Archives for posts with tag: beats

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SUNFLOWER SUTRA (Excerpt)
by Allen Ginsberg

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust—
—I rushed up enchanted—it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake—my visions—Harlem . . .

MORE: Read “Sunflower Sutra” by Alllen Ginsberg in its entirety at poetryfoundation.org.

SOURCE: “Sunflower Sutra” appears in Allen Ginsberg‘s Collected Poems, 1947-1980 (HarperCollins, 1984), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Sunshine Railroad” by Emily Stauring. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation of the 1950s. He is best known for his epic poem “Howl” (1955).

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A POEM FOR DADA DAY AT THE PLACE APRIL 1, 1958
by Jack Spicer

I
The bartender
Has eyes the color of ripe apricots
Easy to please as a cash register he
Enjoys art and good jokes.
Squish
Goes the painting
Squirt
Goes the poem
He
We
Laugh.

II
It is not easy to remember that other people died
besides Dylan Thomas and Charlie Parker
Died looking for beauty in the world of the
bartender
This person, that person, this person, that person
died looking for beauty
Even the bartender died

III
Dante blew his nose
And his nose came off in his hand
Rimbaud broke his throat
Trying to cough
Dada is not funny
It is a serious assault
On art
Because art
Can be enjoyed by the bartender.

IV
The bartender is not the United States
Or the intellectual
Or the bartender
He is every bastard that does not cry
When he reads this poem.

SOURCE: Poetry (July/August 2008)

PHOTO: “Blabbermouth Night, an open reading and forum, at The Place” by C.R. Snyder, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jack Spicer (1925–1965) was a poet often identified with the San Francisco Renaissance — the name given to the emergence of writers and artists in the Bay Area at the end of WWII. In 2009, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer won the American Book Award for poetry.

ABOUT DADA: Dada is a movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire. Its founders struck upon this essentially nonsense word to embody a playful and nihilistic spirit alive among European visual artists and writers during and immediately after World War I. They salvaged a sense of freedom from the cultural and moral instability that followed the war, and embraced both “everything and nothing” in their desire to “sweep, sweep clean,” as Tristan Tzara wrote in his Dadaist Manifesto in 1920. In visual arts, this enterprise took the form of collage and juxtaposition of unrelated objects, as in the work of French artist Marcel Duchamp. T.S. Eliot’s and Ezra Pound’s allusive, often syntactically and imagistically fractured poems of this era reflect a Dadaist influence. Dadaism gave rise to surrealism. (SOURCE: poetryfoundation.org.) To read more about Dadaism, visit wikipedia.org.

ABOUT THE PLACE: Between 1955 and 1959, The Place at 1564 Grant Street was at the center of San Francisco’s Beat culture — a bohemian bar managed by Knute Stiles and Leo Krekorian. In a 1986 interview published in North Beach Magazine, Krekorian, known as the “Grandfather of the Beats,” explained some of what was special about The Place: “When Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road people started hitchhiking to San Francisco from all over the country, even from foreign countries, and their first stop was The Place. They walked in with the luggage and I usually let them park their stuff a few days until they got squared away.” (Read more of this essay by Mark Schwartz & Art Peterson, originally published in The Semaphore #181, Fall 2007 at foundsf.org.)

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FROG HAIKU
by Matsuo Basho
Translated by Allen Ginsberg

The old pond
A frog jumped in,
Kerplunk!

ART: “Good Fortune” by RHRussell. Original art available at etsy.com.

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BLUES FOR ALICE
by Clark Coolidge

When you get in on a try you never learn it back
umpteen times the tenth part of a featured world
in black and in back it’s roses and fostered nail
bite rhyme sling slang, a song that teaches without
travail of the tale, the one you longing live
and singing burn

It’s insane to remain a trope, of a rinsing out
or a ringing whatever, it’s those bells that . . .
and other riskier small day and fain would be
of the soap a sky dares

but we remand,
that we a clasp of the silence you and I, all of
tiny sphering rates back, I say to told wall, back
and back and leave my edge, and add an L

Night is so enclosed we’ll never turn its page
its eye, can be mine will be yours, to see all the people
the underneath livid reaching part and past of the lying buildings
the overreacher stops and starts, at in his head, in
in her rhythm
that knowledge is past all of us, so we flare and tap
and top it right up, constant engage and flap in on
keeping pace, our whelming rift, and soil and gleam
and give back the voice, like those eary dead

Step down off our whelm lessons and shortly fired
enter the bristle strum of Corrosion Kingdom
where the last comes by first ever ring, every
race through that tunnel of sun drop and pencil
in the margins of a flare, of higher wish than dare,
the stroked calmings of a line will spin and chime
in blue quicks of a dream blues, the chores
of those whispering gone crenulations

To meet a care is to dial redeem
and we limp in the time sound balms
so out of kilter is my name in the sun, and I win
in the moon and you sing in that other spelling of win
the way a blue is never singular

SOURCE: “Blues for Alice” appears in Clark Coolidge‘s collection Sound as Thought: Poems 1982-1984 (Green Integer, 1990), available at Amazon.com.

Illustration by John Tenniel 1865.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clark Coolidge is a poet and jazz musician. His numerous collections include This Time We Are Both (2010), Sound as Thought (1990) — chosen for the New American Poetry Series — Own Face (1978), and Flag Flutter & U.S. Electric (1966). His work is included in An Anthology of New York Poets (1970) and The Young American Poets (1968). A contributing editor for Sulfur, Coolidge lives in Petaluma, California.

MORE: Listen to a discussion of “Blues for Alice” by Clark Coolidge — hosted by Al Filreis and featuring Brian Reed, Maria Damon, and Craig Dworin — at poetryfoundation.org. Read more at Harriet.

Jack Kerouac reads his poem “San Francisco Scene” from the CD Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation, available at Amazon.com.

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shadowed
by Alexis Rhone Fancher

I am ice
I am water
I am frost
cut by glass
I am a
whistle thru my teeth
 
I lose my hat
 
My eyes are locked
my bones are soup
I am stone
I am mad
I stare out. broken.

SOURCE: “shadowed” by Alexis Rhone Fancher is based on “I Am a Shadow” by Diane di Prima.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexis Rhone Fancher is an L.A. based poet/photographer whose work can or soon will be found in Rattle, Fjords Review, The MacGuffin, Deep Water Literary Journal, BoySlut, Carnival Lit Magazine, Luciferous, HighCoupe, H_NGM_N, Gutter Eloquence, GoodMen Project, Bare Hands, Poetry Super Highway, The Juice Bar, Poeticdiversity, Little Raven, Bukowski On Wry, numerous anthologiesand elsewhere. Her photographs, published worldwide, include a spread in HEArt Online, and the covers of Witness and The Mas Tequila Review. A member of Jack Grapes’ L.A.Poets and Writers Collective, Alexis was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in 2013. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weeklywww.lapoetrix.com

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“All human beings are also dream beings.”

JACK KEROUAC

ART: “Dreaming ties all mankind together” by TatiDuarte. Prints available at redbubble.com

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Released in July 2012, The Beat Hotel (directed by Alan Govenar) is an 82-minute documentary that tells the story of a remarkable group of artists — including many of the prominent Beats writers — who in 1957 converged in a cheap Paris hotel, where some of their greatest works were born.

Hotel residents included Beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, along with novelist William Burroughs. Ginsberg began his magnum opus, Kaddish, in the hotel, located in Paris’s Latin Quarter, while Burroughs completed his most renowned work, the experimental novel Naked Lunch. Joining these Americans were artists from a variety of persuasions (photographers, painters, musicians, performance artists) who hailed from France, Britain, and other parts of the world.

The Beat Hotel tells the story of the power of art and the power of artists to influence one another in positive ways. Hotel owner Madame Rachou only allowed artists to reside in her establishment — and charged them next to nothing to live there. She felt that artists needed time and space to create — and this was her way of acting as a patron of the arts.

A good time was had by all in The Beat Hotel — and this documentary makes you feel as if you were part of it all. Eddie Woods, contributing editor for several Silver Birch Press anthologies, appears in the film — delivering a lively poetry reading outside the hotel. 

Find the movie at Amazon.com.

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shadowed
by Alexis Rhone Fancher

I am ice
I am water
I am frost
cut by glass
I am a
whistle thru my teeth
 
I lose my hat
 
My eyes are locked
my bones are soup
I am stone
I am mad
I stare out. broken.

“shadowed” is based on “I Am a Shadow” by Diane di Prima.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Writer/photographer Alexis Rhone Fancher is a member of Jack Grapes’ L.A. Poets & Writers Collective. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in RATTLE, BoySlut, The Mas Tequila Review, The Juice Bar, Cultural Weekly, High Coupe, Gutter Eloquence Magazine, Tell Your True Tale, The Good Men Project, Bare Hands, 100-Word Stories, The Poetry Super Highway, Le Zaporogue, numerous anthologies, and blogs. Her photographs have been published worldwide, including on the covers of Witness and The Mas Tequila Review. In 2013, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. Visit her at alexisrhonefancher.com.

 

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Haunt Me
by Scott Stoller

haunt me
with fierce colors,

uneven smiles,
& feverish details,

slippery words
either too hot or frozen.

“Haunt Me” is based on “Cabin” by Anne Waldman. Read the original at poetryfoundation.org.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Stoller’s work has appeared in many online and print journals and anthologies including Weave, decomP, Prick of the Spindle, and Best Contemporary Tanka. He’s a physician in the west suburbs of Chicago.