Posts Tagged ‘Dinner with Allen Ginsberg…I wish!’

My Heart is Exploding!

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Allen Ginsberg and Paul McCartney team up for “A Ballad of American Skeletons,” a poem with accompaniment!

Ginsberg & McCartney! <3

Greetings from San Francisco

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

For Spring Break, I am in San Francisco visiting with my Mom, who moved here about a year ago. Before I get all braggy about how BEAUTIFUL this city is, I need to come clean about a couple of things. First I should admit that I threw an enormously irrational temper tantrum when I found out she was moving here because HOW COULD SHE LEAVE ME ON THE EAST COAST ALONE? And second, I spent a sizable amount of my first visit to the Bay area wrapped in a blanket on the couch in a state of panic because HOW WAS SHE GOING TO SURVIVE WITHOUT ME ON THE WEST COAST? Luckily my strange anxieties have dissipated (unlike the ever-lingering fog) and I have come to realize how freakin’ cool this city is and how much cooler my Mom is for moving here.

Today was a long day- we walked for miles along the Embarcadero and accidently drove over the Golden Gate Bridge on the way back to our apartment (which just so happens to be on the opposite side of the city). I also had a nerd-attack and forced my family to stop by City Lights bookstore. It’s on the corner of this great street that borders Chinatown and Little Italy. Inside there are three flights of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with some of the most famous and obscure books, all meshed together. The third floor was devoted solely to poetry books and was where I lingered for a little too long. I snapped some photographs for your viewing pleasure. Check it:

photo 1


photo 2

photo 4

I hope you are all enjoying your time off as much as I am. Ps- do I get extra credit for posting over Break??



Where’s the poetry in today’s Climate Movement?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

In the interest of Miss Gwendolyn Brooks, Black Arts Poetry and  Allen Ginsberg’s “queer shoulder to the wheel”, I want to talk a little bit about poetry as a mode for change.

As some of you may know, when i’m not reading verse or fretting over thesis due dates, I organize for the Youth Climate Movement. The organization that signs my pay checks is Greenpeace, but the students I work with don’t fit into any one network. Most of them attend or have just graduated from American universities, where they work(ed) on clean energy initiatives such as shutting down the coal plant that both fires and pollutes their campus or amending the investment portfolio of said institution to keep from furthering the fossil fuel industry’s crippling monopoly. It’s exciting work and vital to the future of our planet and species alike. I feel honored to be a part of it–if only for it’s allowing me to experience that “cog in a machine so much larger than myself” feeling on a regular basis. Just this weekend, in fact, I had the immense pleasure of marching on the White House 45,000 strong to demand a #forwardonclimate initiative from our president.


(Where’s the CoPo Waldo? I’ll give you a hint: I’m the one putting a turtleneck to good use in Sunday’s 12 degree weather.)

My Point: Despite all it’s charm, creativity and (let’s be honest) just plain good looks, the Youth Climate Movement lacks that key artistic component so many of the movements before it capitalized on: a soundtrack.

I often ask myself: WHERE is the poetry which (according to Audre Lorde) “gives name to ideas that are nameless and formless, about to be birthed, yet already felt”? The poetry that is not a luxury, but a vital necessity to out existence.” WHERE is the revolutionary poem which (according to Andrienne Rich) “reminds [us ] where and when and how [we] are living and might live”? The poetry that was once described as “the wick of desire”. “The imagining of a different reality requires telling and retelling the terrible true story” wrote Miss Rich. WHERE is our poetry that narrates and witnesses?

The Civil Right’s Movement had Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise“.

The Anti-War movement had Allen Ginsberg’s “America“.

At least the Feminist effort had Andrienne Rich’s “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” to go off of.

Where’s the poetry in today’s Climate Movement?

Interpretive Performances Begin Friday

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

This Friday:

Eric, Karina, Mason, Hanna, Tricia, Mario, Andy, Chris

Full schedule will be posted under Assignments tab.

Sunflower Sutra

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

While reading Sunflower Sutra for class I was reminded of my research on Ginsberg and the Beats. The other day, I talked a lot about tension in poems by the Beats… if you doubted me, go back and reread Sunflower Sutra.

I really love the way Ginsberg contrasts the filth, desolation, and destruction of modern American culture with the growing, thriving beauty of the sunflower. The sunflower represents hope, creativity, and redemption. Ginsberg begs readers to recognize the potential of the sunflower against the hopeless American landscape. He tries really hard to inspire us to reclaim and redeem our country, our lives, and our hope.

The form is also important here. A sutra is a collection of Buddhist texts strung together. Ginsberg’s typical long lines play into the classical Sutra form. When heard aloud, the rhythm of these lines read like a sermon. I think this gives a prophetic nature to the poem.

Check out this video of Ginsberg reading Sunflower Sutra. You can really feel the full effect he was trying to convey with this poem. And watch out for the dualism!

Yummies: I will be calling them “Beat Bites”

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Who likes almonds?

Who likes cranberries?

Who likes/loves/worships/adores/fantasizes about/freaks out in the trees over the beats??

GET EXCITED. I am attempting culinary things… 🙂

An Old Blue Place

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

I know we aren’t supposed to get into him/it yet… but I couldn’t stop myself from digging into “Kaddish and Other Poems” (a little bit prematurely, albeit) in preparation for tomorrow’s class.

“It leaps about me, as I go out and walk down the street, look back over my shoulder, Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office buildings, shouldering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky for an instant– and the sky above– an old blue place.” (Kaddish, 8).

Besides being eternally in love with internal rhyme (sky/high), and the dual use of “shoulder” here, does anyone else want to meet Ginsberg (now deceased) in that “old blue place,” a place worthy of punctuation OTHER THAN A COMMA in this ever-flowing poem?!

I’d love to have dinner with him. There, I said it. And Naomi, too, if she’s anything like Allen!