[Allen Ginsberg reading at SFSU, November 1955. Photo c. Walter Lehrman.]
Following our news of the UND tapes, more archival gems, we are happy to report, are emerging. The poetry archive, The American Poetry Archives at The Poetry Center at the State University of San Francisco has been hard at work digitalizing its unparalleled collection (“over 4,000 hours of unique original audio and video master recordings, 1954-present”). The Poetry Center Digital Archive, as it’s so named, is now up and running and an absolute must-visit spot. You can access their growing collection here (the full Poetry Center catalog may be accessed here). Digitalized already are recordings of readings by Allen, Gregory Corso, Gary Snyder, Phil Whalen, Lew Welch, John Wieners, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, William Carlos Williams (!), Robert Duncan, the list just goes on and on.
The 1956 recreation of the famous 1955 Six Gallery reading, introduced by Kenneth Rexroth and featuring Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Michael McClure is now available, for example, to marvel at and listen in on – over half-a-century later!
As is Allen’s April 27 1959 reading at The Poetry Center (introduced by its legendary director, Ruth Witt-Diamant). Allen reads, in its entirety, his recently-composed “Kaddish”, along with other works – “Poem Rocket”, “Message From Paris”, “Squeal”, “Wrote This Last Night”, “The Lion For Real”, “To Aunt Rose”, “Ignu” and “To Lindsay”. A singularly extraordinary moment. A truly remarkable recording.