Bob Dylan in The Fall of America Journals

Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan in D.A.Pennebaker’s  “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (1967)


The Fall of America Journals 1965-1971

Bob Dylan, in spirit and in fact, runs right through the recently-published The Fall of America Journals.

Not the least, in the “auto-poesy”. Michael Schumacher, at the outset, in his introduction, notes:

“In 1965 Bob Dylan gifted Allen Ginsberg with a Uher, reel-to-reel, tape-recorder, which Ginsberg was to use to record his thoughts and observations as he traveled throughout the United States”

Dylan’s gift was the agency that allowed many of The Fall of America poems to be composed.

In the Journals, Allen recalls, en passant, his gratitude – (and his respect):

June 6, 1966  Sent Pour En Finir. 

Dylan writes better poetry than I did at his age, but he’s a space age genius minstrel not just old library poet.
Because he moves his thoughts out through music he takes no thought for superficial logic but reads into his mind like a Rorschach blot. If his metaphors excite & mystify the Blake-oriented teeny-bopper mystic it also mystifies him too. He learns from his own prophecy.

August 21, 1966

Dylan’s color film for television his face flickering in and out of blue flamecolored spotlights like a Wizard
I said, looks like Duse, that sensitive face, eat the microphone.

and then there’s this notation (from the following year);

June 18 1967

Dylan says McClure. should get a Gut string Guitar
“and feel like Roosevelt”
Then old steel string Harmony Guitar
“North Country Blues” – his favorite from third album.

and two dreams (We’ve featured a number of Allen’s dreams before – here and here – but here are two Dylan-related ones):

October 2, 1970

Rural city, in a field, walking and talking with Bob Dylan about….coming out of maybe San Jose concert hall – (his first song, “You expect much”) – crossing asphalt street to his truck – puts his hand thru my grin, shyly – “But where do you want to settle now?”, I ask, “inside or outside the country?” because I’d heard gossip from managers he was restless & wanted to move and play in public.


August 17, 1971.

Went out walking looking for cigarettes, and stopped by counter of big country city store in Mexico England (sic) and saw Dylan again at counter – since he got job there – “I’ve been able to come in every day”, he leans over there counter, “and no one bothers me”. I take one of his cigarettes, I lean gossiping – “Need six rooms” – Long conversation about housing problems – just couldn’t find apartment large enough so had to move out of city – to London where we were talking – “but I go in every day now to the counter and tend store and no-one disturbs me, no it’s a relief activity and I get something useful to me, musing “Why not palms?” – Fred has a flat here” – Fred Jordan? – “No just Fred – Odd things the friends here – work going down the road – call me “La Baron” – Sounds nice – and leave me alone – “La Baron”.

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