To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, a veritable smorgasbord of celebrities came together at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles to put on a variety show for the ages. Hal Willner, a longtime musical producer for SNL, brought together performers from Lucinda Williams to Courtney Love and Amy Poehler to Tim Robbins, who played to a packed house....more
Posts Tagged: Allen Ginsberg
I’m more interested in someone like…Allen Ginsberg…people who are shameless because they have a sense of shame. What they’re really trying to do is to change the face of shame itself. Ginsberg was an ethical person, but he grew up ashamed of his mother’s insanity and ashamed of his own sexuality.
The Partisan Review, printed from 1934 to 2004, marked 69 years of cultural history in the US, with notable contributors such as Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Franz Kafka, Doris Lessing, George Orwell, Marge Piercy, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roger Shattuck, Susan Sontag, William Styron, Lionel Trilling, and Robert Penn Warren....more
The 1968 Stony Brook World Poetry Conference brought together more than 100 poets of varying styles and personalities. After a boozy weekend, at the farewell party, emotions (and presumably alcohol) spilled over into a massive brawl. Writing for the New York Review of Books, Charles Simic describes the surreal scene:
As soon as the fight started, Allen Ginsberg went down on his knees and began chanting some Buddhist prayer for peace and harmony among all living creatures, which not only distracted those fighting, but also startled a few puzzled couples who had discreetly retreated into the bushes during the party and were now returning in a hurry with their clothes in disarray.
While their politics and art were radical and dangerous for their time, the Beat Generation’s views toward women were not that much different than those of the man in the grey flannel suit they rebelled against. Women played an important role in the Beat community, as girlfriends and lovers but also as vital supporters of the artists—they took jobs to put food on the table, cooked, cleaned, typed and otherwise made it possible for the men to create.
Yesterday, avant-garde cinema legend Jonas Mekas posted remarkable archival footage of Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’hara, Amiri Baraka (who still went by Leroi Jones), and Ray Bremser reading together in 1959. The reading, which took place at the Living Theater in New York City, was a benefit for Yugen magazine....more
Just in time for the release of Kill Your Darlings, a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Slate asks, “Who really said you should ‘kill your darlings’?”
The answer: not Ginsberg or William Faulkner, both of whom the quote is often attributed to, but rather Arthur Quiller-Couch, a writer and academic in England in the early 1900s....more
Yesterday was the 56th anniversary of the day that U.S. customs agents seized some 500 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl on the grounds of obscenity. Yesterday and today, the Supreme Court of the United States heard two cases regarding marriage. The first one yesterday, regarding California Proposition 8, addressed the right to marry the person you love....more
Ginsberg is not typically remembered for his photography, but from 1950 to 1990 he captured hundreds of photographs documenting his life, family, and friends.
In “The Photography of Allen Ginsberg,” Roslyn Bernstein discusses going to Ginsberg’s poetry readings during her youth, and her experience seeing his photography exhibit almost 50 years later....more
At The Poetry Foundation, Garrett Caples writes a moving essay on the life of Alden Van Buskirk, a Vermont born, Dartmouth-St. Louis-Mexico-Oakland raised poet with connections to the Beats and a love for Rimbaud....more
Allen Ginsberg debuted “Howl” at the Six Gallery Reading on October 7, 1955. In 2006, for the 50th anniversary of the poem’s publication, City Lights came out with Howl on Trial: The Battle for Free Expression and The Believer reflected on the significance of “Howl” and Ginsberg’s less celebrated antiwar poem “Wichita Vortex Sutra.”...more
Howl is neither a biopic about the poem’s author Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), nor does it delve into any other poem in his literary oeuvre. These are the first of many missteps that the producers take in their approach towards the rich material of Ginsberg’s life and work....more
Friday October 16, the New Yorker opened its annual weekend festival of readings, conversations, art tours and musical performances. This is my account of the events I attended, which included among others a talk with Malcolm Gladwell, readings by George Saunders, Gary Shteyngart and Jonathan Franzen, a musical performance by Neko Case and a conversation with James Franco....more
The 77-foot falls, site of early American industrial plants, has also inspired American writers. The great 20th century poets William Carlos Williams, whose epic work “Paterson” used the falls and the river as embodiments of American spirit, and Allen Ginsberg, who also commemorated the falls in his work, grew up nearby....more