There was once a time, if you can believe it, when Allen Ginsberg could take the poetry of William Blake, sing it in a recording studio, and then MGM Records would release it as a long-playing album. I refer to the time, of course, of “the sixties,” that half-mythical era that seems to have run from around 1966 to 1972.[...]
Where do artistic ideas come from?
The collective unconscious?
Cheesy covers of 50s pop tunes?
The ghost of Jerry Garcia?
Perhaps rather than trying to identify the source, we should work toward being open to inspiration in whatever guise it presents itself.
Isaac Asimov — he’s best known for his masterful works of science fiction. He was also a professor of biochemistry at Boston University. A committed humanist. And someone who enjoyed writing lots of dirty limericks.[...]
We don’t often think of the Beats as family men, and that’s because the most prominent of them weren’t, except William Burroughs for a time (a tragic story or two for another day).[...]
Before she died earlier this year, Maya Angelou was working on Caged Bird Songs, a musical collaboration that features Angelou reciting her poems and producers Shawn Rivera and RoccStarr blending them with modern day hip-hop. After her passing, Angelou’s estate continued nudging the project along.[...]
Everybody spreads holiday cheer in their own way. On Christmas Day 1976, the eccentric jazz composer and bandleader did it by appearing on Blue Genesis, a show on the University of Pennsylvania’s radio station WXPN, reading his poetry with music.[...]
In 2010, Patti Smith won a National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids, making her, by my count, the only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member to land that prize. Of course, she’s also the only person I can think of who has appeared in both a movie by Jean-Luc Godard (Film Socialisme) and an episode of Law and Order.[...]
When the young Neil Gaiman was learning Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” by heart, he surely had no inkling that years later he’d be called upon to recite it for legions of adoring fans…particularly on the Internet, a phenomenon the budding author may well have imagined, if not technically implemented.[...]