Category Archives: Bob Holman

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 25


Natalie Goldberg’s “Talk When You Talk, Cry When You Cry: Thoughts On My Teacher” is old news (it was written in 2006) but, in that felicitous phrase of Ezra Pound’s, it’s “news that stays news”. “He’s been dead for nine years”, she writes (it’s fourteen now) “and I miss him..”..All over again I want to honor him..” Well, honor him we will/honor him we do. His 85th birthday is coming up. The Bob Holman-inspired “Ginsberg Turn On‘s” have begun (an initiative we noted here earlier) – Sophia Holman dons glasses to read, flawlessly, Allen’s poem, “The End”, Hettie Jones, earlier in the week, kicked off the series. There will be regular Tuesday-night Ginsberg promotions at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club – and on the weekend of Allen’s birthday (June 3,4,5), in New York’s East Village, not unintentionally timed – the annual HOWL! Festival (the recently-launched HOWL! Festival blog can be accessed here).

Meanwhile, as an adjunct to this, CA Conrad continues to build up his video side-show – Jupiter 88 – Allen Ginsberg Edition. David Wolach, Frank Sherlock, Trisha Low, Dorothea Lasky, Jason Zuzga, Julia Bloch and Sarah Dowling, are the most recent contributors. Stay tuned for more.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Boulder, Colorado, this weekend, don’t miss two important screenings of a special double-feature at the recently-opened Boedecker Theater – Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s “Howl” and Jerry Aronson’s “The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg“. This will mark the first time these two films have been shown together, as well as the first time that the Boedecker has hosted a filmmaker to discuss his work (Aronson will be on hand to answer questions after both the Sunday the 15th, and Monday the 16th, 6 o’clock showings)

and next Tuesday (the 17th) if you’re in New York, don’t miss Bill Morgan and Hettie Jones in conversation at the St Marks Bookshop (31 Third Avenue (at 9th Street). The two will be discussing Beat Atlas, Bill’s most recent book.

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Filed under Bob Holman, CA Conrad, David Wolach, Dorothea Lasky, Frank Sherlock, Howl Festival, Jason Zuzga, Jerry Aronson, Julia Bloch, Natalie Goldberg, Sarah Dowling Howl, Sophie Holman, Trisha Low

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 18


[Allen Ginsberg 25th Anniversary Reading of Howl, 1981 – photo by Marvin Moore]

Marvin Moore’s extraordinary picture of an ecstatic Allen reading from Howl at Columbia University in 1981, on the occasion of the poem’s 25th anniversary, heads up our weekly round-up. Further images (a studio portrait (from 1985), two portraits of Allen in the street (from the same day) and Allen and Peter in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1992) can be accessed here. Check out his website for more indepth look at his work.

Two new Allen biographies that we’re looking forward to – Well, Steve Finbow is just putting finishing touches on his (a critical biography, for Reaktion Books’ “Critical Lives” series). His thoughts on that can be found here. Meanwhile, Bob Rosenthal (Allen’s long-time secretary)’s first-hand account of life at the center of the Ginsberg vortex, Straight Around Allen, is, also. well on its way towards completion, so we hear.

Anne Waldman and her son Ambrose (Bye) recall the generosity of Allen on two shaky but charming You Tube video clips (from a December 2010 date in Cookesville, Tennessee), here and here. More of Anne on that occasion can be seen here. Damion Rogers interviews her for Lemon Hound. The Iovis Trilogy, the complete edition of her epic (720-page!) poem. “a visionary call to poetic arms”, will be published by Coffee House Press early this summer

Bob Holman, recently on tour with her in Montreal, proposes what he calls “a Ginsberg turn-on”. It can, he explains,” take any form, so long as Allen is evoked (probably by reading his poetry), his energy acknowledged,(and) the continuance of his work engaged”. His own Bowery Poetry Club plans to inaugerate a “Ginsberg Turn On”, coming up soon, twenty minutes, each night, every Tuesday evening.

Here’s a sad story about Harry Smith “turning in his grave” (from this week’s New York Post). And The Chelsea Hotel is similarly not what it was in days of yore.

More on The Whole Shot, Rick Shober’s project on The Collected Interviews with Gregory Corso, that we mentioned last week, can be found here.

And.. 54 years ago today Chester MacPhee of United States Customs Office in San Francisco seized 520 copies of the second printing of Howl and Other Poems on the grounds its contents were obscene.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Bob Holman, Bob Rosenthal, Gregory Corso, Harry Smith, Marvin Moore, Peter Orlovsky, Rick Shober, Steve Finbow

>Allen Ginsberg’s Personal Ad

A good response to the posting of Bob Holman’s “Poetry Spot” (Allen Ginsberg Does Tai Chi) last week. So here’s another one. This, from his 1996 PBS series, The United States of Poetry. Allen reads (and acts out) his bitter-sweet late poem, ”Personals Ad” (from Cosmopolitan Greetings) . F.y.i., that young man in his skivvies just might be our very own Peter Hale!

The text of the poem can be read here – And perhaps we should also point out that this poem was one of twelve of Allen’s chosen for Random House’s audiobook, The Voice of the Poet – Allen Ginsberg. It was also given a memorable setting by composer David Del Tredici in his 20o1 song cycle, Gay Life.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Bob Holman, David Del Tredici, Personal Ad

>Allen Ginsberg Does Tai Chi


Thanks to poet-entrepreneur Bob Holman for this one. Between 1986 and 1994 Bob produced over 50 “Poetry Spots” for the New York public television station, WNYC featuring a whole range of poets. This, the one on Allen, is one of the earliest of them. Check his You Tube channel for others. The text of the poem, “In My Kitchen in New York – for Bataan Faigao” (dated “Manhattan Midnight, September 5, 1984”) is included in White Shroud – Poems 1980-1985 and in Collected Poems and here
Bataan Faigao is a full-time faculty member at Naropa University, and chair of the Traditional Eastern Arts Department. He is also director of the Rocky Mountain T’ai-chi ch’uan Foundation. He began studying t’ai-chi ch’uan with Grand Master Cheng Man-ching in 1968 and for the next seven years practiced under his guidance. He has been teaching t’ai-chi ch’uan since 1976.


Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Bataan Faigao, Bob Holman, T'ai Chi

>LA Times: Reading Howl and Howl

>Quite the reaction at Hollywood’s Sunset 5…

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–> Howl_oct1_1

By the time they got to the Holy-Holy-Holy part, the 50 poets and fans who’d assembled for a group reading of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” had worked up lots of momentum. Voices raised together, arms thrust in the air, people stamped. The event was scheduled but unscripted, appropriately chaotic; the sound guy got caught in traffic so there were no mics. No problem: a rough circle formed and people raised their voices one by one, sometimes doubling or overlapping. Read full story at LA Times >>

While we’re on HOWL group readings, here’s one from this year’s Howl Festival, conducted by Bob Holman, with Anne Waldman among others reading sections.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Bob Holman, Howl, LA Times

>More Howl Reviews


Angel-Headed Hipster

Artist Eric Drooker howled with Ginsberg, illustrates his epic poem

By Jerry Portwood

You probably know artist Eric Drooker’s work even though you may not recognize his name. He’s produced artwork for over a dozen covers of The New Yorker, several depicting books stacked to resemble skyscrapers. Now his art has been adapted as animated sequences in Howl, the film about the landmark 1957 obscenity trial on the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem Howl, starring James Franco. Read full review in NY Press >>

And A.O. Scott’s New York Times Review.

Aaron Tveit and James Franco in “Howl.” Jojo Whilden/Oscilloscope Laboratories

Leaping Off the Page, a Beatnik’s Poetic Rant

I saw the best poems of previous generations destroyed by sanity, well-fed, calm, neatly dressed, tiptoeing through lecture halls at 10 a.m. looking for a passing grade on a term paper. Read full New York Times Review >>

Bob Holman’s review for…

Howl – The Movie

James Franco IS Allen Ginsberg


I want medals all around for those who are bringing us the movie Howl, already released in San Francisco, due in New York next week—I mean that tells you something right there, and I like it! Yes, this is a movie based on a poem—when was the last time you saw one of those? And it’s done real smart too—while they get most of the lines of Ginsberg’s classic into the film, they serve another purpose here, or several purposes, and a linear rendering just ain’t one of them. Read full review >>

And a quite good one from NPR’s Scott Tobias as well…

James Franco, Loosing A ‘Howl’ In Ginsberg’s Honor

James Franco as Allen Ginsberg

In an interview with Playboy magazine — see, people do read it for the articles — Allen Ginsberg was asked about his struggles to accept his homosexuality. His answer, re-created in the unconventional and illuminating biopic Howl, cuts to the heart of what his poems (and this movie) seek to express. Read full Story >>

And the Wall Street Journal gives especially good review of Drooker’s animation sequences.

An animated scene, drawn by Eric Drooker, from the new film ‘Howl.’ [Oscilloscope Laboratories]

“Howl,” the new film about Allen Ginsberg and his controversial poem, is no simple narrative. The action flits among the titular poem’s first public reading—at San Francisco’s Six Gallery on Oct. 7, 1955—to the obscenity trial that followed in 1957 to an interview with the poet (played by James Franco). Meanwhile, soaring in and around all this are long stretches of animation depicting the text’s urban, surrealist visions. Read full story >>

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Filed under A O Scott, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Holman, Eric Drooker, Howl, James Franco, Jeffrey Friedman, Jerry Portwood, New York Press, New York Times, Rob Epstein, Scott Tobias, Wall Street Journal