The people of the Writers House helped me launch my new book this past Monday (February 11). John Carroll took some great photos, including this one (above) of the marvelous cake made at Isgro's in South Philly, reproducing the jacket design, which was the fantastic creation of a talented book designer, Laura Palese of Clarkson Potter. (Many, upon seeing the book first with its jacket, say, "Gee, I think I know what the book is about from the jacket!" That's a good thing, trust me.)
The March 1956 recording of Ginsberg reading Howl in Berkeley, it turns out, was not the first tape of it made. A month earlier AG and Gary Snyder had hitched up to Reed College (Snyder has grown up in Portland and attended Reed) where Snyder had arranged for some readings. Only recently did some folks at Reed find a box with a reel-to-reel tape marked "Snyder Ginsberg 1956," played it and heard a decent-quality 35-minute recording.
The date of the reading, at a student hostel called "the Anna Mann Cottage," is February 14 - Valentine's Day 52 years ago.
Here's an article about the find.
Today we're releasing a new Kelly Writers House podcast - number 14 in our series. This one is a brief excerpt from "Finding the Words," talks and readings about (somehow) Marianne Moore in connection with 9/11. I've written about this event here earlier; the podcast is really an audio version of that entry, and it includes the recording of my own piece, "Mending the Break in Time." Here's the mp3 file.
Mike Hennessey was browsing used books and came across John Clellon Holmes' 1952 novel - sometimes said to be the "first Beat novel" - Go, opened it up and found graffiti scrawled by someone - presumably a young man - named Brian Zimmerman. Perhaps Brian was required to read Go in high school? "What Would Patton Say?" he asks (rhetorically) in one outburst. At right is a close-up; below, at left, you can see the title page as Brian, incensed by the obviously communist propaganda, has written over and through it.
Unlike Brian, the novel says: "I actually yearn for life to be easy, magic, full of love."
O Brian, dream such a dream.
It was to Holmes that Kerouac once said, "You know, this is really a beat generation." Jack in turn had gotten the term from Herbert Huncke.
In 1958 Holmes published The Horn, which is considered by many to be the definitive jazz novel of the beats.
I've written about Holmes here before.