Sunday, November 11, 2007

Louise Landes Levi to Read in Brattleboro, VT on December 8, 2007

I recently caught up with poet, LOUISE LANDES LEVI, in Italy where she lives in a tower located in the hill-top village of Bagnore, on the slopes of Mt. Amiata, Tuscany, the highest mountain in Tuscany. Here she writes, tutors students in poetics and music, performs
locally in the cafes and writes. She sells books locally & to practitioners who come to study with Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, a Tibetan Dzogchen master, from points as far away as Japan & New Zealand, and to the international body of practitioners who travel to the area.

Both Louise and I were attending a retreat taught by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, with whom we’ve studied with for many years. Each day after the teachings, Louise would take me on a tour of the local region surrounding Mt.Amiata.

Here’s the visitor sign to Merigar where our retreat was held on the small road heading about 2 km uphill into a nature preserve on the slopes of Amiata where it appeared to be wild boar hunting season with blackberries in bloom all along the roadside. Merigar is located at the tip of this hill with views of farms and hay fields. Louise walks these roads between the complex of hill top villages in this rural part of Tuscany on ancient pathways as old as the Etruscans. Across from Merigar is a small mountain called Mt. LABRO, a mercurial mountain, where a prophet-- Catholic anarchist David Laszeretti, predicted the arrival of an 'oriental' teacher, some 100 years after his passing. Laszeretti was murdered by local police called in Italian, Carabinieri. Here, the 19th century visionary lived in an underground tomb of an Etruscan king. The entire region is a volcano with numerous sulphur springs that have been used medicinally since the time of the Romans.

Louise took me to such interesting sites such as Daniel Spoerri's extraordinary sculpture garden on his estate in Seggiano, the 12/13th century cave of St. Philippe and several local "poets" houses in the towns where they were remembered with a bronze markers-- all the while talking of poetry and dharma.

After many years of hearing about it or receiving post cards from her while living in her tower, I was finally able to visit it in person.

Louise will read at the Hooker-Duhnam Theater on Main Street in Brattleboro, VT on December 8, 2007 at 7:00 PM.

For further information and details go to the blogger link for the Brattleboro Center for Literary Arts.

International poet, classical sarangi musician, scholar, and translator of Rene Daumal and Henri Michaux, Louise Landes Levi has traveled the globe for three decades. Her poetry books include, Banana Baby (Supernova, 2006), Avenue A & 9th Street (Shivastan, 2004), Chorma (Porto dei Santi, 2000) Guru Punk, (Cool Grove Press, 1999), Sweet on my Lips, Love poems of Mira Bai (Cool Grove Press, 1997), The House Lamps Have Been Lit (Supernova, 1996), Extinctions, (Left Hand Books, 1993), and Concerto, (City Lights, Accordian Series, 1988). Rene Daumal’s Rasa was published by New Directions in 1982 and most recently, Toward Totality (Vers La Completude) & Selected Works 1929-1973 of Henri Michaux (Shivastan, 2006) and Toward Totality I / Vers La Completude (Longhouse, 2006). Reviews, essays and poems have been published online in Big Bridge, Jacket, and Rain Taxi, among other publications.

Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac On the Road at the New York Public Library

Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac On the Road will show at the New York Public Library from November 9-February 24, 2008 and March 1-16, 2008. The show includes 60 feet of the On the Road scroll manuscript alomng with numerous images taken by Allen Ginsberg and holdings from the Kerouac archive.

The arrival of the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac's On the Road is an important moment in American letters for at least two reasons: first, because Kerouac (1922 –1969) is generally regarded as chief of the triumvirate comprising himself, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs, who were fathers of the Beat movement; and second, because the sensation caused by the publication of On the Road brought Kerouac to the attention of a national audience,” said Library President Paul LeClerc. “The New York Public Library could not allow this significant anniversary to pass without a significant exhibition and accompanying publication, especially since in 2001, the Library's Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature acquired the Jack Kerouac Archive.”

On the Road was inspired by four cross-country road trips taken by Kerouac, three from New York to California and back, and a round trip from New York to Mexico. Drafts, fragments, and journal entries show Kerouac's literary journey while writing the novel. The 1949 notebook “Night Notes,” which includes a hand-drawn map of the United States; the 1949-52 Rain and Rivers notebook, bearing the evocative subtitle, “The Marvelous notebook presented to me by Neal Cassady in San Francisco Which I have Crowded in Words”; the 1950 “Hip Generation,” and the 1950 fragmentary draft bearing the working title “Gone on the Road with Minor Artistic Corrections,” are among the revelatory journals, notebooks, and drafts that reveal the enormous amount of work and thought that Kerouac expended on the novel, and the daring with which he carried it out. A visual highlight displayed is a 1952 pencil and red pen drawing of Kerouac's design for a never-published paperback edition of On the Road; a man stands with his back to the reader, in front of a highway with the words “by John Kerouac Kerouac Kerouac Kerouac” cascading down the road like a speed warning. Photos and communication to, from, and by the other Beats are interspersed throughout the exhibition. Drawings and paintings by Kerouac are also featured, revealing the seriousness of his artistic ambition and the talent that justified it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music to Show at the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival

Rani Singh's 90 minute film on the work of Harry Smith, The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music will show at the American Museum of Natural History on November 10, 2007 at 8:15 PM

Every fan of American music owes a debt to Harry Smith. Driven by his unique sensibility and passion for authentic, offbeat music, he amassed an unparalleled collection of recordings and brought attention to numerous unrecognized artists. His musical legacy is celebrated here through archival footage, interviews, and filmed stage performances by a diverse group of artists, including Nick Cave, Percy Heath, Philip Glass, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and Elvis Costello.

The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
Located at the American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th St.
New York, NY 10024
Phone: 212.769.5305
Fax: 212.769.5329

To read my blog entry on Harry, click here