Sunday, January 10, 2021 | 10–10:30am
ADMISSION: This online program is free
The poetry of Allen Ginsberg and the Beat generation directly influenced the folk movement of the 1960s, inspiring young singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan to put poetry to song. Join us for Sunday Stories to explore the words and music that changed the face of music for generations to come.
The snapshots in Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (on view at The CJM May 23–Sep 8, 2013) provided an intimate portrait of the hard-edged Beat Generation on the cusp of fame that would transform their lives and our cultural history. The late 1940s and early 1950s marked a crucial period for Allen Ginsberg as he found his poetic and sexual voices simultaneously. In 1947 he took a course with respected art historian Meyer Shapiro on modern art in which he became familiar with Paul Cezanne’s artwork and artistic process. Ginsberg was particularly enamored with Cezanne’s notion of “petite sensations” derived from nature “and that he could ‘stand on a hill and merely by moving [his] head half an inch the composition of the landscape was totally changed.’”
Organized by the National Gallery of Art, curator of the exhibition Sarah Greenough notes, “each picture represents an ‘intimate communication’ between [Ginsberg] and another human being, and he strove to make each one express not only something of that exchange but the integrity of the individual before him.” One such individual is Jack Kerouac. Ginsberg yearned at length for Kerouac and the crush is palpable in the photos. Ginsberg came out to Kerouac while they were at Columbia University and later remarked: “I knew he was going to accept my soul with all its throbbings and sweetness and worries and dark woes and sorrows and heartaches and joys and glees and mad understandings of mortality, ‘cause that was the same thing he had.”