A Howl that went unheard for over 50 years
February 15, 2008 12:11 PM   Subscribe

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.)
posted by Len (27 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you very much!
posted by solipsophistocracy at 12:54 PM on February 15, 2008

[This is very good]
posted by Rumple at 12:55 PM on February 15, 2008

Hang on, what happened to all my tags? I swear they were there when I posted ... Will try and add them in again, sorry about that.
posted by Len at 12:56 PM on February 15, 2008

A Howl that still goes unheard.

Can't get it to play in either Firefox or Safari.

Crappy quicktime interface indeed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:25 PM on February 15, 2008

It would be really swell if someone would download the files and upload them in a more user-friendly environment.

(Please and thank-you.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:40 PM on February 15, 2008

Well, the direct link to the unedited version is this. It launches QT Player just fine, but all you get is an eternal "configuring" message.
I'm thinking it's their server that's the problem.

Trying to download the file to disc just give me a "File not found" error. Go figure.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:51 PM on February 15, 2008

Well, the direct link to the unedited version is this. It launches QT Player just fine, but all you get is an eternal "configuring" message.
I'm thinking it's their server that's the problem.

Trying to download the file to disc just give me a "File not found" error. Go figure.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:51 PM on February 15, 2008

I swear, I only clicked "Post" once.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:52 PM on February 15, 2008

Slightly OT: Reed has always had a slight bias toward Apple / Macintosh formats. Maybe because Steve Jobs dropped out of the college in the 70's and has always been a generous donor. I graduated a year too early to get a free mac — it would have made typing up my thesis a heck of a lot easier
posted by Araucaria at 1:56 PM on February 15, 2008

I had no problem whatsoever with any part of that site. kwitchyerbitchin'
posted by Rumple at 2:16 PM on February 15, 2008

Well it didn't work for me either so kwitchyerbitchinaboutmahbitchin'
posted by phearlez at 2:51 PM on February 15, 2008


An angelheaded sysadmin is scattering semen freely to whomever clicks on the weblink looking for an angry fix!


Moloch eats the QuickTime streams. Despairs!


The Internet is with you in Rockland.
posted by mistersquid at 3:01 PM on February 15, 2008


                    For Cortexamyn


       I saw the best minds of mefi generation destroyed by 
              madness, starving hysterical naked, 
       clicking themselves through the blue pages at dawn 
              looking for an angry fix, 
       angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly 
              connection to the starry dynamo in the machin- 
              ery of night, 
       who affluent and smug and middle-class and high sat 
              up writing in the moleskine blackness of 
              momma’s basement floating across the streets of suburbs
              contemplating beans, 
       who bared their brains to MeTa under the Grey and 
              saw Steve Colbert’s retorts recycled on AskeMe’s 
              green, deleted, 
       who passed through universities with radiant blue eyes 
              hallucinating Apple and Prius tragedy 
              among the snarkers of blogs, 
       who were expelled from the academies for crazy & 
              hacking obscene odes on the facebooks of the 
       who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear whacking 
              their monkey to Manga and listening 
              to Neutral Milk Hotel, 
       who got busted by their fellow nerds returning from 
              Portland with mp3’s of Britney in their Zune , 
       who spat fire at meetups or drank lattes in 
              Mecha, banned, or purgatoried their 
              torsos night after night 
       with faves, with fugs, with jrun errors, al- 
              cohol and cock and endless balls, 
       incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and 
              lightning in the mind leaping toward Poland 
              Canada & Portugal, illuminating all the mo- 
              tionless world of Time between … 

who talked continuously seventy hours from park to 
              pad to bar to blue to Bligh to the BoingBoing, 
       last battalion of ironic conversationalists writing 
              down the planes off iphones off conveyors 
              off Obama State out of the tubes, 
       yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts 
              and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks 
              and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars, 
       whole intellects disgorged in italic recall for seven days 
              and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the 
              Banhammer cast on the pavement, 
       who vanished into nowhere Zen 404 leaving a 
              trail of ambiguous picture postcards of flickr 
              fuck all, 
       suffering Eastern croissants and NSFW bone-grind- 
              ings and migraines of  square-eyed snark-with- 
              drawal in Network's clique furnished room, 
       who wandered around and around at midnight in the 
              flameout yard wondering where to go, and went, 
              leaving no broken hearts, 
       who sequestered carbon in hybrids hybrids hybrids racketing 
              through snow toward lonesome farms in Vermont’s 
       who studied Corticular St. Jess of of the Matt telep- 
              athy and ban kabbalah because the gray in- 
              stinctively vibrated at their fingers at work, 
       who loned it through the stalls of macworld seeking vis- 
              ionary lifehack angels who were visionary lifehack 
       who thought they were only mad when NickySkye 
              gleamed in supernatural ecstasy, 
       who jumped in limousines with the Madam of Ju 
              Ju Jive on the impulse of winter meepzorp street 
              light Tuscan towns, 
       who lounged hungry and lonesome through myfaves 
              seeking taz or sex or Migs, and followed the 
              brilliant Spaniard to converse about America 
              and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took shit 
              to Africa, 
       who disappeared into the volcanoes of overthought leaving 
              behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees 
              and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire 
              place Chicago, 
       who reappeared with miko investigating Givewell boards
              with big pacifist 
              eyes sexism in their dark flags and ethereal incom- 
              prehensible leaflets, 
       who burned cigarette holes in their funfur protesting 
              the narcotic tobacco haze of Bushism, 
       who distributed favorites in Union 
              Square typing and undressing while the sirens 
              of moderation wailed them down, and wailed 
              down flags, and the backchannel fairies also 
       who spoke down trying in white gymnasiums nekkid 
              and trembling before the machinery of the 
       who bit detectives in the neck and LOLed with delight 
              in pyjamas for courageous pecking but their 
              own wild blogging pederasty and intoxication, 
       who howled on their knees in the subway and were 
              dragged off the roof waving genitals and page- 
       who let themselves be fucked in the ass by cyber 
              motorcyclists, and typed with joy, 
       who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, 
              the sailors, caresses of Atavar and chatroom
              love . . . . . . . 

posted by Rumple at 4:12 PM on February 15, 2008 [135 favorites]

straight to the sidebar!
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:23 PM on February 15, 2008

Yeah, that's pretty danged good.
posted by cgc373 at 5:25 PM on February 15, 2008

posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:43 PM on February 15, 2008

Great post, Len! I'll take this opportunity to pimp my own "Howl" post from October. I think they go well together.
posted by amyms at 5:50 PM on February 15, 2008

Oh, now Rumple, you shut the fuck up you did not just do that girl.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:49 PM on February 15, 2008

while we're in the business of pimping our own howls...
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:10 PM on February 15, 2008

God. Damn.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:29 PM on February 15, 2008

Wow. This reminds me of my first "win" on MetaFilter. (Scroll up for the FPP, down for the win.)

Thanks, peacay!
posted by trip and a half at 9:39 PM on February 15, 2008

That's not just good - that's all kinds of good. Thanks, rumple, for your brilliance.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:38 PM on February 15, 2008

omg you got your ginsberg in my mefi. or wait...?
posted by SassHat at 12:32 AM on February 16, 2008

Hey, I'm a Reedie. On Wednesday (the 52nd anniversary of the recordings) a professor here gave a reading of A Supermarket in California, Howl, and A Footnote to Howl, preceded by a few snippets of the recordings. Thanks for the link - I hadn't seen that the full recordings were online.

The tape was found last year by someone doing research in the library archives, and apparently it was labeled something like "Snyder/Ginsberg 1956 - Tape 2". No one knew what had happened to Tape 1 or what was on it (more Ginsberg? Snyder? oh the suspense!) until Wednesday morning when an alum walked into the archive with a cassette copy of Tape 1. It's Snyder. I hope they eventually release everything online. Or at least let me rip a copy from the archive.

It's odd to realize that I'm sitting right here, about two hundred yards away from where these recordings were made all those years ago. Makes me hope that people will give a shit about what I do here in college 52 years from now.

PS: Any other Reedie MeFites about?
posted by anarcation at 3:33 AM on February 16, 2008

I love the Beats. They taught me to live with a blend of utopianism and utter hopelessness, and a love for the word as art. I'm pretty damn impressed by what Rumple just did there, too.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:48 AM on February 16, 2008

MetaFilter: a blend of utopianism and utter hopelessness.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:29 PM on February 16, 2008

I'm a Reedie, class of 82. Or rather, I'm an "attrit." I left Reed after three years and eventually transferred to UC Berkeley, thereby (as the old joke has it) raising the GPA at both schools.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:07 PM on February 19, 2008

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