Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I would have liked your opinion you wrote of T.V. Baby poem to be shared I sometimes feel like I'm the ONLY critic. Also the Ginsberg estate has two photos on their site that were taken by me and not credited as they do everyone else's. The famous one of Neal I took with Allen's camera I borrowed for a second to get a good shot. Also they had a whole story obviously patched from files printed in the New Yorker a while back pieced together badly by the historian, Brinkly. They had the story mixed up with the Hudson with Kerouac et al back East. It was somewhat based on the story in Neal's '39 Pontiac (with no brakes) going up and down the coastal highway to Bolinas.Allen & I were in the back being tossed around like in a Marx Bros, movie and Neal & Anne were in front. He was gearing down and pulling on the emergency brake while slapping Anne. Allen had his hands over his head in his woeful mode, saying please slow down! I asked him calmly (because both Neal & I had raced) if I could borrow his camera for a good shot and later took some other shots in Bolinas. I wrote the New Yorker, since it is a psuedo-literary mag, I thought they might want, for the sake of future scholarship, to get things right. I explained how their story was garbled with the wrong characters, the wrong car, the wrong time, and the wrong geography. They wrote me a little thank you note instead of publishing the corrections. A very low premium on honesty, but that's how millionaire Beats and the Beat Industry is made in America. cp

Bruce: My opinion of "Television Was That Baby," or whatever the poem is called? (I'm moving house at the moment and Ginzy's collected works are in a box, taped up and ready to ship.) It's actually one of my least favourite Allen poems. Took me about two years to read it all the way through after I first came across it, because I kept losing my way in the maze of its long lines and overblown imagery. Seems an obvious attempt, as far as I can tell, to recreate some of the rhetorical fire of "Howl" a few years later. But it is an attempt that fails.
Read "Kaddish", I say, if you want poetical grandeur. Some passages in that are astonishingly good. I'm an admirer of his underrated shorter poems too--"Autumn Leaves" and "Personals Ad" (again, may not be the correct title), all that late dark Jewish death humour coming through.

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