Sunday, October 18, 2015

The HOWL Report


[Posts shared/retrieved from Facebook]

(October 4, '15)

DAVID PEPPERELL : Dear George. Thanks for the ad [HOWL reading at Collected Works Bookshop : Saturday, 10th October, '15] and thank you for including me in your Six Gallery Commemoration. I'm looking very forward to being a part of a celebration of the very beginning of the Beat Generation. Just a pedantic point - I'm sure you know that Phil Lamantia did not read his own poetry at the Six Gallery but those of his recently deceased friend John Hoffman. Those poems are in the back of Lamantia's City Lights book "Tau". Wouldn't it be good to read at least one of those as a tribute to a poet lost at 21 to a peyote overdose in Mexico?

GEORGE MOURATIDES : Thanks so much for being part of this, David. Yes, I absolutely agree with you re. Lamantia and Hoffman. I have a copy of that book and have asked Larry Schwartz to do some Hoffman and maybe one or two Lamantia... Really looking forward to meeting you... Peace and blue notes

DAVID PEPPERELL : That's great George and thank you for including me. I am delighted that casual remark of mine to Kris Hemensley a few years ago has borne fruit. Thank you so much for organising it.


(October 6, '15)
The HOWL Report!!!

Great to hear from Jude Telford : "wowee zowee HOWL it was my fave .... I used to work in a book and record shop in Toronto back in the 70`s and I placed HOWL by the cash register ." Now that's an unintentionally funny juxtaposition! Discuss $$$$$ later... !

The event on Saturday a/noon at Collected Works coordinated by George Mouratides (who as people may or may not know, is one of the 4 younger scholars who worked on Penguin's "SCROLL" edition of On The Road) is unique as far as i can see looking around the Web...
Our celebration/commemoration is anchored, as it ought to be, by Ginsberg's Howl, and includes poems by the other readers at the Six Gallery (7 Oct 1955), namely Lamantia (who read J Hoffman), McClure, Whalen, Rexroth, Snyder, --read on Saturday a/noon by, as George says, LOCAL poets! 
My own sense of the occasion is held in Doctor Pepper's ascription "the very beginning of the Beat Generation" , thus Rexroth & Lamantia as slightly older current still flowing of course and the Beats as catching the splash. 
Expand this thought to say that from the 40s Apocalypse poets onwards, late translation in part of the cross Channel surrealist excitements, something else was in the air, abounding naturally in contradictions but fomenting the condition for Beats & everything else that follows.


(October 7 '15)
The HOWL Report, 2nd

Thinking yday about the 'new poetry''s relationship to Ancient Chinese & Japanese poetry --and yes of course, Pound & Fenollosa... But along this line : when the East & Ancient became adjacent, available, it was at the expense of the exotic... or at least, since i happen to like Mr Binyon, the East & Ancient as exotic wasnt any longer the only sound or optic in town... Life as well as letters, so an equivalence, a contemporaneity to the Chinese Mountain poets, or the Japanese haiku masters... thus the mid 20C translators including Rexroth, Snyder, and so the Beats...

Another thing : listened yday to Larry Schwartz's CD gift of the Rexroth & Ferlinghetti reading at the Cellar, 1957... Rexroth's long poem Thou Shalt Not Kill (i.m. Dylan Thomas) so reminiscent of Ginsberg's Howl... and Ferlinghetti, reading from Coney Island of the Mind, --europeanly funny & ironic hitched to the same american drive out of Whitman as all the others...


(October 8, '15)
The HOWL Report, 3rd

Stephen Hamilton came by yday in acknowledgement of the magic moment : 7th October, actual 60th anniversary of the Six gallery [HOWL] reading. James had copied for him the original announcement : "6 POETS AT 6 GALLERY". The text, by Kenneth Rexroth i assume : "Philip Lamantia reading mss. of late John Hoffman-- Mike McClure, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder & Phil Whalen--all sharp new straightforward writing-- remarkable collection of angels on one stage reading their poetry. No charge, small collection for wine and postcards. Charming event.
Kenneth Rexroth. M.C.
8 PM Friday Night October 7, 1955
6 Gallery 3119 Fillmore St. San Fran"

Or maybe it's Ginsberg's text re- "remarkable collection of angels"! Yet "charming event" has arch edge to it wch is why i thought Rexroth!


(October 8, '15)
The HOWL Report, the 4th

(Actually the third & a half-th!) Further to my mention of the tete a tete yesterday with Stephen Hamilton at the Bookshop (who was on his way to rendezvous with similarly maniacal Beat enthusiast James Hamilton to raise a glass to the 6 Gallery originals) : Stephen, looking along the American shelf, mentioned his interest in Jackson MacLow & the relevance of MacLow to the Beats & co --the segue i guess would be neo-dada/surrealist, Steinian, Cagean experimentalism --Ah yes, i said, JACKSON MACLOW, met him at a party once! Oh, really? says Stephen, --wch is fatal temptation for me to spin one of my stories! Yes, it was at the party in his honour thrown by Robert Vas Dias in Hampstead in 1975, June or July? --the year of the inaugural Cambridge Poetry Festival which i turned into a wonderful three month trip around the England of the British poets of my acquaint-- Robert Vas Dias the American poet, little mag publisher, residing in London --I'd set out from long way across town with John Robinson, editor of Joe di Maggio mag & little books, with whom i was staying a couple of nights --it was late afternoon, the party wasn't due to start till six or seven --We came to a pub, and it was OPEN (the maddening English after-lunch licensing restrictions of that time)! I persuaded John we should get a drink because it was HOURS until we were expected. John wasn't so sure but i persuaded him! One pint became another & another. I told him no one turned up to a party on the dot, well not in Melbourne anyway! We walked around the treed & curving streets (is that right? slight ascents too?) & eventually found Robert Vas Dias's house. And the party was in full flight! Greeted the host, (we'd met up at the Cambridge Fest, as everyone else had)and joined in! Packed. We were the last there. Jackson MacLow was seated at a long table eating dinner --salads, cold serves-- surrounded by friends, colleagues, fans, all filling their faces. We must have missed dinner or werent expected! Jackson MacLow, big grey-white beard, long wiry hair, man of the moment. And i noticed a bit of chicken caught in the fronds of his whiskers! It must have been there for a while, no one seemed to notice, respectful conversation was being had, he was talking seriously, and the chicken (was it a wish bone? or just a bit of skin?) bobbing as his head did, as he ate & talked... Many people to talk to --Bob Cobbing? Allen Fisher, Pierre Joris & Paige Mitchell, David Miller (to play music?), Derek Bailey (ditto), Anthony Barnett? The Chaloners? Lee Harwood? I cant remember. If i cld find the note-book of the time it might be there. At some point i'd moved out of the main room, was by myself having a drink, when an American woman said hello (now, her name WILL be in that notebook). We clicked. Her opener : what are you doing at this chicken-shit party?! I pointed out the uninvited guest in Jackson's fuzz. Extended laughter, joking about English high society, where we could go for a real party. Exchanged phone numbers. Her boyfriend and then John joined us. And things began breaking up. I phoned her up from Southampton but never heard back. That's life in 1975!


(9th October, '15)
The HOWL Report, the fifth

Brian Hassett is "in Lowell for the JackFest", and sends this message : "So cool and am so happy about your Six Down Under. I was just with Michael M yesterday at his rare East Coast (or anywhere) appearance and I mentioned the Sixtieth of the Six to him and ... he had no idea !! 
He said, "Oh, I must drop Gary a line."
But like — the guy's not booked anywhere. (!) (And of course, nor's Gary.)"

I guess that old joke, de Kooning's? about birds not into ornithology (he was talking about art criticism), could apply here! 
But this is surely something else. Once again intersections & connections : enthusiasts become historians eliciting palpable, tangible meaning from out of pop celebrity on one hand and the valueless abyss informed by carelessness & forgetfulness on the other.
I coined the term "active archive" thirty-odd years ago to account for the type of magazine i was publishing : a simultaneity of remembering & reflecting and the imperative to (and this'll sound like Ram Dass) be here now!
George Mouratidis programme for tomorrow, the 10th October at Collected Works Bookshop, is prime example : the local poets, never less than individuals of current vigour & personality, channeling, if you like, the Six Gallery originals! 

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