Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 649

Allen Ginsberg, New York City, 1988 – photo by Brian Graham

We profiled Brian Graham‘s recent book Going Down The Road with Robert Frank on The Allen Ginsberg Project back in November (on Robert’s birthday) – here
We featured Brian on his photography work with Allen here and here

Absurdity is King – Twilight of the Beats (with an introduction by Luc(y) Sante, a catalog from the Casa Fernando Pessoa came out in 2005

and here is a portfolio of some of his photos of Michael McClure 

CBC (Canada – Brian’s a fellow Nova Scotian) featured this illuminating profile of him.

“For Graham, who was raised in the mining community of Glace Bay, getting swept up in (Robert) Frank‘s world was something he could have never imagined…
“I was never going to be an artist,” he said. “I mean, the best photographer I knew was my aunt”…
For over ten years, Graham worked closely with Frank, learning the craft from a master.
That included everything from developing and printing images in the darkroom to cropping pictures for maximum impact. He even helped renovate the iconic building Frank called home on Bleecker Street on the Lower East Side.”

His entrée to Allen was through Robert:

“I’d go to (his) apartment and he’d hand me a plastic shopping bag with like 40 rolls of film in it to process and make contact sheets,…I would meet all of these people, poets and different friends of Allen’s, old friends and young friends … it was magic.”

From Glace Bay to the heart of the New York City art world was a seemingly unlikely transit.

Read the full profile – here 


Pat Thomas, the author of the spectacular Material Wealth is interviewed on Simon Warner’s  Rock and the Beat Generation Substack this week:

SW: How would you describe the new book?
PT: Well, it’s a Ginsberg book that’s never been done before – it’s like a museum exhibition catalog with hundreds of photos, images, photos, and scans of objects – with most images annotated with lots of essays (mostly written by me) mixed in throughout the book…

There are hundreds of thousands of items carefully stored at Stanford University in their Allen Ginsberg collection. After lengthy research by Peter Hale (of the Ginsberg Estate) and myself, here are some of the most interesting items that comprise the one Ginsberg book that has never been done and needed to be done, a collection of these images!….

SW: How much information was there to explore?
PT: I don’t know how to quantify that – let’s say there was roughly 100,000 items and we looked at 20,000. And we boiled it down to about 700 items or something. No human could look at all. We were able to choose in advance – what particular era or topic I was interested in….

SW: How long did it take to trawl through it?
PT: We were there at Stanford University for several eight-hour days. It was intense – basically no time to rest or relax. Later, off campus – under rocks, inside caves – Peter Hale found more…

SW: More than a quarter of a century since he died, how does the poet stand up today?
PT: Rolling Stone gave Allen no less than a dozen pages of content upon his death in 1997….
No other writer (be it rock critic, novelist, poet, journalist, you name it) has ever received that amount of space upon their death in America’s best known pop culture magazine. Allen was a celebrity for actually doing something meaningful over a period of five decades, rather than instantly trumpeted via social media for doing absolutely nothing.”

Read the full interview – here

Read also Jonah Raskins review in the same forum – here


Noting this week with sadness the passing of our dear friend Jacqueline Gens,  poet and Tibetan (Dzogchen) Buddhist scholar and practitioner (that’s her in the background of Allen’s picture of the Dalai Lama), a knowledgeable and invaluable presence, sometime assistant to Allen, (both at Naropa (where she first met him) and working with him later
in New York.

John Shoesmith interviews her about Allen and his photography collection -see here and here).

There’ll be more about Jacqueline and Jacqueline and Allen  forthcoming.

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