I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love Allen Ginsberg. I want to say I don’t know where this unending fascination with this man comes from, but I guess that would be a lie. He showed me the capability of how raw, how blatantly honest, and how personal poetry can be, and not in any of that confessional crap sense. There was something about Ginsberg talking about his numerous fucks and peoples’ assholes that captivated me – there was some humor, some truth, and a lot of literature. He made blowjobs poetic – who does that, even? There’s something in the way his poetic anecdotes of his own personal life that reminded me of my own friends, and the adolescent adventures and late night talks we would have. I loved it.
With that being said, those personal details, the chronicles of the Beat generation, and the relationships between front members like Ginsberg, Kerouac, Cassidy, Burroughs, Corso, Carr, and Huncke, and so on and so forth, are what I want to explore and illustrate. I want to create a poetry project that incorporates multimodal, primary sources from the Beats, a collection of poetry that feels authentic, engaging, and a little dirty, something that embodies the spirit of the literary movement. Additionally, I want to draw inspiration from one of my favorite books of poetry, Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. In that book, Ondaatje captures this myth that the Wild West has built of Billy the Kid and his world, whether he was a real sharpshooter or not. Ondaatje uses letters, comic strips, pictures, and newspaper clippings to add layers to the character. In the same vein, I want to do that with Ginsberg and his world – however, what better way to add dimension to poetry than by making it digital poetry?
By making this project digital, the multimodality is greater. The incorporation of audio, moving visuals, transitions, backgrounds, hypertext, and so forth, can add to what I want to accomplish in this collection of poetry.
My biggest concern on what I’m doing is always this: is what I’m doing worth it? Is it adding to the literary conversation, the discourse of the Beats? Is it interesting enough? Who wants to read this shit besides other Beat-obsessed freaks like myself?
I want this poetry to connect with people who don’t even know what the Beat generation is. But, what is it I’m trying to say with the poems? Am I trying to say something more about the significance of the self-prophecy and legend Ginsberg had built himself to be? Or is it something else? I guess, in the end, I’m concerned about having the poetry speak out to something, as opposed to just nothing.
As of right now, though, I feel a little stuck. Mostly, it’s because I’m still waiting on important books regarding the Beat generation. But then again, my hands might feel a little tied because I’m just a bit afraid. This project, without a doubt, will be near and dear to my heart, if/when I start doing it – I just want it to be something that is more relevant than to myself, is all.