. . . when it seems that everybody is looking back over their shoulder more with nostalgia than disgust. I am not immune. Scrolling through some old emails, I came across this one called “from NELSON ALGREN’S LETTERS TO RAJAH.” Rajah was Roger Groening, a friend of Nelson’s and later of mine. Roger died in 2015. I think of him often. He and Nelson became friends, initially by mail, when Roger wrote him a fan letter. They remained friends for some 20 years until Nelson’s death, in 1981.
Hard to believe, but there it is, Your Obituary Is Waiting, listed at #10 this morning in Amazon UK’s top-seller ranking of obituary books. Which goes to show that Amazon’s rankings are, among other things, ridiculous. My “deformed sonnets” are poems not obituaries. But if British readers don’t complain, why should I? The book is also listed at #272 in its “American poetry” ranking. Which might indicate that Amazon UK hasn’t gone totally nuts—except that when I consider the lack of sales of even one copy of the book in either category both lists make as much sense as Donald Trump.
The artist Tomi Ungerer has died at the age of 87. He was “a lifelong activist who protested against racial segregation, the Vietnam war and the election of US President Donald Trump . . .” Speaking about himself as an artist, Ungerer said, “I have the full respect of a piece of white paper, which I then shall rape with my drawing or my writing. When I draw, it’s the real me.”
It is a rare thing when a book comes along that looks as magnificent as Flesh Film and reads like an hallucination. To be clear, Jürgen Ploog is an author who does not write for everyone. The “story” he tells in Flesh Film has the pulpy tone of science fiction, a narrator who sounds like a globe-trotting private […]
Finally, you can buy it in the States without paying the exorbitant cost of international postage. The Z Collection is an illustrated memoir in the form of personal essays about Nelson Algren, William Burroughs, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, E.L. Doctorow, William Styron, Abbie Hoffman, among others, and about the literary underground of the 1960s. “Herman, a […]
John Bryan published so many underground papers and magazines over three decades — beginning in 1962 with renaissance, a San Francisco literary journal inspired by Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception (which John said he read “half a dozen times,” and which turned him onto LSD) — that Warren Hinckle called him “the Peter Zenger of […]
This day should not pass without acknowledging the lead editorial in this morning’s New York Times: Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses. It points out, among other things, that Any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and […]
My father drove a cab at night. This was the early 1950s. A Brooklyn-born New Yorker, he knew the city’s streets the way a junky knows his veins. I thought of him because of a headline in today’s New York Times: American-Born Cabbies Are a Vanishing Breed in New York. Dad also knew doormen, theater […]
At the urging of my staff of thousands, examples from Gerard Bellaart’s word-based series of artworks have been a continuing feature of recent blogposts. Other stenciled texts of his that have appeared so far include “Artaud Fragmentations,” “tric trac du ciel,” “Throws Up Words,” “ROT NOT,” and “No Mind Fits 5.” There are more to […]