Instigating the Howl Trial – March 25, 1957

Sixty years ago today, the US Customs, in the person of Collector of Customs, Chester MacPhee, confiscated five-hundred-and-twenty copies of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”  – a pivotal moment  

From Bill Morgan‘s  Howl on Trial – The Battle for Free Expression:

“The Collector of Customs, Chester MacPhee, confiscated 520 copies [of Howl ] because, as he said, “The words and the sense of the writing is obscene…you wouldn’t want your children to come across it.”   U.S. Customs Law required a Federal Judge, upon application of the U.S. Attorney,  to grant permission to destroy the books. But, as [City Lights publisher, … Read More

1990 – Matters of General Importance

 

Edvard Munch – The Scream  (1893)- National Gallery, Oslo, Norway

Allen and Philip Glass‘s 1990 interview with Studs Terkel (see here and here) concludes with Terkel offering Allen an open platform to “go off” on “anything of his choice”. Allen takes full advantage, listing the dangerous turn to censorship and repression in contemporary America circa 1990 (his “cautionary footnote”, as Terkel describes it, is a snapshot of a moment, but still reads chillingly, and regrettably, continuingly, pertinent in the light of present times.)   

ST: Al, I thought we’d go off open-endedly, as they used to say in the … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 283

 

Edson cemetry, Lowell, Mass. The exact location. Bob Dylan and Allen visiting Jack Kerouac’s grave. We’ve featured Bob Egan‘s conceptual recreations – Popspots – before –  here.  Here’s his re-staging of two of Ken Regan’s iconic photos.

Here’s another of his Popspots ( “Pot Is A Reality Kick” – Benedict J Fernandez‘s much-circulated image of Allen at the LEMAR (Committee To Legalize Marijuana) protest, Christopher Street at 6th Avenue, New York City, January, 1965

 

Oscar Wilde !854-1900

Patti Smith reading Oscar Wilde in Reading Gaol ? Reading Gaol (HM Prison, Reading) … Read More

Ashraf Fayadh Appeal – Urgent

[Ashraf Fayadh]

From a letter presented this morning (Friday November 27)  to His Excellency Shaykh Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkareem Al-Issa at the Ministry of Justice in Saudi Arabia from a broad coalition of human-rights groups “We, the undersigned organizations, all dedicated to the value of creative freedom, are writing to express our grave concern that Ashraf Fayadh has been sentenced to death for apostasy.  Ashraf Fayadh, a poet, artist, curator, and member of the British-Saudi art organization Edge of Arabia was first detained in relation to his collection of poems Instructions Within following the submission of a complaint to the … Read More

Gay Pride Weekend

Celebrating sexuality, coming out, and of course Marriage Equality on an extraordinarily euphoric Gay Pride Weekend! “Some situations are exuberant, like “Howl” or “Plutonian Ode”. Some situations are “Gee, I feel so good, I think I’ll write down what I see at this moment”. Some situations, I’m trying to locate what is my erotic imagination and write it down as a sample, like “Please Master”. You know, to locate my fantasy and put it down exactly, to see how far out I can go into my own mind, into the real fantasy inside, deep inside my mind

Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 222

The Academy of American Poets, on the occasion of his 89th birthday, gave Allen a tribute (the key component of which is this wonderful video of him and Steven Taylor on the rooftop of his East 12th Street, East Village apartment, in his final year, 1997, performing “A Western Ballad” (“the first song I ever wrote”). This video was produced and directed by Leita Luchetti as a part of the Poetry Breaks. series.More kudos for Allen, he was posthumously inducted, in 2015, (alongside Isaac Asimov, Dawn Powell, Francine Prose, Colm Tóibín, children’s book author Ezra Jack Keats and … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on the Conan O’Brien tv show

After the heady interview last week, here’s a somewhat lighter one, a  May 1994 appearance on the late night American talk-show “Late Night with Conan O’Brien. We’ve already run his performance of “Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag”, but here’s the whole segment    CO: We’re back, folks. Okay, my next guest tonight is considered among the most important American poets of this century. He’s been part of the Beat Generation, the Yippies [sic], and currently [1994] he’s released a collection of poems called Cosmopolitan Greetings. It is a real pleasure to welcome Allen Ginsberg…   [Allen … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 221

 

The David Olio “Please Master” case (our focus last week) remains in the news (as well it should). Here’s Jerry Aronson, director of The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg reading recently-unearthed transcriptions of Allen explaining his intentions and inspiration for writing the poem:  “Some situations are exuberant, like “Howl” or “Plutonian Ode”. Some situations are “Gee, I feel so good, I think I’ll write down what I see at this moment”. Some situations, I’m trying to locate what is my erotic imagination and write it down as a sample, like “Please Master”, you know, to … Read More

The 1996 National Security Archive Interview – part 2

 

                 

[Allen Ginsberg, reading at The Knitting Factory, New York City, 1995]

Allen’s 1996 Interview for the National Security Archive at George Washington University continues from here

AG: So I found I was kicked out by the Prague police and the Havana police. Then, when I got back, I took part in various anti-war demonstrations. But I found that the day I arrived in Prague, I had been put on the dangerous security list of J.Edgar Hoover as a crazed, violent, or.. I don’t know what he thought I was! – And that he should talk, I must say! … Read More

The 1996 National Security Archive Interview part 1

 

                                

[Allen Ginsberg, reading at The Knitting Factory, New York City, 1995]

Poetry and politics – The ‘Fifties and the ‘Sixties. Allen Ginsberg’s  August 8 1996 interview with the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which appears on their web-site (and was cited last week in our post about Allen’s FBI  files and investigation), is here re-posted, with a number of amplifications and necessary minor corrections.  For reasons of length, the interview has been broken up into two sections. The concluding section will appear in this space (on The Allen Ginsberg Project) tomorrow.                  

[Senator Joe McCarthy on Edward … Read More