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Ginsberg, Allen

Perhaps the most noted American poet of the 'beat' generation, he first met Dylan in December 1963 and they have remained friends ever since, recording together in 1971 and 1982. He was also a member of the 1975-6 Rolling Thunder Revue.

Clinton Heylin:"Bob Dylan: Behind The Shades, a Biography"

Allen Ginsberg died April 5th, 1997, at the age of 70.
Date: Thu, 03 Apr 1997 22:08:32 +0000
From: Robert Shuman (
Subject: Ginsberg ill

Sad news...Ah, life.
Bob Shuman
Thursday April 3 7:35 PM EST 

Poet Allen Ginsberg Has Liver Cancer

NEW YORK (Reuter) - Poet Allen Ginsberg, whose raw, angry verse
epitomized America's beat literary movement in the 1950s and '60s, 
has untreatable liver cancer, his friends and a spokesman said Thursday. 

The 70-year-old Ginsberg is expected to live between four and 12 months,
according to a statement written by his physician, Dr. David Chain 
of Beth Israel Medical Center, and released by Ginsberg's spokesman. 

Ginsberg's cancer is incurable, the statement said. 

Ginsberg suffered for many years from hepatitis C, which led to
cirrhosis of the liver that was diagnosed in 1988, the doctor said. 
The cancer was discovered when Ginsberg, who has been suffering 
from severe fatigue and jaundice, underwent a biopsy, Chain's
statement said. 

Ginsberg spokesman Bill Morgan said the poet was "quietly working at

"He alternates," said another of Ginsberg's staff who did not want to be
identified. "Every other day, he seems perky and other times he's 
really wiped out." 

In 1956, Ginsberg published "Howl and Other Poems," a book of free 
verse considered the preeminent poetic work of the beat movement 
of the 1950s. 

The poetry was the subject of an obscenity case, based on its graphic
sexual references, but the publisher was cleared in a landmark 
decision in 1957. 

Ginsberg and other writers such as Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, William
Burroughs and Lawrence Ferlinghetti came to embody the bohemian, 
anti-establishment, non-conformist literary movement that experimented 
heavily with hallucinogenic drugs. 

Ginsberg became a celebrant of the counterculture movement of the 1960s,
a ubiquitous figure at poetry readings on college campuses, a strident 
critic of the war in Vietnam and an advocate for gay rights. 

He taught English at Brooklyn College and has written more than 40 works
of poetry. His book "Fall of America" won the National Book Award in 1972. 

Ginsberg was born in Newark, New Jersey, educated at Columbia University
and is a longtime resident of New York City's East Village. 

He is working on a new collection of poems, his staff said. 

Ginsberg plans to be cared for at home, his spokesman said. His father,
Louis, who also was a poet, died of liver cancer in 1968.

Subject: THOUGHTS ON GINSBERG From: (TIMHRK@AOL.COM) Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 08:04:38 -0500 REGARDING: [A post to my post] >Being a youngster of 16 I thought I could offer some insight: TEENAGERS CAN ALWAYS GIVE US INSIGHT. ITāS THE TWENTY SOMETHINGS WHO ARE FULL OF SHIT. >I've read all of these people.. On The Road by Kerouac, Naked Lunch & Junk >by Burroughs, Ginsbergs' poem for Neal Cassady... And the entire beat >movement was introduced to me by a 17 year old a couple of years ago. THAT'S GREAT. I loved the beats when I was a teenager, although I still love them, it is more out this sense of nostalgia than as a writer. What ever the hell that means. But I still go through Ginsberg, more than Kerouac, these days. And I totally hate Burroughs. But the point is that our reading changes throughout this life. Taste and interest and all that. The beats are a GREAT place to start. I posted that original quote by the new editor of Grove. This was said in an academic setting. I'm an old guy in a graduate program, returning student, ten years older than the other students. Anyway, this one trust-fund non talent, some 23 year old student, was like shaking her head and clicking her tongue against her teeth, like what a travesty. All I could think of is, you stupid narrow-minded, gen-xer retarded. Twenty somethings, the gen xers, are so straight. They just don't dig. Of course, that is just my mood or something, because it was the academic setting, and would be academics. academics have always been against the Beats. Why? Academics are the establishment, and the beats threatened the establishment. Academics like writings that are easily compartmentalized. The beats are not easily compartmentalized. They are funny and tragic and experiment with language and cut across the board. I mean, Ginsberg mixes politics, eastern philosophy, western philosophy, Jesus, Buddaha, The Kabbalah, Dylan, Faulkner. His references go all over the place, and that makes the professors squeamish. They don't get it. It also perhaps makes gen-xers squeamish. People like ginsberg and Kerouac went out, they sought out hustlers, drunks, migrant workers, people way outside their social class, and maybe you could say they were sometimes patronizing, but they had a lot of compassion for them and saw them, and learned from them, and well, this generation X is highly myopic and their spirituality comes out of a can and they are only interested in FRIENDS. Digging somebody outside of their social class or age group is not part of their program. Anyway, I came home and heard about Allen Ginsberg.Very Sad. I JUST WANT TO ADD THAT I HAVE A LOT OF TWENTY SOMETHING GEN-XERS AS FRIENDS AND I JUST WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT IāM BEING HUMOROUS AND TO SUPPORT THE IDEA THAT TEENAGERS HAVE TO THINK OF THEMSELVES AS A NEW GENERATION. One more thought on academics. I saw Carol Manso read recently. She writes poetry and this really bad erotic novel that is pointless tripe. She is also the director of the MFA program at Brown University. She is also from Paterson. She read this stupid poem about how Williams and Ginsberg were from Paterson, and said she loved Ginsberg for his fallibility. What a dorky, untalented writer she is. The fact of the matter is, most poets these days are read by other poets only. Ginsberg has a wide readership, and has influenced a wide range of other artists, not to mention dylan but film makers as well. >The news on Allen was definitely shocking to me. Even though I've only >known his work for a short time, I like it a lot and what I have read is >some of the best poetry my eyes have ever come accross. Let's pray for him >and hope he beats the time the doctors give him. What a sad day. Josh Anyway to make the post longer, here is how I came into contact with the beats. ON THE ROAD Jack Kerouac came into my life and nothing ever was the same again. Itās not that I wanted to be like him or write like him. He was a drunk, irresponsible, hung up on his mother, and his sentences were too long; but the idea of writing, using your art to make sense out of your life has remained a guiding force. His Catholicism is perhaps most appealing, because it inspired him and tortured him and he could bicker with it while also finding comfort in it. He helped me to find peace with my catholic upbringing. I still have this book on the shelves, the original paperback copy with its orange cover of a setting sun. I was thirteen years old, and my older sister had come back from her first year of college and had taken some kind of modern literature course and had this box of books, which included On The Road but also Howl, Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man, The Trial, The Stranger, stuff by Herman Hesse. Before this, Emily Dickinson was the only thing I read in school that made any sense to me; otherwise it was like JRR Tolkein, H.G. Wells, Robert Heinlen and Clockwork Orange. With On The Road, I was at another level, and within three or four years, I had read every one of his books, liking especially The Subtarreans, Book Of Dreams, Visions of Gerard and Visions of Cody. Mysticism, compassion for the human condition, appreciation of an emotional response, all this seemed either inspired or defined by Kerouac in my young brain. And, people forget, that Kerouac was well-read, and his references to Rimbaud, Aristotle, Faulkner and Melville encouraged me to widen my reading. As Ken Kesey once said, Jack Kerouac is the patron saint of America. The summer I graduated high school, I went on a road trip with three friends, a pilgrimage really, to Jack Kerouacās grave in Lowell Massachusetts. I got the idea from Bob Dylanās movie, Renaldo and Clara, which featured all this great footage of Dylan and Allen Ginsberg on Jack Kerouacās grave. I cut out a picture of these two Jewish poets and personal heroes out of some rock magazine of the time, and my mother decoupage it for me. There is a photograph of me from that trip, standing on my head on Jack Kerouacās grave. Although I started writing poems at age ten, and even won a poetry award in eighth grade, it was not until Jack came along that everything started to make sense. If it wasn't for my older sister box of books from her first semester in college, Bergen County would have won. HOWL/KADDISH I put Howl and Kaddish together, because soon after I read Howl from my sisterās box of books, I bought Kaddish÷those small City Lights Pocket Press Poet series that cost $1.50, and Kaddish was probably the first book of poems I ever bought. The poems in both books stay with you, and of course, are great, but Howl and Kaddish are associated in my mind, not only because they are his two masterpieces, but it's like, Howl shows these disenfranchised youths dealing with alienation, and Kaddish shows the author struggling through a dysfunctional childhood. The fact of Ginsberg being from New Jersey gave me hope. Somebody was able to escape. Howl and Kaddish also revealed that my life could be symbolic. Overall, Ginsberg took Kerouac's use of language and liberated it even further. Simple things, like how nouns are modified, were changed forever by Gingsberg, from rock and roll songs to journalism, Gingsberg gave words more options. Memories of Allen Ginsberg: 1975 THE NIGHT OF THE HURRICANE. My first Bob Dylan concert. If you ever have a chance to pick up this boot leg, do it, it's really great. So, I've been a Bob Dylan fan for more than 20 years. Anyway, at the end of the show, the finale, everybody is on stage and there is this guy in a gold lame suit playing finger symbols and he looks like a crazed English teacher not a rock star. Allen Ginsberg ladies and gentleman. 1978 Paterson New Jersey. There's this big day of poetry in honor of William Carlos Williams. Allen ginsberg and David Ignatow read. Ignatow is a more academic poet, and a great poet and we all should be reading him. Ginsberg wore a black suit and red tie. I forget what he read, but he used the harmonium and at one point, some guy named steve with a guitar played some acoustic licks accompany some other poems. I went up to him with my copy of Howl at the end and asked him to sign it. Which he did, drawing flowers and stuff. A woman came up to him with her kid, some body about seven or so, and she said, I wanted my son to meet a great poet, and he like put his hand on the kid's shoulder, and said, oh, I always love to encourage young boys. That darn Ginsberg. I thought he was just making a joke, an inside gay reference, but in recent years he came out to support NAMBLA. While I hate that pederast association, ginsberg has never been accused of child molestation or anything like that. So, at the end of the conference, I was walking around Paterson and who do I see but Allen ginsberg, walking around alone. This was held by the famous Paterson Falls. This was where he grew up. You could tell he was musing on his childhood. I yelled out take it easy Allen. He just waved me away, like not a hello but a FUCK OFF, LEAVE ME ALONE KID. It was great. I mean I didn't take it in a bad way, and I was a wise ass teenager anyway. 1991 I was on a very short line to an ATM on second avenue in the East Village. I was living there at the time. Who walks up behind me, But Allen Ginsberg. It was like, I heard some old guy singing, "I'm going to my money machine, I just hope my money's green." He was with a couple of very effeminate, young English major student guys. I was flabbergasted. I couldn't think of anything to say. I suppose I should have said something, or thanked him, but I hate to talk to any celebrities and for some reason, I was awestruck. I went home and had a few drinks. You see celebrities all the time in new York. Last week, I passed David Bryne on 12th street. I could give a shit. But Ginsberg, I was like WOW. I don't know, I should have said something, but I didn't. I thought about it for a long time though. So, I love to read Allen Ginsberg still. I pick up his collected works, and open up any page and just GO. OUR THOUGHTS ARE OF YOU TONIGHT ALLEN. AH AMERICA YOUR LIBRARIES ARE FILLED WITH TEARS
Date: Sun, 06 Apr 1997 21:57:15 -0400 To: From: Zero Gravity ( Subject: My First Encounter With Allen Ginsberg My First Encounter With Allen Ginsberg by Zero Gravity I remember well that first meeting with Allen Ginsberg. It was the mid-sixties and I was a highschool student at Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio. My friends and I hung out at a University Circle coffeehouse called La Cave which was a stop on the national folk circuit. Each week another artist would pass through like Odetta, Phil Oches, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, Eric Von Schmidt, Buffy St. Marie, Eric Anderson, Jesse Collin Young, Tim Buckley and Richie Havens. In another category, far above the rest, was Dylan! He was the groundbreaker, the poetic visionary. Dylan's songs had introduced us to the magic of poetry as popular art. I had noticed a photo of Ginsberg on the back of a Dylan album, and had rushed to my neighborhood bookstore asking for anything by Allen Ginsberg. They had a copy of "Howl", which I snatched up and devoured. Shortly thereafter, when I saw a notice that Allen Ginsberg was going to recite "Howl" at a church near University Circle, I wasn't about to miss it. Hearing Allen recite Howl shattered the walls of my midwestern suburban 50's upbringing. This meeting with Allen was one of the most pivotal experiences of my life, along with a plane trip from Boston to LA with Timothy Leary and an afternoon spent with Ram Das in Taos. Last year Tim left the body and Ram Das recently had a stroke. Now, Allen's transition reminds me of the transitory nature of human existence and inspires me to savour each moment, be here now, question authority and dance ecstatically into the Light. _/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/ "No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke, "There are many here among us who think that life is but a joke. But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate, So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late." Bob Dylan - "All Along The Watchtower" _/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/
From: (CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON) To: Subject: Ginsberg press tributes - Allen, Dylan and Kerouac Date: Wed, 09 Apr 1997 20:12:32 GMT 'And many a road taken by many a friend, And each one I've never seen again' ('Bob Dylan's Dream') 'Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love?' (Allen Ginsberg, 'A Supermarket in California') Today's press (7-4-97) offers a couple of long tributes to Allen Ginsberg, just deceased (5-4-97, in New York) at the age of 70, which include some points of Dylan interest. 'Liberation' (Paris) has a two-page spread (pp. 32-33) entitled 'Ginsberg, mort on the beat'. In a sub-article by Yves Bigot ('Rock Around Allen'), the claim is made (I translate from the French) that 'there would have been no Dylan without Kerouac, or Lennon without Ginsberg'. The Beat Generation are seen as liberators of language and apostles of a new kind of street poetry: '"Like a Rolling Stone" is "On The Road" ... all the work of Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band is "Kaddish"'. Dylan is quoted (I have to re-translate!): 'Ginsberg is tragic and energetic at one and the same time, a genius of the word, an exceptional smuggler (? - the French has 'passeur' - or did Dylan say 'hustler'?), America's most influential poet since Walt Whitman' (no source is given). It is said that Ginsberg recorded William Blake's 'Songs of Innocence and Experience' with musicians including Don Cherry and Dylan (presumably never released!). The article also mentions a 1982 recording with Dylan called 'First Blues' (is this the one that was never issued for reasons of obscenity?). Apparently Allen once asked Dylan: 'What shall I do with my music?', and Bob replied: 'Offer it to the street'. *** The London 'Guardian' for the same day has a page (first section, p. 10) entitled 'Beat of the Time'. In a sub-article by British poet Michael Horowitz (entitled 'America I've given you all and now I'm nothing'), we have the reference: 'Bob Dylan has said it (i.e. Allen's work) helped him to reclaim folksong from the shadows and shout lines like "to live outside the law you must be honest"'. *** Neither article mentions Ginsberg's sleevenotes for 'Desire', nor do any of the writers speak of his nomination of Dylan last year for the Nobel Prize. It is strange that both the writers who put Dylan's name forward, Ginsberg and John Bauldie, are now no longer with us; let us hope the nomination remains valid. *** The Ginsberg connection should obviously be further explored in relation to the whole question of Dylan's work as poetry/literature. It is more than pertinent that Bob has at times worked alongside an established, if iconoclastic poet such as Ginsberg, and that they appear to have collaborated on an interpretation of Blake (if anyone knows more about that one, please let me know!). *** Finally, on Kerouac, it occurs to me that there is a collection of his poems called 'Mexico City Blues' (which I don't, unfortunately, know), which should shed light on the occurrence of those three words on 'Empire Burlesque', and, possibly, on 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues' (Juarez City Blues??). Concerning 'On The Road', Guthrie was of course another major source for Dylan's road themes and imagery, and it's noticeable that 'Song to Woody' has the word 'road' in both its first and last stanzas, as if the journey were everlasting. So, too, does 'Tangled Up In Blue' ('I was standing on the side of the road', 'Me, I'm still on the road'): is this song haunted by the ghost of Neal Cassady? There is a Grateful Dead song which is a direct tribute to Cassady; it would be more Dylan's style to do it obliquely ... *** just a few jottings - if anyone has more ideas, or info, or planet news (or waves), let's get a-threading on that golden loom ... Chris Christopher Rollason Metz, France 'Everybody does that way, Huck' 'Tom, it don't make no difference. I ain't everybody and I can't stand it'. (Mark Twain, 'Tom Sawyer')
Stephen Scobie's tribute, written for On The Tracks.

Serge Mironneau's site.

Ginsberg Web site

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