Instigating the Howl Trial – March 25, 1957

Sixty years ago today, the US Customs, in the person of Collector of Customs, Chester MacPhee, confiscated five-hundred-and-twenty copies of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”  – a pivotal moment  

From Bill Morgan‘s  Howl on Trial – The Battle for Free Expression:

“The Collector of Customs, Chester MacPhee, confiscated 520 copies [of Howl ] because, as he said, “The words and the sense of the writing is obscene…you wouldn’t want your children to come across it.”   U.S. Customs Law required a Federal Judge, upon application of the U.S. Attorney,  to grant permission to destroy the books. But, as [City Lights publisher, … Read More

A Portfolio of Lawrence Ferlinghetti

{Lawrence Ferlinghetti, aged 22, 1941, University of North Carolina yearbook]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti, during World War II. Normandy Invasion, 1945]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti, on the announcement  of the Howl Trial Verdict, October 3, 1957]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti -Photograph by Harry Redl, 1958]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in City Lights Bookstore  1959, (aged 40)]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1960]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti in London, 1965]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti, book-jacket – An Eye on The World, 1967]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti – Photograph by Ilka Hartman. c.1971]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti – Photograph by Ilka Hartman. c.1971]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti, c.1982 – Photograph by Chris Felver]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti, c.1982 – Photograph by Chris Felver]

[Lawrence Ferlinghetti … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 307

[Am I Going Anywhere? – artwork, 1990, by Allen Ginsberg  (courtesy of Steve Silberman)]

Michael Schumacher‘s revelationary collection of fugitive pieces, First Thought, Conversations With Allen Ginsberg, out just this month is a must-read.  Here’s an excerpt (Allen on the necessities of drug legalization) – but there’s so much more.

[Allen Ginsberg Campaigning For Drug Reform, New York City, 1963 – Photograph by Benedict Fernandez]

Lawrence Ferlinghetti will celebrate his 98th birthday next week. Here he is interviewed by Penelope Bloom Aprile a student at San Francisco’s  Yick Wo Elementary School.

From the interview:

PBA: … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 302

jack-kerouac-e-neal-cassady

[Neal Cassady and Jack  Kerouac]

[Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac – The Joan Anderson Letter via Heritage Auctions]

The legendary Joan Anderson letter is back in the news again. “The seminal piece of literature of the Beat Generation”, Neal Cassady’s epic letter to Jack Kerouac, which, for almost sixty years, was thought missing and then was miraculously rediscovered and put up for auction (only to, surprisingly, fail to reach its asking price) is up for auction again.

The auction date is March 8. Bidding begins approximately February 17th (next week). Full details may be found at Heritage Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 299

The Best Minds of My Generation – Very pleased to announce a new Allen Ginsberg publication (due out in April)  from Grove Press – “A Literary History of the Beats” –  (“A unique and compelling history of the Beats, in the words of the movements most central member, Allen Ginsberg, based on a seminal series of his lectures”), edited, (as judiciously and informatively as ever), by Beat scholar, and our good friend, Bill Morgan

From the Grove Press web-site:

“In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem “Howl” and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Allen Ginsberg … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 290

1456363771974-1

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

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 … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 233

 

Jack Kerouac on Allen Ginsberg. We’ve been featuring Ginsberg on Kerouac, but here‘s a pretty candid Kerouac-on-Ginsberg notebook entry.   Jack writes: “Ginsberg – intelligent enuf – interested in the outward appearance and pose of great things, intelligent enuf to know where to find them, but once there he acts like Jerry Newman [sic] the photographer anxious to be photographed photographing. Ginsberg wants to run his hands up the backs of people, for this he gives and seldom takes – He is also a mental screwball – *(Tape recorder anxious to be tape recorded tape recording) (like Seymour 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

Creeley on Kerouac (Doctor Sax)

 

         [Robert Creeley (1926-2005)]

Last month we featured transcription of Clark Coolidge on Jack Kerouac from a 1982 Naropa panel that also featured Robert Creeley and Warren Tallman. The occasion was the 25th year anniversary of Kerouac’s On The Road  and this particular panel focused on specific texts. Coolidge’s was Old Angel Midnight, Creeley’s was Doctor Sax.  Here is a transcription of Creeley’s remarks. Following brief introductory remarks by Larry Fagin, Creeley (at approximately two-and-three-quarter minutes in) begins: Robert Creeley: Thank you Larry, and Allen (Ginsberg), and all of the dear people that have brought this to … Read More