Occasionally I slip into an ivory tower mentality in which the idea of a banned book seems quaint—associated with silly scandals over the tame sex scenes in James Joyce or D.H. Lawrence or more recent, misguided dust-ups over Huckleberry Finn.[...]
Here is a complete recording of T.S. Eliot reading the masterpiece of his later years, the cycle of poems called Four Quartets.
Eliot considered the Four Quartets his greatest work. “I’d like to feel that they get better as they go on,” he told Donald Hall in a 1959 interview for the Paris Review.
Last Wednesday night, New York Institution Patti Smith appeared at downtown venue Bowery Ballroom with a few friends to read poetry and play some music.[...]
As summer approaches, let us look to Allen Ginsberg when we we feel discouraged by our lack of bikini-body. The author of “Sunflower Sutra” didn’t shy away from having his evolving physique documented shirtless or nude. Narrow minded beauty arbiters be damned.[...]
If anyone should ask you how to promote a celebrity fragrance without losing face, click play and whisper, “Like This.”
It helps if the celeb in question is generally acknowledged to be a class act. Imagine a drunken starlet emerging from her limo sans-drawers to stumble through her favorite poem by a 13th century Sufi mystic.
“Add to the available accounts of Plath (there are so many) this, please: nobody brought a house to life the way she did.” So writes Dan Chiasson in a February New Yorker piece commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s death.[...]
Long before the printing press, before parchment and papyrus, poetry was a strictly oral form. Many of the features we associate with verse—rhyme, meter, repetition, and extended similes—originated as mnemonic devices for poets and their audiences in times when bards composed extemporaneously from predetermined formulas.[...]
“Skid row is where people are mutilated and almost dead, they’re creeping, crawling, uncared-for creatures.” - Charles Bukowksi
The future does not seem like much of a commodity in Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peña’s 1990 documentary, The Best Hotel on Skid Row. The Madison Hotel, with its $8.
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“Argh, you’re all amateurs in a professional universe!” roared Allen Ginsberg to a young class of aspiring poets in 1977 at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Their offense? Most of the students had failed to register for meditation instruction.
Dylan Thomas’s drinking was legendary. Stories of the debauched and disheveled Welsh poet’s epic drinking binges have had a tendency to drown out serious discussion of his poetry.
It’s a legend that Thomas helped promote, as this pencil sketch he made of himself attests.