Aural Dialectics: On Allen Ginsberg’s Musical Rendition of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience

William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789) is a collection of illuminated poems separated into two groupings, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, that engage with their respective, eponymous forces and ostensibly present them as a dichotomy, or perhaps rather as a linear transition, with innocence giving way to experience. But to consider the poem a … [Read more...]

Movie Review – Kill Your Darlings

Long before Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs would be celebrated as the poetical and political figureheads of a 'beat generation,' there was a murder.In the new film, Kill Your Darlings, the crime scene sets itself at Columbia University, 1944, when a young Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe) is introduced to the anarchic, pornographic mind of fellow student, … [Read more...]

Ginsberg and Lowell

the alignment of planets parents and the cost of going ensured that I missed the Albert Hall in 1965it was just an early disappointment and not outstanding because over years it joined many other disappointments too disappointing to recall too painful to listbut the night Ginsberg and Lowell read poetry at Saint Marks church in 1977 sat on stage or … [Read more...]

Six Poems by Patrick Mackay

Jack Spicer and the Loyalty Oath“The testing of a University faculty by oath is a stupid and insulting procedure. If this oath is to have the effect of eliminating Communists from the faculty, we might as logically eliminate murderers from the faculty by forcing every faculty member to sign an oath saying that he has never committed murder.” --Jack Spicer (Response to … [Read more...]

Beat Generation film – “Kill Your Darlings” trailer released!

Kill Your Darlings dramatizes an actual event that took place in 1944, as the writers who would later be identified with the Beat Generation became embroiled in a murder that made headlines.While attending Columbia University, Allen Ginsberg became friends with Lucien Carr who introduced him to Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs - and to David Kammerer, an older man who was … [Read more...]

Two new poems by Alessandra Bava

APRES NOUS, LE CHAOS(to Lawrence Ferlinghetti)In the bookstore the voice slowly uncurls some pages of life, revealing Allen's loss:"There is a HUGE HOLE in the sky" -That same voice is painting vividly that very hole to the marrow. The poet never dies, nor does his voice.Wasn't it … [Read more...]

Review – The Beats: A Very Short Introduction by David Sterritt

The Beats: A Very Short Introduction by David Sterritt / Oxford University Press / 978-0-19-979677-9 / 126 pagesDavid Sterritt's work might be familiar to Beat or film aficionados through his previous books, which include Mad to be Saved: The Beats, the '50s, and Film, and Screening the Beats: Media Culture and the Beat Sensibility among others.In The Beats: A Very … [Read more...]

Charged Vision: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg

The photographs of Allen Ginsberg recently were on display at the Jewish Contemporary Museum in San Francisco. Walking through the museum is like going on a jaunt through Beat History. A spritely Jack Kerouac followed by the drunk. A youthful William Burroughs, and the junky with withered skin. Gregory Corso, Gary Snyder, Robert La Vigne, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and of course, … [Read more...]

Cry, Exploration, Ceremony

Oppositional postmodernist literature is associated with the Beat movement and came about after the terrible, unforeseen destruction of World War II. While the modernists were positive about the human spirit and mankind’s ability to progress to an ever better future, postmodernists posited that there is creative power in negativity and opposition as well as destructive … [Read more...]