Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 545

Well, folks, it’s the last Friday Round-Up of the year (number 545 – that’s hard to believe!) – Years end.

Here’s just a few highlights from 2021 from The Allen Ginsberg Project (too many to properly list here)

January – Norman Mailer,  Alice Neel 
February –  Elaine De Kooning  Wallace Berman, Bei DaoThe Fall of America Tribute CD
March –  Lucien Carr  Howl Carbon Copy, Cecil Taylor
April – Howl Record Release,  Ram Dass, Virginia Military Institute Reading, Marianne Faithfull
May – Chaim Gross.  Gary Snyder at 91Bob Dylan at 80, Walt Whitman at 202
June – Andrei Voznesensky,  Issa, Ornette Coleman, Allen Ginsberg’s Birthday
July – Peter Orlovsky, Tuli Kupferberg, Woody Guthrie, Hunter S Thompson 
August – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott,  Lenny Bruce, Toni Morrison, Larry Rivers, Jack Hirschman, Chicago 1968, R D Laing
September  – John Lilly, Paul Blackburn
October – John Sinclair, Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Simon, Howl and Artificial Intelligence, Francis Bacon
November – Kinky Friedman, Dorothy Day, Robert Frank, Kurt Vonnegut, David Amram at 91, Don Cherry, d.a.levy, Harry Smith
December –  Ai Weiwei, Helen Adam, Jerome Rothenberg at 90, John Hammond, Thomas Merton, Bernadette Mayer, Christmas with Jack Kerouac 

Tom Diventi penned a sweet smart plea and understanding of Allen. It’s on his home-town Baltimore’s Splice Today this week. A few excerpts from it:

“Allen Ginsberg is often misunderstood by so many who need labels to define themselves. Undoubtedly, he helped propel modern poetry to a broader audience in the 1950s and continued to promote the power and love of poetry throughout his life. No one has done more to celebrate the art of words utilizing free verse than Ginsberg. Modern poetry owes a level of gratitude to “Ginsey,” as Beat poet Gregory Corso affectionately called him.”

“…(W)ith the publication of “Howl”… he embraced protest metaphorically, howling at socio-political injustice, shedding tears, mourning exploitation, repression, and subjugation. The poet asks people to question capitalist propaganda, racial inequality, totalitarian military conquest, and world domination. “Howl” stands alone as a testament to the birth of the counter-culture movement, and Ginsberg embodies that spirit of the times.”

“The struggle for freedom continues. As a people and nation, it’s painfully evident we’re no better off now than when the Beat Generation first came aboutThere’s not much anyone can do about the problems we face, yet speaking out against them is a start. Ginsberg was a master in that regard. He knew how to manipulate popular opinion, the media, and the American Dream Machine against itself, revealing the true nightmare of what it is for the majority of people. He gave voice to those who have no power.”

“Anyone who criticizes government policies of militarism, perpetual poverty, and racism is automatically labeled unpatriotic or worse. We’re witnessing this today. Ginsberg and the generations that followed the Beat aesthetic knew this, but it may already be too late.”

Hopefully, it’s not too late

Dave Olson, in his hideaway in Okayama, Japan, discourses rapid-fire on the Beats and  displays a whole array of great Beat memorabilia for the camera – see here:

Nam June Paik – Pray For Good Luck, Allen Ginsberg  (from Allen in Vision (in collaboration with Allen Ginsberg (1990))

Nam June Paik gets the farewell-to-2021 spot. Allen will be one of those interviewed in a Nam June Paik documentary to be produced by Steven Yeun and hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy.  The currently untitled production, Variety announces, will be completed some time next year.

One comment

  1. What a treat and a true honour to be included in this round-up of exceptional creators. Was a true pleasure to share this rapid-fire, breathless story from my historic barn with all these artefacts gathered on my global rambles. Certainly think about Allen’s time in Japan as well as his other travels around the world all starting with a postcard for in “charming event”.

    (And I don’t mean this has a plug but…,) over the last few decades, I’ve made loads of audio and video dispatches, diaries, musing and what not, working to not just capture but continue the spirit of the Beats – so on a rainy day, consider clicking around and seeing if there’s anything in my “creative life archive” which amuses and/or inspires you.

    Fondly from Tsuchida Cottage,


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