AG: So I would say now move on to.. 1956- moving on from 1956 to 1976. I have a series of poems which will require some music also – “Father Death Blues” – if we can get together on the stage –
My father died in 1976 in midsummer and I wrote a series of poems while he was alive because I spent a lot of time with him during the previous..during the winter that he was wasting, He was quite old and not in pain because it was a … Read More
Allen Ginsberg and Studs Terkel continuing from here
[At approximately half-way through their conversation, approximately thirty-two minutes in, Allen sings“Gospel Noble Truths” (“Born in this world, you’ve got to suffer..”) making several improvised additions – (“no permanent soul!”, “the dharma chakra”, “Look what you’ve done – 1968” – “Let go, Studs!”)
AG: You looked like you didn’t want to “let go” of “earth heaven and hell” there!.
ST: And as Ned Kelly, the bandit, said, before they hanged him, and they sprang the trap – “That’s life! “. You said, “Die when you die”. I was about to … Read More
[Allen Ginsberg at the Atheneum Bookshop, Amsterdam, November 1979. photo: Hans van Dijk / Dutch National Archives]
Allen Ginsberg Reading At Warwick University, 1979 (continuing from yesterday)
AG: I’ll begin since – oh we were discussing the subject . I’ll begin with a song dedicated to another fellow in prison, David Solomon who’s in Brighton…in Bristol jail, as he was sentenced to ten years as part of that big LSD conspiracy bust about a year or two ago – what was the name of that? Julie Operation Julie
[Allen sings a version of “Dope Fiend Blues”- “Dope Fiend Blues Shuffle”]… Read More
AG: So, actually, I was in the hospital and I actually went out of my skull, I was full of antibiotics and fever and it seemed like it was about time to take a meat axe to that dirty Jew’s skull or something, (that was what I was telling my poor Jewish brother about Kissinger). So, finally, I wound up in a sort of state of punk ecstasy. So two poems about sickness, one a description and one a … Read More
We were intending to run (re-run) this – Alan Ziegler‘s extraordinary account of visiting with Allen, and Louis, shortly before his father’s death, (first published in The Village Voice in July of 1976), but were “pipped at the post” (not that there’s any competition involved) by our good friends at the estimable Best American Poetry blog. We trust there’s no harm in the duplication/dissemination.
Ziegler begins his account with a brief (2015) introduction, followed by (unchanged, save for the correcting of “a few typos”) the full “4,500 word article”. My Visit with Allen Ginsberg and
We feature today a reading by Allen, recorded, just a year before his death, on April 11, 1996, at the Evans Auditorium, Southwest Texas State University. A noticeably weakened Allen – “I have bronchitis, so if my voice fails and I start coughing…” (and cough he does, finding it necessary to bum cough drops from the audience).
He is accompanied by Steven Taylor (“We haven’t played together in half a year or so, so.. but we played together for twenty or thirty years.. twenty years..”
The tape begins with an introduction by Steven M Wilson, Associate Professor … Read More
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
[Joseph Severn (1793- 1879) Posthumous Portrait of Shelley Writing Prometheus UnBound (1845), oil on canvas, Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Rome, Italy]
AG: We were onto the subject of time and breath and (now) I want to skip a couple of centuries and shift to (Percy Bysshe) Shelley, to hear another kind of breath. (Also, I should say, as far as I know, I will be staying here until the end of the session. I won’t be here in the second session, (or I certainly won’t be teaching in the second session, because I’ll be called home. My father isn’t … Read More