New Years Eve (Looking Back on 2013 & Forward to 2014)

[“Buddhist (and one non-Buddhist) Action Figures” Photograph by Reverend Danny Fisher 2013]

Last posting of 2013, we thought we’d list a few of our “greatest hits” from the past year – January – Nanao Sakaki and Allen Ginsberg singing “Birdbrain” in Osaka, Japan, February – William Burroughs’ 99th (next year will be Burroughs centennial), March – (speaking of nonagenarians) Ferlinghetti was 94, April – the Beats and the rock muse – “Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll, May – our Bob Dylan birthday posting, (this year – “The Night Bob Came Around” (and the night… Read More

Ron Padgett’s Collected Poems

It’s a red-letter day!  (or, to be accurate, a red-and-black letters day, on a plain cream-white background!). Coffee House Press have just published, in one 800-plus single volume, The Collected Poems of Ron Padgett.Ron Padgett‘s poems”, writes Anne Waldman, “are essential and Ron Padgett is a genius”. She goes on,”His poetry is masterful for its panoramic humanity and mind-stopping verbal wit, its breathtaking power and beauty. We want to stay with the person in these poems all day long, to be changed by the possibilities palpitating from the smallest increments of our existence to the most … Read More

Ted Berrigan’s Birthday

[Ted Berrigan (1934-1983)]

Ted Berrigan‘s birthday. Ted adored Allen. Alongside the late-lamented Frank O’Hara, he was the one. Ted had this embarrassingly patriotic poetic tribal conceit, and in that context Allen was “the President” of Poetry (analogous to Allen’s own gleeful imaginative “shadow cabinet” – “Vachel Lindsay Secretary of the Interior/Poe Secretary of Imagination/Pound Secty. of Economics..” (Death to Van Gogh’s Ear)

a particular poetic form (a quintessential “New York School” form) – the list poem

OUR FRIENDS Ron: the tight-ass Dick: the insignificant Pat: the dowdy old lady Anne: the superficial sentimentalist Bill: the spoiled … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 91


[The List Poem by Larry Fagin (2000, from Teachers & Writers Collaborative) – cover design by Trevor Winkfield]

Student: I feel I have to defend myself against (you and) the rest of the class

Allen Ginsberg: Do you have a “self” to defend? – okay, if you insist on having a “self”

Student: Well you said (my comparison with set theory wasn’t so helpful) but why I said that was, that if the members don’t interact, then that means that, just like in a sentence, that means there’s no articulation, (group consciousness) is not being put … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 90 (Ted Berrigan Defends Anne Waldman)

 [Anne Waldman & Ted Berrigan – Photograph by  Gerard Malanga – Copyright The Photographer]

Ted Berrigan:  Are you making a criticism (of Anne Waldman) on those grounds (set theory, mathematics)?

Allen Ginsberg: Pardon me?

TB: Is he (one of the students) making a criticism (of Anne) on that grounds?

AG: I don’t know.  I think so, yeah

TB: I want you to tell me. I’d like to know who he is.

AG: I’m making a criticism. I’m criticizing Anne’s later poems.

TB: But you’re making it on different grounds, Allen (and your grounds are not valid either), but … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 89 (Allen Ginsberg on Anne Waldman)

[Anne Waldman – Photograph by Greg Fuchs via]

Student: A lot of Anne (Waldman)’s poems are that way (oracular, rhapsodic) like “Musical Garden”, a breath of fresh air. They can pick you up and just…

AG: Yeah

Student : ..stanza after stanza, ( with a hook line) – “Can’t give you up”

AG: Yeah

Student: The “Pressure” poem

Student: That’s not all one line, is it?

AG: No, these are separate lines. Same principle, though – a repeated refrain.. The thing is “Pressure” is.. as distinct from other poems of Anne’s.. “Pressure”.. was the first of her magnificent … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics 87 – (Allen Edits A Student’s Poem – 3)

AG: Er.. (Well), unbeknownst to everybody –  separately – every time anyone’s been giving me poems, I’ve been doing this to them [editing them], to about half, or a third, of the class, at least…

Student: Allen, how would you have closed the spacing (to just tie it in to what you were doing before)? How would you take a long line like that? What would you do with the spacing?

AG: Oh no, this is another… this is an example of long line, like Smart, like Whitman, like “Howl.”

Student: So you would have … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics 86 – (Allen Edits A Student’s Poem – 2 – Allen Ginsberg and Ted Berrigan)

[Ted Berrigan and Allen Ginsberg by Paul Killebrew via Poetry Foundation]

Ted Berrigan: I’m in favor of the addition of as many words as possible in a poem…

AG: Oh, God, I’m in favor of taking out as many words as possible!

TB: It’s just to see if you can get away with it. It has to be good.

AG: Oh well, if you’re conscious of seeing what you can get away with, that’s another matter, but here, I think, it was the first attempt at writing a “list poem”, (in which the “you” and “like” … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics 83 (Edward Marshall – 3)

[The conclusion of Gary Snyder’s “Myths & Texts Part III – Burning” opposite the opening of Edward Marshall’s “Leave The Word Alone” in The New American Poetry (1945-1960), Evergreen/Grove Press, 1960 – edited by Donald M Allen – Marshall and his poem were omitted from the revised edition of this book subsequent published as The Postmoderns, 1994]

Poet, Ted Berrigan is sitting in on Allen’s class and he chimes in

Ted Berrigan: Well, Allen, there he (Edward Marshall)’s using the word “they” (“they are/ dangerous”)…

AG: Yeah

TB: …to refer to “word”, “Bible” and “barbed wire”…

AG: Okay

TB: …and … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 67


Another Ginsberg “tat” (we know how you love these!) to lead off – a “strophe” (or part of a strophe) from “Howl” (did you know that “Howl” was originally called “Strophes”?) – “America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe”..”I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes”.

& here‘s a tattoo from that poem – Ginsberg’s “America”.
Tom Sturridge, oh Tom Sturridge! We have to confess we were a little underwhelmed when they released the Tom-Sturridge-as-Allen On The Read More