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What follows is an extract from the BEAT-L mailing list, an internet forum dedicated to the discussion of Beat literature run by Bill Gargan of Brooklyn College, from the days immediately before and after the news of Allen Ginsberg's death. We pick up with the first mention of Allen's terminal illness, arriving in the middle of a mild, friendly flame war (as usual) discussing, of all things, whether Ginsberg's poem "America" was patriotic, unpatriotic or ambivalent.
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 16:57:36 +0500 From: Bil Brown
Subject: Re: ambivalence >Could Ginsberg's ambivalent attitude toward America be any more >effectively than conveyed than in its articulation in "Howl"? >"where we hug and kiss the United States under our bedsheets, the >United States that coughs all night and won't let us sleep." >Cordially, >Mike Skau >4/2/97 Just in from a VERY reliable source: YOUR Mr. Ambivalence, Allen Ginsberg, has terminal cancer. Lets be nice to him for a little while. ok. Bil
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 12:51:52 -0800 From: Levi Asher
Subject: Poetry's Final Subject (fwd) Sad news confirmed ... > Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 10:59:58 -0800 > To: email@example.com > From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Silberman) > Subject: Poetry's Final Subject > > http://www.wired.com/news/topframe/2950.html > > Allen Ginsberg has inoperable liver cancer, and "four to twelve months" > to live. > > > Beams to our teacher and friend. > > Love, > > Steve
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 17:45:47 EST From: Bill Gargan
Subject: Re: ambivalence Allen was fond of quoting Trungpa's words on Bill Burroughs Jr. when he was ill:"He will live or he will die. Both are good." I imagine Allen is better prepared than most of us for the end. Let's hope, however, that the doctors are wrongin giving him only three months. Meanwhile, let's all give him our friendship and support in the time left for us on earth together.
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 12:09:14 -0500 From: Howard Park
Subject: A Comet Dims... Allen Ginsberg was, and is, a shining light that illuminates the world with a relentless spirit of truth and love. This man has spoken truth to evil in all its forms - the evil of totalitarianism be it comminist, capitalist, facist and every other ism or ist of our age. As his body fails, I'm moved to reflect on the only serious discussion I ever had with him, almost exactly a year ago. It was about hope, joy and optimism, qualities of beat writing which I believe are often overlooked. Allen never, ever, has shied away from the dark side of things in his art but I have always felt that there was a bedrock of joy within him. Joy so powerful that I knew that Molach would be overcome, person by person. It's not the joy of escapism, thought that is part of living a full life. Its the joy of always being able to see the good that is all around us, within us, the beauty of commonplace things, the beauty of the sunflower in the railroad yard. Whitman had this quality too, Jack Kerouac and Jerry Garcia too. I could go on, but for me the effect of Allen - his art and simply who he is - has simply made life more worth living. Thank you Allen Ginsberg. I know that death is natural, can be beautiful. I know it on an intellectual and perhaps a sriritual level too. But I can't escape a feeling of deep, deep sadness now also. AG's performance of "Father Death" haunts me...but I also remember his sly, knowing squint of a smile as he sang that poem the last time I saw him do it. I see him now, in my head, with the same expression. I guess he knows something that I don't. Howard Park
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 12:05:53 +0000 From: Mongo BearWolf
Subject: Ginsberg, terminal liver cancer Hi Folks... The rumor we heard earlier does appear to be true. Allen Ginsberg has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Check out: http://CNN.com/SHOWBIZ/9704/04/ginsberg/index.html This is a very sad day... I'm kicking myself for discovering AG too late in life, and know that now I will probably never get a chance to see him in person. But his work is a gift... --Mongo
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 12:30:55 -0500 From: Richard Wallner
Subject: Ginsberg's cancer... The New York Daily News today carried an article with basically the same information. Allen has inoperable liver cancer and less than a year to live. Allen's had an amazing life and I'm sure he is looking at death as just another experience. Maybe a plain of exsistence where he'll be reunited with his mother, whose memories have always haunted him, and with Neal Cassady (who he'll admit was the love of his life), and Jack Kerouac. From what I know of Allen, I dont think he will fear death and will be accepting of it when it comes. Im worried more though about Peter Orlovsky. He is much more dependent emotionally on Allen from what I've been told than even most spouses are on their loved ones. He'd certainly be either dead or institutionalized now without Allen in his life. I hope he can handle Allen's death. I always hoped that before he died, Allen would have a chance to be our national "poet laureate" But I guess he was way to anti-establishment for that to be realistic. I only hope that there is a tribute organized. His death will leave a true void. Richard Wallner Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 10:50:16 -0700 From: dawn m zarubnicky Subject: Re: A Comet Dims... Howard... Your post was beautiful..brought tears to my eyes. Hopefully this list will help all of us come to terms with the impending loss a true American hero. My thoughts and prayers are with Allen and I take comfort in the fact that his work will live on forever. Dawn Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 10:01:01 -0800 From: John Maynard Subject: Re: Ginsberg, terminal liver cancer mongo.bearwolf@Dartmouth.EDU,.internet writes: >The rumor we heard earlier does appear to be true. Allen Ginsberg has >been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Check out: > http://CNN.com/SHOWBIZ/9704/04/ginsberg/index.html CNN.COM/*************SHOWBIZ????????????************** Says a lot about something, but I'm not sure what.
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 13:10:46 -600 From: Nick Weir-Williams
Subject: news:Uny-ginsbergURnCN_7A4@clari.net This seems to be a new update, and a very sad one> > > Beat poet Ginsberg's health declines > > NEW YORK, April 4 (UPI) -- Beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg's > health has seriously worsened. > Ginsberg's doctor says the poet suffered a stroke or other > complication from his liver cancer overnight. > Before last night's setback, Ginsberg was expected to live from 4 to > 12 months, but his doctor now says the prognosis will be changed. > The poet plans to stay in his Lower East Side home until he dies. > Ginsberg, who suffers from a long-running battle against hepatitis C > and cirrhosis of the liver, has terminal liver cancel. > His doctor says Ginsberg has taken the news ``very well'' and > characterized his response to Friday's terminal prognosis as ``studied.'' > The poet's most famous work is ``Howl'', published in 1956, which > claimed to be the authentic voice of the Beat generation. > The poem's drug-induced verse, including the famous opening line ``I > saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,'' harkened a > new style in American poetry. > Critics accused Howl of being obscene for its common language and > homosexual overtones. The poem withstood several legal challenges > against its publication, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. > Ginsberg emerged as a leading figure among the Beats, a literary > movement stemming from the 1950s underground of bebop jazz, heroin, > Eastern mysticism and sexual liberation. Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 14:47:21 -0500 From: Tony Trigilio Subject: Re: Ginsberg's cancer... I've been off this list for a few months now--because I forced myself off all lists to finish my dissertation (working on a poetics of prophecy in the industrial West, with a chapter on AG). I keep telling myself I'll rejoin today or the next day or the day after, but I've been juggling too many visions and re-visions toward my late May deadline. Then I got an email from a friend telling me about AG's liver cancer. I had to get back on the list. I suspect we are going to hear the worst kinds of remembrances from the mainstream media in the next few weeks, as those threatened by AG's politics and sexuality take charge to try to rewrite his history. I had to get back to this list for a community of folks who know better. The news of AG's cancer is terrible. We're losing one of the few honest voices of human rights and free expression in this century. Howard put it well: > This man has spoken truth to evil in all its forms - the evil of > totalitarianism be it comminist, capitalist, facist and every other > ism or ist of our age. At least Allen has time to prepare for death, for his transition. Not all of us get this opportunity. I'm sure he will use it well. Tony Trigilio Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:26:45 EST From: LIBRARY CIRCULATION Subject: Re: Ginsberg's cancer... At first I hoped the news of Ginsberg's cancer was a sick April Fools joke, but as we all know now, it ain't. It's hard news to process, living in a Ginsbergless world, like hearing suddenly that as of tomorrow, all the trees in the world will be gone. It's insane and the mind rejects it. But we all knew this day would come and so did Allen. He has worked hard all his life for so much more than just poetry as if that was not enough, so that long after the physical Allen Ginsberg shell is gone, what he started will remain. Damn. The man who helped me with my mother's death back in 1986 and reconfigured how I looked at death, is now putting us to the test. What he said to me back in '86 when my mother was in his position I will say to all of you, "...maybe this is not a time of hardship as it is a time of great adventure?" Well, I can try, but easier said than done. Dave B. Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:41:06 -0500 From: Antoine Maloney Subject: Re: A Comet Dims... Dawn and everyone... Dawn wrote about Allen Ginsberg's work living forever. I'd like to think about it slightly differently. Montreal recently hosted an evening at the Centaur Theatre for the poet Irving Layton. Leonard Cohen was one of the multitude who attended and spoke. He described one of his early conversations with Layton. At that time Cohen was still involved in the family business - clothing manufacture. Layton said to him "Leonard, teach me everything you know about clothing and I'll teach you how to live forever!" Allen Ginsberg will live forever; he has known for a long time what Layton knew and would teach Cohen. Your post Howard was indeed wonderful. I've already opened a Ginsberg folder to hold all the outpouring of posts. Antoine ********************** "The sky turned black and bruised, and we had months of heavy rain." - Tom Waits
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 16:46:40 +0500 From: Bil Brown
Subject: Re: Fwd: news:Uny-ginsbergURnCN_7A4@clari.net >>> NEW YORK, April 4 (UPI) -- Beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg's >>> health has seriously worsened. What does that mean? Seriously worsened? What could it mean??? This is something that is VERY important to me & I'm sure ALL of the Beat-Listers. My personal connection is he has been my teacher & friend, and his office-line has been busy since the news hit the press. Tell us what's UP!! Please, Bil Brown Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:35:14 -0600 From: Matthew S Sackmann Subject: AG I love Allen Ginsberg, let that be writ in Heaven's unchangeable heart.
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:46:04 -0600 From: Nick Weir-Williams
Subject: Re: Fwd: news:Uny-ginsbergURnCN_7A4@clari.net I tried to post a news release to the list a few hours back - maybe it didn't get through as I was mailing from Netscape. There was a news report at 1.00 that AG had a serious setback overnight, perhaps a stroke, and that the 4-12 month date had been radically altered downwards, it didn't say to what, but it sounded awfully ominous Nick Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 13:47:53 -0800 From: Levi Asher Subject: Re: Fwd: news:Uny-ginsbergURnCN_7A4@clari.net I heard this too from a different source: "he took a turn for the worse." I was really hoping for that 4 months ... tributes, hospital visits, etc. I hope we get it. Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 19:44:03 -0500 From: Marie Countryman Subject: Re: AG there was a young and talented journalist who died very young, leaving only a book of prose pieces, one of which i have always cherished for capturing the soul and essence of my perception and experience of AG and here it goes (replete with typos and lack of caps): *making peace at the peace eye book store* the fading strictly kosher sign, a leftover from the days when the peace eye bookstore was a chicken market, was gone with the front window. gone too was the pot is fun sandwich board that allen ginsberg had worn in the first LeMar demonstrations. and the rickety old mimeograph in the back room, which had turned out fourteen issues of *fuck you/a magazine of the arts*, had finally been junked. it had been rough winter for the little mags. but tuesday night, like a molting phoenix rising from the garbage at 383 east 10th street, the peace eye opened again. perhaps one hundred peole had responded to the mimeographed invitations sent by poet, fug, and peace ye propietor ed sanders, and came to see the opening exhibit of literary artifacts which adorned the bookstore's subway-tile walls. everything, sanders insisted was for sale: a six by ten foot banner used in the shooting of sander's epic film *mongolian clusterfuck*, ken weaver's certificate of undesirable discharge from the air force, a framed collection of pubic hair plucked from sixteen leading poets and two much-hearalded cold cream jars reputed to have been used by AG. the cold cream jars went for $35 to an anonymous collector. friends and fans and fugs wandered through the exhibit, which included all the back issues of *fuck you* a wall of little mags from d.a. levy in cleveland, who is now fighting obscenity charges, and the prosecution evidence from sander's own obscentiry trial, from which he emerged vitorious several weeks ago. anything culd happen at the peace eye. someone brought 5 pounds of raw hamburger in a plastic bag, to sell at a bargain price of $2. steve weber, a folksinger and former fug, opened the bag, sniffed the hamburger, and bbought it on the spot.... all evening firecrtackers had been exploding up and down the block. but it wasnt until nine that the first one came through the door. sanders closed the door, and a rain of firecrackers began. the peace eye was under siege. a patron tried to leave. he opened the door and was driven back inside by a hail of lady-fingers. through a crack in the door, they pleaded with the kids. 'he's got to home. he's got to go to work' .still the explosions continued. so AG went out to make peace. he ran out to the curb and began to sing mantras with great gusto, clashing his fingerbells. the kids were dumbfounded. at first they gaped at him, but soon began to taunt and more firecrackers flew at the poet's feet. ginsberg kneeled in the gutter, in the grease between the parked cars, and kept singing. the kids glared at him. 'what are you afraid of?' ginsberg asked. 'why dont you go back where you came from?' a kid demanded. 'i live on the block.' ginsberg said, and kept singing. the exchange went on for ten minutes, ginsberg singing, kids taunting, firecrackers exploding from every side and puerto rican families watching, astounded, from nearby stoops. and then a kid started to sing with the poet and ginsberg would leap to his feet, and show the kid how to hold in his stomach, and then he was back on his knees, singing again, asking more questions, singing 'om raksa raksa hum hum hum phat svaha!' and now the kid was clashing the finger bells, and you could hear the mantras up and down 10th street. after twenty minutes, the firecrackers had stopped, and ginsberg and the kid were sitting on the stoop next to the peace eye, still singing, with a smiling audiencethirty puerto ricans and poets passing around beer. and the kids who had been throwing the firecrackers were inside the store sweeping up the shrapnel. and the peace eye was peaceful again. from 'moving through here' by don mcneil. mc thinking particularly of you, levi and bill b. and others.
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 16:46:41 -0800 From: Leon Tabory
Comments: To: "Ginsberg's cancer..."@cruzio.com Bill Gargan wrote: > I'd sure like to see a push for Allen to get the Nobel prize before he dies. I > can't think of anyone who is more deserving. Is there something we can do? leon Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 20:52:01 -0500 From: Pamela Beach Plymell Subject: Re: A Comet Dims... At dinner with Allen and Burroughs last November, Allen recited lines from Shakespeare in response to an earlier question at the symposium as to what lines he thought greatest: "that in black ink my love may still shine bright." Charles Plymell Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 20:22:11 -0800 From: Levi Asher Subject: Words for Ginzy I think I'll collect all these reminiscenses and create a web page ... sound okay everybody? Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 02:01:44 -0500 From: Antoine Maloney Subject: Re: Words for Ginzy That's definitely worth doing Levi. The Irish part of me keeps on yelling that we should not be sounding so doom filled; that we should expect and demand that it will all come out right for Allen, but it's getting hard to do in the face of the news. Recommend that anyone who has any of Allen's recorded material listen to it - listen to his "Amazin' Grace".... he is so alive in it. Antoine "The sky turned black and bruised, and we had months of heavy rain." - Tom Waits Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 12:03:16 -0500 From: Timm Subject: "Allen Ginsberg Saved My Life" In this poem, I recorded one evening with Allen in 1993. He really did save my life. It's an acrostic (the correct term?). The title runs down the left margin. A.L.L.E.N. G.I.N.S.B.E.R.G. S.A.V.E.D. M.Y. L.I.F.E. By Bob Timm (originally published in Poetry New York) A modern executive 40th-floor office Lit by neon fruit humming tubes Lion buddha in grey suit and tie Even I could not detect the vision Never a sign of his howling past Going along 42nd Street I think of distant highways and Not of the immediate streets but Suddenly he pulls out of the path of a Bus barreling towards my thoughtful self Ever ready for poetic graces but not Ready for the moment when Allen Ginsberg saved my life Some time later we stand in line at A Tad's Steaks ordering meat for ritual Very raw like he said we needed Even I could feel the snickers and stares Directed at the crazy old man he is My knees crack and ache in lotus form Yet he forgets his age and folds his legs Like an obedient faithful dog I sip my wonton soup and wait For the words of an ancient East Village superstar lonely prophet Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 12:29:04 -0500 From: Jeffrey Weinberg Subject: T-shirt List/Thoughts on Allen Some thoughts on Allen Ginsberg: Anyone who was born in the 1950s like I was realizes that Allen has been there with us the whole way - If you were lucky enough to grow up in the 1950s and 1960s, maybe you had an older brother or sister who kept a copy of Fred McDarrah's "The Beat Scene" under the bed so Mom and Dad wouldn't find it. or there was a copy of Evergreen Review #2 (The SF Beat Issue) around the house. That may have been your first look at Allen. Then Howl the trial.... Howl the Fantasy recording (on red vinyl, of course) - and wasn't that Allen at the Summer of Love taking us with Michael Bowen and the other organizers into the age of Aquarius? And remember the Democratic Convention and the trial of the Chicago Seven and Allen got up in the witness box and started to meditate and chant??? And when John Sinclair of MC-5 got busted for possession of two joints, wasn't that Allen there helping to free John through great Free Sinclair rally? And all those Antiwar demonstrations throughout the sixties and into the seventies, Allen's writing continues with all the grace that God can grant a poet and Allen circles the globe for a lifetime to teach, bring peace, to write poetry, help found JK School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa, chant, book signings, TV programs, audio, video, etc. etc. and photography and awards and time to write introductions for so many books by others to help their books sell a few more copies and because he believed in their words: Ray Bremser (poems of Madness), Huncke (Evening Sunurned Crimson), Kerouac (visions of Cody) and on and on - Do not be saddened by the news about Allen. Take a good look at Bill Morgan's massive tomes of bibliographical research: look at all that Allen Ginsberg has written and recorded in his life. Read a biography of Allen (Barry Miles' Ginsberg or Dharma Lion) (title is correct,I think) - and take a look at all that one man has done in a short lifetime (oh, yeah - concerts with Peter O and Steven Taylor around the world). Do not be saddened now. Rejoice in that Allen gave us all so much of so many kinds of so many things - different ways to look at politics,religion, poetry, photography, music and on and on - Use the life of Allen Ginsberg as inspiration. No matter whether you work the line in Detroit or teach a college course at Harvard. We can all learn something from the enormous span of achievements of Allen Ginsberg. No computer on this planet has enough memory to hold all the names of every person whose life Allen Ginsberg has touched in a positive way. That's all - Jeffrey Water Row Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 13:11:40 -0500 From: Bill Philibin Subject: AG Dead... Saturday April 5 11:15 AM EST He died at 2:39 a.m. EST surrounded by family and friends, said Morgan, his bibliographer and unofficial spokesman. The primary cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest with the secondary cause cancer of the liver, he said. Funeral services will be private. Ginsberg suffered for many years from hepatitis C, which led to cirrhosis of the liver that was diagnosed in 1988. The cancer was discovered when Ginsberg, who had been suffering from severe fatigue and jaundice, underwent a recent biopsy. In 1956, Ginsberg published "Howl and Other Poems," a book of free verse considered the preeminent poetic work of the beat movement of the 1950s. [ email@example.com - http://www.buffnet.net/~deadbeat ] "With all the demagoguery [today], poetry can stand out as the one beacon of sanity: a beacon of individual clarity, and lucidity in every direction--whether on the Internet or in coffee houses or university forums or classrooms." -- Allen Ginsberg Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 13:18:29 -0500 From: Julie Hulvey Subject: Re: A Comet Dims... Thanks for the beautiful letter, Howard. A year ago March 19th-ish I had a dream about Ginsberg. He mentioned he had work for me to do, then changed the subject. When I pressed him about the work, he acted as if I shouldn't have to ask. Months later, I connected this dream with a Ginsberg quote I'd seen printed many times in the _Woodstock Journal_: ....And what's the Work? To ease the pain of Living All else Drunken dumbshow. Jul Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 14:26:24 -0500 From: Liz Prato Subject: Kaddish Strange now to think of you, gone....... Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 14:40:28 -0800 From: j thomas bailey Subject: Re: T-shirt List/Thoughts on Allen Jeffrey... add me to the list....(i am very sad about loss of great buddha Allen and i will post a pome i wrote when i heard of his illness a bit later.....) j thomas bailey Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 16:22:40 EST From: LIBRARY CIRCULATION Subject: Re: AG Allen died about 2:30 am friday morning after going into a coma. There will be private funeral services for family only this monday and a public memorial service to be announced, later in the week. He will be cremated and his ashes divided in three parts, one part of which will be in the family plot. More dteails as they arrive. Adios king, Dave B. Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 16:38:53 -0500 From: Tony Trigilio Subject: Ginsberg Has Passed Away I just received an email note from a friend telling me that Allen passed away early this morning. The world has lost one of its brightest. Tony ======================================== "...Westward, a single breath blows across the plains, Nebraska's fields harvested & stubble bending delicate in evening airs up Rockies, from Denver's Cherry Creekbed another zephyr risen, across Pike's Peak an icy blast at sunset, Wind River peaktops flowing toward the Tetons, a breath returns vast gliding grass flats cow-dotted into Jackson Hole, into a corner of the plains, up the asphalt road and mud parking lot, a breeze of restless September, up wood stairways in the wind into the cafeteria at Teton Village under the red tram lift a calm breath, a silent breath, a slow breath breathes outward from the nostrils." --from AG, "Mind Breaths" ======================================== "...I noticed the path downhill, noticed the crowd moving toward buses I noticed food, lettuce salad, I noticed the Teacher was absent, I noticed my friends, noticed our car the blue Volvo, a young boy held my hand our key in the motel door, noticed a dark room, noticed a dream and forgot, noticed oranges lemons & caviar at breakfast, I noticed the highway, sleepiness, homework thoughts, the boy's nippled chest in the breeze as the car rolled down hillsides past green woods to the water, I noticed the houses, balconies overlooking a misted horizon, shore & old worn rocks in the sand I noticed the sea, I noticed the music, I wanted to dance." --from AG, "On Cremation of Chogyam Trungpa, Vidyadhara"
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 14:52:36 -0800 From: Malcolm Lawrence
Subject: Kaddish >>(in preparation): >> >>Hamakom yenachem etchem betoch shih-ar availay tziyon vi-yirushalayim. > >>"Hashem natan, veHashem lakach, yehi shem Hashem mevorach." >> >>Boruch dayan ha-emet. >> >>- >To follow up...Ginsberg died this morning (2:39) of liver cancer and >heart failure. *sigh* We lost a titan. A very gentle titan. Still, as my high school humanities teacher said, "He had a full life." And even up until the end he was still writing poetry and seeing friends on the last day he'd be conscious. ``He was very energetic,'' Bill Morgan said. ``He wore himself out (Thursday) talking to friends and writing poems.'' He wrote about a dozen short poems on Wednesday. One of the last was titled ``On Fame and Death''; others ran the gamut from nursery rhymes to politics. "The funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to Jewel Heart Buddhist Center in Ann Arbor, Mich." I also noticed that he died on April 5, the same day Kurt Cobain died. I was lucky enough to see him read here in town (only once though) at the Elliot Bay Book Company back in 94 and got him to sign my copy of "Howl" afterwards. For all you hard-core Dylan fans, remember the scene in Renaldo & Clara where he and Dylan go to Kerouac's grave? Seems strange that he should leave before Burroughs. Then again, I personally don't believe Burroughs or Keith Richards will ever die. I mean, if they're still alive after all they've been through already, then can't help but live to see 100. Sorry if I'm just babbling. I just think Allen was one of the most necessary poets we've ever had, who had a giant heart and was absolutely fearless. Eliot was right..."April is the cruelest month." *raising my glass* Props to Allen, Love, Malcolm
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 17:42:59 -0600 From: John Mitchell
Subject: Green Automobile Just heard (in Biermaier's B H Books on Positively 4th St.) that Ginsberg has taken off for his ultimate ride in The Green Automobile, dispensing lovely down & up Beat fearful & fearless words in his ecstatic wake, the best heart of his generation stark naked raving beatifically mad finally stopped, as the praying for the migration of his soul begins: HOWL, in spirit & deed. I'm with you in Rockland in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the door of my cottage in the Western night Amen//John Mitchell Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 18:44:16 -0500 From: "Gibbons, Jeffrey x85139e1" Subject: Re: AG I hate to make this my first post on the list, but I just read on cnn.com that Allen died this morning at 2:39 a.m. There is an informational article along with the announcement, as I am sure many will follow. Let the mourning and rememberances begin. Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 19:08:23 -0500 From: Diane De Rooy Subject: Celebration of Allen Ginsberg Revised celebration invitation Friends, lovers, children, members of the Beat Generation private chat room on AOL: Allen has died. The celebration of his life goes on. You are invited to come and share your feelings about this, read poetry and wisdom, tell stories and jokes and live the pastpresentandfuture of Allen's life in the bg private chatroom Sunday morning, from 10am to noon EDT (7am to 9am PDT). We'll do the same things we did for jack on his birthday, connecting with each other and sharing joy and sadness mixed together into that special poignant concoction that only has the name "I'm alive..." Shanti and shalom, diane Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 19:35:57 -0800 From: Adrien Begrand Subject: [Fwd: [Fwd: Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies]] Date: Sat, 05 Apr 1997 16:51:49 -0500 From: Ron Whitehead To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: [Fwd: Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies] From: bofus? To: email@example.com Subject: Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies April 5, 1997 Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies NEW YORK (AP) -- Allen Ginsberg, the poet laureate of the Beat Generation whose writing and lifestyle shaped the music, politics and protests of the next 40 years, died this morning. He was 70. Ginsberg died in his Lower East Side apartment at 2:39 a.m. of a heart attack related to his terminal liver cancer, said Bill Morgan, his friend and archivist. The poet was surrounded by family and friends. Ginsberg suffered from chronic hepatitis for years, which eventually led to cirrhosis of the liver. His diagnosis of terminal liver cancer was made eight days ago and made public on Thursday. He suffered a stroke Thursday night and slipped into a coma. Ginsberg has spent several days in a hospice after the diagnosis, but then decided he wanted to return home. ``He was very energetic,'' Morgan said. ``He wore himself out (Thursday) talking to friends and writing poems.'' He wrote about a dozen short poems on Wednesday. One of the last was titled ``On Fame and Death''; others ran the gamut from nursery rhymes to politics. During the McCarthy era in the 1950s, when TV's married couples slept in separate beds, Ginsberg wrote ``Howl'' -- a profane, graphic poem that dealt with his own homosexuality and communist upbringing. ``I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, '' began the seminal ``Howl.'' It was dedicated to Carl Solomon, a patient he met during a stay in a psychiatric ward. Ginsberg became America's most popular and recognizable poet, his balding, bearded visage one of the enduring images of the 1950s beatnik explosion of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Neal Cassady. The group, disillusioned with conventional society, created their own subculture. Ginsberg's acolytes comprised a who's who of pop culture: Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono, Vaclav Havel, Patti Smith, Michael Stipe and Billy Corgan. Irwin Allen Ginsberg was born June 3, 1926, in Newark, N.J., the second son of poet Louis Ginsberg and his wife, Naomi. The family moved to Paterson, N.J., while Ginsberg was a youngster. Ginsberg intended to become a lawyer and enrolled at Columbia University. But while still a teen-ager, he fell in with a crowd that included Kerouac, Burroughs and Cassady -- the leaders of what became known as the Beat Generation. ``I think it was when I ran into Kerouac and Burroughs when I was 17 that I realized I was talking through an empty skull,'' Ginsberg once said. ``I wasn't thinking my own thoughts or saying my own thoughts.'' Ginsberg's first taste of notoriety came after the publication of ``Howl'' in 1956. Copies of the book were seized by San Francisco police and U.S. Customs officials, and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti was charged with publishing an obscene book. Ferlinghetti was acquitted a year later, but the case generated enormous publicity for Ginsberg and his work. Ginsberg was suddenly in demand. One of his other great works, ``Kaddish,'' was a confessional work dealing with his mother's life and death in a mental hospital. It was written, stream of consciousness-style, in his Manhattan apartment, fueled by a combination of amphetamines and morphine. Ginsberg experimented heavily with drugs, taking LSD under the guidance of the late Timothy Leary in the 1960s. As he grew older, Ginsberg became a guru to the counterculture movement. He coined the term ``flower power.'' He was arrested in 1967 for protesting against the Vietnam War in New York, and tear-gassed a year later while protesting at the Democratic convention in Chicago. His National Book Award came in 1973 for ``The Fall of America: Poems of These States, 1965-1971.'' He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1995 for his book, ``Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986-1992.'' Ginsberg toured with Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue in 1977, doing spontaneously composed blues poems. He toured Eastern Europe in 1986, receiving an award in the former Yugoslavia, recording with a Hungarian rock band and meeting a congress of young Polish poets. ``In the Eastern bloc, the people realize the governments are up to no good, whereas Americans still maintain that the government is looking after their best interest,'' Ginsberg said at the time. Ginsberg remained vital and active well into his 60s, performing in Manhattan nightclubs and doing poetry readings. Last year, he recorded his poem ``The Ballad of the Skeletons'' with musical backing from Paul McCartney and Philip Glass. He did a video version of the poem, a pre-election political rant. At 69, Ginsberg's video appeared in heavy rotation on MTV's ``Buzz Bin.'' The funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to Jewel Heart Buddhist Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 1997 21:15:29 -0500 From: Pamela Beach Plymell
Subject: Re: Ginzy Upon hearing the news Pam and I drove up to Ginsberg's Committee on Poetry farm to feed the birds and meditate. COMMITTEE ON POETRY April 5, 1997 Chirp, chirp, chirp Ginzy gone I broadcast the seeds bread crumbs from the compost for little animals and birds Chirp on the phone, chirp on the radio broadcasting them seeds Janine left a message on the phone I read it in chirp cyberspace Up Lancaster St. we drove past the bank on East Hill Road New house where'd you come from another house along this road that one didn't used to be there yet another on the way to the farm that was the idea of a farm for poets, etc. The great view of the Mohawk Valley its early spring mauves and browns old crops of gold fields stalks Didn't take the shortcut where Ray froze his fingers round a beer can walking to Cherry Valley in a blizzard Turn off the paved road Bad hill bad ruts from spring washes Peter needs to get that tractor and haul some dirt and gravel Like he usta with the manure spreader Julius faithfully standing on the hitch Big tractor at the corner have to walk in here Roads all wet, parts covered with snow Hear the birds already Get the bread pieces throw a few tie my shoe Walk down the slushy ruts through mud and snow old craggily cherry tree must be a hundred You said the old ones were wiser "broadcast" the bread a metaphor when you were born, tho most had radio more bread for the bashful birds Stop here to rest and share my hard bagel with the birds hmm. that doesn't taste bad maybe I'll eat it meself. Hardly a sound up here in hushed forest the snow is silent in the deer tracks Pam says the daffodils are in bloom I'll put some bread crumbs on the porch not on this chair with peeling paint Bread on the old maple tree bread on the rock for innocent creatures A rag is hanging on the old clothesline and the barn door needs repair the whole barn actually, I'll leave some crumbs by the outhouse and the barn and the cherry tree On the road back a woodpecker breaks the silence, hammering perfectly like a Whitman