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message 1: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments FOR ALLEN GINSBERG

Ginsberg, Ginsberg, burning bright,
Taunter of the ultra right,
What blink of the Buddha's eye
Chose the day for you to die?

Queer pied piper, howling wild,
Mantra-minded flower child,
Queen of Maytime, misrule's lord
Bawling, Drop out! All aboard!

Finger-cymbaled, chanting Om,
Foe of fascist, bane of bomb,
Proper poets' thorn-in-side,
Turner of a whole time's tide,

Who can fill your sloppy shoes?
What a catch for Death. We lose
Glee and sweetness, freaky light,
Ginsberg, Ginsberg, burning bright.

message 2: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 5038 comments I've never seen this before. I love it.

message 3: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Yes, and that Kennedy choose the Blake poem to parody - a poem that was so much a part of Ginsburg's Schtick-
was brilliant!

message 4: by Lisha Adela (new)

Lisha Adela | 32 comments I was just in an old fashioned books store in La Mesa California and was able to purchase an original City Lights volume with Ginsberg all over it. Can't wait to dig in and this poem is a great incentive.

message 5: by Joan (new)

Joan Colby (joancolby) | 788 comments Terrific. Still remember encountering "Howl" and having my notions of poetry toppled.

message 6: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Lisha - Thanks so much for your post. I too received
a Ginsberg book(The Collected poems 1947-1997)recently as a gift from someone who knew I ONCE used to read Ginsburg's poems. I'm confident it will make a colorful and literate doorstop! Ginsberg was both a poet and a professional public celebrity - often the two roles were indistinguishable. The poetry suffered. (Actually his father, Louis, never more than a mediocre poet, probably has left more memorable poems than his more famous son.)Once I was in my later teens and had become more widely read, the dirty mouthed charm of the Beatniks dissipated like a grungy fog! "Howl" will probably always be remembered but not for its literary value but instead for its legal importance in the famous obscenity case.

message 7: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) have some first edition Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti i purchased way back in hippy days. Attended one of Ginsberg's last readings, at a Reform Temple of all places. He was more inspiring in person than on the page, as one could well imagine. no fear, nothing held back - he was clearly not well - all about the power of language. was a gift to hear his poems in his own voice, him sitting two feet in front of me. little did we know, it was perhaps the last time that voice breathed words in public.

message 8: by Lisha Adela (new)

Lisha Adela | 32 comments Hi Donald and Priscilla, I got to sit in the poet's chair in SF at City Lights Book Store. It was awe inspiring! Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti were (to my mind) the creators of the modern rant. I like to look on their work and think of the rhythm of anger. It was a cogent poetry for those days... the hippie days as Priscilla says. It changed all of poetry forever and brought it out of academia. Much as Cesar Chávez's inspiration to bring the arts to the people and theater and poetry bloomed for the Hispanic community like never before. Exciting times for poetry!

message 9: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Priscilla - Thanks so much for your very interesting post. I also saw Ginsberg read - or more accurately -
perform, twice in his more vibrant years. He was always an inimitable performer. My point was that he was a great Performer not a great poet. No one who is that
careless a craftsman will fare well with posterity. I consider him a Billie Collins class poet.

message 10: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Donald and Lisha - yes, Ginsberg performed. as did Yevteshenkyo when i saw him about 10 years ago. Points well taken, about quality and about Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti being creators of the modern rant. Donald - I absolutely agree with you about Billie Collins. And yet - Ginsberg, no matter the judgment on quality, was inspiring. After hearing him, I returned to writing after a too-long haitus in my busy life.

message 11: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Priscilla - No argument with me that he was inspiring. He certainly was and I loved him for it at the time! I think he provided the society of the time with a valuable service - he was the 'canary in the coal mine' when it came to a runaway Pentagon and the dangers of unregulated Capitalism. If they would rerun one of his many appearances on late night TV, I'd watch it in a heartbeat! He will always be a part of the memories of my young life.

Your post made me run down to the basement and check out the old stuff. From the City Lights "The Pocket Poets Series" - Reality Sandwiches by Allen Ginsberg; Gasoline by Gregory Corso(With an Intro by AG); The Secret Meaning of Things by Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Empty Mirror by Allen Ginsburg(With an Intro by William Carlos Williams!!!!); Selected Poems 1943-1966 by Philip Lamantia (Surrealist nonsense that somehow appealed to me when I was 15 or 16.) and that was just scratching the surface! Thanks for the memories!

message 12: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) Donald - have that same Ferlinghetti book. somewhere. endearing nostalgia this afternoon.

Ginsberg+ performances from the 60s remind me of the current poetry slams. I like that Ginsberg was not afraid to point to the elephant in the living room of American social structure and politics.

I have the Howl chapbook someplace....probably next to Ferlinghetti.

message 13: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Agreed! Thanks again for your posts!

message 14: by Tichaona (new)

Tichaona Chinyelu (tichaona_chinyelu) | 968 comments Donald wrote: "Once I was in my later teens and had become more widely read, the dirty mouthed charm of the Beatniks dissipated like a grungy fog! "Howl" will probably always be remembered but not for its literary value but instead for its legal importance in the famous obscenity case. "


message 15: by Nina (new)

Nina | 1318 comments I am drooling with envy at those of you who have been to readings, etc. I am a hippie who used to carry Ferlinghetti books the way those before me carried Kerouac.

message 16: by Donald (last edited Sep 19, 2011 03:53PM) (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Nina - All may not be lost - Ferlinghetti is 92 now and still kicking:


I saw Stanley Kunitz read when he was older than that!

I had posted a thread a while back asking if anyone knew of a clearing house web site were all the readings in a particular area were listed. But, sadly, no such luck. Best thing to do, I think, is in September to visit the English Department websites of all the local Colleges and Universities. Also, the County Library's Events page might be another helpful site.

message 17: by Nina (new)

Nina | 1318 comments Donald, I live in a college town, and I check every fall for scheduled readings. I also check libraries and bookstores when I'm out of town, as I travel frequently. I've actually had more luck with those than local events. I saw Ken Kesey in Boulder and got an autographed copy of Last Go Round!

message 18: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) wow, Donald. I didn't know Ferlinghetti is still alive. cool. wonder if he still gives readings. worth a trip to SF if he's still there.

message 19: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Nina: Sounds like you hit the jackpot with the Kesey autograph. I lucked out in a used bookstore once with a Karl Shapiro autograph already on the book I bought. I've just done a cursory search of the Philadelphia area. We do seem to be going through a poetry reading dry spell. Here's what I found:

Princeton University:
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Rita Dove, poetry introduced by Mark Doty
James Salter, fiction introduced by Joyce Carol Oates
Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center

West Chester University:
Wednesday, October 12
7:00 p.m. Poetry Reading
WCU Poetry House, 823 S. High Street
Anne Stevenson, Poet-in-Residence

West Chester, BTW, has become a summer hotspot for Poetry. Richard Wilbur, A.J. Kennedy, Dana Gaioi,Kay Ryan are regulars, others -


I'll keep searching and put the results on the "Poetry Reading" thread.

message 20: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Priscilla: I wouldn't wait to long to get your Greyhound ticket to SF though, you never know...though I'm guessing, of all the primary Beats, LF probably took care of himself better than the others! Yesterday, I found this book in the Library, "Birth of the Beat Generation" by Steven Watson. Although I don't plan on reading the book, just looking at the Photographs, memorabilia and Quotes, is satisfying enough.

message 21: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (PENewcomb) At 92, every day is a gift. I'll check out Birth of the Beat Generation. Sounds like enjoyable nostalgia, at the very least.

message 22: by Nina (new)

Nina | 1318 comments Donald, have you ever made it to the Dodge poetry festival?


message 23: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Thanks Nina, no haven't heard about the Dodge festival, but I will do some digging. I've been coming up pretty empty in checking University Websites. Did find a Cafe out on the mainline in Brynmahr, that I might check out in October. The poet E.W. Erhart (sic), former Marine who writes a lot about Vietnam themes, is supposed to read. I got that info through the "Mad Poets" website.

message 24: by Nina (new)

Nina | 1318 comments Philadelphia Stories used to do readings with each new issue at Robin's in Philly, which, alas, is now defunct. Robin's, that is, not Philadelphia Stories. Somewhere on the internet is a video of me reading there-I think youtube.

message 25: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Nina - Greetings! Thanks for the info about Robin's. Yes, I'm very familiar with it, I used to stop in there during lunchtime when I worked nearby. Robin's, I think, never attracted the kind of Poet I would be interested in seeing/hearing read. Poet's of the type that read at the West Chester University Post I sent are who I'm looking for. I know, through this method I could miss the up and coming Poet's, but, statistically I think it works best for me. (I also collect the various Poets reading on CDs.)I'll look into the "Philadelphia Stories." Also, will search for your You Tube reading. Any more information to help in the search, The Date, perhaps?

message 26: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments Nina - It was an easy find, December 14, 2008. I'll take a listen tonight.

message 27: by Donald (new)

Donald (DonF) | 608 comments A while back there was some interest in Allen Ginsburg on this thread. I just noticed a new book about Ginsberg and the Beats from a new perspective: "East Hill Farm" by Gordon Ball. Ball was the "Manager" of the farm Ginsberg bought in upper NY state that was a retreat for AG and his friends from NYC. Haven't read it, so can't vouch for it, but it does look interesting.

message 28: by Nina (new)

Nina | 1318 comments Thanks so much for posting this-I'm stuck for 1 more book for a Christmas present, and you've solved my dilemma!

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