Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 499

Claudio Willer (1940-2023

Sad to report the death last week (last Friday) of Claudio Willer,  a significant figure in Brazilian letters – poet, translator, critic, Beat scholar and, most notably, Allen’s Brazilian translator – Uivo, Kaddish et outs poems (Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems), was first published in 1984 and remains the standard Portuguese text.

Detailed files showing the communication between poet and translator have been generously made available and can be perused here, here and here

Willer’s deep appreciation of Allen’s assistance (“how (he) clarified my doubts one by one”) may be read here (one of Willer’s many informative posts on Allen on the lively blog that he kept up).

The success of those translations led to two significant studies – Geração Beat, (Beat Generation), published by L&PM in 2009), and, Os Rebeldes – Geração Beat e Anarquismo (The Rebels – Beat Generation and Mystic Anarchism), from the same publishers, 2014)

Willer was not only associated with the Beats, he was also deeply engaged with a wide range of transgressive literature. He wrote on and translated key texts of Surrealism (he was the Brazilian translator of Lautréamont and Artaud) as well as having a special interest in the relationship between poetry and magic, poetry and hermeticism.

His 2004 volume Estranhas Experiências (Strange Experiences) brings together many of his earlier Beat-Surrealist poems from previous years.

Here’s Willer reading and speaking on Ginsberg:


Beat Studies – European Beat Studies – Just a quick word on the upcoming (September in Paris) Cut-Ups@2023 conference. There’s a February 1st date to submit proposals. For more information about this postponed and much-anticipated gathering – see here


“I sat on Lead Belly’s lap as a baby. Patti Smith, my neighbor, insisted I start with this tantalizing detail. Wear it as an amulet.”
Bard Kinetic, Anne Waldman’s new memoir/collection is fresh out this week. Read an excerpt from it’s opening chapter – here

“A collage of published and unpublished essays, correspondence, interviews, and poems from the last twenty years.. a scrapbook-like experiment” is how Nick Sturm, in his review for the Poetry Foundation, “Magic, Friends, Loyalty, Revolution”, describes it – (“(a) field of possibility, with selected texts from parts and measures of my life lived interconnectedly”, is Anne’s own description)
The great American folksinger Lead Belly was, coincidentally, born on this very day.

and there’s another excerpt from the volume – here 


Jim Cohn with Anne Waldman at Naropa University, c.1980 – photo by Jack Greene

Poet, teacher, sometime teaching-assistant to Allen at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa (also, pioneering figure in the field of disability studies – see, for just one example, here), Jim Cohn published early last year, Treasures for Heaven – Collected Poems: 1976-2021, his monumental Collected Poems.


“Jim Cohn has good imagination and direct perception, facts, details, Whitmanic ambition – his poems are inventive, profuse, concise, improvisational.”, Allen sagely observed.

An extended interview
with Cohn for Michael Limnios’ exemplary Blues. Gr(eece) took place back in 2012.  A more recent one (following the publication of the Collected Poems) may be accessed here

Cohn on Ginsberg (from the 2012 interview):   “It’s a tribute to Allen and his siddha-like skillfulness that he could reach me because I am very introverted, fiery, neurotic feminine, and suspicious of public figure celebrity personae. He was the father I never had. As a teaching assistant at Naropa in 1980, the most beautiful aspect of working with Allen was how real his bonds of friendship felt”

and from 2023:

“As one of global poet Allen Ginsberg’s teaching assistants … I was in proximity to pre-publication work on the 1984 first edition of his Collected Poems: 1947-1980.  I still have vivid memories over how much work Ginsberg accomplished on a daily basis. There was no keeping up with him. For a bird’s eye view of Ginsberg on the topic of work, I recommend Bob Rosenthal’s excellent Straight Around Allen: On the Business of Being Allen Ginsberg (2018). Once, Allen welcomed me with news that he’d been up all night proofreading his Collected Poems manuscript. The entire 820-page manuscript. Something that I could likely spend a month of daily work on and still not see all the corrections needed to be made.

He goes on:

” What I remember best about that period was not only the vast historical trajectory of Allen’s poetry, but also feeling so conscious of (Allen’s) skillful means as a comparative analyst, the breadth of poetry and lines of poesy he carried around in his head, the tremendous production of his own work and just how well he communicated the contextual nature of his poetry. Like Whitman before him, Ginsberg was absolutely the best assessor of his own work, and that was something I aspired to after working with him.
And I did do that when the time came to do that. That desire stayed with me and played a central role in how I conceived and worked on (my) Treasures for Heaven.


The ground-breaking Best Minds by Stevan M Weine just had its first review in Publisher’s Weekly  and it’s an enthusiastic one. There’ll be much more on this book in the weeks to come.

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