In my last column, the Muse inspired me to write about dreams. And since then, I’ve been thinking about other types of altered consciousness. As a guy who often hangs out with Catholic monks, and who practices “Will Rogers spirituality”—that is, I’ve never met a religion I didn’t like—I take an interest in miracles and myths of all sorts, and the season of Christmas, Chanukah, and the winter solstice (the pagan Yule), which all speak of the miraculous arrival of light in darkness, is a good time to reflect on such matters....more
Posts Tagged: Allen Ginsberg
For the Guardian, Lynette Lounsbury shares her adolescent experience reading the beat writers and coming to realize that there was little “space” for women in the beatnik world:
I read more Kerouac, The Dharma Bums my favourite, and then I read Cassady and Ginsberg and Burroughs.
The Public Domain Review examines the work of Elizabethan writer Robert Greene, the original Bohemian, and the first known reviewer of William Shakespeare:
Greene’s chief target was “an upstart Crow,” who “supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you”…He has a “tiger’s heart, wrapped in a player’s hyde”, unable to fully escape the stigma of first playing on the stage before he would write for it.
You can count on One Story as a sort of literary sieve, distilling story-sized servings of up-and-coming writers we should know, and soon enough will know, if we don’t know them already. Next week, One Story will host its annual Literary Debutante Ball, a party thrown in honor of those who’ve published stories with them and whose first books were born this year....more
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
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