Allen Ginsberg Project

Allen Ginsberg's poetry collection, Reality Sandwiches, appeared in 1961. The title came from an earlier poem of his, "On Burroughs' Work," which described his experience of reading the manuscript that became Naked Lunch. Here's an excerpt:

"actual visions & actual prisions
as seen then and now…

A naked lunch is natural to us,
we eat reality sandwiches."

Allen's commitment to exploring his own "actual visions" alongside his own sensorial perceptions led to the creation of a body of work in nearly every form of media, and it continues to influence many artists and thinkers to this day. The Allen Ginsberg Trust was created to ensure the continuation of that legacy. The Trust's mission has been to manage Allen's tangible and non-tangible assets in a manner consistent with Allen’s world-view, sensibilities and artistic and literary values without, in his own words, "[making] a museum out of me."

After nearly a decade of activity overseeing the release of materials from the archives, we are no longer technically an Estate Trust, but continue with the same mandate. To reflect this we’ve renamed our website The Allen Ginsberg Project.

The idea of the Allen Ginsberg Project evolved out of our original website for the Ginsberg Trust, started in 2002. "Project" seemed the ideal word to define the site as an ongoing aspiration to approximate Allen's world vision, or better yet, to provide as much of his own words, snapshots and art as the Internet can allow, and let the items speak for themselves. Given the substantial legacy of text, photos, hand-written documents, and audio and video materials that represent Allen's life-work, this daunting task will no doubt be ongoing beyond the foreseeable future.

The Internet has evolved by leaps and bounds since 2002, and the sheer amount of user-posted material has increased exponentially. Having been around the material as long as some of us have, we can share that experience to help discern degrees of authenticity and help to clarify provenance in cases of discrepancies.

We do try to avoid any more claims to defining Allen’s vision than anyone else who had spent time with him. It's the access to so much source material that compels those of us in his inner circle to break open what there is and let the world in to explore and discover for themselves.

So, have at it folks!

 

Peter Hale

The Allen Ginsberg Project