SOUTH AMERICAN JOURNALS January – July 1960 by Allen Ginsberg – review

Marc Olmsted

SOUTH AMERICAN JOURNALS January - July 1960 by Allen Ginsberg edited by Michael Schumacher University of Minnesota Press $29.95 First, I was immediately struck by how much unpublished poetry or early drafts (such as "Aether" and "Magic Psalm") are contained in this volume - far beyond any previous journal publications of Allen Ginsberg. In fact, he mostly wrote his journal as poetry during this period. Granted much is not A-list material, as Allen correctly understood in not publishing a lot of it. But for earnest scholars and fans, it is a gold mine. There are also amazing little notations of events, such as seeing Montgomery Clift's "Raintree County" ("he too looks sad" - in fact, Monty's face-rearranging car crash occurred in the middle of filming that picture). Likewise a long dream about Marlon Brando, who imitates Jack Kerouac's voice at one point(!) and includes a dream discussion of how great Orson Welles' Magn...
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Among the Boat People – A Memoir of Vietnam – Review

Martha King

Among the Boat People - A Memoir of Vietnam Nhi Mahn Chung Autonomedia, 2019 Nhi Chung has been working on this book off and on for over twenty years. A few portions have been published, mostly "earlier versions" since rewritten -- but none of them in terms of readability, literary conventions, story-telling principals -- none of them WORK. Just the same, a comprehensive new edition from Autonomedia was launched at BlueStockings Bookshop on Friday, January 17. Why? The lack of consistent timeline, the disjointed pacing, the flattened emotions, actually make Ms. Chung's book an amazing document and finally a deeply moving one. Her book through its many changes, quotations from the work of others and evidence of rewriting "help", remains utterly artless. I know that word has a sweet definition. It can be taken to mean charm. Without guile or artifice. But at bottom "artless" means exactly what it says: Without art. ...
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Uncle Skallywag by Shiv Mirabito – Review

Andy Clausen & Pamela Twining

The poet carries the Universe on his shoulders (p 20). Thus, Shiv Mirabito, in his beautiful and provocative new book, Uncle Skallywag, published by Shivastan Press in Kathmandu, Nepal, on handmade paper, leaps bravely into the fray - outsider art, renegade artists, poems and poets gone before, Ginsberg, Ira Cohen, Janine Pommy Vega, Corso, and many others. This book is a nifty sweep of poetry influenced by Whitman, the Beats, Buddhism, Anthropological travel, thousands of movies, and rock n roll. Let’s peruse some of them. AMERICAN VALUES, sharply satirical, is all about freedom becoming synonymous with amassing money and adoration of Self. “I know I am the crown of creation I have dominion over all that I see I am totally sure because I saw it on TV” (p13) The eponymous UNCLE SKALLYWAG defines, outlines, and reinforces the fiercely compassionate persona of Skallywag, the friendly Outsider, the goodhear...
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Max Sees Red by Martha King – Review

Jim Feast

Martha King, Max Sees Red (New York: Spuyten Duvvil, 2019) One of the greatest mysteries of Martha King’s brilliant new novel Max Sees Red does not appear in the narrative itself but in the author’s bio at the end. It reads, “Martha King has never lived in the Hudson Valley or in Soho where this story takes place.” The mystery is that this story, set in those two locales in 1978, paints such a vivid and detailed portrait, one with the ring of authenticity, so that until hitting this end note the reader thinks the author is using materials drawn from her own life. For instance, look at this this sharply etched description of the changing face of Hudson Valley: As Max turned the car from the parkway … he noticed the contrast between the first two houses [he saw]. The nearest … was roofed with rusted tin. Its wooden sides were faced with odd sections of black tar paper, and shiny greenish vinyl. .. The next ho...
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