Thursday, October 7, 2021

Today is a famous date in Beat Generation history: The Six Gallery reading

 

Allen Ginsberg

On this date -- October 7 -- in 1955, the famous Six Gallery poetry reading in San Francisco took place. It was the first public reading by Allen Ginsberg of his epic poem, "Howl." That is why some call this National Beat Poetry Day (click HERE).

Jack Kerouac didn't read, but he was an active audience member, saying this about it in The Dharma Bums (1976, Penguin Books, pp. 13-14):

Anyway I followed the whole gang of howling poets to the reading at Gallery Six that night, which was, among other im­portant things, the night of the birth of the San Francisco Poe­try Renaissance. Everyone was there. It was a mad night. And I was the one who got things jumping by going around collecting dimes and quarters from the rather stiff audience stand­ing around in the gallery and coming back with three huge gallon jugs of California Burgundy and getting them all piffed so that by eleven o'clock when Alvah Goldbook [Allen Ginsberg] was reading his, wailing his poem "Wail" ["Howl"] drunk with arms outspread ev­erybody was yelling "Go! Go! Go!" (like a jam session) and old Rheinhold Cacoethes [Kenneth Rexroth] the father of the Frisco poetry scene was wiping his tears in gladness.

 




2 comments:

robin andrea said...

Thank you for sharing this delightful anniversary date. We will raise our wine glasses tonight and shout out our hellos to the stars of this night.

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

Woohoo!