Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

More good news...

Jens Ferdinand Willumsen: Sophus Clausssen Reading Poems 1915

I have been accepted to present a paper at the Revealing the Reader Symposium at Monash next month. So that is two conferences this year now. One in Melbourne and one in Adelaide. Both papers will be on "mini-mags", poetry magazines published in Australian from 1965 to 1979. The Adelaide paper will address networks and connections and the Melbourne paper will examine readerships for the magazines. Both papers draw on the research I conducted while on the National Library Summer Scholarship at the beginning of the year and will form part of chapter four of my PhD thesis.
Lots of work to do now. I am 8500 words into chapter two at the moment, and I've got two conference papers to write now!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kill your darlings...

Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg. Image credit

Hot off the back of the film "Howl" (2010), "On the Road" is scheduled for release this year, and next years Beat film is already in post-production: "Kill your darlings". It is a film about the Carr-Kammerer murder in 1944 when Ginsberg was at Columbia University. Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs' novel (unpublished until 2008) And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks is also based on the murder.

Lucien Carr wasn’t a writer, but he was an important catalyst for Ginsberg and the Beat generation as he introduced Ginsberg to a number of future Beat writers, including Jack Kerouac (arguably the most well-known figure of the Beat generation, he named the generation and wrote one of its defining texts, On the Road) and William S. Burroughs (who wrote Junkie and Naked Lunch and coined the phrase “Heavy Metal”). These three writers formed the inner circle of the Beat generation.

A quick sketch of the murder (more detailed accounts can be found elsewhere). Carr was from St Louis and moved to New York to escape the attentions of David Kammerer (his boy-scout leader), but he followed him to New York. Kammerer had gone to school with William S Burroughs and Carr was friends (despite the unwanted sexual advances from Kammerer towards Carr) with Kammerer and Burroughs. In 1944, after a night of drinking together near Columbia University, Kammerer apparently made unwanted advances towards Carr and Kammerer tired to overpower Carr who responded by (ironically) stabbing him with his boy scout knife. Carr paniked and weighed Kammerer's pockets with stones and rolled him into the Hudson river.

Carr then went and saw Burroughs, who flushed Kammerer's bloody cigarettes down the toilet and told Carr to get a lawyer. Instead Carr went and saw Kerouac, who helped him dispose of the knife before going to see a movie together. Eventually Carr did turn himself in, but couldn't be charged immediately as the body had not yet been found. Kerouac and Burroughs were arrested as accessories. Carr was sentenced to 20 years in prison, of which he served only the minimum 2 years.  He went on to have a successful career in editing and died in 2005.

There are also some new Beat documentaries on the way, more information on Another Lost Shark.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More great news!

My abstract has been accepted for the AHA "Connections" conference in Adelaide in July! So I will be off to Adelaide for a week to present a paper and learn more about history. I've never been to Adelaide before, but I can't wait!

First lecture

Betty the Beatnik Paper doll. Download here

I gave my first ever university lecture yesterday on Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" and Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy" for a first year poetics class. It was a wonderful experience and I think it went well. I got great feedback from the lecturer and my amazing freinds, who came along to a 5pm lecture on a Monday afternoon to support me, and then took me for a drink afterwards.  Thanks guys.