Allen Ginsberg Interview, Part 4

Allen's inscription of Cosmopolitan Greetings

Allen’s inscription of Cosmopolitan Greetings

In advance of the 12th Ginsberg Poetry Marathon, I’m presenting excerpts from my 1994 interview with Allen.

4. The Anti-Art Right

PAUL NELSON: And now, especially this year, in this state we have potential peoples’ initiatives on the ballot. They’re not qualified for the ballot yet.


PN: But they perhaps might, that would legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians.

AG: Yeah. There’s hardly free market, ha. It’s kind of interesting that theo-political televangelists, authoritarian hierarchical mindset that uses the same kind of language that you heard under Mao Tse-Tung and Stalin. Like, it’s that their, the mindset is not so different. In Stalin, it’s under Stalin you had rootless cosmopolitans, people who didn’t have any American roots or Russian roots. Rootless cosmopolitans by which he meant Jews, really or Bohemians, or artists, really, or people that didn’t follow the party line. Didn’t follow the monotheist party line of Stalin or the monotheist party line of Robertson. And under Mao, you had the free spiritual corruption, as a way of attacking independents, autonomous artists. And you have that same phrase being used by Jesse Helms and the neo-conservative anti-art right, trying to censor what goes on television and radio. Or get money from the government even, but also independent radio and television under the Helms FCC regulations.

And then under Hitler it was degenerate art, and you get the same language out of Pat Robertson and what is it, the American Family Institute, like rides herd over television and radio commentators.

PN: Reverend Donald Wildmon.

You can hear highlighted excerpts from the interview here: and know that you can always find this page by looking at the American Prophets main page.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). He has published a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger) and American Sentences, a book of 17 syllable poems drawn from the first fourteen of his 20 years of daily practice. The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets (see: has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day.
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