Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Allen Ginsberg: 'The Best Minds of My Generation' (2017). Part I

Allen Ginsberg, The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beats, edited by Bill Morgan. New York: Grove Press, 2017. Foreword by Anne Waldman. 

Anne Waldman: "Denver, the place of all possible crossroads." (p. x)  "The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. (p. xi)

Each core member of the Beats "literarily had had some form of break in the ordinary nature of consciousness . . . as the central preoccupation, concern with the very nature of consciousness and with what you would call visions or visionary  experience." (P. 26)

"The element of aggression, of ideological insistency, was considered unhip and by unhip I mean lacking in awareness." (p. 29)

"I'm thinking of 'salt peanuts, salt peanuts,' or some squiggle of rhythm in [Jack] Kerouac's head that follows that off accenting, the irregular accenting, the noniambic accenting of [Dizzy] Gillespie." (p. 35)

With the death of his father, Kerouac "got interested in becoming the recording angel of the dream scene, and began recording his dreams, literally, as well as the dream of life itself." (p. 44) 

"The world hanging in space, the skyscrapers hanging in space . . . you'd realize you were not standing in New York City but you were standing in the middle of the universe, the vast open sky . . . It was the first discovery [by the main Beats, in the 1940s] of a crack in consciousness, that we were made of the same suchness, that we were ghosts. ' ' There's this early hint in On the Road of mind which is already Buddhist-oriented. Appreciating the phantom nature of things, of ourselves, an awareness of the mortal . . ." (p. 52)   

On meeting Jack: "Kerouac was a very mellow, shrewd, observant, tolerant person, so there was mutual curiosity." (p. 55)

Kerouac later "used to stand in the backyards at night when everybody was eating supper and realized that everybody was a ghost eating ghost food. Or that he was a ghost watching living people." (p. 56)

On meeting William S. Burroughs: "When we all went to see Burroughs, it was for that laconic, mellowed-out, cooled-out experience." (p. 86) 

Louis-Ferdinand Céline as a major influence. "I think it's one of the great moments of Western literature, when the hero wakes up in the middle of the battle and realizes that everyone around him is crazy and figures he better get out of there. I would say that is hipness, that attitude . . ." (p. 88)  

". . . little puppets of eternity, clawing each other in their vanity, with great clouds brewing overhead in the empty sky." (p. 96)

". . . panoramic consciousness or time consciousness . . ." (p. 98)

Kerouac: ". . . the flitting ghost-ends of a brood who will grow . . ." (p. 99)

Today's Rune: Wholeness

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