60th Anniversary of the Howl Verdict

Today is an historic day.  The 60th anniversary of the landmark Free Speech verdict. On this day in 1957, Judge Clayton Horn declared that “Howl” was not obscene.

As he announced:

“I do not believe that “Howl” is without redeeming social importance. The first part of “Howl” presents a picture of a nightmare world; the second part is an indictment of those elements in modern society destructive of the best qualities of human nature; such elements are predominantly identi­fied as materialism, conformity, and mechanization leading toward war. The third part presents a picture of an individual who is … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 334

[Patti Smith and Allen Ginsberg, c. 1977]

Patti Smith‘s new book Devotion has just come out (from Yale University Press) to mixed reviewsHere‘s Michael Lindgren’s review in The Washington Post .Here‘s Megan Volpert at Pop Matters. The book is an expanded version (though not so expanded) of her 2016 Winham-Campbell Lecture at Yale (for a section of that lecture – see here)

Grant Hart, drummer, vocalist and songwriter, who died a little over a week ago, on William Burroughs from an interview from back in 2000 for The Onion AV Club:

Interviewer:   … Read More

Ginsberg and China

[Allen Ginsberg, Yangtze River Gorge, China, 1984]

 [Allen Ginsberg: Selected Poems –1947-1997, (Chinese translation by Wen Chu-An)  (2000)]

Allen Ginsberg in China is our focus this weekend.

Allen and China – great news! -.a new (first-time!) edition of his Collected Poems is due out very soon in that country  (hopefully in November)  – translated and edited by the young Ming Hui and published by  Shanghai ’99.…..

There’s, a little Chinese background.

From our friend Jim Cohn‘s estimable web-site, The Museum of American Poetics: “In 1982, Allen Ginsberg was a member of a U.S. Writers’ Delegation that hosted … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 331

[Allen Ginsberg, 1968.  Photo: Larry Keenan Jr.]

More Ginsberg memories (see last week) – Judy Goldhaft, director of The Planet Drum Foundation, recollects an unusual seder:

“For the first time since the crucifixion, there was a total lunar eclipse on the night of the seder in 1968. That apparently happened also on the night of the Last Supper and we were all aware of this. We had a seder near Duboce Park. [San Francisco] The Hells Angels were there and the Diggers were there. My son asked the Four Questions, and…asked  Allen Ginsberg [as tradition … Read More

Seymour Krim

Seymour Krim’s death, August 30, 1989, announced, the following day, in the New York Times.

“Seymour Krim, an author and critic, was found dead, apparently of a drug overdose, in his Manhattan apartment last night…Mr. Krim, who was 67 years old, was found sitting in a chair in his apartment at 120 East 10th Street. A bottle of pills and notes explaining his apparent suicide were found nearby…..”

Gerald Nicosia in The Washington Post gives a little more detail

“A note explained to the police that he had followed the instructions for a painless death provided for terminal patients … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading at The Intersection, San Francisco, 1971

[Allen Ginsberg, 1971]

Another archived reading today (courtesy the irreplaceable PennSounds) – Allen Ginsberg reading at The Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco in 1971

AG: I’ll begin. Most of what I’ll read tonight is poetry from the last twelve months (sic), but I want to begin, prefatory, by a poem written in 1949, part of a book called Gates of Wrath, which will be published by Four Seasons Press, “Stanzas Written at Night in Radio City”      (“If money made the mind more sane…”…”Man runs after his own shadow”) – “Gary Snyder Reading Poesy Read More

Buddhism and The Beats (Ginsberg 1993 – Q & A)

Following on from last week’s “Buddhists and The Beats” video -the Q & A, the final segment.

Do we have time for questions.?

AG: Yes, sure

Q: You said that your poetry is a practice as well, so..is it..do you meditate every day? do you use poetry as a practice?

AG: It’s a form of practice. I sit now about forty minutes to an hour every day. There have been long periods where I’ve sat for an hour, two hours, every day, and there have been long periods where I have been on retreats where I would sit all day, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 323

“Driving The Beat Road” Jeff Weiss recent detailed (and profusely illustrated ) survey, in The Washington Post, “in search of surviving members of the Beat Generation“,  is another  (well, we keep using this term, but it’s true) – “must-read”.

Weiss recounts the circumstances and the details of his interviews (conducted earlier this year) with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima, the novelist Herb Gold (“Gold would be the first to tell you that’s he’s not a Beat, but his legacy and historical context remain inextricable from his more well-branded peers”), and, in conclusion, … Read More

1974 – Scottish International Interview

[Allen Ginsberg – Photograph(s) by Ian Dryden]

We’ve previously featured here footage from Allen’s 1973 visit to Scotland     ( a reading for the Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow). We also featured some grainy footage (and some transcription from his press conference). Here (with some duplication) is the interview that appeared in Scottish International, September 1973. Allen, as a note in the magazine reveals, had been visiting with Chogyam Trungpa (in exile then in Scotland)  and the Buddhist community at Samye Ling monastery at Eskdalemuir, near Dumfries, as well as giving readings and traveling around.  He had also taken time … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 320

[Allen Ginsberg in the recording studio, 1989]

June 23, next Friday. We’re getting closer to the official release-date, but we’re already putting the word out  about this exciting Ginsberg re-release from Omnivore Recordings of Allen’s settings of William Blake.

Here’s more info (courtesy Aquarium Drunkard)

and here’s the official video just put out of Allen/Blake’s “The Garden of Love”

Speaking of William Blake, hats off to antiquarian bookseller, John Windle (“Windle’s connection to Blake is more spiritual than commercial”). Allen would, more than once, call Windle, Windle remembers, if he “needed a Blake fix”.

[William Blake ( 1757-1827] … Read More