David Kirby on a Wild Allen Ginsberg Reading

Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

               

Over the past few months, the 92nd St. Y has been hosting a “75 at 75” series, which asks authors to select and respond to a recording from the 92Y Poetry Center’s archive.  This week, my friend and colleague, the poet and critic David Kirby, reflects on a recording of a particularly wild reading given by Allen Ginsberg in 1973.

First, Kirby recalls meeting Ginsberg in the late 1960s when he was a young graduate student (and perhaps being not-so-subtly propositioned by the older poet) and two slightly later Ginsberg readings at Florida State University (where Kirby and I both teach in the English Department):

A few years later, he read again in Tallahassee—remember, poets were rock stars then. The FSU faculty consisted largely of older gentlemen who wore seersucker suits and taught from battered copies of The Norton Anthology. One of these old darlings was seated in…

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