Sanders: ‘Book of Glyphs’ = ‘Smile-Book of Grace-Joy’

'A Book of Glyphs' by Edward Sanders [Granary Books, 2014]

Granary Books has just published a facsimile edition of Ed Sanders’ first book-length work of glyphs, which he created in Florence, Italy, in 2008, using colored pencils and a small sketchbook. The publisher notes: Though each piece stands on its own, collectively the 72 glyphs convey, with characteristic humility and humor, many of the themes Sanders has explored over his long and diverse career, including history, myth, activism and pacifism. The glyph — “a drawing that is charged with literary, emotional, historical or mythic and poetic … [Read more...]

Did Frank O’Hara Write ‘Captain Bada’? I Thought So

Captain Bada by Frank O'Hara [The San Francisco EARTHQUAKE No. 2, page 6]

I see there's a 50th anniversary edition of Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems out in hardcover from City Lights Books. It reminds me of a question I've had for years about a poem of O'Hara's that I've never had answered. Back in 1967, the year after O'Hara died, the New York poet Jim Brodey came knocking on my door in San Francisco and gave me a poem of O'Hara's -- "Captain Bada" -- for a little mag I was editing. Brodey said it had never been published. I must've asked him how he happened to have the manuscript, but maybe I didn't because I was … [Read more...]

Cold Turkey Press Publishes Portrait of Nelson Algren

TICKET TO NEW JERSEY: A Portrait of Nelson Algren [Cold Turkey Press, 2014]

This is a byte of self promotion. A byte? Haw. From the jacket blurb: Who could resist a study of a writer that begins, “if his writing had taken a flying fuck into a deep canyon, it was always balls-to-the-wall”? Jan Herman has borrowed the ghost of Algren’s golden arm with which to write this riveting, gonzo mini-biography of the man Hemingway called “the best novelist in America after William Faulkner.” Algren was being translated by Jean-Paul Sartre while he was sleeping with Sartre's wife and he preferred to spend time in boxing gyms … [Read more...]

Touring ‘Poetry Army’ Charts History of Radical Verse

A Poster for 'The Poetry Army' Tour in the U.K.

A posting by the Stop the War Coalition: From The Peasants’ Revolt to recent events at Tahrir Square, this incendiary performance celebrates radical verse in all its glory down through the centuries. The longstanding collaboration between poet Heathcote Williams and performer Roy Hutchins, encompassing such hits as Whale Nation and Autogeddon, continues as Hutchins combines forces with local actors, poets, and musicians to give voice to a host of radical writers, such as Shakespeare, Shelley, Ginsberg, Blake and Pussy Riot. Here's a … [Read more...]

‘Unstoppable’: On Dismantling the Corporate State

'Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State' by Ralph Nader

I'm a huge fan of Brian Lamb's 'Q & A' on C-Span. Listening to Ralph Nader speak to Lamb last night about Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, Nader's new book, was typical of the broadcast's educational brilliance. The discussion, or rather the story as Nader told it, of Nader's "upbringing and the experiences that have shaped his career in consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and politics" was also typical: not just enlightening but invigorating, and what I found not so typical of … [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...]

‘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...]

‘The Intercept’ Launch: Whistleblowers Welcomed

the intercept staff(480)

This is not a Wanted! poster, but it might as well be. You can be sure these journalists are or will be targeted by intelligence officials. The Intercept is a whistleblowing enterprise created by Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras. The site was launched today by First Look Media. Our short-term mission is limited but critically important: to provide a platform and an editorial structure in which to aggressively report on the disclosures provided to us by our source, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. We decided to launch now … [Read more...]

Centennial Conference on Life & Myth of William Burroughs

CLICK FOR CONFERENCE DETAILS.

William S. Burroughs was born 100 years ago today. A centennial conference will be held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as part of a month-long WSB@100 Festival in April. The conference, sponsored by The Center for Humanities, "will explore the life and myth of one of the most innovative and influential twentieth-century American writers and artists." [You can expect] a series of talks and roundtables by editors, artists, and scholars on a range of issues from the problem of gender in Burroughs' work to his role in … [Read more...]

Whom Do You Believe? Clapper or Snowden?

The lineup: U.S. intelligence officials testified yesterday in an annual hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Clapper is the center figure. [Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP]

You won't see Edward Snowden being interviewed on American TV. But you will see the nation’s top intelligence official James R. Clapper Jr., who previously lied to Congress under oath about the existence of bulk data collection programs, all over the news accusing Snowden and unidentified "accomplices" of causing "grave damage to the country’s security." In "a scorching attack," as the New York Times characterized it this morning, Clapper assailed Snowden but "did not give specific examples to bolster his assessment about the damage Mr. … [Read more...]

Setting the Stage for Barry Miles’s ‘Call Me Burroughs’

'Call Me Burroughs -- A LIfe' by Barry Miles [TWELVE Books, 2014]

I asked Barry Miles, author of the newly published biography Call Me Burroughs: A Life, how he felt about the review he got in this week's New Yorker. "Delighted," he said, adding that he had only skimmed it and intended to give it a thorough read as soon as he had the time. Miles is on a hectic book tour, thanks to TWELVE, his publisher. He's right to be delighted because Peter Schjeldhal's review sets the stage for the book's reception. Despite his moralistic assessment of William S. Burroughs, life and literary product both, Schjeldhal … [Read more...]

What Martin Luther King Jr. Said About Jazz

Spike Wilner

Spike Wilner writes the electronic newsletter for Smalls Jazz Club, where he's the congenial manager and one of the owners. The newsletter is always informative. Never sinks to mere PR. Which makes it one of the best around. (Wilner doesn't just write the newsletter. He's a first-class jazz pianist. Click the photo or this link to hear him play. I'm particularly fond of Wilner's solo piano playing.) Anyway, it's fitting that on Martin Luther King Day, today's newsletter showed up in my email box with a recollection of what King had to … [Read more...]

Oxford: ‘An Old Hooker Past Her Sell-by Date’

Architectural design for the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

The lede graf of Connie Bruck's story in the current New Yorker about the Ukraine-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik caught my eye. Although her profile "The Billionaire's Playlist" focuses on "how an oligarch got into the American music business," the lede has plenty to say about the awful state of affairs at Oxford University. Knowing how the poet Heathcote Williams, who lives in Oxford, feels about the university he once attended, I sent him Bruck's lede. His reply was swift, pointing out that there has been a local protest campaign "to … [Read more...]

Ginsberg Does Indian Mantras on Sloow Tapes

'London Mantra' Sloow Tapes cassette [2014]

Speaking of Allen Ginsberg, I'm told a new Sloow Tapes cassette entitled "London Mantra" is about to be released. Bart de Paepe, producer of the indie label, writes, "It's a recording George Dowden made at his home in July 1973." The tape features "Ginsberg solo on his harmonium, singing Indian mantras and a few of his own songs." As I replied to de Paepe, "The truth is I've never been a fan of Allen's harmonium singing." One of Ginsberg's closest friends, William Burroughs, couldn't stand his off-key droning either. Which is being … [Read more...]

Amiri Baraka Has Died, a Remembrance

From VDRSVP#2 (enhanced with Amiri Baraka photo)

Amiri Baraka's obituary in the NY Times this morning mentioned his first contact with Allen Ginsberg. ...to whom, in the puckish spirit of the times, he had written a letter on toilet paper reading, “Are you for real?” (“I’m for real, but I’m tired of being Allen Ginsberg,” came the reply, on what, its recipient would note with amusement, was “a better piece of toilet paper.”) It reminded me that back in 1968, long after they'd connected, Ginsberg wrote up a dream he had about Baraka and sent it to me for a little magazine I was editing. … [Read more...]