Allen Ginsberg in London 1965


“Allen Ginsberg Reading At Better Books”, LP cover, 1965 – Illustration by Alan Aldridge

A rare and important Allen Ginsberg reading in London – his famous reading in the basement of Miles’  Better Books bookshop – in the Spring of 1965

“Recorded on a Ferrograph (reel-to-reel tape-recorder) by Ian Sommerville

“The reading originated after Ed Sanders provided Ginsberg with Miles’ name as manager of Better Books, a connection he followed up on his arrival in London from Prague in May 1965. The impromptu reading, though unannounced, was packed (the audience included Donovan, (who provided the pre-reading entertainment) … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 65 (1965 London Albert Hall Poetry Incarnation)

[Ernst Jandl (and Michael Horovitz) at the International Poetry Incarnation at The Royal Albert Hall in London, 1965]

AG: There’s a film actually… Student (CC): Wholly Communion. Yeah, I’ve seen it. It’s around town AG: In fact, we might try and get (it).. because the (Ernst) Jandl is on it, the Jandl (collaborative) piece is on it. Nineteen sixty-five.. Student (CC): It is.. AG: … (a) poetry reading in (London’s) Albert Hall. Then… Student (CC):  Wholly Communion  – W-H-O-L-L-Y Communion Student:  (There’s another one) AG: Pardon me? Student: They had another one, “Poets Against the Bomb”,  at the

Read More

Expansive Poetics- 64 (Sound Poetry – Kurt Schwitters, Ernst Jandl)

[Kurt Schwitters – from the Elterwater (English) “Merz Barn”] (1947-1948 (uncompleted)]  

AG: So this [Allen is referring to the Marinetti-Schwitters impromptu readings – see here] is  (19)32, and it’s already a highly-developed art form – the sound poem.  (Kurt) Schwitters, I would say, is the very best, and actually, there are recordings of Schwitters and his son reading his great poem, the Ursonata – Ur-language, primeval language, ultimate language, earliest language – “Ursonata” – which is a long piece – a good hour, hour-and-a-half – and it’s a huge verbal musical construction, maybe one of the … Read More

Wholly Communion – Peter Whitehead (ASV5)

[Allen Ginsberg reading at the Royal Albert Hall, London, at the first International Poetry Incarnation, June 11, 1965 – photograph by John “Hoppy” Hopkins]
Wholly Communion, the filmed record of the First International Poetry Incarnation, as it was so dubbed, that took place, on this very day, 46 years ago, in London’s Royal Albert Hall, is a remarkable film, a remarkable document, and one well worth watching. It can now be seen in its entirety (broken up into four segments – the Ginsberg segment being the last of them – here, here, here – and hereRead More

Some More YouTube Gems

Our friend, poet Simon Pettet, has been scouring the web this last few weeks and tracked down some things we had no idea existed, others we’d forgotten.

First off is “The Ballad of the Skeletons,” directed by Gus Van Sant, from 1996. This aired on MTVs buzz chart through the month of October during the last days Clinton/Dole Presidential race. Tom Freston was wanting more politically engaged content for the days leading up to the election and had suggested Allen do a video for his Ballad of the Skeletons track he’d recorded with Paul McCartney, Lenny Kaye and Philip … Read More