From the Poetry Center Archive: Remembering Dave Nolan and Allen Ginsberg
This National Poetry Month, 92Y is proud to announce the founding of the Dave Nolan Poetry Series, in honor of our beloved audio archivist who passed away in 2010. 92Y’s vast archive of recordings dates back to the 1940s, and this month we’ll be celebrating Dave’s contribution to its preservation with new uploads to our Virtual Poetry Center, an on-going project which is in large part the product of Dave’s belief that the merit of an archive is measured by the extent to which it is shared.
To kick-off the series, we’ve chosen an excerpt from one of Dave’s favorite recordings—Allen Ginsberg in 1973. Ginsberg read with his father Louis that night, but what sets this recording apart—and what Dave loved about it—is how Ginsberg is heckled throughout by fellow Beat poet Gregory Corso, who keeps interrupting the show from his seat in the audience. “Dave and I both appreciated the anarchic spirit of that reading, rare among recordings at the Unterberg Poetry Center for its breaking down of the fourth wall,” remembers Thom Donovan, who himself contributed greatly to the utility of 92Y’s archive by creating meta-data for many hundreds of hours of programming.
The recording starts with Ginsberg reading “What would you do if you lost it?” and ends with some songs and a chant. Corso comes in around the 5:30 mark—and sticks around a while. “I’m the igniter for the dynamite,” he shouts at Ginsberg. “I’ll blow ‘em up!”
Listen above or download MP3.
We thank The Aeroflex Foundation for its support of the Dave Nolan Poetry Series.