Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recycled love: Howl on Valentine's Day

Yesterday Underground Man found this at the Lifeline recycling centre at South Lismore:

The inscription inside:

"The Weight of the World is Love"
For Michael (Mik)
On Valentine's Day 1998
From Felicity (Fel)
With Love...
I adore you.

(And opposite this, Fel has planted a lipstick kiss on the inside cover)

(By the way, 'the weight of the world is love' is a line from Ginsberg, from a poem inside).

Every book has a story, and I wonder why Michael (Mik) got rid of this one. Are he and Fel still together? Perhaps not (15 years is a long time for a romance) which was why he got rid of it. Or maybe he just can't stand Allen Ginsberg.

Which leads me to think that perhaps books last longer than love. Books can certainly last longer than a human life. Such tough little things!

So this was a Valentine's Day present (of sorts) for me. I will certainly keep it. It's a City Lights publication! The 53rd printing, first published in 1956.

795,000 copies of this were in print when it was printed in 1997.

There is a dedication inside, from Ginsberg, a sort of love letter to his friends:



Jack Kerouac, new Buddha of American prose, who spit forth intelligence into eleven books written in half the number of years (1951-1956) - On the Road, Visions of Neal, Dr Sax, Springtime Mary, The Subterraneans, San Francisco Blues, Some of the Dhama, Book of Dreams, Wake Up, Mexico City Blues, and Visions of Gerard - creating a spontaneous bop prosody and original classic literature. Several phrases and the title of Howl are from him.

William Seward Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, an endless novel that will drive everybody mad.

Neal Cassady, author of The First Third, and autobiography (1949) which enlightened Buddha.

All of these books are published in Heaven.

Which is a way, I think, of saying that none of them were published in the world (yet) - most of them would be. But what a generous and loving dedication to his friends.

(Coming up next: Dostoyevsky - How I love thee. Let me count the ways)


  1. How lovely. All of this. Allen, old Mik and Fel, AG's dedication to his friends. Books as a relationship that lasts longer than romance.

    Thanks Jo x

  2. How perfect. And isn't recycled love the only love there is?

    1. Well, yes, now that I think of it, maybe it is ...