Archive: Articles

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 371 (Gay Pride)

[The original rainbow flag designed, in 1978, by Gilbert Baker]

Gay Pride in San Francisco and New York this weekend


Allen Ginsberg interviewed on Stonewall Nation, (WBFO-FM, SUNY, Buffalo), October 6, 1978, by Alex Van Oss and Al Hershberger (recording courtesy the incomparable PennSound)

AVO: You’ve been out as gay for so many years. Were you ever in the closet?

AG: I was, very much so, in Columbia, when I was going to school, at first, the first year. I was afraid somebody would find out, actually, and I never.. didn’t want to tip my mitt … Read More

T.V. Baby

“Television Was A Baby Crawling Toward That Death Chamber”, Allen’s scorching jeremiad of a poem that featured as the opening poem of his 1967 Cape Goliard/Grossman collection TV Baby Poems is our focus today, and a live reading of it that took place, March 15, 1968, at California State University, Sacramento.

“…Here I am – Old Betty Boop whoopsing behind the skull microphone wondering what Idiot soap opera horror show we broadcast by Mistake/hypnotizing millions of regional-eyed detectives to commit mass murder on the Invisible/which is only a bunch of women weeping hidden behind newspapers in the Andes, conspired against … Read More

Naropa 1980 – William Blake – (Conclusion)

We come today to transcription of the last moments of Allen’s 1980 Naropa summer “Basic Poetics” course. He concludes with (who else?) William Blake 

AG: Well what we’ve got in here – a couple of them here – [Allen, accompanied by harmonium, begins singing] – “Hear the voice of the Bard!/Who Present, Past and Future sees/Whose ears have heard,/ The Holy Word,/ That walk’d among the ancient trees./Calling the lapsed Soul/ And weeping in the evening dew:/That might controll,/The starry pole;/And fallen fallen light renew! /O Earth O Earth return!/Arise from out the dewy grass;/ Night is worn, /And the … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 370

[Issa (1763-1828) – Portrait by Muramatsu Shunpo (1772-1858) (Issa Memorial Hall, Shinano, Nagano, Japan]

It’s the anniversary today (born 1763) of the birth of the great Japanese haiku poet, Issa

[Nanao Sakakai –  “Inch By Inch” – translations of Issa – “Katatsumuri Sort-soronobore Fujinoyama” (“Inch by inch -/Little snail/Creep up and up Mt.Fuji”)]

For more of Allen-on-haiku – see here and here  and here

For Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche‘s  informative insights on haiku – see here

For Allen’s Mostly Sitting Haiku – see here

For some of  Jack Kerouac‘s haiku – see here 

Happy Birthday Issa!

Beat AttitudeRead More

Moving A Piano

Every so often, we’ll beg your indulgence with a fragment of transcript that’s pretty incidental, but kind of fun. Here’s Allen, at the very end of his 1980 “Basic Poetics” Naropa lectures (the penultimate one, we’ll be concluding it next week), making arrangements (including arrangements for assistance in moving a piano)

AG: I thought finish maybe with singing one (song)… finish it now.. finish with some song..(since this is the end of the.. (1980 Summer session).. where’s that Blake again?, I forgot..  yeah….. so, from what you’ve got (here) in your book – Oh, we’ve got two things to ask … Read More

William Blake – The Book of Thel – 4

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s “The Book of Thel” continues

AG: “The eternal gates’ terrific porter lifted the northern bar” – (Who was “the eternal gates’ terrific porter”? – “the eternal gate” into death – the porter at “the eternal gate” who could open the bar, open the door? – the imagination! – “The eternal gates’ terrific porter is Urthona, the imagination. The imagination, Urthona, is symbolized by the north (that’s why it’s the northern gate, northern bar). It’s all outlined when you get into Blake’s outline and you can find, actually, a mandala here, actually, in this Blake Dictionary, Read More

William Blake – The Book of Thel – 3

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s “The Book of Thel” continues

“O virgin, know’st thou not our steeds drink of the golden springs/ Where Luvah doth renew his horses?” Luvah” is.. and here is the first mention of of the basic characters in Blake’s system – there are four main characters – “Luvah” – Heart, emotions, love-ah – Luvah – Urizen– Intellect (sometimes too sharp, Luvah sometimes too schluppy, but in balance, they’re correct, out of balance, grabbing everything, they throw everything out of balance). There’s also Urthona“, the Imagination and Tharmas“, the Body. – “O … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 369

 “The Lost Ferlinghetti Tapes” is a mini-documentary by Paul Iorio that presents audio excerpts from an exclusive interview he conducted with Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 2000 — inter-spliced with segments about Ferlinghetti, City Lights, the Beats, Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” and the “Howl” trial.

And the big news (announced in the New York Times this week) –  the upcoming publication of Little Boy, ninety-nine-year-old Ferlinghetti’s surprising new novel (due out from Doubleday next year, to coincide with the occasion of his one-hundreth birthday) – ““It’s not a memoir, it’s an imaginary me,”, Ferlinghetti is quoted as declaring – ““It’s an … Read More

William Blake – The Book of Thel – 2

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s “The Book of Thel” continues

AG: “O life of this our spring! why fades the lotus of the water?/ Why fade these children of the spring? born but to smile & fall./ Ah! Thel is like a watry bow. and like a parting cloud./ Like a reflection in a glass. like shadows in the water – (this like Sic Vita” (by Henry King) – remember? – like “..bubbles which on water stood” – it’s the same thing, (and, for those of you who are Buddhists, it’s the same thing you find in Gampopa .. … Read More

William Blake – The Book of Thel – 1

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Basic Poetics Naropa class – continues from here

AG: Well, there is a little girl who didn’t want to get born because she was afraid of the emptiness in the grave and she didn’t want to enter the emptiness of the grave so she prefered to stay in the Garden of Eden and not come out of the Garden of Eden and not have the experience of Life because if she came out and got born she knew she’d have to die and. So she was thinking of.. thinking about the problem, and she went to see.. … Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s Birthday

[Allen Ginsberg – Iona island, Scotland, Summer 1973. (courtesy Stanford University Libraries/Allen Ginsberg)]

Allen Ginsberg’s birthday today. Born June 3rd 1926 in Newark, New Jersey – went on to change the world! – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALLEN!… Read More

Annual Kousa Dogwood


[Photograph by Peter Hale]

Allen Ginsberg’s Birthday tomorrow. We celebrate today with our annual visit to the kousa dogwood in the churchyard at St Mark’s-in-the-Bowery that was planted in April 1999  in his name.

Previous years dogwood postings can be found here,  herehere, and here

Looking forward to tomorrow.   Wishing you birthday greetings, Allen.

[Photograph by Peter Hale] … Read More
Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 368

June 3 – this Sunday – is Allen’s birthday. To celebrate the Howl Happening Gallery in New York City has organized once again it’s now-annual event.  This year it features David Amram, Ed Sanders, Hettie Jones, Eileen Myles, Simon Pettet, and Peter Hale (manager of the Ginsberg Estate), amongst others. The event will be hosted and m-c’d   by Ginsberg’s “right hand man“, his long-time secretary, the poet Bob Rosenthal (whose long-awaited memoir, Straight Around Allen, is due out this Fall). There’ll be a film presentation, and an energetic group-reading of “Howl” (“I saw … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on Walt Whitman

The birthday today of Walt Whitman  (born West Hills, New York, May 31, 1819)

Here’s Allen’s appreciation of Whitman that first appeared in Sulfur 31, Fall 1992 (and was subsequently reprinted in Deliberate Prose (2000))

Whitman’s Influence – A Mountain Too Vast To Be Seen

Like Poe, Whitman’s breakthru from official conventional nationalist identity to personal self, to subject, subjectivity, to candor of person, sacredness of the unique eccentric  curious solitary personal consciousness changed written imaginative conception of the individual around the whole world, and … Read More

Peter Orlovsky

[Peter Orlovsky age 21. We drove down to Los Gatos to visit Cassady family myself at wheel that one only time and motored to Yosemite. Car cost $125.00. Summer 1955. (photo by Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries/Allen Ginsberg)]

Allen’s partner, Peter Orlovsky, passed away on this day eight years ago, May 30, 2010. Gone, but certainly not forgotten.

Here’s what Allen wrote as back-cover copy for Peter’s legendary 1978 City Lights volume, Clean Asshole Poems And Smiling Vegetable Songs, a book which, if you don’t have, you should really try to seek out:

“First harvest of 1958-1978 eternal … Read More