Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 309

The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of The Beats As Taught by Allen Ginsberg is just out (this past Tuesday) from Penguin Books in England. Next Friday, Grove Press will publish the American edition.  Interesting to compare the covers perhaps – the more sober UK edition, the more brash, more jazzy American? – Either way, it’s another essential Ginsberg book.   Reviews are already highly positive:

Publisher’s Weekly – “A gold mine for anyone interested in beat literature . . . Ginsberg reads and thinks like a poet; interested in language and style, he abandons narrative to … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 62 – Nikolay Gumilev)

[Nikolay Gumilev (1886-1921)]

Allen reads Russian poet, Nikolai Gumilev’s poem “The Lost Tram-Car”

Заблудившийся трамвай

Шел я по улице незнакомой И вдруг услышал вороний грай, И звоны лютни, и дальние громы, Передо мною летел трамвай. Как я вскочил на его подножку, Было загадкою для меня, В воздухе огненную дорожку Он оставлял и при свете дня. Мчался он бурей темной, крылатой, Он заблудился в бездне времен… Остановите, вагоновожатый, Остановите сейчас вагон. Поздно. Уж мы обогнули стену, Мы проскочили сквозь рощу пальм, Через Неву, через Нил и Сену Мы прогремели по трем мостам. И, промелькнув у оконной рамы, Бросил нам вслед
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Expansive Poetics – 44 – (Mayakovsky – 1)


[Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)]

July 7, 1981, Allen Ginsberg’s class on Expansive Poetics continues AG: We were on (Robert)  Duncan (“A Poem Beginning with a Line by Pindar”),  and actually I read up to Duncan’s introduction of (Walt) Whitman, and I want to leave it there. Actually, when I first read that poem it was that particular cadenza – “I always see the under side turning,/ fumes that injure the tender  landscape. From which up break/ lilac blossoms of courage in daily act/ striving to meet a natural measure” – I guess, the part two, the “litany … Read More

April Fools Day – “I Feel Like Zeus Walking Through Red Square”

allen1“Where’ll this reach you? Got bounced out of Havana, landed in lovely Prague and stayed a month, now for the last couple of weeks I’ve been in Moscow and will go on to Warsaw and Budapest and London and see you in Berkeley this summer. Got drunk with Yevtushenko and waiting for Voznesensky to get back to town tomorrow. Everybody real here, it’s absolutely amazing. Very slow and difficult to penetrate underneath to some real life. I got St Basil’s onion dome and Kremlin walls outside my hotel window and have filled up many detailed notebooks all thru the … Read More

Father Death Blues in Brussels, 1984

More footage [ 2017 update – regrettably,this footage is no longer available]  of Allen and Steven Taylor in Europe in 1984. This from the fourth “Nacht van de Poezie” (Night of Poetry) at the Vorst Nationaal performance space in Brussels, organized by Guido Lauwaert and Francois Beukelaers and featuring the Belgian poets, Herman De Coninck and Hugo Claus, the Dutch poets Remco Campert and Jules Deelder, the Russian poet, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Allen, and several others. Allen and Steven appear approximately five-and-a-half minutes into the film, seen performing the always-moving “Father Death Blues”.

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Ilya Kutik

“Fine-bearded Ilya Kutik & his wife, center, at home with his circle of friends, philologists, translators, poets & philosophy teachers, Moscow December 16, 1985. Dostoyevski-eyed youth in stripped sweater had gone absent without leave for the evening from the Army to meet me and ask after Neal Cassady, Kerouac’s hero, On The Road” (Allen Ginsberg, caption from out-of-print Danish edition: Fotografier 1947-87)]
A recent posting on our Facebook page, but perhaps many didn’t see it. Here’s Ilya Kutik recollecting his encounters with Allen and providing some background to a classic Allen photograph – the Russian connection.
“Re our friendship with … Read More

Little Fish Devours The Big Fish

Following on from yesterday’s “Capitol Air”, here’s another rock Allen, or more precisely, pop Allen – circa 1983, his collaboration with the Lawrence, Kansas, band, Start (from the album Look Around, on Fresh Sounds Records – another cut from the album can be sampled here).

The poem Allen chooses to sing/recite is his “Little Fish Devours The Big Fish”, another political screed (“Hypocrisy is the key/ to self-fulfilling prophecy”), subsequently published in White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985, and drawing, very much from his visit to Nicaragua, and appearance at the Poetry Festival in Managua, the previous year. His … Read More