Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 548

BeatAntología de la Beat Generation, Argentine poet and novelist Marcos-Ricardo Barnatán‘s ground-breaking Beat anthology, (first published in 1970, with three subsequent editions, the last in 1977) has recently been republished –  Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Philip Lamantia and Lawrence Ferlinghetti – from over 50 years ago – the breakthrough of Beat writing in Spanish.
‘For this new edition” (Para esta nueva edición), the editors write, “nos hemos basado en la primera edición mejorando algunos aspectos ortotipográficos, corrigiendo algunas erratas y actualizando algunos datos de la biografía de los autores, entonces en plena actividad literaria, así como algunos aspectos de la traducción: (we have based ourselves on the first edition, improving some orthotypographical aspects, correcting some typos and updating some data from the biography of the author, then in full literary activity, as well as some aspects of the translation).

Here’s Barnatán’s translation of Allen’s “Song” (which has certainly stood the test of time)


El peso del mundo
es amor.
Bajo el fardo
de soledad,
bajo el fardo
de insatisfacción
el peso,
el peso que llevamos
es amor.
¿Quién puede negarlo?
En sueños
al cuerpo,
en mente
el milagro,
en la imaginación
hasta nacer
en lo humano –
del corazón se asoma
ardiendo con pureza-
pues el fardo de la vida
es amor,
pero cargamos el peso
con fatiga,
y es preciso reposar
en los brazos del amor
por fin,
debemos reposar en los brazos
del amor.
No hay sosiego
sin amor,
no se duerme
sin sueños
de amor –
sea frío o demencial
obsesionado con ángeles
o máquinas,
el deseo final
es amor
– no puede ser amargo,
no puede negarse,
no puede impedirse
el peso es muy grande,
– debe darse
para no volver
como el pensamiento
hay que darlo
en soledad
con toda la excelencia
de su exceso.
Los cálidos cuerpos
brillan juntos
en la oscuridad
la mano avanza
hacia el centro
de la carne,
la piel tiembla
de felicidad
y el alma llena de placer
llega hasta el ojo –
sí, sí,
eso es lo que
yo quise,
siempre quise,
siempre quise,
al cuerpo
donde nací.

Barnatán is interviewed about the book here – 
M-R B: “I made the book when I was 21 years old, during my stay in London. The Beats they were like the sins of my youth.
Interviewer: And now what are these poets to you?
M-R B: I maintain my sympathy for that movement and my admiration for some of them, especially Allen Ginsberg, the most important figure of that moment, who kept American poetry in tension for several decades, practically until his death in 1997. They are those loves of youth that one maintains at the root of his influences.

Five male voices – one might well wish to, (as Carlos Alcorta has done in his review of the book for El Cuaderno  here),  point out the obvious occlusion – women writers of the Beat Generation! –  Fortunately, there is, now in print, Annalisa Marí Pegrum‘s Beat Attitude: antología de mujeres poetas de la generación beat  (from 2015 – 45 years on from Barnatán‘s collection! – cultural stereotyping is pretty slow moving!) – Mention should also be made of Brenda Knight‘s 1996 volume (in English) – Women of the Beat Generation here, in this context (and the wide array of scholarship that’s been published since that publication)

and check out this article –  “A Fleeting Moment in a Floating World – The Women of the Beat Generation through Allen Ginsberg’s Eyes” in (February) 2018’s Beatdom

More Beat Generation in Spanish – Los hechos según Ginsberg – Una historia literaria de la generación Beat   – a review in La Diaria of Bill Morgan‘s The Best Minds of My Generation, now available in Spanish from Anagrama – here

Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg – photo by John Cohen

More Kerouac.  We instigated last week a weekly Kerouac-from-the-archives link. Last week it was Burroughs on Kerouac, this week, it’s Allen. From a post back in 2014 (actually, from a magazine from Spring of 1970) – Allen on Kerouac

and to bring things more up-to-date – Simon Warner and Heath Common’s upcoming Kerouac homage – check out Simon’s conversation/interview with filmmakers Kurt Hemmer and Tom Knoff regarding their new Kerouac film American Joyride – 100 Lines for the Kerouac Centenary, (to be part of the festivities), on his newly-refurbished Substack

and, staying over in England, Beat Scene remains, as ever, commendably active – Beat Scene -103  (due out in March) will be an issue devoted entirely to Kerouac, don’t miss it!

Meanwhile here’s the cover of Beat Scene – 94,  (from back in the Summer of 2019  – Jack has featured many times on the cover):

More Allen on Kerouac – Allen reading “The Brooklyn Bridge Blues “ (from the 1997 Jim Sampas-produced compilation – Kerouac-Kicks-Joy Darkness  (this reading omits the final tenth chorus due to an unfortunate fax-machine error – the last pages came stuck together when Allen was faxed the lyrics. The final chorus was subsequently read for the recording by Eric Andersen, recorded on-site, on a digital tape recorder, live from the Brooklyn Bridge)

Sampas’ update on the Lowell 2022 Kerouac Centennial celebrations may be viewed here

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