades of American dissent..”
Read Katz’s incisive and intelligent introduction to the book – here
“Allen Ginsberg had a unique and uniquely American voice…” (last Monday’s editorial in the Durango Herald declares) – “America when will we end the human war?” (still, all these years on, a provocative and pertinent question) – “Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows!” (again, talking to contemporary conditions) see here).
One positive note (re the Covid scourge) – very happy to hear Marianne Faithfull made it through, after a 22-day life-and-death battle. Discharged from hospital, she is currently recuperating in her London home. Welcome back Marianne!