For Allen Ginsberg

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What follows is an extract from the BEAT-L mailing list, an internet forum dedicated to the discussion of Beat literature run by Bill Gargan of Brooklyn College, from the days immediately before and after the news of Allen Ginsberg's death. We pick up with the first mention of Allen's terminal illness, arriving in the middle of a mild, friendly flame war (as usual) discussing, of all things, whether Ginsberg's poem "America" was patriotic, unpatriotic or ambivalent.

Date:         Wed, 2 Apr 1997 16:57:36 +0500
From:         Bil Brown 
Subject:      Re: ambivalence

>Could Ginsberg's ambivalent attitude toward America be any more
>effectively than conveyed than in its articulation in "Howl"?
>"where we hug and kiss the United States under our bedsheets, the
>United States that coughs all night and won't let us sleep."
>Mike Skau

Just in from a VERY reliable source:

YOUR Mr. Ambivalence, Allen Ginsberg, has terminal cancer. Lets be nice to
him for a little while. ok.


Date:         Thu, 3 Apr 1997 12:51:52 -0800
From:         Levi Asher 
Subject:      Poetry's Final Subject (fwd)

Sad news confirmed ...

> Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 10:59:58 -0800
> To:
> From: (Steve Silberman)
> Subject: Poetry's Final Subject
>  Allen Ginsberg has inoperable liver cancer, and "four to twelve months"
>  to live.
>  Beams to our teacher and friend.
> Love,
> Steve

Date:         Thu, 3 Apr 1997 17:45:47 EST
From:         Bill Gargan 
Subject:      Re: ambivalence

Allen was fond of quoting Trungpa's words on Bill Burroughs Jr. when he
was ill:"He will live or he will die.  Both are good."  I imagine Allen
is better prepared than most of us for the end.  Let's hope, however,
that the doctors are wrongin giving him only three months.  Meanwhile,
let's all give him our friendship and support in the time left for us on
earth together.

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 12:09:14 -0500
From:         Howard Park 
Subject:      A Comet Dims...

Allen Ginsberg was, and is, a shining light that illuminates the world with a
relentless spirit of truth and love.  This man has spoken truth to evil in
all its forms - the evil of totalitarianism be it comminist, capitalist,
facist and every other ism or ist of our age.

As his body fails, I'm moved to reflect on the only serious discussion I ever
had with him, almost exactly a year ago.  It was about hope, joy and
optimism, qualities of beat writing which I believe are often overlooked.
 Allen never, ever, has shied away from the dark side of things in his art
but I have always felt that there was a bedrock of joy within him.  Joy so
powerful that I knew that Molach would be overcome, person by person.  It's
not the joy of escapism, thought that is part of living a full life.  Its the
joy of always being able to see the good that is all around us, within us,
the beauty of commonplace things, the beauty of the sunflower in the railroad
yard.  Whitman had this quality too, Jack Kerouac and Jerry Garcia too.

I could go on, but for me the effect of Allen - his art and simply who he is
- has simply made life more worth living.  Thank you Allen Ginsberg.

I know that death is natural, can be beautiful.  I know it on an intellectual
and perhaps a sriritual level too.  But I can't escape a feeling of deep,
deep sadness now also.  AG's performance of "Father Death" haunts me...but I
also remember his sly, knowing squint of a smile as he sang that poem the
last time I saw him do it.  I see him now, in my head, with the same
expression.  I guess he knows something that I don't.

Howard Park

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 12:05:53 +0000
From:         Mongo BearWolf 
Subject:      Ginsberg, terminal liver cancer

Hi Folks...

The rumor we heard earlier does appear to be true.  Allen Ginsberg has
been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.  Check out:

This is a very sad day...  I'm kicking myself for discovering AG too
late in life, and know that now I will probably never get a chance to
see him in person.

But his work is a gift...


Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 12:30:55 -0500
From:         Richard Wallner 
Subject:      Ginsberg's cancer...

The New York Daily News today carried an article with basically the same
information.  Allen has inoperable liver cancer and less than a year to
live.  Allen's had an amazing life and I'm sure he is looking at death as
just another experience.  Maybe a plain of exsistence where he'll be
reunited with his mother, whose memories have always haunted him, and
with Neal Cassady (who he'll admit was the love of his life), and Jack
Kerouac.  From what I know of Allen, I dont think he will fear death and
will be accepting of it when it comes.

Im worried more though about Peter Orlovsky.  He is much more dependent
emotionally on Allen from what I've been told than even most spouses
are on their loved ones.  He'd certainly be either dead or institutionalized
now without Allen in his life.  I hope he can handle Allen's death.

I always hoped that before he died, Allen would have a chance to be our
national "poet laureate"  But I guess he was way to anti-establishment
for that to be realistic.  I only hope that there is a tribute organized.

His death will leave a true void.

Richard Wallner

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 10:50:16 -0700
From:         dawn m zarubnicky 
Subject:      Re: A Comet Dims...


Your post was beautiful..brought tears to my eyes.  Hopefully this list
will help all of us come to terms with the impending loss a true American
hero.  My thoughts and prayers are with Allen and I take comfort in the
fact that his work will live on forever.


Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 10:01:01 -0800
From:         John Maynard 
Subject:      Re: Ginsberg, terminal liver cancer

mongo.bearwolf@Dartmouth.EDU,.internet writes:
>The rumor we heard earlier does appear to be true.  Allen Ginsberg has
>been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.  Check out:



Says a lot about something, but I'm not sure what.

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 13:10:46 -600
From:         Nick Weir-Williams 

This seems to be a new update, and a very sad one>

> Beat poet Ginsberg's health declines
>         NEW YORK, April 4 (UPI) -- Beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg's
> health has seriously worsened.
>         Ginsberg's doctor says the poet suffered a stroke or other
> complication from his liver cancer overnight.
>         Before last night's setback, Ginsberg was expected to live from 4 to
> 12 months, but his doctor now says the prognosis will be changed.
>         The poet plans to stay in his Lower East Side home until he dies.
>         Ginsberg, who suffers from a long-running battle against hepatitis C
> and cirrhosis of the liver, has terminal liver cancel.
>         His doctor says Ginsberg has taken the news ``very well'' and
> characterized his response to Friday's terminal prognosis as ``studied.''
>         The poet's most famous work is ``Howl'', published in 1956, which
> claimed to be the authentic voice of the Beat generation.
>         The poem's drug-induced verse, including the famous opening line ``I
> saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,'' harkened a
> new style in American poetry.
>         Critics accused Howl of being obscene for its common language and
> homosexual overtones. The poem withstood several legal challenges
> against its publication, including in the U.S. Supreme Court.
>         Ginsberg emerged as a leading figure among the Beats, a literary
> movement stemming from the 1950s underground of bebop jazz, heroin,
> Eastern mysticism and sexual liberation.

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 14:47:21 -0500
From:         Tony Trigilio 
Subject:      Re: Ginsberg's cancer...

I've been off this list for a few months now--because I forced myself
off all lists to finish my dissertation (working on a poetics of
prophecy in the industrial West, with a chapter on AG).  I keep telling
myself I'll rejoin today or the next day or the day after, but I've been
juggling too many visions and re-visions toward my late May deadline.

Then I got an email from a friend telling me about AG's liver cancer.  I
had to get back on the list.  I suspect we are going to hear the worst
kinds of remembrances from the mainstream media in the next few weeks,
as those threatened by AG's politics and sexuality take charge to try to
rewrite his history.  I had to get back to this list for a community of
folks who know better.

The news of AG's cancer is terrible.  We're losing one of the few honest
voices of human rights and free expression in this century.  Howard put
it well:

> This man has spoken truth to evil in all its forms - the evil of
> totalitarianism be it comminist, capitalist, facist and every other
> ism or ist of our age.

At least Allen has time to prepare for death, for his transition.  Not
all of us get this opportunity.  I'm sure he will use it well.

Tony Trigilio

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:26:45 EST
Subject:      Re: Ginsberg's cancer...

At first I hoped the news of Ginsberg's cancer was a sick April Fools joke, but
as we all know now, it ain't. It's hard news to process, living in a
Ginsbergless world, like hearing suddenly that as of tomorrow, all the trees in
the world will be gone. It's insane and the mind rejects it. But we all knew
this day would come and so did Allen. He has worked hard all his life for so
much more than just poetry as if that was not enough, so that long after the
physical Allen Ginsberg shell is gone, what he started will remain. Damn. The
man who helped me with my mother's death back in 1986 and reconfigured how I
looked at death, is now putting us to the test. What he said to me back in '86
when my mother was in his position I will say to all of you, "...maybe this is
not a time of hardship as it is a time of great adventure?"

Well, I can try, but easier said than done.

Dave B.

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:41:06 -0500
From:         Antoine Maloney 
Subject:      Re: A Comet Dims...

Dawn and everyone...

        Dawn wrote about Allen Ginsberg's work living forever. I'd like to
think about it slightly differently. Montreal recently hosted an evening at
the Centaur Theatre for the poet Irving Layton. Leonard Cohen was one of the
multitude who attended and spoke.

        He described one of his early conversations with Layton. At that
time Cohen was still involved in the family business - clothing manufacture.
Layton said to him "Leonard, teach me everything you know about clothing and
I'll teach you how to live forever!"

        Allen Ginsberg will live forever; he has known for a long time what
Layton knew and would teach Cohen.

        Your post Howard was indeed wonderful. I've already opened a
Ginsberg folder to hold all the outpouring of posts.



"The sky turned black and bruised, and we had months of heavy rain."
        - Tom Waits

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 16:46:40 +0500
From:         Bil Brown 
Subject:      Re: Fwd:

>>>         NEW YORK, April 4 (UPI) -- Beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg's
>>> health has seriously worsened.

What does that mean? Seriously worsened? What could it mean??? This is
something that is VERY important to me & I'm sure ALL of the Beat-Listers.
My personal connection is he has been my teacher & friend, and his
office-line has been busy since the news hit the press. Tell us what's UP!!

Bil Brown

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:35:14 -0600
From:         Matthew S Sackmann 
Subject:      AG

I love Allen Ginsberg, let that be writ in Heaven's unchangeable heart.

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 15:46:04 -0600
From:         Nick Weir-Williams 
Subject:      Re: Fwd:

I tried to post a news release to the list a few hours back - maybe it
didn't get through as I was mailing from Netscape. There was a news report
at 1.00 that AG had a serious setback overnight, perhaps a stroke, and that
the 4-12 month date had been radically altered downwards, it didn't say to
what, but it sounded awfully ominous


Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 13:47:53 -0800
From:         Levi Asher 
Subject:      Re: Fwd:

I heard this too from a different source: "he took a turn for the

I was really hoping for that 4 months ... tributes, hospital
visits, etc.  I hope we get it.

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 19:44:03 -0500
From:         Marie Countryman 
Subject:      Re: AG

there was a young and talented journalist who died very young, leaving only
a book of prose pieces, one of which i have always cherished for capturing
the soul and essence of my perception and experience of AG
and here it goes (replete with typos and lack of caps):

*making peace at the peace eye book store*
the fading strictly kosher sign, a leftover from the days when the peace
eye bookstore was a chicken market, was gone with the front window. gone
too was the pot is fun sandwich board that allen ginsberg had worn in the
first LeMar demonstrations. and the rickety old mimeograph in the back
room, which had turned out fourteen issues of *fuck you/a magazine of the
arts*, had finally been junked. it had been rough winter for the little mags.
but tuesday night, like a molting phoenix rising from the garbage at 383
east 10th street, the peace eye opened again.
perhaps one hundred peole had responded to the mimeographed invitations
sent by poet, fug, and peace ye propietor ed sanders, and came to see the
opening exhibit of literary artifacts which adorned the bookstore's
subway-tile walls. everything, sanders insisted was for sale: a six by ten
foot banner used in the shooting of sander's epic film *mongolian
clusterfuck*, ken weaver's certificate of undesirable discharge from the
air force, a framed collection of pubic hair plucked from sixteen leading
poets and two much-hearalded cold cream jars reputed to have been used by
AG. the cold cream jars went for $35 to an anonymous collector.
friends and fans and fugs wandered through the exhibit, which included all
the back issues of *fuck you* a wall of little mags from d.a. levy in
cleveland, who is now fighting obscenity charges, and the prosecution
evidence from sander's own obscentiry trial, from which he emerged
vitorious several weeks ago.
anything culd happen at the peace eye. someone brought 5 pounds of raw
hamburger in a plastic bag, to sell at a bargain price of $2. steve weber,
a folksinger and former fug, opened the bag, sniffed the hamburger, and
bbought it on the spot....
all evening firecrtackers had been exploding up and down the block. but it
wasnt until nine that the first one came through the door. sanders closed
the door, and a rain of firecrackers began. the peace eye was under siege.
a patron tried to leave. he opened the door and was driven back inside by a
hail of lady-fingers. through a crack in the door, they pleaded with the
kids. 'he's got to home. he's got to go to work' .still the explosions continued.
so AG went out  to make peace.
he ran out to the curb and began to sing mantras with great gusto, clashing
his fingerbells. the kids were dumbfounded. at first they gaped at him, but
soon began to taunt and more firecrackers flew at the poet's feet. ginsberg
kneeled in the gutter, in the grease between the parked cars, and kept
singing. the kids glared at him.
'what are you afraid of?' ginsberg asked.
'why dont you go back where you came from?' a kid demanded.
'i live on the block.' ginsberg said, and kept singing.
the exchange went on for ten minutes, ginsberg singing, kids taunting,
firecrackers exploding from every side and puerto rican families watching,
astounded, from nearby stoops. and then a kid started to sing with the poet
and ginsberg would leap to his feet, and show the kid how to hold in his
stomach, and then he was back on his knees, singing again, asking more
questions, singing 'om raksa raksa hum hum hum phat svaha!' and now the kid
was clashing the finger bells, and you could hear the mantras up and down 10th street.
after twenty minutes, the firecrackers had stopped, and ginsberg and the
kid were sitting on the stoop next to the peace eye, still singing, with a
smiling audiencethirty puerto ricans and poets passing around beer. and the
kids who had been throwing the firecrackers were inside the store sweeping
up the shrapnel.
and the peace eye was peaceful again.
from 'moving through here' by don mcneil.
thinking particularly of you, levi and bill b. and others.

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 16:46:41 -0800
From:         Leon Tabory 
Comments: To: "Ginsberg's cancer..."

Bill Gargan wrote:
> I'd sure like to see a push for Allen to get the Nobel prize before he dies. I
>  can't think of anyone who is more deserving.

Is there something we can do?


Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 20:52:01 -0500
From:         Pamela Beach Plymell 
Subject:      Re: A Comet Dims...

At dinner with Allen and Burroughs last November, Allen recited lines from
Shakespeare in response to an earlier question at the symposium as to what
lines he thought greatest: "that in black ink my love may still shine
Charles Plymell

Date:         Fri, 4 Apr 1997 20:22:11 -0800
From:         Levi Asher 
Subject:      Words for Ginzy

I think I'll collect all these reminiscenses and create
a web page ... sound okay everybody?

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 02:01:44 -0500
From:         Antoine Maloney 
Subject:      Re: Words for Ginzy

That's definitely worth doing Levi. The Irish part of me keeps on yelling
that we should not be sounding so doom filled; that we should expect and
demand that it will all come out right for Allen, but it's getting hard to
do in the face of the news.

Recommend that anyone who has any of Allen's recorded material listen to it
- listen to his "Amazin' Grace".... he is so alive in it.


"The sky turned black and bruised, and we had months of heavy rain."
        - Tom Waits

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 12:03:16 -0500
From:         Timm 
Subject:      "Allen Ginsberg Saved My Life"

In this poem, I recorded one evening with Allen in 1993.  He really did
save my life.
It's an acrostic (the correct term?).  The title runs down the left margin.

A.L.L.E.N.  G.I.N.S.B.E.R.G.  S.A.V.E.D.  M.Y.  L.I.F.E.

By Bob Timm (originally published in Poetry New York)

A modern executive 40th-floor office
Lit by neon fruit humming tubes
Lion buddha in grey suit and tie
Even I could not detect the vision
Never a sign of his howling past

Going along 42nd Street
I think of distant highways and
Not of the immediate streets but
Suddenly he pulls out of the path of a
Bus barreling towards my thoughtful self
Ever ready for poetic graces but not
Ready for the moment when Allen
Ginsberg saved my life

Some time later we stand in line at
A Tad's Steaks ordering meat for ritual
Very raw like he said we needed
Even I could feel the snickers and stares
Directed at the crazy old man he is

My knees crack and ache in lotus form
Yet he forgets his age and folds his legs

Like an obedient faithful dog
I sip my wonton soup and wait
For the words of an ancient
East Village superstar lonely prophet

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 12:29:04 -0500
From:         Jeffrey Weinberg 
Subject:      T-shirt List/Thoughts on Allen

Some thoughts on Allen Ginsberg:

Anyone who was born in the 1950s like I was realizes that
Allen has been there with us the whole way - If you were lucky enough to grow
up in the 1950s and 1960s, maybe you had an older brother or sister who kept
a copy of Fred McDarrah's "The Beat Scene" under the bed so Mom and Dad
wouldn't find it.
or there was a copy of Evergreen Review #2 (The SF Beat Issue) around the
That may have been your first look at Allen.
Then Howl the trial....
Howl the Fantasy recording (on red vinyl, of course) -
and wasn't that Allen at the Summer of Love taking us with Michael Bowen and
the other organizers into the age of Aquarius?
And remember the Democratic Convention and the trial of the Chicago Seven and
Allen got up in the witness box and started to meditate and chant???
And when John Sinclair of MC-5 got busted for possession of two joints,
wasn't that Allen there helping to free John through great Free Sinclair rally?
And all those Antiwar demonstrations throughout the sixties and into the seventies,
Allen's writing continues with all the grace that God can grant a poet and
Allen circles the globe for a lifetime to teach, bring peace, to write poetry,
help found JK School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa, chant, book signings,
TV programs, audio, video, etc. etc. and photography and awards and time to
write introductions for so many books by others to help their books sell a
few more copies and because he believed in their words: Ray Bremser (poems of Madness),
Huncke (Evening Sunurned Crimson), Kerouac (visions of Cody) and on and on -
Do not be saddened by the news about Allen. Take a good look at Bill Morgan's
massive tomes of bibliographical research: look at all that Allen Ginsberg
has written and recorded in his life. Read a biography of Allen (Barry Miles'
Ginsberg or Dharma Lion) (title is correct,I think) - and take a look at all
that one man has done in a short lifetime (oh, yeah - concerts with Peter O
and Steven Taylor around the world).
Do not be saddened now. Rejoice in that Allen gave us all so much of so many
kinds of so many things - different ways to look at politics,religion,
poetry, photography, music and on and on -
Use the life of Allen Ginsberg as inspiration. No matter whether you work the
line in Detroit or teach a college course at Harvard. We can all learn something from the
enormous span of achievements of Allen Ginsberg. No computer on this planet
has enough memory to hold all the names of every person whose life Allen
Ginsberg has touched in a positive way.
That's all -
Water Row

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 13:11:40 -0500
From:         Bill Philibin 
Subject:      AG Dead...

Saturday April 5 11:15 AM EST

He died at 2:39 a.m. EST surrounded by family and friends,

said Morgan, his bibliographer and unofficial spokesman.

The primary cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest with the secondary
cause cancer of the liver, he said. Funeral
services will be private.

Ginsberg suffered for many years from hepatitis C, which led to cirrhosis
of the liver that was diagnosed in 1988. The
cancer was discovered when Ginsberg, who had been suffering from severe
fatigue and jaundice, underwent a recent

In 1956, Ginsberg published "Howl and Other Poems," a book of free verse
considered the preeminent poetic work of
the beat movement of the 1950s.

[ -  ]

"With all the demagoguery [today], poetry can stand
out as the one beacon of sanity: a beacon of individual clarity,
and lucidity in every direction--whether on the Internet or in coffee
houses or university forums or classrooms."
                                              -- Allen Ginsberg

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 13:18:29 -0500
From:         Julie Hulvey 
Subject:      Re: A Comet Dims...

Thanks for the beautiful letter, Howard.
A year ago March 19th-ish I had a dream about Ginsberg. He mentioned he had
work for me to do, then changed the subject. When I pressed him about the
work, he acted as if I shouldn't have to ask.

Months later, I connected this dream with a Ginsberg quote I'd seen printed
 many times in the _Woodstock Journal_:

....And what's the Work?
            To ease the pain of Living
All else Drunken dumbshow.


Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 14:26:24 -0500
From:         Liz Prato 
Subject:      Kaddish

Strange now to think of you, gone.......

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 14:40:28 -0800
From:         j thomas bailey 
Subject:      Re: T-shirt List/Thoughts on Allen

        add me to the list....(i am very sad about loss of great buddha Allen
and i will post a pome i wrote when i heard of his illness a bit

                                j thomas bailey

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 16:22:40 EST
Subject:      Re: AG

Allen died about 2:30 am friday morning after going into a coma. There will be
private funeral services for family only this monday and a public memorial
service to be announced, later in the week. He will be cremated and his ashes
divided in three parts, one part of which will be in the family plot. More
dteails as they arrive.

Adios king,

Dave B.

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 16:38:53 -0500
From:         Tony Trigilio 
Subject:      Ginsberg Has Passed Away

I just received an email note from a friend telling me that Allen passed
away early this morning.  The world has lost one of its brightest.



"...Westward, a single breath blows across the plains, Nebraska's
        fields harvested & stubble bending delicate in evening airs
up Rockies, from Denver's Cherry Creekbed another zephyr risen,
across Pike's Peak an icy blast at sunset, Wind River peaktops
        flowing toward the Tetons,
a breath returns vast gliding grass flats cow-dotted into Jackson Hole,
        into a corner of the plains,
up the asphalt road and mud parking lot, a breeze of restless
        September, up wood stairways in the wind
into the cafeteria at Teton Village under the red tram lift
a calm breath, a silent breath, a slow breath breathes outward from
        the nostrils."
--from AG, "Mind Breaths"


"...I noticed the path downhill, noticed the crowd moving toward buses
I noticed food, lettuce salad, I noticed the Teacher was absent,
I noticed my friends, noticed our car the blue Volvo, a young boy
        held my hand
our key in the motel door, noticed a dark room, noticed a dream
and forgot, noticed oranges lemons & caviar at breakfast,
I noticed the highway, sleepiness, homework thoughts, the boy's
        nippled chest in the breeze
as the car rolled down hillsides past green woods to the water,
I noticed the houses, balconies overlooking a misted horizon,
        shore & old worn rocks in the sand
I noticed the sea, I noticed the music, I wanted to dance."
--from AG, "On Cremation of Chogyam Trungpa, Vidyadhara"

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 14:52:36 -0800
From:         Malcolm Lawrence 
Subject:      Kaddish

>>(in preparation):
>>Hamakom yenachem etchem betoch shih-ar availay tziyon vi-yirushalayim.
>>"Hashem natan, veHashem lakach, yehi shem Hashem mevorach."
>>Boruch dayan ha-emet.
>To follow up...Ginsberg died this morning (2:39) of liver cancer and
>heart failure.


We lost a titan. A very gentle titan. Still, as my high school humanities
teacher said, "He had a full life." And even up until the end he was still
writing poetry and seeing friends on the last day he'd be conscious. ``He
was very energetic,'' Bill Morgan said. ``He wore himself out (Thursday)
talking to friends and writing poems.'' He wrote about a dozen short poems
on Wednesday. One of the last was titled ``On Fame and Death''; others ran
the gamut from nursery rhymes to

"The funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations should be sent
to Jewel Heart Buddhist Center in Ann Arbor, Mich."

I also noticed that he died on April 5, the same day Kurt Cobain died.

I was lucky enough to see him read here in town (only once though) at the
Elliot Bay Book Company back in 94 and got him to sign my copy of "Howl"

For all you hard-core Dylan fans, remember the scene in Renaldo & Clara
where he and Dylan go to Kerouac's grave?

Seems strange that he should leave before Burroughs. Then again, I
personally don't believe Burroughs or Keith Richards will ever die. I mean,
if they're still alive after all they've been through already, then can't
help but live to see 100.

Sorry if I'm just babbling. I just think Allen was one of the most
necessary poets we've ever had, who had a giant heart and was
absolutely fearless.

Eliot was right..."April is the cruelest month."

*raising my glass*

Props to Allen,


Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 17:42:59 -0600
From:         John Mitchell 
Subject:      Green Automobile

Just heard (in Biermaier's B H Books on Positively 4th St.) that Ginsberg
has taken off for his ultimate ride in The Green Automobile, dispensing
lovely down & up Beat fearful & fearless words in his ecstatic wake, the
best heart of his generation stark naked raving beatifically mad finally
stopped, as the praying for the migration of his soul begins:  HOWL, in
spirit & deed.

I'm with you in Rockland
        in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway
        across America in tears to the door of my cottage in the Western

Amen//John Mitchell

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 18:44:16 -0500
From:         "Gibbons, Jeffrey x85139e1" 
Subject:      Re: AG

I hate to make this my first post on the list, but I just read on that Allen died this morning at 2:39 a.m.  There is an
informational article along with the announcement, as I am sure many
will follow.  Let the mourning and rememberances begin.

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 19:08:23 -0500
From:         Diane De Rooy 
Subject:      Celebration of Allen Ginsberg

Revised celebration invitation
Friends, lovers, children, members of the Beat Generation private chat room
on AOL:
Allen has died. The celebration of his life goes on.

You are invited to come and share your feelings about this, read poetry and
wisdom, tell stories and jokes and live the pastpresentandfuture of Allen's
life in the bg private chatroom Sunday morning, from 10am to noon EDT (7am to
9am PDT).

We'll do the same things we did for jack on his birthday, connecting with
each other and sharing joy and sadness mixed together into that special
poignant concoction that only has the name "I'm alive..."

Shanti and shalom,


Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 19:35:57 -0800
From:         Adrien Begrand 
Subject:      [Fwd: [Fwd: Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies]]

Date: Sat, 05 Apr 1997 16:51:49 -0500
From: Ron Whitehead 
Subject: [Fwd: Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies]

From: bofus? 
Subject: Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies

April 5, 1997

Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies

NEW YORK (AP) -- Allen Ginsberg, the poet laureate of the Beat
Generation whose writing and lifestyle shaped the music, politics and
protests of the next 40 years, died this morning. He was 70.

Ginsberg died in his Lower East Side apartment at 2:39 a.m. of a heart
attack related to his terminal liver cancer, said Bill Morgan, his
friend and archivist. The poet was surrounded by family and friends.

Ginsberg suffered from chronic hepatitis for years, which eventually led
to cirrhosis of the liver. His diagnosis of terminal liver cancer was
made eight days ago and made public on Thursday. He suffered a stroke
Thursday night and slipped into a coma.

Ginsberg has spent several days in a hospice after the diagnosis, but
then decided he wanted to return home.

``He was very energetic,'' Morgan said. ``He wore himself out (Thursday)
talking to friends and writing poems.''

He wrote about a dozen short poems on Wednesday. One of the last was
titled ``On Fame and Death''; others ran the gamut from nursery rhymes
to politics.

During the McCarthy era in the 1950s, when TV's married couples slept in
separate beds, Ginsberg wrote ``Howl'' -- a profane, graphic poem that
dealt with his own homosexuality and communist upbringing.

``I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving
hysterical naked, '' began the seminal ``Howl.'' It was dedicated to
Carl Solomon, a patient he met during a stay in a psychiatric ward.

Ginsberg became America's most popular and recognizable poet, his
balding, bearded visage one of the enduring images of the 1950s beatnik
explosion of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Neal Cassady. The
group, disillusioned with conventional society, created their own

Ginsberg's acolytes comprised a who's who of pop culture: Bob Dylan,
Yoko Ono, Vaclav Havel, Patti Smith, Michael Stipe and Billy Corgan.

Irwin Allen Ginsberg was born June 3, 1926, in Newark, N.J., the second
son of poet Louis Ginsberg and his wife, Naomi. The family moved to
Paterson, N.J., while Ginsberg was a youngster.

Ginsberg intended to become a lawyer and enrolled at Columbia
University. But while still a teen-ager, he fell in with a crowd that
included Kerouac, Burroughs and Cassady -- the leaders of what became
known as the Beat Generation.

``I think it was when I ran into Kerouac and Burroughs when I was 17
that I realized I was talking through an empty skull,'' Ginsberg once
said. ``I wasn't thinking my own thoughts or saying my own thoughts.''

Ginsberg's first taste of notoriety came after the publication of
``Howl'' in 1956. Copies of the book were seized by San Francisco police
and U.S. Customs officials, and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti was
charged with publishing an obscene book.

Ferlinghetti was acquitted a year later, but the case generated enormous
publicity for Ginsberg and his work. Ginsberg was suddenly in demand.

One of his other great works, ``Kaddish,'' was a confessional work
dealing with his mother's life and death in a mental hospital. It was
written, stream of consciousness-style, in his Manhattan apartment,
fueled by a combination of amphetamines and morphine.

Ginsberg experimented heavily with drugs, taking LSD under the guidance
of the late Timothy Leary in the 1960s.

As he grew older, Ginsberg became a guru to the counterculture movement.
He coined the term ``flower power.'' He was arrested in 1967 for
protesting against the Vietnam War in New York, and tear-gassed a year
later while protesting at the Democratic convention in Chicago.

His National Book Award came in 1973 for ``The Fall of America: Poems of
These States, 1965-1971.'' He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in
poetry in 1995 for his book, ``Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems

Ginsberg toured with Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue in 1977, doing
spontaneously composed blues poems. He toured Eastern Europe in 1986,
receiving an award in the former Yugoslavia, recording with a Hungarian
rock band and meeting a congress of young Polish poets.

``In the Eastern bloc, the people realize the governments are up to no
good, whereas Americans still maintain that the government is looking
after their best interest,'' Ginsberg said at the time.

Ginsberg remained vital and active well into his 60s, performing in
Manhattan nightclubs and doing poetry readings. Last year, he recorded
his poem ``The Ballad of the Skeletons'' with musical backing from Paul
McCartney and Philip Glass.

He did a video version of the poem, a pre-election political rant. At
69, Ginsberg's video appeared in heavy rotation on MTV's ``Buzz Bin.''

The funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations should be
sent to Jewel Heart Buddhist Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Date:         Sat, 5 Apr 1997 21:15:29 -0500
From:         Pamela Beach Plymell 
Subject:      Re: Ginzy

Upon hearing the news Pam and I drove up to Ginsberg's Committee on Poetry
farm to feed the birds and meditate.

                                April 5, 1997

Chirp, chirp, chirp
Ginzy gone
I broadcast the seeds
bread crumbs from the compost
for little animals and birds

Chirp on the phone, chirp on the radio
broadcasting them seeds
Janine left a message on the phone
I read it in chirp cyberspace

Up Lancaster St. we drove
past the bank on East Hill Road
New house where'd you come from
another house along this road

that one didn't used to be there
yet another on the way to the farm
that was the idea of a farm for poets, etc.

The great view of the Mohawk Valley
its early spring mauves and browns
old crops of gold fields stalks

Didn't take the shortcut where
Ray froze his fingers round a beer can
walking to Cherry Valley in a blizzard

Turn off the paved road
Bad hill bad ruts from spring washes
Peter needs to get that tractor
and haul some dirt and gravel

Like he usta with the manure spreader
Julius faithfully standing on the hitch
Big tractor at the corner
have to walk in here
Roads all wet, parts covered with snow

Hear the birds already
Get the bread pieces
throw a few
tie my shoe

Walk down the slushy ruts
through mud and snow
old craggily cherry tree
must be a hundred

You said the old ones were wiser
"broadcast" the bread a metaphor
when you were born, tho most had radio
more bread for the bashful birds

Stop here to rest and share
my hard bagel with the birds
hmm. that doesn't taste bad
maybe I'll eat it meself.

Hardly a sound up here in hushed forest
the snow is silent in the deer tracks
Pam says the daffodils are in bloom

I'll put some bread crumbs on the porch
not on this chair with peeling paint
Bread on the old maple tree
bread on the rock for innocent creatures

A rag is hanging on the old clothesline
and the barn door needs repair
the whole barn actually, I'll leave
some crumbs by the outhouse and
the barn and the cherry tree

On the road back a woodpecker
breaks the silence, hammering perfectly
like a Whitman