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Mark Ford: Love and Theft, 2 December 2004

... and seascape. In Paterson, Williams included extracts from letters from Edward Dahlberg, Allen Ginsberg, and from a woman called Marcia Nardi, who had turned up in his surgery in Rutherford in the spring of 1942 with a sick son and a sheaf of poems. Williams liked these a great deal, and wrote to say so. He also tried to persuade his ...

He K-norcked Her One

August Kleinzahler: Burroughs and Kerouac’s Novel, 28 May 2009

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks 
by Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.
Penguin, 214 pp., £20, November 2008, 978 1 84614 164 5
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... as ‘the most evil and intelligent buncha bastards and shits in America’. The group included Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Lucien Carr and David Kammerer. In August 1944, Carr stabbed and killed Kammerer. Near the end of And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, a lightly fictionalised and surprisingly engaging account of the murder and of the ...

Spying on Writers

Christian Lorentzen, 11 October 2018

... anti-war activities, which were public and meant to bring attention to the cause anyway. As with Allen Ginsberg, the bureau stopped short of interviewing Sontag because they knew that an interview would only result in bad publicity when she inevitably wrote about it. Some of the files were opened as a result of the efforts of the writers themselves or ...


Andrew O’Hagan, 5 October 1995

Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1940-56 
edited by Ann Charters.
Viking, 629 pp., £25, August 1995, 0 670 84952 9
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... the picture was jumpy at first, was Jack Kerouac. He was sitting up at a white piano, and Steve Allen tinkled away at the keys. Kerouac is very clean, very neat, but he looks nervous. Allen is smug. He’s a polyester-clad uncle sitting at the piano. ‘You nervous?’ says ...

Big Pod

Richard Poirier: How Podhoretz Dumped His Friends, 2 September 1999

by Norman Podhoretz.
Free Press, 256 pp., $25, February 1999, 0 684 85594 1
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... of Commentary, was closely involved from the early Fifties until the early Seventies: Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Hannah Arendt, Lillian Hellman and Norman Mailer. It was in the early years of this same period, the first five years of the Sixties, that what was often called the Family, a closely allied group of mostly New York ...

The Man in the Clearing

Iain Sinclair: Meeting Gary Snyder, 24 May 2012

... home.’ He is Gary Snyder, poet, bioregionalist, teacher. Having bought out his early partners, Allen Ginsberg and Dick Baker, he is the sole proprietor of this estate, a hundred acres of manzanita thickets, with open stretches of ponderosa pine, black oak, cedar, madrone, Douglas fir, bunchgrass – and one of the most seductive houses in ...

Mad to Be Saved

Thomas Powers: The Kerouac Years, 25 October 2012

The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac 
by Joyce Johnson.
Viking, 489 pp., £25, September 2012, 978 0 670 02510 7
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... has frighteningly understood the meaning of life and death’. When Kerouac’s friend the poet Allen Ginsberg handed Glassman the phone on that Saturday night in 1957 she was already half in love with the man who told her he would be waiting at a restaurant on Eighth Street in Greenwich Village, easy to spot with his black hair and red and black ...

Predatory Sex Aliens

Gary Indiana: Burroughs, 8 May 2014

Call Me Burroughs: A Life 
by Barry Miles.
Twelve, 718 pp., £17, January 2014, 978 1 4555 1195 2
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... discovered in long forgotten archives, moved sections from one book-in-progress to another. Allen Ginsberg selected the correspondence that became The Yage Letters. Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac put Naked Lunch together from drastic-looking clumps of torn, coffee-stained fragments; the book’s final sequence was ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... half the 35 contributors, few of whom bother to make it clear whether they mean Robert Lowell, or Allen Ginsberg, or the Black Mountain imitators of William Carlos Williams. ‘The Liverpool Poets’ are regarded with a mixture of fear and derision. ‘The ranks of the illiterate raise puerile and rhythmless voices,’ wrote Roy Fuller. ‘Infantile ...

Ten Poets

Denis Donoghue, 7 November 1985

Selected Poems 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 124 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 9780856355950
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Collected Poems: 1947-1980 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 837 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 670 80683 8
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Instant Chronicles: A Life 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 58 pp., £4.50, April 1985, 9780019211970
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Selected Poems 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 596 8
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Selected Poems 
by Jeffrey Wainwright.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 598 4
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Selected Poems 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 112 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 594 1
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The Price of Stone 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, May 1985, 0 571 13568 4
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Selected Poems 
by Iain Crichton Smith.
Carcanet, 121 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 597 6
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Selected Poems 
by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 585 2
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From the Irish 
by James Simmons.
Blackstaff, 78 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 331 8
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... poetry from this preference, placing himself squarely between titillation and the abyss. Like Allen Tate’s narrator in The Fathers, he believes that ‘excessively refined persons have a communion with the abyss,’ and that civilisation is ‘the agreement, slowly arrived at, to let the abyss alone’. Davie arrived at this preference not slowly, it ...


Jay McInerney: The Great American Novelists, 23 April 1987

... Holly’s casual attitude towards sex raised eyebrows in 1958. But then this was the time when Allen Ginsberg published Howl, which seems closer to the beast that Connolly was describing than does any fictional creation of Capote’s. If Capote had stopped here, rather than one book later, his claim on our attention would by now have worn thin. But ...

Remembering Janet Hobhouse

Elisa Segrave, 11 March 1993

... Panna Grady, her mother’s best friend and a friend and patron of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. Janet was both disarming and bossy about showing her friends her work. When I first read the account of her arriving at boarding school with her mother, I was staying with her in Key West, in a house she had rented from Alison Lurie. When I ...

Rooting for Birmingham

John Kerrigan, 2 January 1997

The Dow Low Drop: New and Selected Poems 
by Roy Fisher.
Bloodaxe, 208 pp., £8.95, February 1996, 1 85224 340 6
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... range. It risks toppling over into the Children of Albion vacuity which mars the work of Allen Ginsberg: as a result, it raises interesting questions about the role of Romanticism in Fisher’s work. In a poem from 1966-7, called ‘The Memorial Fountain’, Fisher dispels the Romantic aura which the spontaneous overflow of a fountain can still ...

Love, Lucia

Lucia Berlin: Letters to August Kleinzahler, 4 August 2005

... Naropa is a scam, really. They give students little soundbites of ‘classes’ every week … Allen [Ginsberg] gave the place a humour and warmth in the summer. He could chant and carry on because he wasn’t taking himself seriously but ______. At a certain age we women are supposed to stop wearing blue jeans or long ...

At Ramayan Shah’s Hotel

Deborah Baker: Calcutta, 23 May 2013

Calcutta: Two Years in the City 
by Amit Chaudhuri.
Union, 307 pp., £16.99, February 2013, 978 1 908526 17 5
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... of India’s intelligence agency came by the house to inquire about the book I was writing. Allen Ginsberg, who had lived for seven months in the city in 1962, remained in many minds an obvious CIA spy. Though the walls had collapsed on Soviet Communism, in Calcutta Marxist orthodoxies stood firm over the city’s derelict institutions and ...

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