[Jack Kerouac reading at The Village Vanguard, December 1957. Photo via Dave Moore on Paul Maher Jr’s Jack Kerouac-Writer ]
Another Ginsberg letter today – this one to Allen (dated November 30, 1957 – sixty years ago today) from Jack Kerouac in Orlando, Florida to Allen in Paris. Jack confesses he’s drunk, and broke, but writing up a storm (writing Dharma Bums) and looking toward the future.
Dear Allen. Your poem [“Kaddish’] very beautiful, especially “eyes of Ma Rainey dying in an ambulance” (why don’t you spell it “aumbulance” which would mean aum-vehicle…)…well, and Greg’s [Gregory Corso’s] “sweetly in … Read More
William Blake and the Age of Aquarius, a stunning new show opened this past week at the Block Museum at Northwestern (Evanston, Illinois). Above is a reproduction of the catalog cover. The exhibition, curated by Northwestern University art professor, Stephen F Eisenman, is a breakthrough exhibit, exploring, for the first time, “the impact of British visionary poet and artist William Blake on a broad range of American artists in the post-World War II period” (notably, (but by no means confined to), Allen Ginsberg and fellow members of the Beat Generation – Allen as promoter and propagandist, conduit and curator, … Read More
A real treat this weekend – with gratitude to Robyn Brentano and students from the NYU Ethnographic Film Program – “Buddhism and the Beats.”. “In 1993, Allen Ginsberg spoke to a gathering of students of the Tibetan Buddhist monk, Lobsang Samten, about the impact of Buddhist thought and practice on himself, the Beat writers, and American culture at large”. The full hour-and-a-half tape is transcribed below (continuing tomorrow, and with the Q & A session to be featured here next weekend)
“Then there’s something I like to call Crazy Seriousness. Kerouac used the word “goof” a lot in a very positive way, as when he was describing the Three Stooges in Visions of Cody. He was talking about Neal Cassady, actually, saying how the free imagination he felt in himself was justified in the world outside and he had nothing therefore to reproach himself for…”
AG : “A Valediction..(Forbidding Mourning)” (by John Donne) (page two-thirty-nine). That was like… here you find a..the acme of Donne in his use of images from cartography, compasses and spheres, and.. and I think that, like, is nowadays you have heavy-metal comix, or (William) Burroughs‘ poetry which has a lot of space-age imagery (android space-age martian heavy-metal). So, in those days, because of the adventures in America reported back, there’s a lot of.. everybody was hung up on the sort of apocalyptic imagery of a New World, and sailing, and making maps. There’s a … Read More