From the article: “Did we narrowly escape the fall of America in January or is it lurking just around the corner? It’s impossible to say, of course, but the Beat Generation poet laureate Allen Ginsberg felt he was living through his country’s precipitous decline a long half-century ago. After traveling through Europe in the first half of 1965, Ginsberg decided to rediscover America “during an era of hallucination and war.” He hoped to creatively come to grips with the country’s splendors and evils—most notably the Vietnam War—through travel. And so, while crisscrossing the country with a self-imposed mandate to write a “long poem of these states,” he composed the spectacular verses collected in The Fall of America: Poems of These States, 1965-1971, which won a National Book Award for Poetry following its 1973 publication by City Lights. Ginsberg was both a social force and literary phenomenon, and his influence still looms large. Devendra Banhart, Andrew Bird, Bill Frisell, Mickey Hart, Handsome Family, Angélique Kidjo and Yo La Tengo are among the more than 20 artists who interpret, embellish and reimagine Ginsberg’s personal, political and universal visions on Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America: A Fiftieth Anniversary Tribute, available as an LP or a longer CD via Bandcamp. Peter Hale and Jesse Goodman of the Allen Ginsberg Project, the online manifestation of the Allen Ginsberg Estate, produced it…”
Gehr quotes Goodman, “Peter often says, ‘No matter how many years have passed since his death, Allen is the gift that keeps on giving.’” And he adds, “His force was so strong.”
To read the full article – go here
July 3rd (tomorrow), “Discover America and the Beat Generation – Jack Kerouac Types On the Road – The Genealogy of a Counterculture through Publications’, organized by Beat scholar, Matt Theado, opens at the BB Plaza Museum of Art in Kobe, Japan [we had this, erroneously, opening last month, sorry about that Matt!]
“The show features a replicated manuscript of Kerouac’s original On the Road “scroll,” along with Kazuhiro Yamaji’s exquisite collection of Beat Generation publications—including first editions, broadsides, signed books, and extremely rare and precious small press magazines -one of the most extensive collections outside the US.”
On July 17th, the Kobe City University of Foreign Studies will be hosting a symposium (streamed live on You Tube) featuring Theado, Minami Aoyama, Motoyuki Shibata and Beat scholar. (Herbert Huncke biographer) Hilary Holladay, alongside other presentations.
and another opening (just opened quietly last week) – the Beat Museum is back in business! – Lawrence Ferlinghetti At Home, a new show (featuring artifacts borrowed from his North Beach apartment, among them his wooden writing desk and swivel chair on rickety wheels, his 3,000-page dictionary, dating from 1959, and a variety of hats.
Read the back-story in the San Francisco Chronicle – here
Gregory Corso – Gregory Nunzio Corso, another proud Italian-American, is remembered in another lengthy piece in il manifesto (in Italian). Dario Bellini, his friend, recalls his latter days in Greenwich Village and in Rome (Campo de’Fiori) and addresses the mystery of the aborted film project, (Gus Reininger’sThe Last Beat), as well as Gregory’s eagerly-awaited posthumous volume, forthcoming from New Directions, The Golden Dot
“Gregory Corso, Love Gregorio” may be read here
We’ve been concluding these Round-Ups of late with a bit of music. So here’s a little clip from the Fall of America tribute album – Yo La Tengo, Hoboken’s finest’s – “Bayonne Entering NYC” (“Ginsberg describes the drive through Newark, where he was born in 1926, past a “Megalopolis with burning factories,” and on into Manhattan, where he snags a sweet parking space in Greenwich Village”):