William Carlos Williams’ Birthday (92nd Street Y Reading)

[William Carlos Williams reading at the 92nd Street Y in New York, January 1954]

Today (September 17) is William Carlos Williams‘ birthday (born 1883, and died eighty years later in his hometown of Rutherford, New Jersey)

Poet William Carlos Williams opened the first season of the 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center in 1939 and returned to that venue in 1954.

Here is a transcript of that reading. Williams reads a number of poems and, mid-way through the reading, attempts to describe (unsuccessfully, he feels), his concept (arrived at in his later work) of the variable foot”Read More

July the 4th – America

How could we not (re)publish this?

What(‘s) happened to America?

America

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing. America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956. I can’t stand my own mind. America when will we end the human war? Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb. I don’t feel good don’t bother me. I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind. America when will you be angelic? When will you take off your clothes? When will you look at yourself through the grave? When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites? America … Read More

“Senior Citizen Old Boy Joy”

[Peter Orlovsky – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg, New York City, 1995]

Here’s another sliver from the Archives – Allen (on an airplane maybe?) composing directly onto the tape-recorder, a poignant little ditty, (audio – 78 at Stanford – from, as Allen duly informs us, 1992) – “For Peter Orlovsky in Rain” (but surely that’s a mistranscription? – shouldn’t it be “For Peter Orlovsky in Pain“?)

AG: “It’s recording I guess. I don’t know but I suppose it’s recording.  What time is it now? It’s about nine o’clock and it’s the 11th of March, 1992, and I’m preparing this … Read More

Kerouac-Cassady (Jack Kerouac Scat Singing)

[Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac – Photograph by Carolyn Cassady]

We continue this week mining the treasure which is the extraordinary trove of audio at the Allen Ginsberg archives, now housed at Stanford University.

Today, a remarkable discovery – Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. The tape (there are two copies, actually, 131 and 132) is simply (and with no further information ) titled “Kerouac and Cassady, San Jose, 1952, William Burroughs“. (Burroughs, in fact, doesn’t appear on the tape (in those days ayahuasca-hunting in South America), but there’s some wonderful speculation on him)  … 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

Wichita Vortex Sutra (Automobile Poesy to Nebraska, 1967)

“Turn Right, Next Corner/ The Biggest Little Town in Kansas/ Macpherson/Red … Read More

Christopher Smart – 4

Allen Ginsberg on “the mad poet”,  Christopher Smart continues

AG: Smart is amazing – Smart went crazy”  (Jack) Kerouac and I wrote a little poem called Smart Went Crazy” in 1948, talking about Kit Smart).  Kerouac loved this. Kerouac’s long line comes somewhat out of Christopher Smart also. If you notice… Remember that  long one that ended  – da-da da da-da da da-da – dadada-da-da-da da da da….. “the magnifical and mighty” – that long one, that… Kerouac remembered that – that ..gives some… gave Kerouac some kind of inspiration for his own long line.  (and for … Read More

Christopher Smart – 2

For I pray God to bless improvements in gardening until London be a city of palm-trees.
For in my nature I quested for beauty but God, God hath sent me to sea for pearls
For the nightly Visitor is at the window of the impenitent, while I sing a psalm of my own composing.
For there is a note added to the scale, which the Lord hath made fuller, stronger and more glorious.
Let Magdiel rejoice with Ascarides, which is the life of the bowels—the worm hath a part in our frame –
Read More

Gregory Corso (K – Libre) – 2

[Gregory Corso, 1957 – Photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries]

continued from yesterday.  Gregory Corso begins by reading/explaining his poem, “The Whole Mess…Almost”

“I went to my room/, sat down,/ opened my pen-knife to open a letter./ Halfway I stopped, /put letter and penknife down, went to the window and opened it up -Six floors up – enough to kill a human shot. So, who goes first? – Faith – (you) can’t trust it. You take it, Faith is not Knowledge. It’s something you believe in because you don’t understand it. Out the window with it! Took Truth, and … Read More

Gregory Corso (K – Libre) -1

[Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, New York City, 1985. Photo: Hank O’Neal]

This weekend we feature just one of the innumerable treasures in the Archives at Stanford University (there’ll be many more to come)

Today (in two parts, the second tomorrow) Allen Ginsberg’s tape from 1977 of a reading by Gregory Corso. (“K-Libre”? Kerouac Library? a benefit of some sort? We’re not exactly sure)

With significant detour and deviation (sic) and against a boisterous audience he (Gregory) organizes the reading along mathematical lines.

The poems he reads are “Verse”, “Alchemical Poem”, “As long as we live…”, “The Whole Mess…Almost”, “The … Read More