Rare Footage of O’Hara, Ginsberg, Baraka Emerges


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. No audio was recorded at the event, but Mekas added audio (recorded in 1960) of Ginsberg reading “Sunflower Sutra.”

Being able to watch these masters goof around, smoke cigarettes, and share their work with each other is a treasure. It is especially astonishing to see O’Hara, as very few known videos of the definitive New York School poet exist today.

Kaveh Akbar's poems appear in the New Yorker, Poetry, Paris Review, Best American Poetry, New York Times, and elsewhere. He is the author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James 2017) and a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, published by Sibling Rivalry. The recipient of a Levis Reading Prize and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, Kaveh is the founding editor of Divedapper, a home for interviews with major voices in contemporary poetry. Born in Tehran, Iran, he teaches at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson. More from this author →