Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 502

Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg with Brendan Behan and his wife, Beatrice Ffrench-Salkeld, New York City, 1960 – photo by Richard Avedon

Yesterday, February 9, marked the anniversary, the Centennial, of Irish poet, playwright, author, and legendary roisterer,  Brendan Behan

ales of his wild ways abound, particularly of his latter days in New York (where Allen and he first met). A famed denizen of the Hotel Chelsea (he’s immortalized, along with a number of other notable inhabitants with a plaque at the hotel’s entrance).
Tom O’Brien, his fellow-countryman, writes:

“At the Chelsea, the writer dictated Brendan Behan’s New York, a lyrical tribute to his favorite city, into a tape recorder when not singing Israeli songs with the poet Allen Ginsberg, dancing in the halls with Communist leader Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, befriending Eugene O’Neill’s ex-wife Agnes Boulton, or carrying on affairs with male and female lovers while managing visits from his long-suffering wife as well..”

Allen, curiously, has a sweeter tale to tell –  (taking lunch with him and Peter):

“The thing I remember most vividly is towards the end of the meal, I went downstairs to the men’s room and he got up from the table and followed me. He stopped me in the hall outside the toilet and asked me, ‘Have you got any ammunition?’ ‘Ammunition?’ ‘Money.’ I said, ‘No’. He took out a wad of bills and gave me $80. He had no reason to do that except he was open-hearted and I guess he was making money on his play.”

In honor of Behan on his Centennial, here’s Allan Miller’s 1998 documentary,
A Hungry Feeling – The Life and Death of Brendan Behan


The incomparable Bernadette Mayer is eulogized and celebrated in a new issue of The Poetry Project Newsletter that has just come out (sporting a beautiful portrait of Bernadette by KB Jones on its cover)

Bernadette Mayer – KB Jones, 2022, watercolor, charcoal and collage on paper

Memories and loving recollections, (curated by Kay Gabriel), from, amongst others, Anne Waldman, Clark and Susan Coolidge, Lee Ann BrownBrenda Coultas..Peggy De Coursey.. The list goes on.

The full list of remembrances can be found here – and here


A small limited edition – Diane Di Prima – The Catalog of the Diane Di Prima Occult Library (edited By M.C.Kinneburgh) is now available from TKS Books via Granary Books.

A low-res PDF version is also available, the editors point out, gratis, at no cost.

Also from Granary, we have to sing the praises of Conley Lowrance‘s recent Joanne Kyger gathering, “Joanne Kyger- A Short List“. Who was familiar with, for example, this gem?

(from Wesley Tanner‘s Arif Press in 1973)

or this (for Bill Corbett’s Pressed Wafer, her poem for the great John Wieners“)


A little musical distraction. We all know (or do we?) the extraordinary achievement of Harry Smith – The Anthology of American Folk Music’ – 

““Why, thank you, I’m glad to say that my dreams came true – that I saw America changed by music – (and all that stuff that the rest of you are talking about). Thank you..”  (Harry’s remarks at The Grammy’s. Lifetime Achievement Award, 1991)

Nice to see Grayson Haver Currin  do a comprehensive over-view for Pitchfork 
also recommended (we’ve mentioned it before) – a salute to the Anthology on the American Routes podcast –  here 

More music:

Far Out Magazine has a piece by Arun Starkey this week –  “From Free Jazz to Kurt Cobain – Exploring the historical connections between William S Burroughs and Music” – here
Check out these Ginsberg Project postings – here, here and here

and here‘s Starkey again – on Jack Kerouac‘s influence on Lee Ranaldo (ex-Sonic Youth)

To conclude:

Don Kommit,  Beat artist from Allen’s home-town, Paterson, “a Paterson staple”, the “Count of Passaic County”,  whoever heard of Don Kommit?

Don Kommit (1945-2022

“No, I haven’t heard of him..”  declares William T. Lawlor, “an English professor and Beat specialist, interviewed by Christopher Maags in his’ intriguing  2017 profile.
““With the Beats, that’s not unusual. It was accepted that broad recognition probably wouldn’t come, and it was more important to be honest, to bring the subconscious mind to the surface.”

Kommit, a curious anachronism and a personification of the Beat persona, passed away this past June leaving a considerable body of work. Joseph Coco, a local professor at New Jersey’s Centenary University has vowed to preserve the work and maintain/re-establish his Beat cred. David M Zimmer shows some of Kommit’s work and gives us an update on the story – here

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