When I was interviewing Ryan Adams back during the Whiskeytown years, he often spoke of literary influences, especially the beat poets who had fired his imagination as a teenager (which is something he still mentions in interviews to this day). One time, I recall telling him that I had interviewed Allen Ginsberg at some length years earlier and that I still had it on-tape somewhere — to which Ryan responded that, dude, he had to come over and listen to that sometime.
Alas, that never happened; and I lost the tape long ago, in one of my household moves. But fast-forward to this past January, when I came into possession of an old box full of letters (ha) I’d received over the years. One item in it was the postcard above, which Ginsberg had written and sent in 1987. That was the year I interviewed him for a feature I wrote for the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper, which was my first job out of graduate school. Ginsberg used to be an annual summertime fixture around Boulder, where the “Howl” author would hold court with young aspiring poets around town when he wasn’t teaching at the Naropa Institute. I had dropped by his apartment with a tape recorder one evening and Ginsberg enjoyed our conversation enough to ask for a transcript. After I sent it to his New York address a few months later, this postcard was his thank-you note.
I posted a picture of it on Facebook, noting that, “As posed-with-the-gods moments from one’s back pages go, not bad.” A few days later, I heard from a representative of the Allen Ginsberg Estate; having gotten wind of the postcard, he asked about the interview. And even though I no longer had the tape, I still have a printout of the interview transcript filed in the record jacket of my vinyl copy of Ginsberg’s 1989 album The Lion for Real. I dutifully scanned and sent that (page one, printed eons ago on my then-state-of-the-art dot matrix printer, is here on the right), and the first of two parts of the interview went online this week at The Allen Ginsberg Project blog. Part one is primarily about Ginsberg’s musical history, and you can see it here; part two should be up next week.
Call me a dork, but the thought that googling my name with “Allen Ginsberg” brings up something like this puts a smile on my face.
ADDENDUM (5/18/2015): Here’s part two.