Hart Crane was a poet, one who was known by and friends with other notable poets. The poet e. e. cummings claimed that "Crane’s mind was no bigger than a pin, but it didn’t matter; he was a born poet" (Google books preview). Tennessee Williams said he could "hardly understand a single line" but insisted he wanted to be buried at sea at the "point most nearly determined as the point at which Hart Crane gave himself back." Crane had his critics — Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound come to mind, and William Carlos Williams wrote "There is good there but it’s not for me" — but Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg used to read "The Bridge" together, John Berryman wrote one of his famous elegies on Crane and heavyweight Robert Lowell included his “Words for Hart Crane” in "Life Studies." Science/Fiction author, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) also wrote that "nobody seems to have noticed that Hart Crane really was the first space poet," quoting lines from his epic The Bridge in the story Mother in the Sky with Diamonds. Those are all words by other people, why not read a few from Crane? [more inside]
"Floss was OK with it?" An answer to the eternal question concerning the aftermath of the plums eaten that were being saved for breakfast. An entry in the Allen Ginsberg Project blog relates a conversation between Ginsberg and a student about William Carlos Williams' poem, Ginsberg's metaphysical critique and Floss's (the owner of the plums) feelings about the matter, at least as related from Williams to Ginsberg. "So you have their sexual relationship, actually, set up in that little thing."
For more than 50 years, it was believed that the first recording Allen Ginsberg made of Howl was in Berkeley in March 1956. Now, an earlier recording – made on Valentine's Day 1956 at Reed College, Portland, Oregon – has been found. Reed have made it – along with seven other poems Ginsberg read the same night – available here. (Click on "Allen Ginsberg reads ..." for drop down menu; apologies for crappy quicktime interface.)
Too Hot To Hear. Fifty years ago today, a San Francisco Municipal Court judge ruled that Allen Ginsberg's Beat-era poem "Howl" was not obscene. Yet today, a New York public broadcasting station decided not to air the poem, fearing that the Federal Communications Commission will find it indecent and crush the network with crippling fines. More on Allen Ginsberg here. Via.
The Internet Archive just got beat. William Burroughs on wishing. Mystical audio by Harry Smith. Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones) on "jism and jazz". Ginsberg reads "Howl." The most historically significant archive of Beat and post-Beat recordings is now free for the downloading. Lossless or lo-fi, saved or streamed -- the tape vault of Naropa Institute is unlocked on archive.org as the Creative Commons grows.