Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 648

from Material Wealth – Mining The Personal Archive of Allen Ginsberg – by Pat Thomas

More Material Wealth – We hope you’re not tired of our enthusiasm for the recently-published Material Wealth compendium – but it seems it’s not just us, but an enthusiasm and admiration shared by everyone.

Here’s David Yaffe (from his recent review of the collection, in Air Mail):

“Ginsberg was our angel. Look beneath your shopping cart – poetry is everywhere if you are so attuned. Ginsberg, like Whitman, is still underneath our boot soles. He left his corporeal existence in 1997, at age 70, but he left behind filing cabinets the size of Texas, and, in his new book, Material Wealth, Pat Thomas unloads the Ginsberg archive and leaves no stone unturned..”

“He, who so famously told us that he “saw the best minds of his generation starving hysterical naked,” kept a record of all of them..”

“The pièce de résistance”, Yaffe notes, (is) a postscript at the end”, “a long, typewritten response to Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks from 1975, when it was hot off the presses,  Thomas’s book is the first time it has been published. We see Ginsberg’s front-row ticket for Dylan and the Band from the previous year, but this is new, and it excites our bard.
He is following Dylan right down to the level of breath – he once commented how Dylan was at one with his own breath – and he comments on each verse of “Idiot Wind.” It’s a song about not being able to let go, and he can’t let go of it, either. The final verse of the song, the “curse,” he tells us, is “a genius stroke of ecological vastness and tiny domestic paternal common sense.”

“Ginsberg, coming to praise Dylan”, Yaffe continues,  “writes another poem, as vast as the song’s rage and the poet’s frustrations. He tried to chant his way out of it, but he was still who he was with all his limitations. He knew it, and it was what made him lovable.”

and Yaffe cites Dylan again, with explanation of the book’s perhaps-otherwise enigmatic title:

“The book opens with a quotation from Dylan….”  (Dylan on Allen):

“Seeing Ginsberg was like going to the Oracle of Delphi. He didn’t care about material wealth or political power. He was his own kind of king. He achieved what any poet could hope to achieve.”

Mutual respect, mutual understanding.

Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg at Jack Kerouac’s Grave, Lowell, MA, 1975 – photo by Ken Regan


Gregory Corso – Portrait of W. S Burroughs (Nude of A Good-hearted Sage)  c. 1993 Collection of Raymond Foye

Looking ahead to 2024 – Beat Art Work – Power of The Gaze will be one of the two curated shows that will be the main features of the 2024 Outsider Art Fair, New York, taking place February 29 – March 3rd, at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street), to be curated by “outrider”Anne Waldman.

See above – poet Gregory Corso’s playful, colorful rendering of his friend William Burroughs.


Speaking of Gregory, Bobby Yarra‘s recent monograph Gregory Gave Me The World” noted here a few weeks back, is reviewed by Gregory Stephenson in the latest Beat Scene – “This engaging and abundantly interesting memoir sheds much new light on the restless life of one of the key figures of the Beat Generation..”


Ruth Seymour 1935-2023

Ruth Seymour, legendary public radio figure (longtime general manager of Los Angeles/ Santa Barbara-based radio station WKCR and an old friend of Allen’s (see her two interviews that she conducted with him here and here) died this past week.
Read (and listen to) obituary notices and appreciations of this extraordinary pioneering woman – here, herehere and here


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