2022 Kerouac Centennial Year and we thought we’d instigate the feature of a regular link and reminder to an old Jack Kerouac post on The Allen Ginsberg Project, (not “old” exactly, since, as Ezra Pound had it with poetry, these postings about Jack are “news that stays news”) .
So how about this? – William Burroughs on Kerouac (from the 1982 Naropa Jack Kerouac Conference)
“Well, Kerouac, Kerouac was a writer. That is, he wrote. And many people who call themselves writers and have their names down on book jackets are not writers and they can’t write. The difference being a bullfighter who fights a bull is different from a bullshitter who makes passes with no bull there. The writer has been there or he couldn’t write about it. And going there he risks being gored.”
More Burroughs this week – the Italian version of a first volume of his letters – Il Mio Passato e Un Fiume Malvagio – Letttere 1946-1973 (“My Past Was An Evil River” – the title is Burroughs’, taken from St. John Perse) – edited by Ottavio Fatica and translated by Andrew Tanzi, out now from Adelphi
“His mid-1930s visit to Vienna has always seemed a brief but colourful episode in William S. Burroughs’ biography, but Antonic’s study has turned it into a transformative chapter in the writer’s life. Based on meticulous and extensive historical research, Amongst Nazis not only gives the first detailed and accurate account of Burroughs’ experience there but offers new insights into its impact on his literary life, including the reasons why the city where Burroughs studied medicine was the birthplace of his most notorious character, Dr. Benway.”
Antonic is even able to track down what appears to be the only known photo, of Burroughs’ first wife, Ilse Herzfeld.
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
Atonic is also the writer-director of the documentary ruth weiss – One More Step West Is The Sea, as well as co-editor (with Estíbaliz Encarnación-Pinedo) of the recently-published ruth weiss- Beat poetry, jazz, art. His obituary of her (for the European Beat Studies Network) is published here. He is currently working on a full-scale biography.
Speaking of the European Beat Studies Network, Vice-President Polina Mackay has a new book – Beat Feminisms; Aesthetics, Literature, Gender, Activism is finally out
“This is the first book-length study to read women of the Beat Generation as feminist writers. The book focuses on one author from each of the three generations that comprise the groups of female writers associated with the Beats – Diane di Prima, ruth weiss and Anne Waldman – as well as on experimental and multimedia artists, such as Laurie Anderson and Kathy Acker, who have not been read through the prism of Beat feminism before
Ken Babbs’ new autobiography Cronies, A Burlesque: Adventures with Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady, the Merry Pranksters and the Grateful Dead is available now via Tsunami Books.
“(“Cronies..”) “is a wild, colorful ride of high times, exploration, and friendships that have lasted a lifetime. In these 70 stories written in unique prose, Ken’s spirit of adventure comes alive with wondrous anecdotes about America’s counterculture and those who came to symbolize it, including the Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey, Wendell Berry, Allen Ginsberg, and a singular host of others—the cronies.”
“First Thoughts, Best Thoughts” – Allen’s (actually, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche‘s) famous adage – Johnny Bender recalls hearing it here (in 1982 at Naropa at the Kerouac Conference) – “How a workshop with America’s most famous Beat poet changed my life”
David S Wills‘ eagle-eye and omnivorous attention catches the Haraki Murakami and the Beats connection this week on Beatdom
If you missed it, don’t miss his piece on the connection between Hunter Thompson and Allen Ginsberg – here
& check out also this recent interview with David by Leon Horton in International Times
Beat materials at the auction house yesterday, PBA Galleries, Berkeley – “With the Beats, Bukowski & Counterculture” – The big-ticket item “Mind Breaths- Poems 1972-1977 – original paste-ups and related ephemera” (estimated selling-price between two-and three-thousand dollars) – (it actually went for below the estimated price, fourteen hundred dollars!)