Follow the countdown—the days, hours, minutes, and yes, even the seconds—to Blake Gopnik’s chat with Annalyn Swan about his biography of Andy Warhol. Well, it IS a big book. Big in page count (976). Big in subject (Warhol’s influence rivals Picasso’s.) Stellar in praise. (I’ve read only one review that dumps on it, persuasively.) So okay, a countdown.
Jeff Ball, collector extraordinaire of rare Burroughsiana, tells me he recently picked up a handful of relevant little magazines at auction in his seemingly endless quest to capture an intriguing slice of literary history. His collection also includes scattered ephemera which illuminate peculiar nooks and crannies of that literary history sometimes to telling effect. Have a look at a postcard to Herbert Huncke—signed by Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Peter Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso—that he also recently acquired. The ironies abound.
Jeff Ball’s latest acquisition—a first-edition copy of “The Exterminator”— is not only signed by both William Burroughs and Brion Gysin but has original artwork that Gysin drew and signed on an inside page. “I’m giddy!” says Ball, whose collection of rare first editions by Burroughs and associated writers, includes some of the most hard-to-find materials anywhere.
“My texts belong to the world / Even when they are forged copies / My translators complain of climbing steps to attics / They complain of sifting through the debris in basements / They complain over the endless boxes stored / In countries that don’t even allow them entry / A watchdog guards a box somewhere in Moscow / An irate lover protects another box / My translators complain of bad backs and dust / One translator complained because of the food …” —William ‘Cody’ Maher
A friend writes: A little re-Joyceing in this wee lonesome blooming Molly Malone. You can hear the genes of Irish genius in the DNABC of this little clamourer. You feel she’s on the verge of channelling Beckett, Behan, O’Casey, O’Brien, Yeats et al, at any moment. A true antidote to popery and nunnery, and the cold, cold kiss of Covid. A little four-leaf clover complaining from beneath the cloven hoof of parental devilry. She must have been fed Guinness in the womb, there’s so much blarney in her tongue. Man, you feel she possesses such alchemical witchery, she could eat Covid, and shit it out the other end as an emerald. A rare little island of hope.
Over the years two dozen items about or related to Clayton Patterson have appeared on this blog. It’s an indication of the staff’s interest in his cultural significance. Patterson’s importance in general, but especially on the Lower East Side of New York City, comes from his commitment to social and political values for the good of his community. He has put his life on the line to document and preserve it in a way that few are brave enough to do. Now his role as both activist and outsider artist in his own right is the subject of a new book, titled simply Clayton.—yes, with a period—full stop. For those who know him, or of him, his name alone is sufficient to tell the story. For those who don’t, Permuted Press has gathered a group of remarkable graphic artists to tell it.
He died at home in Frankfurt, peacefully, surrounded by family. Jürgen Ploog was 85. “Jay,” the name he went by among close friends, was widely regarded as one of Germany’s premiere second-generation Beat writers. But his narrative fiction—like that of William S. Burroughs, a mentor with whom he was associated—was more experimental and closer to Brion Gysin’s or J.G. Ballard’s than to Jack Kerouac’s or Allen Ginsberg’s.
Jay called his style “cut prose,” an adventurous collage technique developed from the cut-up methods formulated by Burroughs and Gysin back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was a gifted visual collagist as well, producing hybrid works in recent years such as Flesh Film, a fever dream of a novella originally published in a digital prose-only edition by realitystudio.org, and subsequently perfected in print by Moloko+.