Friday, February 26, 2021
I don't remember it saying so, but the premise of I CARE A LOT is based on a New Yorker magazine article exposing manipulation of the legal system by for-profit companies that get themselves appointed legal guardians for old folks and then sell those folks' property and assets for the guardians' own profit.
The film, written and directed by J Blakeson, turns the premise into a thriller that is mostly thrilling, and at times, for this old folk, anxiety inducing. But it's worth watching for Pike's kick-ass performance alone.
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Randomly stumbled on this photo of graying me, and actor/director the famously handsome Hart Bochner, at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market in I'd guess the 1980s or 1990 when we'd meet there once a week for breakfast and to catch up. Normally I don't like photos of my profile, but I like this one, especially our smiles and wonder who's taking the picture.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
When I was a young poet in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Lawrence Ferlinghetti's A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND was said to be the best selling book of poems in the history of the USA. Which made me envious despite my then liking a lot of his poems. So I was both in awe of his accomplishment and mad about it when I went AWOL from the military in the summer of 1962 and ended up homeless in San Francisco for a few weeks where I spent a lot of my daytimes in Ferlinghetti's City Lights Book Store.
When I got out of the service in 1966 and ended up at the U. of Iowa on The GI Bill, he came to do a reading and I went to see him cause my then wife Lee loved his poetry, but I brought along the log on my shoulder. He read a poem called "Gone World" (as I remember it) to which I wrote a sarcastic challenge called "G'on World" (as I remember it, it's in my archives at NYU so this is off the top of my head remembering) that was immediately published in a proto-hippie magazine called GROCK, and I think I even addressed Ferlinghetti with my critique of his poem.
Then in the 1970s when I was living in downtown Manhattan, poet Barbara Guest invited me to a party at her apartment for Ferlinghetti, and he and I had a long talk including about a manuscript I had sent to City Lights (I'd sent a few by then but this was after Tim Dlugos had called my poem "My Life" the "Howl" of my generation and suggested Ferlinghetti should publish it, but he didn't). He was very sweet to me then and ever after, but never published me.
A few years ago someone pointed out that in the collection of Ginsberg's and Ferlinghetti's letters to each other, in one Allen suggests Ferlinghetti publish a book of my poems (I think by then it was the 1980s) and obviously Larry did not. When I read that, I first of all felt comforted knowing Allen wasn't just blowing smoke when he praised my work to me in personal conversations, but I also wondered why Ferlinghetti was always so sweet to me when I encountered him and yet so resistant to publishing me. And then I remembered that nasty poem I'd written and was published back in '66 and wondered if it had anything to do with it, or if it was just a matter of personal taste.
So that's my personal connection to this icon of 20th Century poetry and publishing. And despite my youthful arrogance toward him, it was an honor to have known him, and I'm happy he got to stick around so long.
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
My favorite TV show, FINDING YOUR ROOTS. Talk about "Black History"—and every other kind of history, filtered through explorations of individual ancestry, always deeply moving when the descendants of enslaved ancestors are involved. Couldn't be more enlightening, revelatory, or poignant.
Sunday, February 14, 2021
Monday, February 8, 2021
My dear longtime friend Ty Granderson Jones just posted this photo to my FB timeline. It's me and my youngest child Flynn and his mother Jaina taken just after his birth 23 years and four months ago by, I think, another dear old friend, Emil Alexander Schneeman.
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Here's five more "Black writers" that are favorites of mine I missed in my last list:
Jean Toomer's CANE is actually one of my all-time favorite books and I have no idea why that wasn't at the top of my mind when I made the last list.
James Baldwin, of course, his first novel, GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN, and his first essay collection, NOTES OF A NATIVE SON, are what first impacted me as a teenager when they first came out.
August Wilson's plays, all of them, but especially MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM.
Andrea Lee has been a favorite author since I first read her; I love everything she has written, but if you don't know her work, INTERESTING WOMEN, a collection of her stories is a good introduction.
Mindy Thompson Fullilove is a psychiatrist who studies the psychology of communities and may be best known for her book URBAN ALCHEMY, but every one of her books is worth reading, including her latest, MAIN STREET in which (full disclosure) she quotes some of my poetry.
Friday, February 5, 2021
Here's just ten (off the top of my head) of my many favorite books by "Black" writers:
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD by Zora Neale Hurston
KNOCK ON ANY DOOR by Willard Motley
TALES by LeRoi Jones (on my first edition, later Amiri Baraka)
SOLITUDES CROWDED WITH LONELINESS by BOB KAUFMAN
BORN OF A WOMAN: New nd Selected Poems by Etheridge Knight
THE COLLECTED POEMS OF LORENZO THOMAS
THE COLLECTED POEMS OF AUDRE LORDE
WILLOW WEEP FOR ME: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression by Nana-Ama Danquah
A LUCENT FIRE: New and Selected Poems by Patricia Spears Jones
AFTERSHOCKS: A Memoir by Nadia Owusu
Thursday, February 4, 2021
My dear departed friend Lynn Manning and me at the LA club Largo in the 1990s. Every month is "Black History Month" to me, but in reference to this officially designated one I suggest you look into poet/playwright/performer, world heavyweight blind judo champion Lynn Manning and his work.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
one of my favorite musical theater songs and a challenge for any singer, but Joshua Henry moved me to tears (despite some of the lyrics being mid-20th century unwoke, having been a single parent for much of my adult life I identify with a lot of the lyrics, thus the tears
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