Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More Thoughts on Allen Ginsberg

Some comments on Alfred Corn's thread on Ginsberg still getting "likes," including my photograph of him in New Orleans.

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Allen Ginsberg

Alfred Corn
 October 11, 2014

You, Carolyn Holmes Gregory, Nicola d'Ugo, Pam Uschuk and 64 others like this.

Alfred Corn Allen Ginsberg, liberator.

October 11, 2014 at 11:02am · Unlike · 5

Carolyn Holmes Gregory Amazing eyes on the youngish Ginsberg here.

October 11, 2014 at 11:04am · Edited · Unlike · 4

John L. Stanizzi Oh yes, Carolyn. No doubt about it. Amazing.

Jack Miller Loved spending time with him. A man with an array of fascinating moods.

October 11, 2014 at 11:31am · Like · 4

Alfred Corn Mercurial. Hermetic. A psychopomp leading down into the unconscious.

October 11, 2014 at 11:32am · Unlike · 7

Jack Miller Songs of innocence: Photograph I made of Ginsberg having breakfast with a child in New Orleans.

October 11, 2014 at 11:35am · Like · 6

John L. Stanizzi ...an amazing photograph, Jack.

October 11, 2014 at 1:13pm · Edited · Like · 1

Chard DeNiord The look of awake.

October 11, 2014 at 11:49am · Like · 4

Rafiq Kathwari Guru...everything is holy. ..

Jesse GlassI see Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski where I used to see Dryden, Hardy's poems, and even Blake. I think we're way way over-Ginsberged and way, way way way over Bukowskied and most definitely under-Coleridged and under-Donned. Marianne Moore is missing too from most bookstores. To tell you the truth, I don't want to read any more letters between Allen and Jack and Carolyn about what's shaking in Neal's pants. How many volumes did they write on that subject alone--it seems like zillions, and how many editions of Jack Kerouac's notebooks and just discovered novels, plays, sketches, and (coming soon)--games, and gum balls must we be treated to? And why are these in the poetry section? Then there's crops of thin volumes by rush-to-publish-me junior writers with blurbs like patent medicine labels. Is it my imagination or were bookstores offering a wider--and to my mind better-- selection in the poetry section (this side of Gift Book Kahil Gibran) 30 years ago than they are now?

October 13, 2014 at 5:20am · Edited · Like · 4

Alfred Corn Just remember, Jesse, that Ginsberg revered those authors you cite, too.
October 12, 2014 at 12:42am · Like · 3

Jesse GlassHonestly, my comment doesn't address Allen, whom I, like everyone else, found to be generous in spirit, especially with the young, and it really doesn't address Bukowski--whose writing doesn't appeal to me at all-- but it does address the bookstores--even many university bookstores that I've come across when I travel overseas. You would think that Allen Ginsberg and Robert Frost and Bukowski were the only poets America has produced. Oh yes, it also produced William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac's latest just discovered $30.00 wonder in hardback. I mean, I like the Beats, but I don't like a whole shelf of Ginsberg and friends and nothing much else.

Graham Mummery Allen Ginsberg, a great soul.

October 12, 2014 at 6:00am · Like · 1

Jesse GlassI'm under no illusion about the role of the almighty dollar in all of this: the Beats are popular and are hyped to the young. To chain bookstores I suppose it wouldn't matter if it were toothpaste as long as it sold, but I'm wondering what has brought about the decline in selection among bookstores in this widely bruited time of diversity. My opinion is that book jobbers have stopped reading along with almost everyone else.
October 12, 2014 at 6:42am · Like

Jesse GlassAnd personally speaking I found that the Beats were best when they were writers you read in City Lights editions and Evergreen Review--they were edgy and raw then, and tonic to the spirit, but now that Allen Ginsberg & Co. are so mainstream that one finds them stocked not very far away from Christian Classics and the latest Harlequin Romance it strikes me that some of their thunder has evaporated with the change of context.

Alfred Corn Well of course there is commercialization/commodification of everything in our culture, Jesse. Allen helped us to see that.

October 12, 2014 at 11:03am · Like

Jesse GlassAlfred, I think I've lost touch with the feeling of America's culture being my culture. I live in Japan and have been here now for a generation. When I do return to America I have a "stop-action" sort of encounter with what I see in the present and with what I recall from the past. You're exactly right about Allen Ginsberg addressing the American tradition of commodification of everything. The irony is that the Beats have now become a giant, money-making industry themselves. The continual discovery and publication of more Kerouac writings mined from a manuscript collection that has been wrangled over for years in the courts is one aspect that continues to amaze me: every Kerouac scrap will eventually find publication not I think, because of the beauty of the work, the interest of the writing, or even that it will add in some way to Kerouac's legacy--and I do love his best writing--but for money. Actually, I don't think that Allen would have disapproved of any of this because he himself was out to sell Naropa and the Beats in a very business-like way on the last two occasions that I saw him. It was: here's the brochure, kids, and now here's me. I've always been conflicted about this for the very point you make, Alfred. Weren't the Beats against all of this? Wasn't this the great Moloch that Allen condemned in Howl and elsewhere? In addition, even among the other Beats--like the wonderful Diane di Prima and her powerful work--they tend to be cast in the shadows of this same big whirling machine that is now set in motion grinding out $20.00 bills. This Moloch.

October 12, 2014 

Jesse Glass: Finally, as a reader--and back to the bookstores--I've noticed the difficulty of obtaining good editions of writers as basic as Poe from Amazon and elsewhere. It's always the very very old editions that have been turned into print on demand specials. But oh well.

To be continued?

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