Tag Archives: ginsberg

Poet Anne Waldman and Jack Kerouac’s America

Poet Anne Waldman

April 18, 2008

via Harry Ransom Center, humanities research library and museum, UT Austin



Jack Kerouac’s America by Douglas Brinkley

April 24, 2008

via Harry Ransom Center, humanities research library and museum, UT Austin






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Mind is Outer Space



Cosmopolitan Greetings


May 29, 1994

To Struga Festival Golden Wreath Laureates

& International Bards 1986


Stand up against governments, against God.

Stay irresponsible.

Say only what we know & imagine.

Absolutes are coercion.

Change is absolute.

Ordinary mind includes eternal perceptions.

Observe what’s vivid.

Notice what you notice.

Catch yourself thinking.

Vividness is self-selecting.

If we don’t show anyone, we’re free to write anything.

Remember the future.

Advise only yourself.

Don’t drink yourself to death.

Two molecules clanking against each other require an

observer to be-

come scientific data.

The measuring instrument determines the appearance of

the phenome-

nal world after Einstein.

The universe is subjective.

Walt Whitman celebrated Person.

We are observer, measuring instrument, eye, subject,


Universe is Person.

Inside skull vast as outside skull.

Mind is outer space.

“Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no


“First thought, best thought.”

Mind is shapely, Art is shapely.

Maximum information, minimum number of syllables.

Syntax condensed, sound is solid.

Intense fragments of spoken idiom, best.

Consonants around vowels make sense.

Savor vowels, appreciate consonants.

Others can measure their vision by what we see.

Candor ends paranoia.


Boulder, Colorado

From “Cosmopolitan Greetings:  Poems 1986-1992” by Allen Ginsberg


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55 years after the fact, culture still cries out for Ginsberg’s HOWL


“When he first read this poem, it was a cultural intervention, and it continues,” says poet Anne Waldman, a friend and collaborator of Ginsberg’s. “It’s a time bomb, and it’s a time piece.”

Ginsberg had a complicated relationship with his own creation.

“I don’t read it often because it’s too much of a bravura piece, and I don’t want to get hung up on it,” he said when he and Waldman were onstage together in the mid-1970s at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, the writing program they co-founded at Naropa University in Boulder, Colo.

“On the other hand,” Ginsberg continued, “I also want to present my best.”

Read on 

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Allen Ginsberg: In Back of the Real


Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – 1997) was one of the best American poets to “follow Walt Whitman’s beard…”

Ginsberg’s role in the Beat Generation and subsequently in the counterculture of the 60s and 70s was incomparable. His consistently confessional and political poetry will stand among the best of the 20th C.

In Back of the Real

railroad yard in San Jose

I wandered desolate

in front of a tank factory

and sat on a bench

near the switchman’s shack.

A flower lay on the hay on

the asphalt highway

—the dread hay flower

I thought—It had a

brittle black stem and

corolla of yellowish dirty

spikes like Jesus’ inchlong

crown, and a soiled

dry center cotton tuft

like a used shaving brush

that’s been lying under

the garage for a year.

Yellow, yellow flower, and

flower of industry,

tough spiky ugly flower,

flower nonetheless,

with the form of the great yellow

Rose in your brain!

This is the flower of the World.

— San Jose, 1954

via Ordinary Finds

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Allen Ginsberg’s Photographs Featured in First Scholarly Exhibition


W. S. Burroughs at rest in the side-yard of his house…, 1991, gelatin silver print, printed 1991-1997, image: 22.1 x 33 cm (8 11/16 x 13 in.), sheet: 27.9 x 35.4 cm (11 x 13 15/16 in.) Gift of Gary S. Davis © Copyright 2010 The Allen Ginsberg LLC. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON, DC.- Some of the most compelling photographs taken by renowned 20th-century American poet Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) of himself and his fellow Beat poets and writers—including William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, and Jack Kerouac―are the subject of the first scholarly exhibition and catalogue of these works. Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg explores all facets of his photographs through 79 black-and-white portraits, on view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from May 2 through September 6, 2010.



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HOWL Premieres at Sundance

“You feel a responsibility to get it right,” said actor James Franco regarding what it was like portraying one of his heroes, poet Allen Ginsberg, in the anticipated new film HOWL. The movie, which pays homage to Ginsberg’s epic poem, is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Thursday. ()


from James Franco Discusses Howl Before the Film’s Sundance Premiere | Vanity Fair


In 1956, one of the most controversial works of American art galvanized a generation.  Now, the story behind Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL come to life in a genre-defying feature film that is at once a legal drama, a character study and an animated trip into the magic and madness of the modern world.

James Franco stars as the young Allen Ginsberg – poet, counter-culture adventurer and chronicler of the Beat Generation – who recounts in his famously confessional, leave-nothing-out style the road trips, love affairs and search for personal liberation that led to the most timeless and electrifying work of his career, the poem “Howl.”

Meanwhile, in a San Francisco courtroom, “Howl” is on trial.  Prosecutor Ralph McIntosh (David Strathairn) sets out to prove that the book should be banned, while suave defense attorney Jake Ehrlich (Jon Hamm) argues fervently for freedom of speech and creative expression. The proceedings veer from the comically absurd to the fervently passionate as a host of unusual witnesses (Jeff Daniels, Mary Louise Parker, Treat Williams, Alessandro Nivola) pit generation against generation and art against fear in front of conservative Judge Clayton Horn (Bob Balaban).

The trial’s heated controversy and Ginsberg’s provocative memories are woven around “Howl” itself, its images of ecstasy and anguish, of desire, madness and wonder, brought to vivid, visceral life in a fever dream of inventive animation.  Echoing the vastness and originality of Ginsberg’s poem, HOWL mashes up genres and rides wild emotions as it reveals all the ways a fearless work of art impacted its creator and the world.

Opening night at Sundance used to be the province of big crossover movies that linked the independent world and Hollywood. But the new festival director, John Cooper, is shaking things up. “I was inspired by this film,” he says. “It’s time to talk about art in America again, not just healthcare – because art really can change everything. We owe so much to Ginsberg.” ()

from Ginsberg’s Howl Resounds on Film | The Guardian


Allen Ginsberg


HOWL (Wiki)


Read HOWL (Poetry Foundation)


Allen Ginsberg Trust


The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg

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Poets Hitchhiking on the Highway


Allen Ginsberg at that same ‘Beatnik party’ in Chicago, Ill., October 1959 – his hand is fondling the dog Corso is feeding cookies to…

(Good art on that wall!)

(Photo: Francis Miller, LIFE)


Gregory Corso w/ milk, cookies, dog & the hand of Allen Ginsberg…

(Photo, cropped – Francis Miller, Chicago 1959 – LIFE)

Poets Hitchhiking on the Highway

Of course I tried to tell him
but he cranked his head
without an excuse.
I told him the sky chases
the sun
And he smiled and said:
‘What’s the use.’
I was feeling like a demon
So I said: ‘But the ocean chases
the fish.’
This time he laughed
and said: ‘Suppose the
strawberry were
pushed into a mountain.’
After that I knew the
war was on—
So we fought:
He said: ‘The apple-cart like a
snaps & splinters
old dutch shoes.’
I said: ‘Lightning will strike the old oak
and free the fumes!’
He said: ‘Mad street with no name.’
I said: ‘Bald killer! Bald killer! Bald killer!’
He said, getting real mad,
‘Firestoves! Gas! Couch!’
I said, only smiling,
‘I know God would turn back his head
if I sat quietly and thought.’
We ended by melting away,
hating the air!


Gregory Corso at a poetry reading, 1959 (Photo: Francis Miller, LIFE)

Perhaps he read them this one, from Gasoline

Last Night I Drove a Car 

Last night I drove a car
not knowing how to drive
not owning a car
I drove and knocked down
people I loved
…went 120 through one town.

I stopped at Hedgeville
and slept in the back seat
…excited about my new life.

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Vox Hunt: On Writing

Book: Show us a book that has helped or inspired your writing.







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