Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 484

Howl Ultramarathoners Michelle Goldberg,  Michael Koehler, and Todd Adyolette at the finishing line, the Allen Ginsberg tree in the St Marks Churchyard – photo by Sarah Greenwood

Bob Holman, Regina Weinreich, Bob Holman and Andrew Berman (with mic) at the dedication of 204-206 East 7th Street, NYC – photo by Sarah Greenwood

This week there were two big event Allen Ginsberg-related events  – the Ultra-Runners’ Howl Ultramarathon and the dedication of a plaque on Allen’s East 7th Street New York apartment building

The Ultra-Runners returned triumphant. We’ll be having more about them in the days ahead.

And the 7th Street dedication – Allen, as several people have pointed out had, over the years, a number of New York City residencies – 10th Street, 12th Street, 13th Street.. (We noted here and here  about his long-time residency on East 12th Street)

Yesterday’s plaque-unveiling was a fitting testament to a true community spirit.

As one commentator/local resident put it:

“Ginsberg..was a fixture and supporter of the poetry scene in New York in general and in this neighborhood more specifically. He did more to enrich and support a scene than most do and spent a lifetime doing it. (He) was a singular positive force in that arena, and .. should not be overlooked. Teaching, holding events and readings, publishing, lending your voice to others’ projects, offering mentoring and advice to other poets, and just contributing to the synergy it takes to keep a scene going like that – Ginsberg did that. He was GLUE.”

More on Allen’s inspirational effect.  Griel Marcus.  from a recent interview in Australia’s Rhythms magazine:

“One of the truest things about influence, about effect that a creative work has on another person was said by Bob Rosenthal, who was Allen Ginsberg’s secretary for 20 years. There was a book (The Poem That Changed America –  ‘Howl’ Fifty Years Later) that came out a number of years ago, and it brought together god knows how many writers to write about “Howl,” the Ginsberg poem, and just about every single thing in that book begins with, “The first time I read ‘Howl’ I realized I had to be a poet or I had to be a novelist, I had to be this creative person, I had to give voice to what was in me and give it to the world and it was just unbearable, the pompousness and the pretentiousness of this and at the very end, Bob Rosenthal addresses this. He says, “People are always saying, ‘Oh, I read “Howl” and I was supposed to go to law school, or I was supposed to go into my father’s plumbing business and I realized no, I’m a poet. I have things to say. And so, I became a poet.’ And he said, “If the poem is liberating, that really is a very narrow view of what it might do. Maybe it’s that poem that made you become a lawyer, or for that matter, a good plumber. I mean, maybe people thought you were worthless, you were never going to amount to anything, you were just a lump of clay that no one ever bothered to mold into anything. And you read that poem and you said, ‘No, I’m going to go out and live in the world. And the way I’m going to do that is I’m going to go to law school. And I’m going to learn now the world works and I’m going to see what I can do to become part of that.’ That’s a great ambition. So instead of turning someone from the conformist, soulless life of becoming a lawyer as opposed to a poet, maybe this poem helps you become a lawyer.” And I thought, that is so great, that is really wonderful. That is really an open spirit and it speaks for the narrow, the small souls that so many so-called poets carry around inside themselves. That is an expansive vision of life. That is not a shrunken vision of life.”


Lowell Celebrates Kerouac – It’s the annual celebration again – and this year, its a very special one – it’s Kerouac Centennial

Here’s a brief run-down of upcoming events:

Friday night – tonight – (9 -11)  – David Amram‘s band – “A Night of Jazz” at Zorba’s Music Hall on Market Street (& they’ll be another night of jazz at Zorba’s the following night)

Saturday – Bus-tours and walking-tours, and at 12.30, at Middlesex Community College Academic Arts Center – “Jack Kerouac@100 – A Beat Museum on Wheels Presentation”, followed by2 o’clock, Jean Christophe Cloutier“The Man the Other Side, Jack Kerouac, Bilingualism and Self-Translation”, (a LCK/Parker Lecture Presentation). 5 o’clock. (at The Old Worthern), Brian Hassett‘s “Jack at 100 Road Show“, 9-11 Oliver Trager‘s Lord Buckley show – “Dig Infinity! – Lord Buckley in the Bardo”

Sunday – a “Mystic Jack Tour” and a “Ghosts of the Pawtucketville Night Tour” (the former, visiting some of the sites of Visions of Gerard, the latter of Doctor Sax) – From 1.30 to 4.00 (at The Old Worthern), the Annual Amram Jam (free improvisation).  From 7pm at The Old Worthern – “Jack on Film” – (“An audience-interactive, video-clip rich dialog about every portrayal of Kerouac on the big and small screen”, presented by Brian Hassett.

A full detailed schedule can be found here

and meantime, some way away (but, likewise, celebrating Jack) in the Netherlands
“Jack Kerouac at 100 – The Beats in Ruigoord

The organizers write:

“In the Netherlands we pay homage to the great writer with a full-day program on Sunday October 9 at the artists’ village of Ruigoord, near Amsterdam. A day dedicated to Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation. Writers, performers and scholars from the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, England and the USA will take part in the event. Keynote speakers Joyce Johnson and Ed Sanders, both contemporaries and friends of Kerouac, will take part via Zoom.”

Among the presenters, Hans Plomp, Joep Bremmers, Jaap van der Bent….

More on Kerouac –  Charles Shuttleworth‘s Desolation Peak – Collected Writings forthcoming from Sal Paradise Press (that we mentioned here a few weeks back)
an excerpt (six pages from a one-hundred-and-eighty-page diary) was published this week in the Paris Review  and can be accessed here


A belated note on the European Beat Studies Network 10th Annual Conference that took place at the end of last month in Murcia, Spain. Among the many papers delivered Franca Bellarsi –  “Allen Ginsberg’s Recycling of Romantic Temporalities”, and Andy King on “Ginsberg’s Shelley – Time, Memory and History in “Kaddish” and “Adonais”

The theme of the Conference was “Beat Times – Temporality in Beat Writing”. More on that in the months ahead.

& Remembering Amiri Baraka  today on his birthday – see here

Amiri Baraka dancing with Maya Angelou over the ashes of Langston Hughes at the New York Public Library’s Schomberg Center’s “I’ve Known Rivers Cosmogram”, 1991 –  Photo by Chester Higgins, Jr

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