Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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Ginsberg is a vampire for fame, immortality

I have been reading this afternoon from a book titled, "American Smoke: Journeys To The End Of The Light" by Iain Sinclair. In reading this book Sinclair writes meeting up with Ginsberg London, England 1967 for an interview. I will quote from "American Smoke".

"We came, as a group, to sit by the lake in Regent's Park. When it was my turn to question Ginsberg, with his glittering eye, his gleaming cranium and shamanic red silk shirt (decorated by Paul McCartney), I knew that I had overprepared, done too much reading. Allen was in the amphetamine rush of rhetoric, peddling breathing techniques from India, busking squeezebox chants, meditating between Black Power and San Francisco Diggers opportunism: he didn't need what he took for literary nitpicking, laboured demands for questions he had no way of answering. Ginsberg had perfected a repertoire of standard anecdotes, a constantly revised history - with a hot fix of recent, excited, all-night conversations with Olson, Burroughs, Panna Grady. To which he now added the sight and odour and touch of those master manipulators, the millionaire rock stars with their willingly seduced multitudes. He huddles with McCartney; he tries to teach Mick Jagger how to breathe. Celebrity feeds on celebrity in a cannibalizing ring fuck. Morning interviews, squatting on the grass, hold up the party. Ginsberg is a vampire for fame, immortality.

'It got really scary for me. Then it was all right and I could be scared and live with that, because I was more important than the LSD. In a way, I renounced LSD and at the same time I got a flash of my own presence and the presence of everything around. A unitative experience based on the strength of compassion for myself. The LSD was no longer a god or even an authority above my own authority. After which I went to Vancouver and had a big meeting with all the poets: Olson, Creeley, Philip Whalen, Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan. All the seraphs of that particular area.'

Panna Grady doesn't join in the talk. But she is adjudicating Ginsberg's shifting expressions. The men are in summer shirts. Panna wears a herringbone tweed coat. Hair falling across one eye. It's the face, intelligent, distracted, of a model from another studio. Always on the move, packing her cases, booking tickets on ocean liners, fielding calls.

The twin energy streams of contemporary US writing, Beat and Black Mountain, mingled in Donald Allen's The New American Poetry, were now engaged in Pacific Rim conferences, at Berkeley, at Vancouver; or in social gatherings, bars, art openings, brawls in New York and Boston. Some of the Black Mountaineers wanted more of the gold ticket, acknowledgements in Time and Life , top-dollar transatlantic gigs: a drooling audience of submissive, patrons with Savile Row tailoring, sex partners with apartments on the park, ranches in New Mexico. Some of the Beats hungered for academic sinecures, placement in the accepted lineage of modernism. They sniffed around each other like prowling beasts, jealous eyes on the lion tamer's polished black boots. They listened for the crack of her whip. . ." pg. 117-119 Iain Sinclair "American Smoke"

Check out this book on interviews with the late Allen Ginsberg, "Allen Ginsberg: Spontaneous Mind Selected Interviews 1958-1996" With a Preface by Vaclav Havel Edited by David Carter/Introduction by Edmund White. (I have in our library Edmund White's "My Lives: An Autobiography". I read last year White's novel "Fanny". I collect White's writings.)

It is 2:25 PM Wednesday right now. I got out to read this afternoon one of my favorite books titled, "Jesus, The Tribulation, And The End Of The Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement" by Brant Pitre.


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