Tag Archives: Ireland

How Antonin Artaud Came to Influence the Beats

24 Apr

Antonin_Artaud_jeune_b_SDAntonin Artaud had great fashion sense.

Bronx-born writer Carl Solomon joined the United States Maritime Service in 1944 and traveled overseas to Paris, where he was encountered Surrealism and Dadaism. When he came back to the US, he voluntarily admitted himself to a New Jersey psychiatric hospital as Dadaist expression of being beat, being conquered, being overpowered. There, he received shock therapy instead of the lobotomy he requested. He wrote about the experience in Report from the Asylum: Afterthoughts of a Shock Patient.

At the psychiatric hospital, Solomon met Allen Ginsberg. (You can read about how Ginsberg ended up there in Burning Furiously Beautiful.) He introduced the young poet to the poetry of Antonin Artaud, a French poet of Greek ancestry (his parents were from Smyrna) whom he had seen give a screaming poetry reading in Paris. Artaud had written the first Surrealist film, The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928), and produced Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s The Cenci in 1935. The year after that, he went to Mexico, living with the native Tarahumara people and experimenting with peyote, before Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs would pack their bags for Mexico. Another year passed and Artaud was found penniless in Ireland, where he was arrested and deported. Back in France, he was sent to various psychiatric hospitals, where he was subjected to electroshock therapy. Notably, in his earlier years, Artaud had spent time in a sanatorium, where he read none other than Arthur Rimbaud.

Solomon wrote Report from the Asylum with Artaud in mind, while Ginsberg wrote “Howl” with both Artaud and Solomon in mind.

Once again, I could not find any of his poems in public-domain English translation. So, here’s a quote I found interesting and relevant from Artaud’s prose piece The Theater and Its Double:

“I cannot conceive any work of art as having a separate existence from life itself.”

You can read one of his poems, “Jardin Noir,” here.

*4/24/14: The subject’s name was originally misspelled and has now been corrected. Thanks to my reader for pointing that out!

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Friday Links: The UK & Beat Generation Connection

15 Nov

Hope you’ve enjoyed the week we spent exploring the connection between the UK and the Beat Generation! Do you like these sorts of thematic weeks?

I thought I’d kick off your weekend with a few related links:

Barry Miles wrote about Jack Kerouac’s Celtic roots in Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats, and you can read that section in the New York Times

I wrote about how Lawrence Ferlinghetti introduced Kerouac to a Breton (a Celtic language brought over to France) phrase here

Carolyn Cassady was living in Bracknell, England, at the time of her death in September

Bracknell is home to the Bracknell Jazz Festival, which has been running since the ’70s

Pat Fenton wrote an article for the Irish Echo entitled “Down memory lane into Paddy Reilly’s,” which explores the band the Black 47 taking inspiration from Jack Kerouac and Celtic music (I think you can read the article in the print edition, sorry!)

Reporters interview beatniks in Newquay, England, sometime around 1960, in this video on Papermag

London Living suggests the best beatnik hangouts

Proud Chelsea brought Paris’s “The Beat Hotel” to London via a 2010 exhibition a few years ago

When England got The Sea Is My Brother before we did, I wondered if the Brits love Kerouac more than the Yankees?

What did you think of Daniel Radcliffe’s American accent as Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings?

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

17 Mar

Everyone’s Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day!  Actually, my mom and I often get mistaken for Irish.  It must be our fair Swedish skin and eyes.  I even once got a letter addressed to Nik O’Lopoulos.  Yep.

Here’s a couple of St. Patrick’s Day-related links for you:::

  • On my last trip to Ireland, I got to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.  Fun facts: Benjamin Guinness — yes, of beer fame — funded the reconstruction of the cathedral and Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) was dean here.  Find out more in my Church Hopping article.
  • Then, this summer I took a group Church Hopping to St. Patrick’s Cathedral here in New York City.  You can read about that fun experience here.
  • One of my colleagues at Burnside, wrote this interesting article about the meaning of hair when Sinéad O’Connor tweeted that she hated Ireland.
  • Here’s a review of Irish author Colum McCann’s Dancer, also from a colleague on Burnside.
  • You know how four-leaf clovers are supposed to be lucky?  Well, someone in Japan found a 56-leaf clover.
  • This is a pretty four-leaf clover necklace.
  • Have you ever heard this Irish blessing?  It’s so beautiful, and it always reminds me of the Rebecca St. James song “Abba Father.”
  • Going back to Guinness, the beer company is aiming to set a record for the world’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day party. Sounds fun!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!!