Dedicated to the 95 year old poet, painter, City Lights Bookstore and Press owner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, this issue has wide focus.
There is an interview with one of the founders of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute, Diane di Prima; an appreciation of Iain Sinclair’s journey in pursuit of Charles Olson, Ed Dorn, Malcolm Lowry, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder and others in American Smoke; an investigation and memoir by Anne Waldman on Bob Dylan and the Beats; an insight into how Charles Bukowski was featured in Penguin Modern Poets 13, other articles on Kerouac, Robert La Vigne and Allen Ginsberg, plus a review section.
The central feature, though, is a wide ranging and fascinating interview by Kevin Ring with poet, critic, observer and essayist, Jim Burns. It begins with how Burns discovered another world of art, cinema and literature that differed from official versions and his subsequent discovery of American bohemianism through the writings of Kenneth Rexroth, which led to his reading of the Beats, Black Mountain and San Francisco writers in the late Fifties. He became a reviewer for Tribune, Jazz Journal, Ambit and The Guardian, and started submitting poems to little magazines in 1962. During this period he met Roy Fisher, Gael Turnbull, Michael Shayer, Dave Cunliffe, David Chaloner, Chris Torrance, Andrew Crozier and Tony Connor, and started corresponding with Gilbert Sorrentino and Seymour Krim. There are specific questions about the work of little magazines, such as The Outsider, Satis, Migrant and Ambit, about literary figures such as Eric Mottram, Gary Snyder and Andrew Crozier, his own editing of Move from December 1964 – April 1968, his involvement in the 1972 BBC film documentary directed by Alan Yentob, his editing of Palantir 1976-1983, his many poetry books, the nature of political poetry, his four books on radicals, bohemians, beats and outsiders, and so on. A fifth book is due from Penniless Press Publications later this year.
When asked about Move and its supplement, Thirteen American Poets, he replied:
The magazine itself always had a mixture of British and American poets and I wasn’t concerned to project any sort of Beat image, nor that of any other group. I just read what came in and printed what I liked. Just a few of the poets who were in the magazine and supplement were Anselm Hollo, Roy Fisher, Lee Harwood, Carol Berge, Charles Bukowski, Jack Micheline, Andrew Crozier, Chris Torrance, Fielding Dawson, Larry Eigner, Tom Clark, Joanne Kyger, Robin Blaser, Michael Horovitz, Max Finstein, David Tipton, and quite a few more. And it was sometimes a pleasure to give space to a quirky, older poet like Hugh Creighton Hill, whose short poems didn’t fit into any category but were a delight to read.
An admirable editorial stance.
Beat Scene 72 is available from Kevin Ring, 27 Court Leet, Binley Woods, Nr Coventry CV3 2JQ. Subscriptions are £25 for four issues.
David Caddy 6th June 2014