Beats in NYC (1959)

September 21, 2018 at 10:04 am (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, The Beats)

Silent 16mm film of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr and friends in the East Village, summer of 1959…

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Allen Ginsberg – Interview (TV – 1994)

April 26, 2018 at 7:21 pm (Allen Ginsberg, The Beats)

Allen’s May 1994 “Conan O’Brien” appearance…

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“No More to Say & Nothing to Weep For: An Elegy for Allen Ginsberg” (1997)

April 16, 2018 at 9:15 am (Allen Ginsberg, The Beats)

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Allen Ginsberg – “Howl” (1956)

April 13, 2018 at 9:07 pm (Allen Ginsberg, Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

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Allen Ginsberg – “Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.” (TV – 1968)

February 23, 2018 at 7:27 am (Allen Ginsberg, Life & Politics, The Beats)

Allen Ginsberg’s May 7, 1968 appearance on William F. Buckley’s TV show Firing Line. Episode 99: The Avant-Garde…

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“Howl” (2010)

February 21, 2013 at 7:35 am (Allen Ginsberg, Cinema, Poetry & Literature, Reviews & Articles, The Beats)

A Sept. 16, 2010 Newsweek review by Jennie Yabroff of the 2010 film concerning Ginsberg’s poem “Howl”…

Bohemian Rhapsody

When is a biopic not just a biopic? When, like ‘Howl,’ it’s got poetry in its soul.

The movie opens in black and white with a bespectacled poet adjusting his glasses and preparing to read. In the audience, college kids drink wine from glass jugs and blow cigarette smoke dramatically skyward. The poet begins. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” It’s Allen Ginsberg (James Franco), the poem is “Howl,” and this is the point at which a traditional biopic would flash back to Ginsberg’s childhood, then proceed forward in a dutiful, linear manner, detailing all the events that led the man to create the work. Instead, filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman make the convention-defying, refreshing choice to focus on Ginsberg’s art, not his biography. We get little of his childhood, a smidgen of his personal relationships, and nothing of the 40-odd years he lived after “Howl” made him famous. By devoting their movie to Ginsberg’s poem (and the obscenity trial it engendered), the filmmakers avoid all the pitfalls of so many formulaic biopics and create a response to a work of art that is art itself.

In 1955, a gay, Jewish, self-doubting 29-year-old wrote a raw, ragged, personal ode to bohemia, homosexuality, interracial sex, drugs, and the American landscape, dedicating it to a boy he had met during a stay in a mental institution. As a piece of writing, “Howl” is arrestingly visual, but its de-tractors found the meaning behind the often rude images difficult to parse: according to the prosecutor in the obscenity trial, the poem could have literary value only if the Read the rest of this entry »

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti – “Allen Ginsberg Dying” (1997)

May 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm (Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

Allen Ginsburg is dying
It's all in the papers
It's on the evening news
A great poet is dying
But his voice
	   won't die
His voice is on the land
In Lower Manhattan
in his own bed
he is dying
There is nothing 
to do about it
He is dying the death that everyone dies
He is dying the death of a poet
He has a telephone in his hand
and he calls everyone
from his bed in Lower Manhattan

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Allen Ginsberg – “Do the Meditation Rock” (TV – 1984)

July 16, 2010 at 11:05 am (Allen Ginsberg, The Beats)

Allen Ginsberg with Peter Orlovsky (meditating), Arthur Russell (cello) and Steven Taylor (guitar) perform on Nam June Paik’s TV special for PBS’ Good Morning Mr. Orwell from 1984.

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Allen Ginsberg – “Feb. 29, 1958”

November 3, 2009 at 8:18 pm (Allen Ginsberg, Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

Last nite I dreamed of T.S. Eliot
welcoming me to the land of dream
Sofas couches fog in England
Tea in his digs Chelsea rainbows
curtains on his windows, fog seeping in
the chimney but a nice warm house
and an incredibly sweet hooknosed
Eliot he loved me, put me up,
gave me a couch to sleep on,
conversed kindly, took me serious
asked my opinion on Mayakovsky
I read him Corso Creeley Kerouac
advised Burroughs Olson Huncke
the bearded lady in the Zoo, the
intelligent puma in Mexico City
6 chorus boys from Zanzibar
who chanted in wornout polygot
Swahili, and the rippling rythyms
of Ma Rainey and Vachel Lindsay.
On the Isle of the Queen
we had a long evening’s conversation
Then he tucked me in my long
red underwear under a silken
blanket by the fire on the sofa
gave me English Hottie
and went off sadly to his bed,
Saying ah Ginsberg I am glad
to have met a fine young man like you.
At last, I woke ashamed of myself.
Is he that good and kind? Am I that great?
What’s my motive dreaming his
manna? What English Department
would that impress? What failure
to be perfect prophet’s made up here?
I dream of my kindness to T.S. Eliot
wanting to be a historical poet
and share in his finance of Imagery-
overambitious dream of eccentric boy.
God forbid my evil dreams come true.
Last nite I dreamed of Allen Ginsberg.
T.S. Eliot would’ve been ashamed of me.

Allen Ginsberg

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Allen Ginsberg – “Kerouac Dreams” (1995)

June 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

dreamt  and written by Allen Ginsberg

1/11/95 Wednesday

Woke 8:45 embracing Kerouac in dream — We had travelled together thru various countries and war landscapes, Chechnya, Russia, Prague, London, Lower East Side with miraculous encounters with cops & presidents, musicians & aroused youth gangs, radio broadcasts, airplane rides together, & we’re now home in his house — I said “Jesus Christ how will I remember all that happened?” He sat in his kitchen chair stolid and healthy as I prepared to leave.

“Well take it easy” I bid farewell — “you’ve already done so much you don’t have to strain to live, you should stay around on earth till old age maybe 80 or 90 years you’ve got you can go to — You don’t have to work so hard, you’re already immortal in your work, but you’re valuable to the world, just the example of persistence & patience — you don’t have to write a book every six months, every year a production, you can take your time, rest, maybe one small volume every decade from now on, just a record of a few flowers of thought over the ten year cycles — that should be easy, it would write itself. That way you can survive without strain.”

Jack sat in kitchen, calm & patient in clean white & blue horizontally striped shirt, collar unbuttoned, resting — I held him round, said I was going –“When will we see each other again?” I worried, happy he was on earth another few decades.

1/14/95 7 A.M.

A visionary dream, barely remembered, returned in full landscape as I lay in bed with churchbells pounding out metallic clang of 7am balmy winter morn–

I’d been travelling with Kerouac for decades, now I was tired & wanted to go home, & Kerouac headed alone down the valley deeper into the farm belt to continue thru America till he got home along his road — which led down into the valley floor along the fields, while I trudged upland toward my house in the city too tired to continue the public hejira.

Kerouac meanwhile was still expostulating his American Vision and his apologia for the 1990’s transformation of U.S. into a narrow minded province of Multinational Powers–

“Look we still own this vast landscape, we still dwell in the Valley of the World, the Valley of the Lord, now it’s only a Shadow of the Lord still visible but it’s our Lord Forgotten, our physical fields & space, our stars our winter sun our moons our own bodies our imperishable heaven & earth I still traverse make ye no mistake deny me no Denys–

“Poetry America was born before us & will live after us — and would’ve been visible for every eye to see but for the scientists of poetry & sociologists of Academy measuring the vast mind with monkey calipers & teaspoons of ink —

“They took the Romance of the Road & built tunnels & superhighways & set robot cars in motion & airplanes so distant in the cloud you wouldn’t know if you were crashing in Bardo Ecstasy of just flying to Chicago on a boring business trip with a roomful of yuppies with laptops measuring the hunger of the crowds below in negro cities watching detectives crash cars on television to sell you a puptent full of glass armor eyeglasses, snooze suits, hermetic closets & after dinner mints.

“Meanwhile the vast fields beckon the open skies look down & yawn full of Angels & God sits watching us traverse the crossroads by Jimmie’s little vast farm wherein Grecia & Asia sit in the backyard while the kitten plays with the fishbowl on the kitchen window —

“So these Academy Daddies did their job on my literature & now if anyone can read it’s only box tops on the videoscreen or laptop cardgames to sell you insurance while you sit home with your head in the fireplace & your feet in the basement laundry machine, washmachine & dryer to you Mr. Fuddy, I’m home in our Deathless Valley I’ll tell you top that!”

So Kerouac raved & prophesied & continued down his path thru the farm fields cursing the Academics who distorted his vision of America in the world — I trudged uphill marveling at his energy & enthusiasm and devotional madness as I resolved to get back to my home for a little more sleep before saying another word.

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