Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 479

Peter Hale poses in the new premises of The Allen Ginsberg Estate – photo by Bob Rosenthal

The Ginsberg office this summer recently made a move from its previous Manhattan space, (which we’d studiously managed to maintain since Allen’s passing – quite an achievement, given New York real estate! – it’s been 25 years)

Here’s Allen in his office (he worked for many years out of his home, but this is the old New York Union Square office)  – workaholic –  working late:

Allen Ginsberg, New York, 1981 – Photograph – Steven Shames

Here’s Allen at his 437 East 12th Street home “office”:

Allen Ginsberg, New York, 1980 – Photograph – Marc Trivier

and some of the art work on the walls of the old East 14th spot:

Ginsberg office, 404 East 14th Street,  NYC, 2022 – Photograph – Peter Hale

Farewell the old home-base,  Greetings the new!


Interesting the stuff that you can find (if you look) on You Tube.

Here‘s a recent post (courtesy of Ashrams of India) a visual miscellany – Gary Snyder and Joanne Kyger in India, 1962  (Allen was visiting there too)

and here‘s Seth Brigham‘s interview with the late Steve Miles (see our notice on him, a couple of weeks back)  –  a tour of Steve’s photographs of Allen, in storage in his underground basement – Subterranean Ginsberg Blues,

A photo by Steve Miles – Allen Ginsberg, Boulder, Colorado, July, 1992

footage recorded, yes, a quarter of a century ago.


& here‘s Tom Sturridge as Allen and Sam Riley as Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) in Walter Salles’ 2012 adaptation of On The Road



Clive Matson

We thank the European Beat Studies Network for drawing our attention to this – an extended and detailed interview with poet, Clive Matson, conducted for Interlitq, by its European editor, David Garyan.

Matson describes a rich and colorful life in poetry and a lifetime (and on-going) commitment “to be real”, “to be authentic”, “to be honest”.

Too much to summarize here (go read the piece in its entirety) but, from the interview:

DG: In 1966, Diane di Prima’s Poets Press published your collection Mainline to the Heart. [with an introduction by John Wieners] You had the privilege of knowing and studying with Allen Ginsberg. Tell us how his mentorship ultimately influenced your poetic development?

CM:  Concrete guidance on how to write, a plethora of guidance, really, came from Ginsberg. We were wondering….where do you end the line? Where to start the next line? And why? – “The line is an expression of your breath”  was Ginsberg’s reply, which he took from Williams and Olson. We puzzled over this and repeated it endlessly.”

“And the requirement to be honest was at the foundation of all our conversations. Much later Ginsberg made the formulation, “Make the private world public” and this simple, brilliant statement expressed our need exactly. The impulse was ubiquitous.

“Make the private world public” is key. But Ginsberg’s mantra is demanding. It has two arms-one, to bring awareness to the private world, so we’re cognizant of what exactly is in our hearts and on our minds. Two, to write so well that our private world is clear to the outside world, to the public. This clarity makes real connections possible.”

He goes on:

“Ginsberg was tireless in passing on what he’d learned from Pound and Williams. And, by osmosis, from Eliot. It was Modernism – or, rather, it was the impulse behind Modernism. It was not the school of Modernism, which became overly articulated and fragmented and which, eventually, many artists found oppressive.
But the impulse behind Modernism is inspiring – wipe the lens clear of preconceptions and see what is. The Beats added their strong belief in the physical body and an indulgence in the self as legitimate sources of inspiration. We were familiar with both! They were the legacy of Walt Whitman. The acknowledged precursor to the Beats was Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and, without it being said, the book was required reading.”

Asked how his mentorship had influenced his poetic development, and ‘”why might today’s generation be long overdue for a figure like him?”, Matson doesn’t fall into glib hagiography:

Marx himself said that history is not driven by dominant personalities. Social movements already exist and have their engines running…. And any movement will pick its own leaders. Notice who has agency here!  The movement will do the choosing.”

“The situation that faced Ginsberg seems, in retrospect, very simple. The urge to be free of a restrictive conformity, established during World War II, was ubiquitous. That was the engine running the general discontent. It may have taken very little for Ginsberg to give literary society a push in the direction of the freewheeling, partying Beats.
What we have now is immensely more complicated..”

Matson gives illuminating insights into peers, friends, and mentors. Not just Wieners (Wieners became “a primary influence”), notably too, Herbert Huncke. (It was Matson who typed up Huncke’s Journals for Poets Press). He writes sensitively and intelligently about both the writer and the man.

He also writes revealingly about lesser-known but singularly important figures, David RattrayIrving Rosenthal, Aldon Van Buskirk… (“My visionary ideal was Van Buskirk, with Wieners’, di Prima’s, and McClure’s emotional acuity and clarity in the background”),

and all this in the wider context of what’s truly “Beat”

See also here – his 2019/2020 essay – “The Beat Aesthetic and Why We Need It Today” 


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