Category Archives: David Amram

>Henry Ferrini – Kerouac and Olson


Henry Ferrini’s impressionistic evocative Lowell Blues (2000) is a honeyed melancholic visual poem (somewhat imposed upon in this version by Journeyman Pictures intrusive logo!), with home-town boy Jack Kerouac’s words always at the center, featuring Lee Konitz’s mournful alto sax, and distinctive readings of Kerouac’s distinctive prose, by such distinctive voices as (those clearly belonging to) Robert Creeley, Gregory Corso, Carolyn Cassady, Johnny Depp, David Amram.. We even catch isolated fragments of Kerouac himself.

Henry’s most recent (2007) movie about the great poet-historian Charles Olson and his home town, the fishing port of Gloucester, Massachusetts, can be viewed, in its entirety, here (Tom Cheetham has a useful collection of Olson resources, should, after this, you want to look a little deeper into Olson – And to look deeper into Kerouac? – well, the folks at seem to know a fair deal).

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Filed under Carolyn Cassady, Chales Olson, David Amram, Gregory Coso, Henry Ferrini, Jack Kerouac, Johnny Depp, Lowell, Robert Creeley, Tom Cheetham

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 16


[photo/ephemera collage by Althea Crawford for Holy Soul Jelly Roll box set insert]

Bibliographic Notes

The current presence of Howl the movie has summoned up a few complimentary bibliographic articles. Gilliam Orr in The Independent proposes a reading list that begins, as everybody would suggest, with the poem itself, followed by such titles as, James Campbell’s overview, This Is The Beat Generation, Ronna C Johnson & Nancy M Grace’s Girls Who Wore Black, and Harold Chapman’s photographic documentation, which, as they carefully note, is “currently out of print”

An equally maverick selection was proposed last year by Courtney Crowder in the Chicago Tribune. Taking for granted the poem itself as the starting point, she recommends Bill Morgan’s biography, I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg; the Ginsberg-Kerouac letters; Susan Edwards’ book-length memoir, The Wild West Wind: Remembering Allen Ginsberg; and Chris Felver’s photo book, The Late Great Allen Ginsberg

This, to quote our friend Michael McClure is just “scratching the.. surface”

Cinematic Notes

Another Allen on Film – Ruth Du’s short, Six’55 (featuring Roger Massih as Allen) – “a historical interpretation of the first night Allen Ginsberg recited his famous “Howl” in the Six Gallery in San Francisco in 1955” – just won the prize for “best undergraduate cinematography” at NYU’s Fusion Film Festival.

Lawrence Kramen’s

“David Amram: The First 80 Years!” gets a “sneak preview” this weekend in Lowell

and – didn’t we mention? don’t think we did – footage from last year’s Peter Orlovsky Memorial at St Mark’s Church is now up on The Poetry Project‘s web-site (actually, it’s been there now a good long while!)

Kerouac at Lowell

Yes, Lowell – don’t forget Jack Kerouac’s birthday tomorrow! (Saturday March 12th) – His home-town is once again celebrating with a birthday-bash. As acknowledgment of the 75th anniversary of the 1936 Lowell Flood, there’ll be readings from Doctor Sax, (wherein he describes the flood,

as he remembered it, still a boy, only 14 years old). There’ll be a showing of the film Whatever Happened to Kerouac?, and an evening of jazz and blues – and poetry – at The Back Pages Jazz and Blues Club,”an evening of words, music and improv”, hosted by, and featuring David Amram

Amram notes:
“Kerouac was one of the first writers to understand the relationship of Formality and Spontaneity, and how the treasures of the Old World (the classics of Europe) had a relationship to the treasures of the New World (USA jazz, blues. Native and Latin American and Immigrant American musical forms that combined tradition with improvising. Growing up in Lowell, he had a sense of community, family, the church, the beauty of everyday life and respect for every person who crossed his path; especially people that entered the gyroscope of his life, wherever he went in his endless travels. He never lost his hometown roots or relinquished his values in order to attempt to be cutting edge or trendy. Like all great artists, he followed his heart and
remained true to himself”

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Beat Studies, Beats, David Amram, Howl, Jack Kerouac, Peter Orlovsky, Ruth Du

>Holy March First (Lucien)


“Holy Peter, holy Allen, holy Solomon, holy Lucien”

86 years ago today, Lucien Carr was born in New York City.

He died on January 28, 2005 and his obituary in the New York Times can be read here. Another obit (from Eric Homberger in The Guardian) can be read here. David Amram remembers him and his friends at UPI remember him.

Columbia archives his papers, and a couple of typed letters in that archive from Allen to Lucien, can be viewed here and here.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Columbia University, David Amram, Eric Homberger, Lucien Carr


Right now in Jim’s Coffee House in downtown, Elyria, Ohio an attempt is being made on the world-record for a marathon, non-stop, poetry-reading. “Snoetry 2: A World Record Winter Wordfest — 150 Hours of Poetry”, organized by Diane Borsenik and her poetry partner John Burroughs (no relation!), began last Wednesday, and is scheduled to go on through till Tuesday, just before mid-night, in an attempt to break the record of 120 hours, set last April by Kansas City’s redoubtable Prospero’s Books.

What pleases us is that Dianne Borsenik’s reading of the complete Howl kicked off the event. Wonder how they’re going to end it?

Meantime, a few upcoming Ginsberg-related events. Angelheaded Hipsters may be taking the stage in London, but here in New York City, and for those in the New York vicinity, the Howard Greenberg Gallery has a generous selection of images up, with the more sober title of The Photography of Allen Ginsberg. That show remains up through March 12th

Similarly in New York, on Friday (Feb 11) at Columbia University’s Morningside Campus. there’s, A Celebration of Columbia’s Beats. Join the Columbia Alumni Association, Professor Ann Douglas, composer and musician extraordinaire David Amram, writer Joyce Johnson, and a cast of dozens as Columbia honors its Beat prodigal sons, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, in the 6th annual HOWL.

The day’s program includes a reading and conversation with Joyce Johnson and readings to David Amram’s music, including selections from On the Road and the complete text of Ginsberg’s “Howl”.

Next Tuesday, Feb. 15, at the Peabody Institute Library, Peabody, Massachusetts, in the second of a free series on “Groundbreaking American Poetry”, North Shore Community College, Professor, Carl Carlsen will be publicly lecturing on “Howl.” “It’s a poem that gives you permission, so to speak”, he’s quoted as saying, “(permission) to go wild and put on the page what ordinarily might seem taboo”.

We’ve already alerted you to Angelheaded Hipsters: Discovering the Beat Movement, the talk in London on Saturday the 19th (please note that that is at 10.30 in the morning).
That same day in San Antonio, Texas (as part of their Howl Festival: Homage to Allen Ginsberg, co-sponsored by the Shambhala Meditation Center of San Antonio and The Twig Bookstore, there will be another Ginsberg-related occasion, Another reading of the complete text of Howl, followed by a marathon (not quite as marathon as Elyria!) open mic reading/ celebration. The Twig Bookstore is at 200 E Grayson Street. Small presses from around the southwest area will be on hand with new books and broadsides.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Angelheaded Hipsters, Carl Carlsen. Diane Borsenik, Columbia University, David Amram, Howard Greenberg, Howl, Joyce Johnson, Prosperos Books, Snoetry, Twig Bookstore

>Happy Birthday David Amram


A bit late notice, but for those of you in the New York City area, he’s celebrating his 80th at Symphony Space tonight, in the form of a benefit for Clearwater (founded by Pete Seeger) and The Woody Guthrie Foundation, titled: David Amram, The First 80 Years. Some things you can expect, above and beyond Mr. Amram’s ebullient good nature & music:

  • the New York premiere of Amram‘s Symphonic Variations on A Song By Woody Guthrie
  • the first ever concert performance of excerpts from Amram‘s classic film scores Splendor In The Grass & The Manchurian Candidate
  • a screening of the finale of the recent production of 12th Night — his 1968 opera, with a libretto by Joe Papp
  • filmed birthday greetings from Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson and members of the New York Philharmonic
  • live appearances by Keir Dullea, John Ventimiglia, Malachy McCourt and members of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting
  • the Queen’s College Orchestra, conducted by Maurice Peress and David Amram
  • the Brooklyn Conservatory Jazz Ensemble, directed by Earl McIntyre and the Jazz & Gospel Choirs, directed by Renee Manning
  • Candido, Bobby Sanabria, David Broza, John McEuen (of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Josh White Jr., Larry Kerwin & The Imani Winds

The curtain rises at 7:30 pm on Nov. 11 at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St., 212-864-5400. For more details on the concert, click here. For tickets, here. For more about David Amram, here.

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Filed under Clearwater, David Amram, The Woody Guthrie Foundation

>Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters. Reviews streaming in


John Cohen/Getty Images
A late-1950s New York minute: clockwise from far right, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso (in cap), the painter Larry Rivers, Jack Kerouac and the musician David Amram.

Been very pleased with the positive press devoted to the Kerouac -Ginsberg correspondence book Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters. This kind of attention shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given the stature of the two, and it is difficult to negatively critique letters that weren’t quite intended for the public. At any rate, the most recent comes from NY Times‘ Janet Maslin, and we’re told to expect a Sunday Times review from them this Sunday. Kesey Biographer, Robert Faggen, offers a glowing review in the LA Times, Chicago Sun Times publisher John Barron offers a short but sweet one, and Steve Silberman for the SF Chronicle also touches on Bill Morgan’s The Typewriter is Holy. Other smaller papers have joined in, including The Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Portland Oregonian. The oddest one comes via The Boston Globe that suggests somehow we should hear more ‘solos from Gary Snyder, John Clellon Holmes, Corso, Burroughs and others…’

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Bill Morgan, David Amram, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters, Janet Maslin, Larry Rivers, New York Times, Robe