Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 561

Earth Day today, April 22, 2022

We’d draw your attention, as we do each year, to Circuit Earth, a documentary on 1970, Philadelphia and the world’s first Earth Day

Allen, present on that occasion, was always alarmingly prescient. Check out his observations, for example, two years earlier in Vancouver – here 

Surely there is no more pressing issue and no more damning indication of our callous and self-serving myopia and our failure as custodians of the planet.

With no reservations whatsoever we replay today Greta Thunberg speech to world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit back in 2019 – a forceful and necessary indictment – (not to over-state that phrase) “news that stays news”


Remember Vladislav Surkov, the Russian power-broker, who famously declared, “The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock” ?  Rumor has it (reported by Newsweek)  he is currently under house arrest. For further commentary and observations on Surkov’s plight see here

From Anne-Margaret Daniel’s announcement last week of next month’ auction of Bob Dylan juvenalia
“Ginsberg once told me that the last time he traveled to hear another poet read was when he flew to Ireland in 1994 for Michael Hartnett, and that his favourite poem in English – not by himself, he chuckled – was the anonymous medieval lyric “I Sing of a Maiden.Howl” and “America,” both published in 1956, were contemporary works when Dylan was in college.”

Not sure about Michael Hartnett, we thought it was Bono he specifically went to see, but… Michael Hartnett, a remarkable poet.

Michael Hartnett (1941-1999) – photo: Allen Ginsberg

Hollywood Actor Josh Brolin on CBS tv’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert a few nights back recollects meeting Allen many moons ago and feeling summarily (but sweetly) rejected:

Allen Ginsberg and Josh Brolin

JB: “Allen Ginsberg was in Rochester, New York. He came to Rochester, New York.  I was doing plays in Rochester, New York, I was doing two plays in rotating rep, I was with Anthony Zerbe, who’s this fantastic actor and this great friend of mine, and I said you have to, you have to – like, it’s Ginsberg! – Ginsberg was buddies with Kerouac, and you just had to..  and, you know, in your early twenties, that’s all you read is Kerouac, smoke cigarette after cigarette – but he didn’t like me, he didn’t like me.
SC: Ginsberg didn’t like you?
JB: No, no in that moment when I’m looking at him like, kind of longingly like this (Brolin mimics the look) and I think he’s saying something like “Go away” – but that’s alright, it’s Ginsberg, it doesn’t matter and I got the picture, so..

Colbert responds with his story –  I didn’t get the picture but I met Ginsberg once.
JB: Tell me
SC: I was… the night I met my wife. We met at this party after an event. Some people have heard this. I won’t tell the whole story but, anyway, at the end of this, I am smitten by this enchanting woman who I had met this night at a party following the world premiere of  Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass’s “Hydrogen Jukebox”
And so I’m talking to this wonderful woman and she asks me for my address and number, and I’m like, alright!, but I don’t have a pen, so I turn and ask the guy behind me for his pen and Allen Ginsberg hands me his Mont Blanc
JB: Really?
SC: and I wrote my address down with Allen Ginsberg’s Mont Blanc, and gave it to my wife, gave it back and went… and that was it… that was my only… that was my introduction to Allen Ginsberg”

Bob Rosenthal will be speaking on  “Allen Ginsberg on the Planet”, this Sunday from 3 to 4 in the Sunday Speaker Series at the Village Library of Cooperstown  (22 Main Street on the third floor in the ballroom) .

Zoe Rose on Elise Cowen – “A Forgotten Female Beatnik – The short and sad life of Elise Cowen – Elise was more than just Ginsberg’s one-time girlfriend”

Kerouac scholar, Paul Maher Jr. is featured in the Beat Soundtrack series this week in Simon Warner’s Substack 

Speaking of Kerouac…. wanting to remind you of this (from back in 2015) –  Clark Coolidge on Jack Kerouac 

Billy Bragg in conversation with Jason Whittaker of The Blake Society  on the influence of William Blake on his life, music and politics   (& in case you missed it catch Steven Taylor on William Blake for The Blake Society here)

San Francisco history –  J.Matt‘s essay in Places, “the journal of public scholarship on the built environment”, includes a focus on 1010 Montgomery Street (one of thirteen selected locations), the building in which Allen wrote substantial sections of “Howl”
See here (the image is from 2015)

More next week

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