Bob Dylan‘s new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, officially comes out today and the song “Key West (Philosopher’s Pirate)” references the Beat Generation – “I was born on the wrong side of the railroad track / like Ginsberg, Corso, and Kerouac.”
And, of course (and always) check out Expecting Rain
We’ve mentioned the University Achives House’s auction of Jack Kerouac items before – here and here. June 24 (next Wednesday)’s another installment. While not wishing to disparage (or disparage fetishism), this latest batch seems disappointingly arbitrary and somewhat thin on the ground. The one Ginsberg item? – a signed copy (by Allen) of The Yage Letters, presented to Kerouac (signed, “Lowell, 1967”). Of the Kerouac items, there’s an interesting focus on the sacred and profane – crucifixes (like this), and selections from Jack’s private collection of “men’s magazines“!
Of considerably more interest, we would assert, is a significant new catalog from bookseller, Charles Agvent. “The Beats” it’s straightforwardly called – more than a hundred items -Many of these wonderful pieces”, Advent writes, “come from two libraries, that of R’Lene Dahlberg, widow of the writer Edward Dahlberg and friend of many authors, and that of one of the original Beats – (arguably the original Beat) – Herbert Huncke”
Speaking of inscription and Kerouac, here’s Allen’s inscribed copy of The Visions of The Great Rememberer to Huncke
“Herb — This is a page by page Commentary of Kerouac’s 1951-3 (?) ms. about Neal Visions of Neal which I read early + re-read in Denver 72 taking notes for preface to book — See p. 13 for East Texas + New Waverley gossip — Allen chez ‘R’Lene’s [Dahlberg] Nov. 5, 1978. It’s meant to be read with or after Jack’s book.”
There’s a number of Ginsberg items, notably this , an inscribed copy of Journals – Early Fifties, Early Sixties (Huncke’s own journals and other writings did see (re)publication before too long)
and this, a letter of palpable frustration to editor/poet Allen Planz (postmarked October 20, 1960). “Dear Al…”
Allen begins by listing eleven poets in New York City that he recognizes at that moment – a significant list, Frank O’Hara, LeRoi Jones (sic), Kenneth Koch, Joel Oppenheimer, Fielding Dawson, Denise Levertov, Paul Blackburn, John Wieners, Ray Bremser, Edward Field, and James Schuyler, “as well as all the academic types”
Then he declares: “I want to sit & write poetry and instead I have to answer your letter. This is my exact situation this minute – HELP! – Jack Fish (sic) made sense. I am not interested in samples of “where I’m now going or would like to go”. How the fuck do you or I know “where” we are going poetically? Just professional literary bullshit..”
The letter continues on the other side of the page, concluding (in obvious receipt of Plantz’s poems) – “There’s nothing I hate more than reading other peoples poetry. Fuck you. I read these already in yr book & said what little I had to say. Why do I have to sit on them again? Are you a FIEND? HAVE MERCY!”
So many other interesting items in this catalog (too many to mention here). Check it out.
Paul Smart on Allen up in the Hudson Valley – “One of the great cultural events I’ve ever attended was an event (April 22, 1994) at Columbia-Greene Community College, where he had an SRO crowd chanting in tears, welcoming the beauty of mortality.” – Hear Chris Funkhouser‘s exemplary recording of Allen reading (in its entirety) – here
Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones’) classic Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note joins Poets House’s on-line digitalized “Chapbooks of the Mimeo Revolution” series, this coming Monday. (Also on Monday, Baraka (transcription from a 1993 panel on “Counterpoetics and Oppositional Action”) will be the featured posting here).