Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Allen Ginsberg Beat Poet Figurine

At issue:

Today on Poetry Crossfire! we examine the sheer existence of the "Allen Ginsberg Doll + CD Set," officially approved by the Allen Ginsburg Estate and yours today for a mere 4,500 yen. Comes with fabric cloth jacket and interchangeable accessories including glasses, a book, Uncle Sam hat (the Japanese website calls it an "Uncle Tom hat"--whoopsie daisy!), and a beaded necklace.

Our panel:

Travis Nichols is an editor at the Poetry Foundation and a columnist for the Huffington Post. He is the author of two collections of poetry: Iowa (Letter Machine Editions) and See Me Improving (Copper Canyon Press) -- and the novel Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder (Coffee House Press).

Monica Fambrough is the author of a chapbook Black Beauty (Katalanche Press). Her poems have appeared in H_NGM_N, Open City, Glitterpony, jubilat, and the anthologies Poets on Painters and Poems about Horses. She lives in Chicago.


Travis Nichols:  This is what family, alumni, and co-workers hope for when they hear you're a poet. Toy poet, not homo deadbeat monster pacifist wheezing in your ear about bindlestiffs & sexy boys. If you're so smart, why ain't you rich, art boy?

Monica Fambrough: This is something your parents would get you from the mall for a stocking stuffer, except, hmm it costs 4500 yen. How much is that?

I actually think this is probably something Allen would be into, because it is so weird and precious. Toys have a sort of sweetness to them. Also, it is dependent on his fame, which I understand was actually important to him. And it has a self-mocking element. It would have been sort of cool if it was made in the sixties. But now there is so much remove that it feels safe and he seems safe, like Travis said, Toy Poet like Toy Poodle. I prefer the full sized poodles.

Also, this is something we have in the back of one of our closets:

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