Early Ginsberg – 3 – Two Sonnets

[The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, (1852), By John Martin]

AG: Then I tried some combination… then Shakespeare , then I tried a Shakespeare sonnet (again, the same year (1948). The occasion was  reading the entire manuscript of Kerouac’s The Town and The City, and because it was so monumental and poderoso,  powerful I thought, and the prose was so grand, at the end, toward the end, it got towards Thomas Wolfe-ian, Herman Melvilleian prose, that I realized that we must be on the train to some vast destiny, that all our day-dreamy arty.. walkings-under-the-Brooklyn-Bridge-in-the-moonlight … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 337

[Herbert Huncke and Louis Cartwright, at Indian restaurant banquet for Hanuman Press, November, 1989 Photograph by Allen Ginsberg, (c) The Estate of Allen Ginsberg]

This coming Wednesday, next Wednesday, October 18th, at The Beat Museum,  “Huncke and Louis” – A Film Screening with Laki Vazakas, a rare chance to see Vazakas’ tender and intimate documentary on the legendary Herbert Huncke  and his longtime friend and companion Louis Cartwright.  Tate Swindell will be on hand, joining Laki in a discussion of the film, after the event, and meditating on Huncke’s remarkable life and work.

Kerouac Celebrations last weekend in LowellRead More

Herbert Huncke

From Ann Douglas’ recent New York Times review of  The Best Minds of My Generation

“Ginsberg also makes room for Herbert Huncke, whom he calls the “originator” of Beatness. An addict, gay hustler and petty thief, seeking, in his words, the freedom “to become more obscure,” Huncke introduced Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs to the mid-1940s underworld of Times Square. In a bold stroke of canon-stretching, Ginsberg pronounces his sketches of the lower depths, published almost by accident and innocent of literary allusion, “classics.” In celebrating the unlettered Huncke, Ginsberg was suggesting that professionals may have more to learn from … Read More

Huncke, Holmes & Burroughs at Naropa, 1982

The legendary 1982 Jack Kerouac Conference at Naropa (then Institute, now University). We’ve featured a number of postings consisting of transcription from events at that one-of-a-kind stellar gathering (on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Kerouac’s On The Road),  but not, for some reason, this one – Herbert Huncke, John Clellon Holmes and William Burroughs, introduced by Allen Ginsberg.  We hereby rectify that omission.

AG: …William Burroughs is renowned and his name is known throughout the world. John Holmes, less well-known (although to American aficionados of the literary scene, a very familiar name, Herbert Huncke, a … Read More

Herbert Huncke’s Birthday

Celebrating Herbert Huncke‘s birthday today. “Godfather of the Beats”, he would have been one-hundred-and-two! – See here for our posting on the occasion of his Centennial. Today, courtesy of our friend Laki Vazakas , footage of the great story-teller, raconteur, recorded in New York, at the Chelsea Hotel,  February 7, 1994. Evoking the notion of “the invisible body”, Huncke recounts and recalls his time in India, witnessing the burning ghats.

HH: Well, it’s sort of strange, you know, one is always I think intrigued by the idea of the invisible body at a funeral (I’ve always felt that … 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’s “Beat” Correspondence with Paul Bertram

[Allen Ginsberg to Paul Bertram (1928-2013) , in 1947, from the Ginsberg-Bertram letters]

Readers+Writers Journal, this week, announced the discovery (in a trove of newly-found letters and postcards from Allen to his life-long friend, Rutgers professor and Shakespearean scholar, Paul Bertram), of, arguably, the first known reference in the writings of the Beat Generation to the seminal term “Beat”.

Paul Bertram’s 1965 volume – Shakespeare and The Two Noble Kinsmen (Rutgers University Press)

Writing as early as July 14, 1947, (these are “among the earliest, if not the earliest collection of Ginsberg correspondence ever” appearing on the market), Ginsberg … Read More

(Tuesday April 7) Billie Holiday Centennial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Billie Holiday (1915-1959), New York, 1949 – Photograph by Herman Leonard]

Today, April 7, 2015 is the Billie Holiday Centennial

Billie Holiday was born, Eleanora Fagan, in Philadelphia exactly one hundred years ago today.

Allen Ginsberg, writing in 1947: “Billie Holiday is well-known in jazz circles as an amazing great woman. Little Jack (Melody) and Vicki (Russell), who know her, promised to arrange for me to meet her. I had long hoped and expected to meet her one time or another. … Read More

Sunday April 5 – Allen Ginsberg Parinirvana

It’s Allen Ginsberg’s parinirvana today, the (eighteenth) anniversary of his passing. Here’s Herbert Huncke, “godfather of  The Beats”, on “the invisible body” – on witnessing funerals (“I’m inclined to think it was Hindu, but I’m not sure”) – burning ghats, Indian ritual (Huncke footage, courtesy documentarian, Laki Vazakas)  

[Herbert Huncke at the Chelsea Hotel]

Here’s Allen on the burning ghats (from an interview, 1994, with Suranjan Ganguly)

“SG: What was your experience of the burning ghats [of Benaras/Varanasi] ? AG: I went there several time a week … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 208

 

[Lawrence Ferlighetti Interviews Allen Ginsberg in London in 1965 – William Shakespeare listens in – Photograph by John “Hoppy” Hopkins]

Notice (last week) of the passing  of London’s ubiquitous counter-cultural hero, John “Hoppy” Hopkins brings us to this little snippet of footage (from the BBC’s current affairs program, Panorama) – footage of a “Legalize Pot” rally (including archival footage of Allen) in 1967, in London’s Hyde Park. Despite the pompous commentary…

Speaking of marijuana, here’s Allen, in New York, on the picket line, pushing for legalization, two years before:  

[Allen Ginsberg – Photograph by Benedict J Read More