Sal Paradise

Few people know that the city of Denver figured prominently in the lives and development of The Beats.

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Art is an illusion, for I do not act
Dwell or Depart – with faithful merriment,
My thoughts, though skeptic, are in
Holy prayer for knowledge of pure fact.
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 It’s not that I’m a big fan of The Beats, and yet somehow there works keeps creeping up, coming to my attention often these days.
So I enact the Hope I can create
A lively world around my deadly eyes
Sad paradise as I imitate,
And fallen angeles whose lost wings are
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 Later today, photographer Alec Soth is speaking at the Denver Art Museum, in conjunction with an exhibition of his photographs from the LBM Colorado Dispatch.
Spray Paint
Earlier today, he posted this fragment from an Allen Ginsberg poem on his Instagram feed.  These stanzas were written in Denver in 1947.  Soth’s explanation:
This poem was written by Allen Ginsberg while he was in Denver with Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac.  He hand copied these stanzas and gave it to Kerouac as a present.  Ginsberg’s handwriting was cramped and small and “Sad paradise. . .” appeared to Kerouac as “Sal Paradise,” which he adapted as the name for his character in the book On the Road.
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In this unworldly state wherein I move
My faith and hope are hellish currency:
In counterfeit worlds, I coin small Charity
About myself, and trade my soul for Love.
I made all these photographs in Denver this past March and April.  I’ve been photographing in Denver a lot over the past few years.  While never a huge Ginsberg fan – there are other Beats I like more – I do love this fragment Soth posted.  I consider these pictures to be about broken dreams.

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