Beatnik Exploitation -1




A while back, we ran a number of posts on Beat sociology – “Beatniks” – and Beat Exploitation Beat Kitsch –  see here and here and here and here This recent post, from the indefatigable catalogers/bloggers at Houghton Library, Harvard – “Beelzebub Books” (sic) (promising “an uncensored, unexpurgated expose of the Beat Generation”) –  got us to pondering the subject again  –  “More daring than any fiction”? – (Ah, but it is a fiction!) Sex and Violence. Hypocritical Thrill-Seeking. Tabloid Sensationalism. The second item, the New York Mirror‘s  April 10, 1961 edition and its unforgettable headline, “3000 … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 246

 [Guillaume Apollinaire by Picasso]

Guillaume Apollinaire – Zone – Selected Poems – “The fruit of poet-translator Ron Padgett‘s fifty-year engagement with the work of France’s greatest modern poet” –   (a bilingual edition) – has just been published by the New York Review Books.  Don’t miss it.   For Allen Ginsberg on Apollinaire –  see (for example) his 1975 Naropa class here  (which includes, among other things, a complete reading and commentary on the title poem, “Zone”)   and here, here – (and, again, here)

 [Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)]

“Guillaume, Guillaume how I envy your fame, your accomplishment for … Read More

Queer Beat – 2 – (Straight Hearts’ Delight)

One of the great (sadly out-of-print)  Ginsberg titles (but something well worth hunting down) is the selection published in 1980 by Winston Leyland‘s pioneering Gay Sunshine Press Straight Hearts’ Delight – Love Poems and Selected Letters 1947-1980 by Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky.


 [Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky, 1963 – Photograph by Richard Avedon – c. The Richard Avedon Foundation]

Leyland in his introduction notes:  ” Three years ago [1977] I conceived the idea of publishing a “lovers handbook” by Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky. My intention was to include poems and letters by the two … Read More

Queer Beat -1

Gay Ginsberg. The poster’s a vintage one (1977) – a bearded Allen at Naropa – a benefit for Gay Liberation 

The significance of Allen in the Gay Liberation struggle need hardly be stressed, one of the real heroes, one of the acknowledged key LGBT pioneers. Here’s his plaque on the Castro (San Francisco)’s Rainbow Honor Walk

Here’s (again) that wonderful photo (with Peter Orlovsky) by Richard Avedon 





front cover of Evergreen Review, August 1970

But, of course, it wasn’t always like that – the endless benighted years before Stonewall (that Evergreen cover coming a … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 244

            [Howl & Other Poems – Allen Ginsberg – recent edition –  Mojo Publishing House, Taipei,Taiwan (2015)]

All this talk about Allen Ginsberg‘s ubiquity. “Did you know”, I said, “Did you know that there are Columbia students, Columbia undergraduate students, who don’t know who Allen Ginsberg is!”  (Betsy Ladyzhets, writing in Bwog, Columbia Student News)

[Steve Silberman, Allen Ginsberg and Marc Olmsted, San Jose, California, 1986
 – Photograph by Marc Geller]

Steve Silberman might also be considered ubiquitous these days. A wonderfully positive response to his new book on autism – “Neurotribes – The Legacy

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Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 243


          [Allen Ginsberg’s 437 East 12th Street, New York City kitchen (looking out on the corridor/hallway), November 1987 – Photograph by Gordon Ball – (images of Rimbaud, Trungpa and Whitman visible on the wall)] 


We’re a little behind “Our Allen” with this stuff, but wanted to share with you a few more of Randy Roark‘s treasure-trove of old Allen pages


His observations on these two:  “By popular demand, this is the other poem I photocopied from Allen’s notebooks so he could take it on an airplane and decode the words I couldn’t decipher. It was … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 241


The European Beat Studies Network’s Annual Conference next week. This year – in Brussels. Among the explicitly Ginsberg-centric presentations: the whole first (Wednesday morning) opening panel – “Cross-Fertilizations From East & West – 1 – Searching For Which Ginsberg Legacy?” (chaired by Jaap Van Der Bent)Robert Holton on “Ginsberg’s Performative “Howl”, Trevor Carolan – “Asian Wisdom Traditions, Ecological Poetics and Allen Ginsberg”, Paul McDonald – “Cosmopolitan Comedy – Allen Ginsberg’s Humour and the Challenge to Superiority Theory”, and Franca Bellarsi – “Ginsberg as Mediator Between Anglophone and Francophone Poetry” – and, that afternoon, (on the “Cross-Fertilization between … Read More

October 7 – Anniversary of the Six Gallery Reading

So today is the day – the 60th Anniversary of the famous “Six Gallery reading”, the ground-breaking first public performance of “Howl” (tho’ we shouldn’t forget the importance of the other readers who read that night –  Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia (reading John Hoffman), Philip Whalen – and Kenneth Rexroth was master of ceremonies)

Hear Michael McClure give a first-hand account of the event and its significance, on Witness, for the BBC World Service Here’s McClure’s account of that extraordinary occasion (excerpted from his Scratching The Beat Surface)  ” (In 1955) I … Read More

Q & A – 3 (“Love the breath of the moment”)


AG:  …. But to capture the spirit, the breath of the moment, you have to love it. You’re going to have to love the breath of the moment…(Understand it) that way. So I’m saying, “Love the breath of the moment”. Don’t be afraid to love the breath of the moment, even if it’s got garlic on it. It’s not a rule, it’s just sort of an opening, I’m saying. There’s an opening there (that you can) go into and…   (So many).. classical traditions (are) precisely this. … Read More