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 … Read More

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)
Read More

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

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 14

Howl in England

Following up from our notices last week, here’s more English press coverage related to this Friday (today’s) UK opening of Howl. Mick Brown, in the Telegraph, gives the basic background in  “How I Scribbled Magic Lines From My Real Mind”. Andrew Lowry, in the blog for the same paper, (regrettably no longer available) provocatively heads his report “The Beats Were Self-Indulgent Poseurs But The New Ginsberg Film Is Definitely Worth Seeing”

John Patterson in The Guardian points out that The Beats Have Had A Bad Rap But Howl Lets Their Words Speak For Themselves” “Howl, … Read More

Happy Birthday Herbert Huncke

Remembering Huncke

Herbert E Huncke, “the original Beat”, “Elmer Hassel” of On The Road, who died August 1996 (despite a life of excess, he lived to the ripe old age of 81) would have been 96 today.

Sadly, Ben Schafer’s 1997 compendium The Herbert Huncke Reader is out of print (tho’ second-hand copies are still available and well worth tracking down). More immediately available are a series of recordings he made towards the end of his life, reading some of his deceptively simple first-person prose recollections, From Dream to Dream (available in its entirety on Ubuweb).

Among the pieces … Read More

Janine Pommy Vega: Woodstock Times Obituary

Janine Pommy Vega – We’d mentioned the Woodstock Times obituary in our last posting, but on second thought, consider it worthy of a full post mention, since it goes into such precise detail about her life & life’s work. It also includes a small selection of tributes worth more than a second glance.

Janine Pommy Vega dies; her mighty voice soars on

Janine Pommy Vega, 68 — poet, political activist, Beat legend, world traveler, hiker and lover of the Catskills, teacher of aspiring writers in schools and prisons, and so much, much more — died on December 23 at her … Read More

Happy New Year Catching Up

Things got a little crazy over the holidays and among many other things we forgot to mention Patti Smith‘s 64th birthday on December 30th, same day as Paul Bowles! Happy Birthday Patti! The New York Times have also given Janine Pommy Vega a decent obituary – that appeared in yesterday’s edition – we’re happy they deem her important enough to report on! The Woodstock Times   however has a much better, more thorough, one.

Certainly the big news on the Ginsberg front is the US January 4th (that’s tomorrow!) release of the Howl Blu-Ray/DVD release, with heaps of … Read More