News from New York – it seems that this summer’s regular Howl! Festival won’t be happening this year. More on that story here – and here
In memoriam – here is a group reading of “Howl” (from the 2010 Howl! Fest)
and here is “Plutonian Ode” (from the following year, likewise ensemble).
Rose Lesniak’s Manhattan Poetry Video Project, from 1984 (three poetry-videos, Allen Ginsberg,Anne Waldman, and Bob Holman) was, unquestionably, pioneering in its time. This was a good decade-and-more before the United States of Poetry, and the subsequent rise and development of now-ubiquitous video technology (a good two-decades-and-more before, even, the baby-steps of You Tube!)
Allen’s contribution, reading “Father Death Blues”, is particularly poignant, because the film shoot was on Ellis Island (the old Ellis Island, before it had been refurbished and given its $156 million make-over/restoration)
“Father Death, Don’t cry any more/Mama’s there, underneath the floor/ … Read More
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, Joshua Blum and Mark Pellington’s 1995 5-part t.v. series, the United States of Poetry presented and projected a pretty eclectic range (to show – citing Whitman’s famous term – the diversity of “these states”) – from ex-President Jimmy Carter to “rock n roll animal” Lou Reed (would that count as a range?), from Amiri Baraka to Johnny Depp – video vignettes (under Pellington’s expert direction). Not surprising (in fact, essential) that the show feature(d) Allen – in this case, reading/enacting his “Personals Ad” – “Poet professor in autumn years/ seeks helpmate companion protector friend…” The poem would … Read More
This week’s big story? Well, that would have to be the “release”, on Wednesday, after 60 days of detention of noted Chinese dissident, Ai Weiwei (We’d draw your attention to our original coverage here). Once again, Hypoallergic.com are doing a pretty good job of keeping track of all the breaking news. Edward Wong’s Wednesday New York Times article can be found here.
“I’m released, I’m home, I’m fine”, the artist is quoted … Read More
Natalie Goldberg‘s “Talk When You Talk, Cry When You Cry: Thoughts On My Teacher“ is old news (it was written in 2006) but, in that felicitous phrase of Ezra Pound’s, it’s “news that stays news”. “He’s been dead for nine years”, she writes (it’s fourteen now) “and I miss him..”..All over again I want to honor him..” Well, honor him we will/honor him we do. His 85th birthday is coming up. The Bob Holman-inspired “Ginsberg Turn On’s” have begun (an initiative we noted here earlier) – Sophia Holman dons glasses to read, flawlessly, Allen’s poem, “The
[Allen Ginsberg 25th Anniversary Reading of Howl, 1981 – photo by Marvin Moore]
Marvin Moore’s extraordinary picture of an ecstatic Allen reading from Howl at Columbia University in 1981, on the occasion of the poem’s 25th anniversary, heads up our weekly round-up. Further images (a studio portrait (from 1985), two portraits of Allen in the street (from the same day) and Allen and Peter in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1992) can be accessed here. Check out his website for more indepth look at his work.