“What better image of.. institutionalized complacency could be imagined than the assigning of Ginsberg’s verse to the nation’s future military elite, who – far from being scandalized by lines like “Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb” (from “America,” perhaps Ginsberg’s finest poem)- approach the reading with the dutiful ennui of students everywhere. Howl, like Ulysses and Lolita, has become homework.
But the poem, Robbins notes, “still razzle-dazzles today, this run-on prophetic mode of drug culture and madness, Whitmanian catalogue tuned to Blake-inflected beatific visionary blab with … Read More
JS: I’m interested in Allen and his photographic “eye” – did he know what he was looking for when he was looking at a contact sheet and what he’d want printed?
BG: Robert had a lot of influence over Allen (when it came to deciding what photos to print). But Allen took the pictures, so he knew what he was after. And there are a lot of good ones.He had a quirky kind of sensibility. Like the picture of … Read More
Today is the official release day for The Complete Songs Of Innocence And Experience, Allen’s Blake settings, re-released on CD and Digital by Omnivore Recordings, for the first time, (plus a second disc of rarities and previously unissued songs). For earlier announcements on the Allen Ginsberg Project – see here and here.
The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of The Beats As Taught by Allen Ginsberg is just out (this past Tuesday) from Penguin Books in England. Next Friday, Grove Press will publish the American edition. Interesting to compare the covers perhaps – the more sober UK edition, the more brash, more jazzy American? – Either way, it’s another essential Ginsberg book. Reviews are already highly positive:
Publisher’s Weekly – “A gold mine for anyone interested in beat literature . . . Ginsberg reads and thinks like a poet; interested in language and style, he abandons narrative to … Read More
Heads-up for next Friday! (Friday April 7) – Ginsberg Green – “A spoken word & musical gathering honoring the life and Green activism of Allen Ginsberg” – a unique celebratory event, organized by our good friend Patrick Warner, scheduled to take place at The Sprinkler Factory in Worcester, Mass, starting approximately 6 o’clock.
“The male-dominated Beat circle offered women only restricted freedom. For The Love of Ray, as well as the memoirs of other Beat women, criticizes the fact that women were doubly suppressed, by “square” society at … Read More
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s birthday today
– from Richard Holmes’ definitive biography:
” (William) Wordsworth called him “the most wonderful man” he had ever known; but many subsequent biographers have been skeptical. It would seem possible to write an entire book on Coleridge’s opium addiction, his plagiarisms, his fecklessness in marriage, his political “apostasy”, his sexual fantasies, or his radiations of mystic humbug.
And indeed, all these books have been written. But no biographer…has tried to examine his entire life in a broad and sympathetic manner, and to ask the one vital question; what made … Read More