Oo Bop Sh’bam At The Poetry Slam 1997

 February 20, 1997, fifteeen years ago today, Allen gave what turned out to be his last public performance at the first-ever NYU (New York University) Poetry Slam – “Oo Bop Sh’bam/ At the poetry slam/Scream & yell/At the poetry ball/ Get in a rage/On the poetry stage…” (this poem, a little bit of doggerel that he composed, almost a month later, recollecting the event, is one of the last poems he ever wrote, and is included in the concluding pages of his posthumous collection, Death and Fame).
Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club m-c, recalls the evening: “Bob Read More

Keith Haring (1958-1990)

[“Long Skulled Keith Haring Lawrence Kansas September 9, 1987 Passing thru Burroughs Fiesta” (Ginsberg caption) Photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]
[Keith Haring ‘untitled, figures representing the aids virus’ May 13, 1989. Water color and ink on paper.]

Twenty-two years ago today, the artist Keith Haring passed away. We send you, of course, to the Keith Haring Foundation – “The Keith Haring Foundation was established in 1989 to assist AIDS-related and children’s charities, and maintains the largest resource of archives on the late artist..”. Check out also their blog here for further updated information.

Green Valentine


I went in the forest to look for a sign

Fortune to tell and thought to refine;
My green valentine, my green valentine,
What do I know of my green valentine?
I found a strange wild leaf on a vine
Shaped like a heart and as green as was mine,
My green valentine, my green valentine,
How did I use my green valentine?
Bodies I’ve known and visions I’ve seen,
Leaves that I gathered as I gather this green
Valentine, valentine, valentine, valentine
Thus did I use my green valentine.
Madhouses and jailhouses where I shined
Empty apartment beds … Read More

Patti Smith’s Howl Spells

Dave L Stevens (of Stevens Internet Productions) has generously uploaded to You Tube this stunning performance of “Spell” a.k.a.“Footnote to Howl” by Patti Smith and her band, with Philip Glass on piano, and back-up “vocals” by saffron-robed Buddhist monks (the recitation was in honor of a visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama). As Stevens himself notes, “Not seen for more than a decade. I directed and produced this interactive webcast. When Patti Smith begins “howling” on her clarinet, it’s sublime.”

Contrast for production values, this next rendition, recorded in Florence, Italy, in 2009 (hence the Fernanda PivanoRead More

Friday Weekly Round-Up – 60



We at The Allen Ginsberg Project, we love our “Ginsberg tattoos” – they’re among the most popular posts, curiously – or maybe not so curiously. So here‘s another – “I wake to see the world go wild” – the line is from “An Eastern Ballad”. “Lauralemon” explains: “My obsession with and love for Allen Ginsberg began when I was thirteen years old and picked up an anthology of modern American poetry from a garage sale. I read “America” and immediately became obsessed…and here I am six years later, finally bearing a small tribute to my favorite … Read More

(More) Perfect Wisdom Sutra (for Arthur Russell)

The Perfect Wisdom Sutra, the Heart Sutra, the Prajnaparamita Sutra – “Form is not different from emptiness, emptiness, not different from form” – We posted, last year, a post spotlighting several readings of this by Allen (notably, this one, at a memorial gathering for Carl Solomon) – along with reproduction of the text (Allen’s own pioneering translation, authorized and validated by Shunryu Suzuki).
We now add another one. This is Allen, at a memorial for Arthur Russell (sic), succinctly and clearly, and compassionately, reciting the sutra (“It’s one that Arthur and I performed, touring, very … Read More

Martin Buber (1878-1965)

1961 – Allen sought out “all the holy men I could find”. “I wanted to find out if they had any suggestions. And they all did, and they were all good ones.” – “First one I saw was Martin Buber, who was interested (interesting). In Jerusalem, Peter (Orlovsky) and I went to see him – we called him up and made a date and had a long conversation. He had a beautiful white beard and was friendly, his nature was slightly austere but benevolent. Peter asked him what kind of visions he’d had and he described some he’d had … Read More

William Burroughs – Rub out The Words: Letters 1959-1974


“Dear Allen, Thanks a million for the mescaline..

“Dear Allen, You seem to be running a literary aid society (you) should incorporate and pay yourself a salary..
“Dear Allen, Sorry you have been bothered by this Tony Cole. I know that you sometimes extend charity where I would not..
Three beginnings of three letters to Allen in this delightful compendium (the Ginsberg letters are only a fragment of the correspondence (which is, in itself, only a fragment of an impossible-to-distill “complete” letters). Volume 1 (1945-59) edited by Oliver Harris came out in 1993. Volume 3, and doubtless 4, will, presumably, … Read More

William Burroughs Birthday

[Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, Lawrence, KS, May 31, 1991. Photo probably snapped by James Grauerholz. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, rooftop of Burroughs’ Villa Mouniera, Tangier, Morocco, May 1957. Probably snapped by Peter Orlovsky, c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, 206 East 7th St Rooftop, New York City, Fall 1953. c Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[William Burroughs and Hal Willner, at Nelson’s Diner, Lawrence, KS July 20, 1995. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[James Grauerholz and William Burroughs, Varsity Townhouses, Boulder Colorado, July 29, 1985 c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[ William Burroughs, reading at … Read More