Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 565

Beats in Mexico –  at Alameda Central, Mexico City, circa June 1957 – left to right – Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso and Lafcadio Orlovsky – photo (c) The Estate of Allen Ginsberg

Beat scholar David Stephen Calonne‘s new book, The Beats in Mexico, is now out from Bucknell (Rutgers) University Press

“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.”

Paul E Nelson interviews Calonne on the di Prima book – here

Calonne along with Margaret Randall and Homero Aridjis appear in a special City Lights celebration for The Beats in Mexicohere


More Beat scholarship – Clemson University (Liverpool University) Press continue their Beat Studies series with a volume edited by A Robert Lee & Douglas FieldHarold Norse, Poet Maverick, Gay Laureate on the all-too-neglected figure of Harold Norse

and scheduled for 2023, Erik Mortenson and Tony Trigilio‘s  The Beats and The Academy – A Renegotiation 


Red Pine (Bill Porter) maverick hero of Chinese translation, 77 years old now, is being feted with a new book forthcoming – we hope – (a Selected, Red Pine – Dancing with the Dead), an adjunct to a full-scale documentary film also in the works (under the same title).

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.”

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