Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 479

Anne Waldman, St Marks Bookstore,  New York City, 2014 – (a still from the film Outrider: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, a documentary film by Alystyre Julian, forthcoming)

Anne Waldman celebrated her 75th birthday this past April. We celebrated it here (and have noted too Napalm Health Spa‘s wonderful 70th birthday celebration).

But there’s more.
Boog City has just published a compendious 75th birthday celebration – see here  including an interview (with Nathaniel Siegel), poems, reviews, and, under the rubric “My Anne”, a host of appreciations (among them, notices from Ed Sanders, Raymond Foye, Steven Taylor, Alice Notley, Bernadette MayerRon Padgett.. and on… the list is endless, far too many to enumerate here).  A 1977 People magazine article included has her rightly defined as “a priestess of New York poetry”. No arguments with that, and that was back in ’77!


Ethan Hawke holding his audio recording of The Dharma Bums

Ethan Hawke‘s Beat commitment is solid. He’s already narrated Kerouac’s  The Dharma Bums (the audio book) – with a reading of Big Sur due out in October. He also, some years earlier was one of the readers of Kerouac’s “lost” Beat Generation play. Not to mention his engagement in the aborted Gregory Corso project The Last Beat” (which is now unlikely to see the light of day).

What does see the light of day and shines bright is his recent Ted talk – “Give Yourself Permission to Be Creative”

He begins:  “So you have to ask yourself – Do you think human creativity matters? Well, hmm. Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about poetry. Right? They have a life to live, and they’re not really that concerned with Allen Ginsberg’s poems or anybody’s poems, until their father dies, they go to a funeral, you lose a child, somebody breaks your heart, they don’t love you anymore, and all of a sudden, you’re desperate for making sense out of this life, and, “Has anybody ever felt this bad before? How did they come out of this cloud?”

He goes on:

“I was really into Allen Ginsberg, and I was reading his poetry, and I was reading – he did a lot of interviews – and one time, William F. Buckley had this television program called “Firing Line,” and Ginsberg went on there and sang a Hare Krishna song while playing the harmonium. And he got back to New York to all his intelligentsia friends, and they all told him, “Don’t you know that everybody thinks you’re an idiot, and the whole country’s making fun of you?” And he said, “That’s my job. I’m a poet, and I’m going to play the fool. Most people have to go to work all day long, and they come home and they fight with their spouse, and they eat, and they turn on the old boob tube, and somebody tries to sell them something, and I just screwed all that up. I went on and I sang about Krishna, and now they’re sitting in bed and going, ‘Who is this stupid poet?’ And they can’t fall asleep, right?”  – And that’s his job as a poet.”

Do yourself a favor and check out the whole talk.


The European Beat Studies Network is keeping busy (notwithstanding Covid). Playback, the recently-instigated podcast, features, as its first episode, an interview with EBSN President, Oliver Harris.  Harris, it should be noted, (for the imprint, Moloko Print), recently edited, and wrote introductions to, three new William Burroughs books – revisions of The Exterminator, Minutes To Go, and, the intriguing new title, Battle Instructions, on which he writes:

“Battle Instructions mirrors back the hypocrisy of our desire, because we don’t want Burroughs redacted or recuperated into just another canonical figure, an airbrushed icon of iconoclasm: we want our Burroughs uncompromisingly corrosive and experimentally far out, beyond the pale of life and literature—but only up to a certain point. Battle Instructions exceeds that point and presses uncertainty to the limit. It’s hard to say whether what we’re reading is blistering or boring, mesmerising or moronic, a work of literature or ranting naked polemic, a hex or a hoax, while it seems as reactionary as it is revolutionary, as stupidly repetitive as anything by Gertrude Stein, as virulently anti-Semitic as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and as psychotic as Robert De Niro’s vigilante killer in Taxi Driver, talking to himself in the mirror with guns up his sleeves. Even Burroughs quickly had second thoughts, at the time conceding it was “just as well” that it wasn’t published, and readers sixty years later might at first sight agree that it would have been better off left in bits and pieces in the archival vaults.”

Speaking of EBSN and Burroughs miscellanea (and also from Moloko Print). Moloko Print have also just published an interesting and provocative in-depth study by Thomas AntonicAmongst Nazis/Unter Nazis – William S Burroughs in Vienna 1936/37. 

You can read an excerpt from it here 

This essay (published in both English and German, and complete with illustrations, footnotes, introductions and postscripts in both languages) is, as his publishers note, an expanded version of the author’s “Dr. Benway meets Dr. Pernkopf – Burroughs and the Nazi Doctors in Vienna 1936/37”, the lecture he delivered back in Vienna in 2018 at the annual EBSN conference

ESBN also has up a touching obituary notice by Antonic on another subject that he is a specialist in – (he’s currently writing her official biography) – Ruth Weiss – see here

and more Burroughs – Here’s David S Wills at Beatdom,  on “The 5 Best Books About William Burroughs”


Charlie Parker Centennial tomorrow, officially tomorrow, but celebrations have already started up and are on-going. Tune in to WKCR – here

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