September 22, 2023
Investigative Poetics: Allen Ginsberg on the FBI, CIA, COINTELPRO, and Poetry (1977)

7 thoughts on “Investigative Poetics: Allen Ginsberg on the FBI, CIA, COINTELPRO, and Poetry (1977)

    00:00 Ed Sanders' personal and career history. "Fuck You/ Amagazine of the Arts" 6:50 Sanders' early years in NYC. Sanders' Peace Eye Bookshop. Early forays into investigative poetics. 14:56 Ira Lowe, lawyer for anti-war activists. 16:00 Exorcism of the Pentagon. Yippie movement. 19:00 FBI surveillance of Sanders apartment. 27:12 Ginsberg plays tape of "CIA Dope Calypso," a song which constitutes the outcome of Ginsberg's investigative poetic work with Sanders on the involvement of the CIA in drug smuggling. 30:53 Song ends. Ginsberg discusses his investigation of government involvement in the drug trade, and the history of drug legislation and the drug war in America. 40:40 Interest and involvement of poets in drug use. Poet victims of the drug war. Side B 46:49 Paranoia: the danger of investigation. Paranoia's basis in aggression and ego. Pound's investigation into the banking industry. 49:50 State of Ginsberg's investigation into government involvement in drug trade. 53:53 Ginsberg reads his poem, "How to be Playing on the Jukebox," with pauses for explanation. 54:14 Pause to explain reference to "old lady language." 55:36 Continues poem. 56:00 Pause to discuss Cuban drug dealer and sometime CIA operative Traficante. 60:29 Continues poem. 01:03:30 Poem ends. Discusses condensation of information into aesthetically pleasing lines. Explains more references in the poem. 01:09:37 Samples of prose by intelligence agencies: FBI files obtained by Ginsberg with the assistance of Ira Lowe through the Freedom of Information Act. Ginsberg reads a COINTELPRO (FBI's Counter-Intelligence Program) proposal for fake letter to Amiri Baraka from the Black Panthers, and the letter itself. 01:17:54 History of Baraka's FBI-engineered separation from white artists and poets. 01:26:00 FBI-engineered split between Timothy Leary and Eldridge Cleaver.

  2. Great upload as usual, man. Was not expecting the nuggets about Baraka and Karenga at the end.

    There’s a contingent of Karenga’s contemporaries and researchers after the fact who argue that Karenga was legit, and the rumors that he was an “agent” (however one defines that term) are just themselves another aspect of COINTELPRO, CHAOS, etc., but I genuinely can’t think of a single time the dude or the US organization is brought up and their presence and actions had a good impact on the movements of the era

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