“The first book-length study of why the Beats were so fascinated by Mexico and how they represented its culture in their work, this volume examines such canonical figures as Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Lamantia, McClure, and Ferlinghetti. It also devotes individual chapters to women such as Margaret Randall, Bonnie Bremser, and Joanne Kyger, who each made Mexico a central setting of their work and interrogated the misogyny they encountered in both American and Mexican culture.”
Calonne, you will recall, is the editor/compiler of the excellent Conversations with Allen Ginsberg. See also his Conversations with Gary Snyder, and the just-published Conversations with Diane di Prima, (following on from his 2020 book, Diane Di Prima, Visionary Poetics and the Hidden Religions, itself an off-shoot of the 2017 The Spiritual imagination of the Beats)
“David Stephen Calonne charts the life work of di Prima through close readings of her poetry, prose, and autobiographical writings, exploring her thorough immersion in world spiritual traditions and how these studies informed both the form and content of her oeuvre.”
More Beat scholarship – Clemson University (Liverpool University) Press continue their Beat Studies series with a volume edited by A Robert Lee & Douglas Field – Harold Norse, Poet Maverick, Gay Laureate on the all-too-neglected figure of Harold Norse
For more information and ways to assist with the project, check out the Kickstarter proposal – here
From his introduction to the book (“Dancing with the Dead – Language, Poetry, and the Art of Translation”) Porter writes:
“Every time I translate a book of poems, I learn a new way of dancing. The people with whom I dance, though, are the dead, not the recently departed, but people who have been dead a long time. A thousand years or so seems about right. And the music has to be Chinese. It’s the only music I’ve learned to dance to.
I’m not sure what led me to this conclusion, that translation is like dancing. Buddhist meditation. Language theory. Cognitive psychology. Drugs. Sex. Rock and Roll. My ruminations on the subject go back more than twenty-five years to when I was first living in Taiwan. One day I was browsing through the pirated editions at Caves Bookstore in Taipei, and I picked up a copy of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. It was like trying to make sense of hieroglyphics. I put it back down and looked for something else. Then a friend loaned me a video of Ginsberg reading Howl. What a difference. In Ginsberg’s voice, I heard the energy and rhythm, the sound and the silence, the vision, the poetry. The same thing happened when I read some of Gary Snyder’s poems then heard him read. The words on a page, I concluded, are not the poem. They are the recipe, not the meal, steps drawn on a dance floor, not the dance.”