More Words to Live By

'Pataphysical Letters': Correspondence between René Daumal & Julien Torma

"Death is a good old farce which stops us taking life too seriously. It pardons us. This is why people want, at any cost, not to die, to be immortal, to be even more alive afterwards than before: so that they can remain serious. Death liberates us from that." -- Julien Torma in a letter to René Daumal (Nov. 2, 1929), translated by Dennis Duncan and cited in the pamphlet Pataphysical Letters [The London Institute of 'Pataphysics, 2012] Was Julien Torma a fictional creation of Daumal's? Click to read page 56 of Kathleen Ferrick Rosenblatt's … [Read more...]

‘American Porn’ on Vinyl LP, with CD

'American Porn' by Heathcote Williams, on vinyl

Heathcote Williams has recorded his poems “Mr. President,” “The United States of Porn,” “Forbidden Fruit, or The Cybernetic Apple Core,” and “Snuff Films at the White House.” In their uncompromising nakedness they are CT scans of history. “All his work is deeply political. I think it’s informed not only by violent contempt for the way people are manipulated, for the status quo, the complacency of the status quo, but also — certainly more and more evident in his later work — by compassion for the weak.” -- Harold Pinter, on Heathcote … [Read more...]

William S. Burroughs: The Life, the Myth, the Influence

William S. Burroughs Centennial Conference hosted by The Center for Humanities, at the CUNY Graduate Center.

April 25, 2014 + Free and open to the public at The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave. (at 34th Street) in Manhattan.+ 10:00 a.m. "Editing Burroughs" -- John Bennett and Geoffrey Smith+ 11:00 a.m. "Burroughs and Literary Magazines" -- Jed Birmingham, Charles Plymell, and Jan Herman +2:00 p.m. "Biography and Photography" -- Barry Miles in conversation with Oliver Harris +3:30 p.m. "Gender Trouble" -- Anne Waldman, Regina Weinreich, and Ann Douglas +5:30 p.m. Keynote: "Cutting up the Trilogy" -- Oliver Harris+ The building and the … [Read more...]

Poet in ‘Orbit’: Sound & Sense Go ‘Round and ‘Round

'Orbit' by Hanne Lippard

Click to listen. by Hanne Lippard + Moonrise on Mars + Marsset on Sun + Sunset on Moon + Earthrise on Sun + Sunday at Noon + Sun sets at Dawn + Dawn dawns on Man + One man drowns + Man sits down + Gets nothing done + Dawn sits on Earth + Moonrise on Sun + Man sets on Moon + Gets nothing done + Small step + Down + Dawn moves a man + One step ahead + Giant leap + Mankind on Mars + Is there? + Life + Sets on land + Gets nothing done + Sits down + Giantkind + Kind Sun + Kind men of mankind + Sunset at meantime … [Read more...]

Hans Walgenbach Has Art Yen for Cold Turkey

From Cold Turkey Press Exhibition [Walgenbach Books & Art, Rotterdam]

Cold Turkey Press is een legendarische Rotterdamse underground uitgeverij die van 1970 tot 1976 actief was. Gerard Bellaart, beeldende kunstenaar en initiatiefnemer, hervatte het fonds in 2006 met publicaties van oa Ira Cohen, William S. Burroughs, Heathcote Williams, Samuel Beckett, Sinclair Beiles, Jean Arp, Antonin Artaud, Kurt Schwitters, Ed Sanders, Ezra Pound en Gerard Bellaart zelf, die tevens verantwoordelijk is voor de beeldende kwaliteit van alle verschenen edities. " … [Read more...]

A Woman’s Point of View from a Tough-Guy Novelist

Nelson Algren, 1962 [Photo: Steve Deutch]

There was no chance to note Nelson Algren's birthday two days ago. As Doug Ramsey has pointed out ArtsJournal was taken down by hacker bots. But now that we're back, herewith a belated blogpost to celebrate a novelist who had a reputation as a tough guy but who wrote with deep sensitivity about women. Show me a passage equal to the one about Sophie, who is doing "tenement time," which he recorded for a 1963 release on vinyl by Lynne and Harry Schwartz, beautifully produced I should add. It is part of their Calliope Author Readings (Great … [Read more...]

In a Light Mood: ‘No Severed Bodies or Bloody Stumps’

'The Condition,' a new postcard from Cold Turkey Press [2014]

The front of this hallucinatory postcard, published by Cold Turkey Press in a limited edition of 36 copies, shows a collage by the late Norman Ogue Mustill. It is "Mustill in a light sorta mood, or so he thought," I wrote Ben Schot, Cold Turkey's distributor. "Light for him, anyway: no severed bodies or bloody stumps. He did not always ream out the human race. He had a feel for the vulnerability of pop culture, which he liked to satirize." When Cold Turkey's artist-publisher Gerard Bellaart asked for a paragraph to go with Mustill's collage, I … [Read more...]

‘Eating the Rich and Famous, or Celebrity Roadkill’

'Eating the Rich' by Heathcote Williams [Cold Turkey Press, 2014]

"Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor." -- Thomas Jefferson, from his letters Words by Heathcote Williams. Montage and narration by Alan Cox. "I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that … [Read more...]

‘America: How It Works’ by Heathcote Williams

The fierce dissidence of Williams's polemical poetry is as radical as Shelley’s. "America: How It Works" bears witness to the monster within "the most dangerous country in world history." Words by Heathcote Williams. Narration and montage by Alan Cox. The business of America is business, And it's number one business is war. It uses Hollywood to peddle its values To turn the world into its whore. But few of its citizens have the guts to say boo. Otherwise they'd be refusing to pay taxes. So, like their own media, they back war … [Read more...]

Charley Plymell Tells and Shows in Strings of Emails

Poster for a recent appearance.

Charley Plymell's long, seemingly endless strings of emails are fascinating to read. He has known so many Beat writers and artists and has popped up in so many places with them that I can't help thinking of him -- half in wonder and half in disbelief -- as the Zelig of the Beat Generation. Unlike Zelig, however, he has actual evidence to support his many, many tales. There he is in snowy Cherry Valley, for example, displaying a painting by William Burroughs that Burroughs once gave him and his wife Pam. "We sold it over phone ... 3 grand," he … [Read more...]

SOS: An American Poet Is Waiting to Be Rescued

Somali Piracy Threat Map

Cody Maher, expat American poet and world traveler living in Heidelberg, writes in an email message that he was sitting around "watching countries go to the dogs feeding the people nothing but lies" when it occurred to him that "the only safe place one day might be international waters." This must have been before the Somali pirates stuck their noses in, but his poem makes more sense today than ever. INTERNATIONAL WATERS I wanted to run away to a country Where people weren't running to get out I arrived at one country And I was … [Read more...]

‘Burroughs in London’ by Heathcote Williams

Transatlantic Review 14

Now that the Burroughs centenary has moved into high gear -- marked by a massive new biography, a lecture series, a remastered movie, all kinds of performances, an art exhibition (more than one, actually), and what have you (including a major conference in Indiana, of all places, and an academic gathering planned for April in New York) -- it suddenly dawned on Heathcote Williams that he'd known the man on and off for more than half a century. 
I first met William Burroughs in 1963. I was working for the now-defunct literary magazine … [Read more...]

Two New Poster Cards from Cold Turkey Press

'An Iron Fish Rusts' by Malcolm Ritchie [Cold Turkey Press, 2014]

An Iron Fish Rusts up in the hills at this age now even my stick takes a rest * on a tarmac a single stone like aloneness * in the glen the silence of an echo waiting for sound * in the empty sky a crow crows the empty sound of a crow According to Dr. Philip Masonbar, noted pathologist and jetset raconteur, The Condition was originally described in 1895 by Sir Arthur Blonk. As an afterthought, Blonk said: "Going to decimate San Francisco? Then you must withhold the admission, or prepare to lay aside through strict … [Read more...]