Friday, September 2, 2011

Pittsburgh Magazine Review of Past All Traps

Above is a copy of the new review in Pittsburgh Magazine of Past All Traps. You can go directly to a browsable copy of the magazine at this link. Many thanks to Kris Collins for his salient review.

Since I've been keeping busy working on a forthcoming chapbook by Ed Baker, a number of local readings, a couple of reviews, getting ready for the new issues of Lilliput, and a backlog half way back to the beginning of time, I'll leave you today with a few songs by Allen Ginsberg, whose joyful gnomishness, which variously chided, challenged, caressed, and cajoled collective human consciousness, I seem to be missing particularly these days.

William Blake's "The Nurse's Song"

Father Death Blues

Hare Krishna Sung to William Buckley

The looks on Buckley's and Ginsberg's faces tell the entire story - there is a kind of ecstatic, astonished bliss on Big Bill's and a ecstatic, challenging bliss on Allen's - truly beauty personified.


   In the folded
   Red lips of the rose
   Please do not place
   Any poem which lacks
   The fragrance of spirit
   Yosano Akiko
   translated by Dennis Maloney

dangling in
the yellow roses
the bull's balls

translated by David G. Lanoue


Send a single haiku for the Wednesday Haiku feature. Here's how.

Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 116 songs


Charles Gramlich said...

Great review. Congrats. I enjoyed the collection very much myself.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Charles ... really appreciate it.

TC said...


The looks on people's faces in those days were... how can one say this?

Just different.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Tom, a very interesting thought, indeed - the looks on the faces of people that we can still see from bygone ages (at least via photography and, probably, in a way for scholars of portrait art) are very different. What strikes me most strongly about your thought is that the looks have changed on people's faces within our lifetimes.

I always say I'm for change and go with the flow - yet this seems to be a heavy, heavy blow to the chest.

Anonymous said...

that Yosano Akiko/Den Maloney poem IS
"write on" !

I can just inhale the fragrance of her ...
( this "Red-lipped Rose")

on the faces that meet other faces a
just-what-is 'ecstasy' ["The fragrance of spirit"] has too often been
... murdered


Akiko's (the poem's) use of "Please" and absence of ALL punctuate markings is well



OPPPS ! I almost MISSED ISSA'S poem !!! as I too frequently "dangle" :

in her garden
in a summer dress

TC said...


I've been dwelling lately, in thinking about the present holiday and its history, upon the
faces of unsorted common people-on-the streets in the America into which I happened to be born.

That old curiosity about the this-is-where-I-came-in cultural moment.

It's kind of a bookend-fascination, not without a trace of rue, as the faces I see on the streets now, as I am about to take my leave, seem so much harder, colder... and (at least in the "better neighborhoods") better nourished.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Not without a trace of rue ... yes, I found it powerful and shocking and wonderful in the faces of Ginsberg and Buckley and in the faces you point to, of "ordinary" people, there is this sorrow and loss, too.

Lyle Daggett said...

The moment between Ginsberg and Buckley brings to mind another moment, from a reading Ginsberg did in Minneapolis in late 1970 or early 1971.

This also involved a Blake poem, the poem "Spring," from the Songs of Innocence and Experience.

Ginsberg sang the poem, accompanying himself on a harmonium mounted on a podium in front of him. A bright bouncy melody, in keeping with the brightness of the lyrics. Then as he reached the end of the poem, the last line "Merrily, merrily, we welcome in the year.", he began repeating the last line over and over, and improvising on it:

"...we welcome Buddha's family...", "...we welcome Mary's family..." etc. And then in one of the repetitions, "...we welcome Nixon's family..." and in the next repetition, "...we welcome Manson's family." And many in the room cheered.

Not, surely, cheering Charles Manson, or cheering Richard Nixon; but rather cheering the ecstatic moment in which Ginsberg sang out the truth that if we can welcome the family of Nixon, who caused the deaths of untold numbers, thousands upon thousands of people in Vietnam, then we can surely welcome also the family of Charles Manson, who caused the deaths of (possibly) as many as a dozen people in California all-told.

An ecstatic, challenging bliss, for sure.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Wonderful story, so true to Allen's spirit, the spirit I've been missing, indeed.

Thanks, Lyle.