Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Expansive Poetics 100 - (Andre Breton 5 - Andre Breton's Poetry of the Marvelous)

Andre Breton

AG: So (Philip Lamantia),  (Andre) Breton and the Surrealist school wanted a poetry of marvelousness, not any old plodding (like) the plums (that) you left in the ice-box (“This Is Just To Say”)  – (“I have eaten/the plums/that were in/the icebox/ and which/ you were probably/ saving/for breakfast/ Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold.” – which is (William Carlos) Williams), or the chewing-gum – (the little black mushrooms growing on the subway platform when I looked at them they were used chewing-gum) – [Allen is quoting from (Charles Reznikoff here – “Walk about a subway station/in a grove of steel pillars/ how their knobs,  the rivet-heads - /unlike those of oaks -/are regularly placed/ how barren the ground is/ except here and there on the platform/a flat black fungus/that was chewing- gum]   Occasionally, Reznikoff and the Imagists will get something marvelous out of the direct view of reality - like I always thought that the mushroom chewing-gum idea of Reznikoff’s was magical transformation, actually.

Student (CC): Well, can’t.. I think everyday ordinary existence..can be.. can strike awe.. whether it be, you know, with Williams, some young sick woman, or nature.. viewing nature... (even) looking at a painting of a mountain.

AG: Well, the Surrealists spit on it all. They say “A Slap in the Face of Public Taste” there. They really want..

Student (CC): I think there’s two sides of the same image

AG: No, I think you’re confusing the issue (and maybe confusing the class). It’s not two sides of the same image and not intended by the Surrealists to be, nor intended by Williams, though you may have the opinion that it is the same thing. The method is a little different.

Student (CC): Right

AG: Because, really, there’s a motif and a sketch from a physical view, like you do a sketch, and then, with the Surrealists, there’s really the intention to draw from the imagination, not knowing what the subject is, but allowing the subject to form itself from the unconscious. At least in Williams you begin with a fixed epiphany of a moment in time and its physical forms. With Williams (and, especially with (Jack) Kerouac, and with Walt Whitman), the unconscious comes into play in the associative description. So that you do get Surrealist touches in almost any literalist writing (or any literal writer, if he’s any good at all), especially with the Objectivist school, which said that the thoughts in the mind are also furniture (just like the wheel barrow and the ice-box). You could also describe your thoughts in your mind as if looking at them from the outside, objectively. You could get it combined that way, in the practice of the Objectivists. But they were really two different distinct schools and different practices, and both are really interesting. And if you can have practice in both of them and combine both, then, when you get around to writing when you want on any subject, you have a whole spectrum of inspirations to draw from.

Student (Helen Luster): Well, Allen, when they’d do this in automatic writing, did they ever get the idea that it was not just dictated from the unconscious but…

AG: Yes, from other spheres – the sphere of the marvelous

Student (Helen Luster): No, I mean like some from other spirit energies or something?

AG: Yeah, they had all sorts of that, but they felt that that was also too limiting.. that human imagination has complete freedom not to depend on the spirits from other dimensions - that we were the other dimension. Either we created another dimension with our imagination or that our imagination really has its dwelling place in other super-reality. If any of you have seen (Jean) Cocteau’s (movie), “Orpheus”, you remember the poet was taking dictation from a radio in his limousine, which would have a set of numbers “un, sept, trois huit, douze…" "les oiseaux un les doigts avec qui est chante”, no, "les oiseaux chante avec les doigts"  (the birds sing with their fingers)  [editorial note - the line is a line from Guillaume Apollinaire]-  So these were the news broadcasts coming over the radio of his unconscious. And there’s this recurrent theme in the movie by Cocteau (who was a friend to the Surrealists) . So, dig Breton’s“Free Union”, which is his most successful experiment – “…whose waist is an hourglass” (A la taille de sablier)...

– well, that’s somewhat… that could be eighteenth-century – “Whose waist is the waist of an otter caught in the teeth of a tiger/Whose mouth is a bright cockade with the fragrance of a star of the first magnitude/Whose teeth leave prints like the tracks of white mice over snow/Whose tongue is made of amber and polished glass" /Whose tongue is a stabbed wafer/(".. à la taille de loutre entre les dents du tigre/... à la bouche de cocarde et de bouquets d’étoiles de dernière grandeur/Aux dents d’empreinte de souris blanche sur la terre blanche/A la langue d’ambre  et de verre frottés/Ma femme à la langue d’hostie poignardée.") - The tongue of a doll with eyes that open and shut." ("A la langue de poupée qui ouvre et ferme les yeux")

"My wife whose hair is a brush fire/Whose thoughts are summer lightning..”Ma femme à la chevelure de feu de bois/Aux pensées d’éclairs de chaleur" – And, actually, you begin to get some uncanny images coming up now. It’s like Surrealist movies, if you’ve ever seen them (and Surrealist movies do have that odor or strangeness of a silent dream). – [Allen continues his reading of Andre Breton’s “Free Union”] – “The tongue of a doll with eyes that open and shut/Whose tongue is an incredible stone/ My wife whose eyelashes are strokes in the handwriting of a child/Whose eyebrows are nests of swallows…” ("A la langue de poupée qui ouvre et ferme les yeux/A la langue de pierre incroyable/Ma femme aux cils de bâton d’écriture d’enfant/Aux sourcils de bord de nid d’hirondelle")

”Whose fingers are fresh-cut hay/My wife with the armpits of martens and beech fruit” (Aux doigts de foin coupé/Ma femme aux aisselles de martre et de fênes") – Actually, that’s probably a bit literal – the featheriness of the marten and the odor of beech fruit – “And Midsummer Night/That are hedges of privet and nesting places for sea snails/ Whose arms are of sea foam and a landlocked sea…” (De nuit de la Saint Jean/De troène et de nids de scalares/Aux bras d’écume de mer et d’écluse")

”My wife whose breasts are of the night/And are undersea molehills/And crucibles of rubies..” ("Ma femme aux seins de taupinière marine/Ma femme aux seins de creuset du rubis") – [(There’s a certain literality to that, like,  (the) metaphor – “My wife whose nipples are crucibles of rubies” – I suppose you could pass that (off) as euphemistic poetry, that is, poetry of exaggeration, hyperbolic floweriness)] – “My wife whose breasts are haunted by the ghosts of dew-moistened roses/Whose belly is a fan unfolded in the sunlight/Is a giant talon…” ("Aux seins de spectre de la rose sous la rosée/Ma femme au ventre de dépliement d’éventail des jours/Au ventre de griffe géante") – [(My wife whose belly is a giant talon? – It’s a very odd excruciating image, actually] –

 “My wife with the back of a bird in vertical flight/With a back of quicksilver/And bright lights/My wife whose nape is of smooth worn stone and wet chalk..”("Ma femme au dos d’oiseau qui fuit vertical/Au dos de vif argent/Au dos de lumière/A la nuque de pierre roulée et de craie mouillée – [(William Carlos) Williams would hardly ever have written anything like that – “My wife hose nape is..of wet chalk.”] – “And of a glass slipped through the fingers of someone who has just drunk/ My wife with the thighs of a skiff..” – [(a little canoe, or a little  sailboat)] ("Et de chute d’un verre dans lequel on vient de boire/Ma femme aux hanches de nacelle")

 – “That are lustrous and feathered like arrows/Stemmed with the light tailbones of a white peacock/And imperceptible balance/ My wife whose rump is sandstone and flax/Whose rump is the back of a swan and the spring/My wife with the sex of an iris/A mine and a platypus/With the sex of an algae and old-fashioned candles” –("Aux hanches de lustre et de pennes de flèche/Et de tiges de plumes de paon blanc  De balance insensible/Ma femme aux fesses de grès et d’amiante/Ma femme aux fesses de dos de cygne/Ma femme aux fesses de printemps/Au sexe de glaïeul/Ma femme au sexe de placer et d’ornithorynque/Ma femme au sexe d’algue et de bonbons anciens") - that’s the best lines in it, I think – “My wife with the sex of an iris/A mine and a platypus/With the sex of an algae and old-fashioned candles” ("Ma femme .../Au sexe de glaïeul/Ma femme au sexe de placer et d’ornithorynque/Ma femme au sexe d’algue et de bonbons anciens") – [(Well, they’re all true in a funny way – the platypussy aspect, the iris aspect, the mine, depth, algae, old-fashioned candles. So there’s a strange literalism to the Surrealism. Although it doesn’t look so at first, it’s actually, what Aristotle called, describing metaphor,(as) "the apt relation of dissimilars" (which is actually, what Surrealism occasionally touches on, and then, at other times, I guess, it’s the contrary, contrariness relation, just for the sensation of putting together opposites and shocking the mind out of its normal range and reach of association.

Actually, when you break up the mind’s associations you create a little gap. This kind of stuff .. and certainly the mind does create that gap so that you actually begin to see words as words in themselves (rather than as references to the icebox or wheelbarrow).And so emerges a modern theory of poetry, very similar to modern theories of painting – that is, as the subject of the panting is the paint on the canvas, rather than the object which the painting represents, which leads to the Abstract Expressionist school, so the subject of poetry may be the arrangement of words on the page and the effects you get out of those words, independent of any associations or connotations or denotations, that you have with the words. Let us say, aside from any representational intention of the words, you might have a series of words just for the colors of the words, or the sound of the words, or, perhaps, say, subliminal associations between them, or contrasts between the words.

to be continued..

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-five and three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-five-and-three-quarter minutes in]

Addenda: (en francais)  Andre Breton Interview (from 1961):

Monday, August 18, 2014

Expansive Poetics - 99 - (Andre Breton - 4 - Andre Breton's Surrealist Precursors)

AG: Let's see what else he (Andre Breton) says (in his first Surrealist Manifesto) - "…(the) omnipotence of the dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends definitivly to ruin all the old psychic mechanisms and to take their place in the solution to the principal problems of life" - [(In other words, inspired automatonism as a response to a burglar or policeman or war) - After remarking that a number of poets from Dante to Shakespeare 'in his best-days" (sic) might be looked on as "super-realists" (Surrealists), on genius, he says] -  "In the course of the various attempts which I have made to reduce and explain what is overconfidently known as genius, I have found nothing which could not in the end be attributed to some other process" - [(And then he gives a list of what his favorite precursors of Surrrealism are and what particular characteristics or qualities they have - and it's like a little Surrealist poem, that list, so that's why I put it in as a poem)] - "(Jonathan) Swift, a super-realist in his maliciousness,/(The Marquis de) Sade, a super-realist in his sadism./(François-René, de) Chateaubriand, a super-realist in his exoticism./(Benjamin) Constant, a super-realist in politics/ (Victor) Hugo is a super-realist when he's not stupid -

[Jonathan Swift ( 1667-1745)]

Marquis de Sade portrait.jpg

[Marquis de Sade (1740-1814]

François-René de Chateaubriand by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy Trioson.jpg

[François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768-1848)]


[Benjamin Constant (1767-1830)]

 [These (next) are minor French poets] - "(Marceline) Desbordes-Valmore is a super-realist in love./(Aloysius Bertrand, a super-realist in the past./(Alphonse) Rabbe, a super-realist in death,/(Edgar Allan) Poe is a super-realist in adventure./ (Charles) Baudelaire is a super-realist in morality, (Arthur) Rimbaud) is a super-realist in the practice of life and otherwise" - [(All the laurel wreaths go to Rimbaud)] - 

[Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859)


[Aloysius Bertrand  (1807-1841)]

[Alphonse Rabbe (1784-1829)]

Edgar Allan Poe daguerreotype crop.png

[Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)]

[Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)]

[Arthur Rimbaud ( 1854-1891)]

"Stéphane Mallarmé is a super-realist in confidence" - [Because  Mallarmé wrote huge empty poems which only he could understand the associations of - supreme self-confidence.]

[Stéphane Mallarmé  (1842-1898)

 - "Alfred Jarry is a super-realist in absinthe./(Germain) Nouveau is a super-realist in the kiss./ Saint-Pol-Roux is a super-realist in the symbol./ Léon-Paul Fargue is a super-realist  in atmosphere./(Jacques) Vaché is a super-realist in ego." - [(Vaché, we have a little text of his (in our anthology) - he committed suicide)]

Alfred Jarry.jpg

[Alfred Jarry (1873-1907)] 

Germain Nouveau

[Germain Nouveau ( 1851-1920)]

saintpol roux

[Saint-Pol-Roux (1861-1940)]

Artwork by Man Ray, Leon Paul Fargue, Made of Gelatin silver print

[Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947)]

[Jacques Vaché (1895-1919)]

 "Pierre Reverdy is a super-realist at home./ St.John Perse is a super-realist at a distance" - [(We had "Anabasis" to show the distance in St John Perse)] - "(Raymond) Roussel is a super-realist  in anecdote."

[Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960)] 

[Saint-John Perse (1887-1975)]

[Raymond Roussel (1877-1933)]

 "Let us cut the question short - The marvelous is always beautiful, anything that is marvelous is beautiful and only the marvelous is beautiful." 

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-three-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at twenty-five-and-three-quarters]

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ed Sanders on Harry Smith

In anticipation of Ed Sanders' seventy-fifth birthday tomorrow

"Ed Sanders, poet and founding member of The Fugs, recalls his deep friendship with Harry Smith, compiler of the highly influential Anthology of American Folk Music. (Smith produced the Fugs' first album in 1965) for Folkways Records")

"The recording sessions for Folkways Records resulted in the 1965 album "The Village Fugs Sing Ballads of Contemporary Protest, Point of Views, and General Dissatisfaction." The album was reissued in 1966 as The Fugs First Album by the ESP-Disk Label, followed by several reissues with additional tracks"

[Harry Smith (1923-1991)]

(For more recollections of Harry - see here, here, here and here )

(Here's a couple more Harry postings here - and - here)

[Ed Sanders, Harry Smith, and poet-anthropologist, Jerome Rothenberg, in the courtyard of St Marks Church, (Poetry Project), New York City, May 1987 - Photograph by Allen Ginsberg c. The Estate of Allen Ginsberg] 

From a 1997 taped  interview, recorded at the Barns, at Wolf Trap 

ES: Well, there was this great bar in the Lower East Side of New York at Twelfth Street and Avenue B called Stanley's Bar and all the painters went there and one night in 1962 around the Fall, I was in there with the novelist, H.L.Humes, "Doc" Humes,  and he said, "Hey, there's a magician, I know!", (and) so I went over and I was introduced to Harry Smith, whom I knew, not as a great ethnomusicologist or folklorist but as a film-maker. He was famous for his hand-drawn films. So I got.. I used to.. then..   I met him that night because I had Egyptian "eye(s) of Horus" painted on my gym socks which gave me a rapport with Harry immediately!  So we started hanging out, and then I started, under his influence, making films, later on in (19)63, and he.. he was my guru, he showed me what film.. what cameras to buy, (and he  said get an old Bell and Howell battle-camera from the Korean War, because you can drop it, and that's what I did), so I always... So he showed me how to make films. And then, through him, I met Jonas Mekas, and I became, for a brief  flash, an underground-film-maker type. Then, later, Tuli (Kupferberg) and I formed The Fugs, and, by then, I knew of Harry's musical connections. I slowly became aware of this great anthology that he'd done and we… I formed a bookstore in the Lower East Side on Tenth Street next to Tuli's house and Harry would hang out there. My bookstore was very very well-known for its time. It was the only mecca for the avant-garde plus the Happening movement, and we were in the Civil Rights movement and we were in the Rock'n'Roll-Folk… it was like everybody came there. Well, it was a happy confluence of many rivers of Americana right at that point. The Civil Rights movement with all the songs.. you know. When I heard Pete Seeger sing "We Shall Overcome" or we sang "Down By The Riverside" when the (Ku Klux) Klan was surrounding our church in Tennessee. (We) went through all of those powerful singing experiences when you think you might die, and you sing, what do you sing? - you sing these three-chord black gospel hymns. So that was it. Then there was..the Happening movement, which was, you know, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg (My bookstore was right around the corner from where Oldenberg had his Happenings. I mean, a Happening was great, you got a loft, you got fourteen stocked tanks full of grapes, you had two naked people, and the rest were jumping up and down in the grapes, and you were all yodelling and you could call it art! Harry would hang out too. And then, he said, "Well I know this guy named Moe Asch, who has Folkways Records and I have a connection", and he said,  "but we've got to float it by Mo'." So he.. he told Moe that we were "the Fugs Jug Band", not just The Fugs, so, you know, he floated this by Moe, and then, in the Spring, in April of (19)65, we - through Harry Smith - got into a little recording studio on up 46th or 48th Street. And we didn't know.. we didn't even know that you were supposed to face the microphones! - and Harry was in the recording studio and (showing) us his ethnomusicologist bent, in that he had the sound engineer record everything, not just our takes. So all our babble, all our conversation, (even when Folkways came in for us to sign the forty-dollar cheques), that was all on tape. So, Harry had a unique method of producing - he was our producer. He did two things during the sessions (other than have the genius to record everything). He said, three words - "just/get/going". So we sort of milled in front of the microphones and we did (non-stopped), all our songs twice,  which has been… that one..that session has been the one basis for countless CDs and re-issues. And then, we even put the babble, the inter.. the babble in between takes, now, (since he had had it all recorded). So then.. And then.. I learned from Harry. He was very professional. He told me .. you know.. he would give me really good advice. He said, if you get the best equipment you can get - and just not get very much of it, but get the best -  he says "I always wear the best shoes because they last long" - and he had really wonderful editing technique. He taught..  you know, we went up to Folkways to edit this, and, you know, he was able to.. erp-erp-erp - [Ed mimic's calibration] - (he was)  a very sophisticated editor and he had good timing, so we'd know. You know, I didn' t know anything about… Rock 'n roll bands have fist fights trying to figure out how many seconds to leave between.. Harry had an uncanny sense of flow. He was a genius at rhapsody, at stitching, so he would..erp-erp-erp-erp ..he would erp these..one-takes! - we were Johnny One-Take - and he would work a flow, so it was wonderful working with him on those reel-to-reel tape recording.. tape equipment, up at Folkways. So..  
And then he had an angry, dark, mean side. For instance, I would have to.. I would give him money. He would come into my bookstore. He was quite petulant, you know, he had a history of tearing up his own..  he made these wonderful hand-drawn films of .. to Thelonious Monk music and stuff, and occasionally he would get angry. He was the type of artist.. (it was as if (Leonardo) da Vinci said "Oh, I'm angry!" and he'd tear up "the Mona Lisa", or "The Temptation of Saint Anne" [editorial note - Ed is perhaps referring here to "The Temptation of Saint Anthony"], or something) ..
So he came into my bookstore on June 8 1965, (that was the Peace Eye bookstore where we founded The Fugs), and wanted two dollars, and he had with him a book called "Cheyenne and Arapahoe Music" by Frances Densmore. He had another book called "North American Indian Musical Styles", and then he had one of the most unusual books ever carried into the Peace Eye Bookstore by anybody - "Place Names of the Kruger National Park". Anyway, so he got angry (and) tore these up and I thought, "Gee I ought to save these" [and did] - And he also tore up..he had this..wonderful..what was it..history of the world, that print that he had? [editorial note - Ed is perhaps referring to Harry's hand-drawn "Tree of Life" print here] , and he went [Ed mimics quick tear], that's torn up too, (that's..) - Harry cost me ten grand by doing that, but…so to Harry [Ed touches torn book to his forehead]. I've still got it, my man, I think of you all the time. That was Harry's...
And then, my wife [Miriam] knew him more. And then he was a collector. He went to Anadarko, Oklahoma, after he did the Fugs thing, in that summer, (1965) and he would call up for bail money and stuff. We would..we were always mailing him bail money, because he'd always get picked (up), because.. he told me, he liked to be in the drunk-tank with the Indians, because that's where he really got…  and, you know, he became.. became conversant with their peyote rituals, so he had quite a memory. And he would come into  my bookstore with these string games, (saying), "Here's, what I learned, you know, from the aborigines", and he would tell these long involved mythological tales, doing these incredible.. - we're not talking cats-paw (sic), we're talking complicated spider-web type things he would do in my bookstore. It was like a.. he had a really top-rank mind, he would.. .. Then, later, he would come to our house, he collected quilt-patches. He had these… So we'd go to his hotel room at the Chelsea (Hotel) and he'd have these file drawers of.. these cabinets full of these patches. And then he collected, I don't know, Mennonite, or Pennsylvanian Dutch, tools - he had a collection of those. He gave Miriam stuff.  So he was always sharing, he would always give. So in our house, still, in Woodstock, New York, we have all kinds of..  We have his Egyptian spoon he gave us, we have an old plane from the Mennonites or Quakers or..somewhere in Pennsylvania. So it was like a..  And just like when he did the anthology for Folkways, he was like this gigantic data-swirl.. he would go.. I've read stories how he would go out at like.. the equivalent of people who go out to garage-sales now looking for first editions of Hemingway, (that) somebody's great-Aunt died and they didn't know, (and) so.. He did the same thing with very obscure things from the (19)20's and (19)30's, and (he) was the only one. That's.. Because, it's a difference - it's all out there, but it's the person who can gather it into a proper sequence, there's the genius - sequencing is the twentieth-century genius (in the era where there's so much stuff,   the genius is gathering the stuff and creating a web of it, or stitch, or rhapsody). So here was Harry Smith. I salute you Harry. You were kind of grumpy, but, hey, so was Charles Dickens!
He would look at.. he would look at.. Tuli (Kupferberg) and I came into my bookstore. We were poets and in the course of about four weeks, in early 1965, we wrote about eighty or ninety songs. Harry would hang out  too. And then he mentioned this whole Folkways, Moe Asch (place). See, I was coming out of poetry, and I'd just graduated from New York University.  I was.. My mind was not attuned, like, as, was (say) John Sebastian and others, to the nuances of this great collection.. I didn't even know Sam Charters, I didn't know any of these people, but I knew of him as a great mind because I could see how.. because..he came into my bookstore, you know, holding… He was studying the Crow language (he had a Crow dictionary, you know) and then, when he did those string games. And then when I saw.. I went to his house up on.. wherever it was, up on the "Seventies, and I saw his..he had this furniture, the hand-painted furniture with lightning-bolts hanging.., so I knew this guy was.. I knew.. I'd known Allen Ginsberg by then. So I knew that he had a mind - and I also began to know other people, like (William) Burroughs, and Robert Duncan, and I was corresponding with Charles Olson, with these really.. with Diane di Prima, for instance,   I knew these really intelligent people and he fit right in with them. He had a very very top-rank mind, but he had.. he had that Kerouac factor, the un-self-confident egomania, you know, he was.. I think his self-destruction, and the way.. you know, why he would..why he would destroy a great thing like he did, (on the wall), it showed.. He had a terrible conflict somewhere in his mind about his own worth, I think, because (otherwise), why would he tear..why would he destroy such great art if he didn't have a real inner conflict? . Harry liked the idiosyncratic wild-man aspect of our tunes. He liked a good..I mean, you can see it in his anthology. You can..."See That My Grave is Kept (swept) Clean" . I mean, the.. He had the.. He had a fine sense for it. Of course, the Indians had it - "If you told a good story then the whole world would listen". So you want (a) good little story, tell it with a little flair - you don't have to be (Enrico) Caruso or (Luciano) Pavarotti or have a voice as good as the early Joan Baez, you can sort of belt it out and make a few mistakes - (and then) turn around. and it was still art. We were grateful to Harry (wherever you are, Harry).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday's Weekly Round-Up - 186

[Ed & Miriam Sanders photographed in Woodstock by Allen Ginsberg, April 18, 1983. c Allen Ginsberg Estate]

This coming Sunday from 6 to 8.30  in New York City at the Bowery Poets Club, "Poets, musicians, friends and family are gathering to celebrate the three-quarter of a century mark in the life of .. formidable poet, author, Yippie activist, Pentagon exorcist and founding Fug, Ed Sanders". Among those participating Steven Taylor, Coby Batty, Larry "Ratso" Sloman, Sparrow, Penny Arcade, John S Hall.. and (guests of honor) Ed and Miriam Sanders. 

John Tytell's - The Beat Interviews  (just out from Beatdom Books) - "In The Beat Interviews, John Tytell speaks with Beat Generation luminaries, Herbert Huncke, John Clellon Holmes, William S Burroughs, Carl Solomon and Allen Ginsberg about their lives and the lives of their contemporaries. These groundbreaking interviews were conducted in the 1970's and are collected here together for the first time. In addition, the author has gathered essays giving insight into the style and philosophy of the Beats elucidating on the interviews to provide a comprensive over-view of the Beat movement".

"Evilcyclist"'s early review of the book is here

Here's Herbert Huncke rapping over music by Chuck Prophet - "I Travelled Mostly On The Road" (speaking here of the time when he turned Burroughs on to heroin) 


Here's John Clelland Holmes (talking of Kerouac - "there are sections in that book (Visions of Cody).. as awesome as organ chords") 

Here's Ed Sanders and Allen reciting the Prajnaparamita Sutra at Carl Solomon's funeral.
(photographed by Mellon Tytell)

Allen as teacher - From Randy Roark's recently-uploaded interview with Kirpal Gordon:
Kirpal Gordon: "AG was a most courageous human who took seriously the need to speak truth to power, said smart things when critiquing my work, had the best BS antennae I’d ever encountered and challenged me…" … "Mr Beat was hip enough to be square whenever skillful means called for it.."
 For more of/the rest of Roark's illuminating interview (Allen is featured prominently in it) - see here.