Larry Fagin (1937-2017)

Larry Fagin, poet, editor, teacher, long-time leading member of the so-called “New York School” of poetry, died yesterday. He was 79 years old. An important co-worker with Allen at Naropa (and, coincidentally, upstairs neighbour in his 12th Street tenement in Manhattan), he was, (though not himself a Buddhist), alongside fellow St Marks poet, Anne Waldman, one of the key figures in the initial years of that on-going experiment. Allen himself was quite unequivocal – “I don’t know of a better editor and teacher of poetry and prose than Fagin”, he once declared. Larry’s early teaching there can … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 247

From the audio-visual archives of RTBF, Belgium’s public-broadcasting organization for the French-speaking community, this delightful footage of Allen (and Peter Orlovsky and Steven Taylor) in Belgium in 1983. Following a short introduction, Allen and company are glimpsed (briefly) walking the streets (of Liege) and then Allen is interviewed (speaking en francais!). Allen and Steven get down at the piano (sic – yes, really) to perform “Father Death Blues”  and Allen-in-Austria footage (at the Schule Fur Dichtung/Vienna Poetry Academy – who is that woman sitting across from him at the table at the beginning?) – “I’ll begin with music. Inspiration … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 232

A great spirited reading of the Moloch section of “Howl(from circa 1989) on the CBS News Nightwatch program  – “Well, it’s the climax and actually the definition of the poem” declares Allen.  “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?/Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars..” – Reaction shot(s) from fellow-guest Christopher Buckley (William Buckley‘s son) and a seemingly unfazed host

Here’s an intriguing little memoir (from back in 2012 – don’t know how we missed it) of Allen-at-Columbia and the early days –

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Saluting Neal Cassady – The WFMU 1993 Neal Cassady Memorial Marathon

[Neal Cassady]

Neal Cassady is our focus this weekend (perhaps more accurately, the influence of Neal Cassady) and, via the incomparable WFMU (out of East Orange, New Jersey) and their audio archives, four-and-a-half hours of live radio! – the occasion, February 7, 1993, at the Fez under Time cafe in downtown Manhattan (on the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones) – Nicholas Hill‘s show, “The Music Faucet” – a live broadcast (one day before what would have been Cassady’s sixty-seventh birthday) of their Neal Cassady Memorial, hosted by the super-ebullient and irrepressible Merry Prankster, Ken Babbs.

[Ken Babbs in … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 138

 
Introducing the Holy Litany Project. M.L.Kejara and Akina Rahman Khan hit upon the  interesting idea of perhaps updating Allen’s classic “America” for the 21st Century. They’re sending out an open call (0n Facebook) for new lines, new strophes – “We will try to emulate Ginsberg’s style..and update his work with our burning thoughts (contemporary thoughts) expressed in our own words.”…”Issues like the Zimmerman trial, environmentalism, gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, healthcare, information-privacy etc”, could, they suggest, “be best communicated by poetry, in the way that Ginsberg voiced his own frustrations (in the ’50s) in (the poem) “America”..”..”The (new)
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Announcing Naropa University’s Digital Archive

THE NAROPA UNIVERSITY DIGITAL ARCHIVE 

Great news! Naropa’s extraordinary audio archive (hitherto hosted as part of the estimableInternet Archive) has now been upgraded, refurbished and newly-hosted by Naropa UniversityThe JKS (Jack Kerouac School) audio collection (part of a wider collection held by the university) is now available and ready for on-line exploration and practical use here  Close to 2,000 (1,925) recordings are now immediately accessible. (A further 1,500 – 1, 800 more have been digitalized and will subsequently be made available – and this is just the JKS component!). As Naropa, on their web-site, declare:… Read More

Laki Vazakas’s videos: Herbert Huncke, Charlie Plymell, Mary Beach and more

Laki Vazakas, has been posting his videos of the last 17 years that feature some of the beat generation’s great unsung heroes & we can’t thank him enough. There just isn’t enough footage of any of these colorful personalities, so we jump at ever chance we get to see & hear them. Included in this pantheon are Herbert Huncke, Mary Beach (collagist, translator, editor, wife of Claude Pelieu and so much more) Charles Plymell (old friend of Allen’s since they roomed together with Neal Cassady in 1963), and that’s just for starters. We’ll get you going with Herbert Huncke … Read More