David McReynolds (1929-2018)

[David McReynolds, March 18. 1960 (sic) letter to Allen Ginsberg]

[David McReynolds (1929-2018) with his cat, Shaman – Photograph by Ed Hedemann]

The great pacifist activist David McReynolds died on Friday August 17 (this past Friday), aged 88, following a fall he sustained at his New York City home. We deeply mourn his passing.

His obituary in The Washington Post, by Harrison Smith (“David McReynolds, gay socialist pacifist, who twice ran for president, dies at 88”), can be accessed here.  The informative New York Times obituary (by Jacey Fortin) may be found – here  (and Ellen Moynihan’s notice in the … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 365

[Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco, September 1991. Snapped by Rick Dickenson with Allen’s camera, courtesy Stanford University Libraries/Allen Ginsberg Estate.]

Bill Morgan, archivist, editor, and Allen’s biographer, is interviewed by host Charlie Rossiter on the latest episode of the podcast Poetry Spoken Here. He gets to speak of his most recent book, The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats (based on transcriptions of Allen’s lectures both at Naropa and at Brooklyn College). In addition, Rossiter reviews Wait Till I’m Dead, Bill’s edition of Allen’s posthumous poems, now fresh out in paperback.

Speaking … Read More

Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 99th Birthday

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Adelaide, 1973. Photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries]

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is ninety-nine years old today! – We’re happy to present this personal assessment from bibliographer, biographer, friend, Bill Morgan

LOOKING BACK ON A CENTURY – WELL ALMOST.

Nearly 50 years ago, when I was a student in Pittsburgh, I wrote a paper about Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a poet who had recently visited our campus.  For some reason my professor liked the paper and thought that if I worked on it some more, it might be something he could publish. I wrote to Ferlinghetti and asked him a few … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 355

Publication date next week (March 8), we’re very happy to announce and very much looking forward to it  – Simon Warner‘s new book  Kerouac on Record – A Literary Soundtrack 

Olivier Julien, (Lecturer in the History and Musicology of Popular Music, at the Sorbonne in Paris) writes:

“Following Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture  (2013), Simon Warner partners with Literary Executor of the Estate of Jack Kerouac, Jim Sampas, to go deeper into his exploration of the connections between the great figures of the Beat generation and the music of the so-called ‘rock … Read More

60th Anniversary of the Howl Verdict

Today is an historic day.  The 60th anniversary of the landmark Free Speech verdict. On this day in 1957, Judge Clayton Horn declared that “Howl” was not obscene.

As he announced:

“I do not believe that “Howl” is without redeeming social importance. The first part of “Howl” presents a picture of a nightmare world; the second part is an indictment of those elements in modern society destructive of the best qualities of human nature; such elements are predominantly identi­fied as materialism, conformity, and mechanization leading toward war. The third part presents a picture of an individual who is … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 327

[Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and William S Burroughs, New York City 1953. (c)The Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Ann Douglas‘  rapturous New York Times review of The Best Minds of My Generation – “Professor Ginsberg’s Notes on the Beats”  leads off this Friday’s Round-Up  – “In a marvelous feat of editing and reorganization, Bill Morgan, Ginsberg’s longtime bibliographer, biographer and friend, has condensed the 100 or so lectures Ginsberg gave in the five courses he taught on the Beat Generation between 1977 and 1994, totaling almost 2,000 pages of transcripts, into a compact and often spellbinding text, preserving intact the … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 324

For all you sticklers for detail out there, Sunday July 17, Allen’s appearance with Sopwith Camel, was in 1966. The following year (1967) found him in London, speaking at Steven Abrams‘ “Legalize Pot Rally”. Barry Miles was inevitably there. There weren’t too many classic moments of the “Sixties when Miles wasn’t  present!  Miles’ 2002  memoir, “In The Sixties” just got re-issued in a profuse illustrated edition – see here.

And speaking of the ‘Sixties counter-culture in England, look out also for this – (and the resulting exhibition – “The British Underground Press of the SixtiesRead More

1967- Ginsberg-Corso-Berryman at Spoleto

The recordings of Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso (and of an unlikely third-party, John Berryman, at the 1967 Festival of Two Worlds (“Festival dei Due Mondi”) at Spoleto in Italy, organized by Gian Carlo Menotti is the focus of this weekend’s post

[Allen Ginsberg, Spoleto, 1967]

Allen’s reading (which was also subsequently featured in the recording Ginsberg’s Thing (1969)), was the subject at the time of some controversy.   As his biographer Bill Morgan explains:

“The police in Spoleto seemed to be waiting for him and they picked up copies of the Italian translation of his poem “Who Be Kind Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 320

[Allen Ginsberg in the recording studio, 1989]

June 23, next Friday. We’re getting closer to the official release-date, but we’re already putting the word out  about this exciting Ginsberg re-release from Omnivore Recordings of Allen’s settings of William Blake.

Here’s more info (courtesy Aquarium Drunkard)

and here’s the official video just put out of Allen/Blake’s “The Garden of Love”

Speaking of William Blake, hats off to antiquarian bookseller, John Windle (“Windle’s connection to Blake is more spiritual than commercial”). Allen would, more than once, call Windle, Windle remembers, if he “needed a Blake fix”.

[William Blake ( 1757-1827] … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 316

[Allen Ginsberg with Jon Sholle at the recording for Allen Ginsberg/William Blake – The Songs of Innocence and Experience]

Excited to have received early advance copies  of  Pat Thomas‘ remarkable follow-up to the The Last Word on First Blues  CD-set, (release-date isn’t until June 23) – the  two-CD re-packaging of the Blake songs – The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience.

For a previous announcement on that important and highly-anticipated project – see here

Did we mention, May 8th, Gary Snyder‘s recent 87th birthday – this?  (an extensive and illuminating interview in Lion’s Roar ) –  … Read More