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

“I don’t like the government where I live..”

[“Capitol Air” – “I don’t like the government where I live..” – Allen Ginsberg, pictured here with Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of The Clash]

[Allen Ginsberg, 1985 Self Portrait – Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto (c) The Estate of Allen Ginsberg]

More strange tapes from the archives. Solitary splendors. Throw-away musings. We’ll be featuring plenty more substantial things in the months to come but thought to follow up last week’s mournful ditty with this – another fugitive thing, another fleeting but poignant “audio-selfie” – Allen, alone with the tape-recorder, practicing, sounding out and composing a … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 372

 

“In a climate of fear and hysteria..” – It’s always revealing and instructive to “get to see the files”. We featured a lengthy post on Allen’s FBI files some years back (courtesy the pioneering work of Shawn Musgrave and Muck Rock). Another tenacious investigator. S.P. Sullivan is to be commended for just recently uncovering William Carlos Williams’ files – “He was one of Jersey’s most famous poets. The FBI worried he was a Communist”.  Sullivan’s full report (just published, by Inside Jersey magazine, and on-line at NJ.Com) may be accessed  – here

[Allen Ginsberg in Uncle Sam … Read More

Stonewall Anniversary

[Stonewall Inn, 1969. Photo: Fred W McDarrah (c) the Estate of Fred W McDarrah. All rights reserved]

A key anniversary today – the anniversary of Stonewall.

In 1994 the Village Voice ran a special section, “Stonewall 25,” and Allen Ginsberg was among those who contributed. His contribution (excerpted from the introduction to Gay Pride – Photographs From Stonewall to Today by Fred W and Timothy McDarrah, soon to be reissued by Or Books, in preparation for “Stonewall 50”) ran as follows:

Think of the historic importance of coming out of the closet! Stonewall’s cry echoed round the world!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

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