Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 528

At the foot of Uluru Ayers Rock Circumambulation, March 24, 1972. (photo and caption, Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries/Allen Ginsberg Estate)

Self-portrait at arm’s length, high on Queensland Psilocybin mushrooms, mid day on top of Uluru, Ayers’ Rock, near Alice Springs, Central Australian desert Aborigine sacred waterporous sandstone monolith, March 24, 1972. (photo and caption, Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries/Allen Ginsberg Estate)

“Ayers Rock / Uluru Song”  (originally published in 1975 in  Sad Dust Glories)

“When the red pond fills fish appear/ When the red pond dries fish disappear./    Everything built on the desert crumbles to dust./ Electric cable transmission wires swept down. /   The lizard people came out of the rock./.  The red Kangaroo people forgot their own song./      Only a man with four sticks can cross the Simpson Desert./    One rain turns red dust green with leaves./ One raindrop begins the universe. /   When the raindrop dries, worlds come to their end.” –  Central Australia, March 23, 1972

Angélique Kidjo (refering to her version, on the Fall of America tribute, August 8, 2020),  notes:

(This was) recorded in our studio home in Paris with 104 Fahrenheit temperature appropriate with the meaning of the poem. I had so much fun and went completely uncensored with the music! It is a slowdown Afrobeats groove (which gives it a Trip Hop vibe) with a sample of traditional horn from Benin and some analog synths from the 70’s when the poem was written”

Angélique Kidjo

(“Ayers Rock / Uluru Song”  also appears as (Part 2 Song #14) as part of the Philip Glass-Allen Ginsberg recording Hydrogen Jukebox)

The poem does not actually appear in Fall of America, but appears as the opening poem in 1977’s Mind Breaths.  The producers explain:

“Avid Ginsberg fans may notice that a handful of the poems (on the CD collection) are not part of the City Lights Fall of America edition, We kept to Allen’s broader intention to include all poems from 1965 onward until the end of the Vietnam War (but) for Allen it became clear that the war would be dragging on, so rather than wait for the war to end, some works were included in the early City Lights Pocket Poets edition of Planet News… Others like “Iron Horse” were never included in a collection until the Collected Poems were assembled and published in 1985..”

“Ayers Rock / Uluru Song”, they declare was “so striking we had to include it”


David S Wills, editor of Beatdom, and featured in these pages recently on the subject of Allen and Hunter Thompson, is featured at length on Jesse Dylan and Priscilla Cohen’s Wondros Podcast, talking about “The Beats and Beatdom” – see here

Kerouac and drinking.    Check out Jerard Fagerberg‘s autobiographical essay – here

Substacks – we had a note last week on Simon Warner’s Substack – check it out if you haven’t already.  Recent additions – an essay on Kerouac’s Tristessa that originally accompanied Jim Sampas’ 2013 album Esperanza and the second of the series of “Beat Soundtracks”,”in which prominent Beat figures, writers and critics, historians an academics, fans and followers, talk about the relationship between that literary community and music” – an interview with noted Beat scholar, A Robert Lee 

and Patti Smith has a must-read Substack. See here 

and Salman Rushdie joins – another high-profile Substack author – see here and here

City Lights has radically redesigned its web-site. Good news for contemporary browsers, but, unfortunately, this means a whole slew of links on past posts here on The Allen Ginsberg Project are no longer functioning. “Dead links” – we understand the longer a project goes on (particularly a links-rich project such as this one), the more such things are inevitable – “links attrition” – bear with us.
We still contend our archives are invaluable, quite remarkable – over 3500 posts!     

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