This handmade, 16-page chapbook is not about Covid-19, but the virus is present in every line.
An email arrived just in tiime for Thanksgiving, asking for contributions to help overturn the election even after he’s been declared—signed, sealed, and certified—the absolute loser. Meanwhile construction has begun on renovations to his post-presidential living quarters in Florida. Does he believe his supporters are brain-dead suckers? Of course.
When Jack Kerouac read Neal Cassady’s spontaneous rush of words, he claimed it was more alive than any piece of writing he had ever seen. In its effusive style, its freewheeling candor, its Proustian (yes, Proustian!) introspection, the letter touched off a response in Kerouac that reshaped entirely his own approach to writing. The result was an explosion of “road” novels, beginning with “On the Road,” in which Cassady is renamed Dean Moriarity and seen as nothing less than “the root, the soul” of Beat legend.
Originally posted Jan. 17, 2018. By now many, many millions of people have seen the rebranded Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Or if they haven’t, at least that many have googled it. If you’re the one person who hasn’t seen it, here it is. And here, not incidentally, is Trump’s Shithouse in Washington D.C., also known as The White House.
Heathcote Williams was an unstoppable force. Even in death he is unstoppable. His writings, his activism, and his personal example continue to inspire others. At heart, Williams was a revolutionary. The historian Peter Whitfield placed his work in a “great tradition of visionary dissent” stretching from William Blake and John Ruskin to DH Lawrence and David Jones. I had the privilege of recording Williams’s final vinyl LP-cum-CD, “American Porn,” at his home in Oxford several years before he died. The poems he read — “Mr. President,” “The United States of Porn,” “Forbidden Fruit, or The Cybernetic Apple Core,” and “Snuff Films at the White House” — were in their uncompromising nakedness CT scans of history.
We’ve been following Amélie, a talented, 14-year-old student artist whose drawing has shown impressive skill. The last time she was asked to copy a sketch by Daumier. The point of that exercise was to shape the forms through the tonal value of the lines rather than outlining them with a fixed line. The idea was to develop the contours of the forms through the process of drawing. This time she was asked to draw an object as part of a study of natural forms.
“To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense vs. nonviolence, black power vs. civil rights, the sword vs. the shield. Peniel E. Joseph’s dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, ‘The Sword and the Shield,’ upends longstanding preconceptions to transform the understanding of the twentieth century’s most iconic African American leaders.” — GC Presents / The Center for Humanities
FREE ONLINE EVENT: “The pop-culture universe of superheroes is filled with extraordinary humans and abilities. Captain America, the Hulk, and Black Panther seem to lie firmly in the realm of fantasy, but the technology behind them might not be as farfetched as we think. In his book ‘The Science of Marvel,’ Sebastian Alvarado shows that, using quantum physics, evolutionary biology, and mechanical engineering, we can find real-world parallels to superpowers such as ‘spidey sense’ and Thor’s lightning. He speaks with Shane Campbell-Staton, host of the podcast ‘The Biology of Superheroes,’ about where the science meets the fiction.” — GC Presents
When William Jennings Bryan died, in 1925, H.L. Mencken wrote the most devastating obituary of an American politician you’ll ever read—and that includes Hunter S. Thompson’s farewell to Nixon. All you need to do is substitute “Trump” for “Bryan” to see how snug the fit will be when Trump takes his permanent leave.
“It’s wasted breath to tell a scumbag: ‘It’s not nice to be such a swine. Why don’t you smarten up, get your act together?’ We fail to comprehend that the majority of scumbags are consciously scummy—they are aware of it and would not wish to be any different, as long as they’re able to conceal their scumminess.”
— NARCOTICS by Stanisław I. Witkiewicz
“Today’s computers compose music that sounds “more Bach than Bach” and turn photographs into paintings in the style of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” They also write screenplays. But are algorithms truly creative—or are they merely tools to be used by musicians, artists, and writers?” — Creative GC: Art and Science Connect
Diane di Prima died several days ago in San Francisco at age 86. The obituaries have poured in, paying tribute to a life devoted to writing—her own and others’. She was a poet, editor, publisher, memoirist, novelist and, not least, a social activist. I believe she will be remembered most for her poetry. What I like is its simplicity. I understand it. I like its rich feeling, which is straightforward and strong and not at all sentimental. Her poems age well. I’d be surprised if her poetry didn’t last longer than the poetry of many of the Beats.
Shakespeare’s writing—all of it, poetry and plays—was repulsive to Tolstoy, who claimed that whenever he read Shakespeare he was overcome by “repulsion, weariness, and bewilderment.” As for “King Lear,” ranked among Shakespeare’s four greatest tragedies, he found it “at every step,” according to George Orwell, “stupid, verbose, unnatural, unintelligible, bombastic, vulgar, tedious and full of incredible events, ‘wild ravings,’ ‘mirthless jokes,’ anachronisms, irrelevancies, obscenities, worn-out stage conventions and other faults both moral and aesthetic.”