“I was born in a red house or at least there I first became aware of myself as being on this planet with a future destiny ahead. My father was named Moe, my mother Anne
I lit my first cigarette at twenty-one since I had now become of age to smoke
At fifteen I had a certain interest in the arts
My favorite author was Saroyan
At Prospect Avenue my greatest interests were baseball and fishing
Moe and I were at the Polo Grounds or at Yankee Stadium regularly
I remember all the great Yankee teams of the thirties
I liked the Cincinnati team of ’39 – Derringer and Walters etc
Gehrig was my favorite player.”
Allen and Carl discuss “Howl” (from an undated recording – circa 1979 -in the Stanford archives)
AG:….”Howl” was very successful. But I was in Tangier and the reason it was a success was that the police tried to suppress it and then publicized it. I didn’t have anything to do with it.
CS: Yeah but that was considered a victory for you because it made you famous and you were able to make a lot of money as a result of it.
AG: Yeah, but on the other hand I didn’t have to work on it, or exert any power, I was somewhere else. See, we were in Tangier when all that was going on. It was just another delicate little book of poems printed in five hundred copies when it started.
CS: Yes well – oh I’m not sure Allen.
AG: I guess I exerted a certain amount of yatter about it, though.
CS: It seemed to make you, it was a big success for you in your life, it made you .. it was a very macho sort of thing, no?
AG: Somewhat, but I didn’t get any real money out of it for about four years.
CS: Are you making any money out of it now?
AG: Not a great deal.
CS: No, but I think interest in it has declined, because I’ve talked to young kids and they’ve never heard of it.
AG: It’s true, yes. On the other hand, it’s in all the anthologies.
CS : Yes so it’s ..
AG: … Sort of permanent – and then the big Norton anthology has the entire text of “Kaddish” and that’s the big standard…
CS: Well some people like “Kaddish” better than “Howl” now.
AG: Yes. So if they don’t like “Howl”, I can always rely on “Kaddish”, and if they don’t like “Kaddish”, well, I can do the Blake and I’ve got some other poems…