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This Author: Allen Ginsberg
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Wichita Vortex Sutra by Allen Ginsberg

Wichita Vortex Sutra

by Allen Ginsberg


Title Details

Running Time
43 Min.


This is a very special new performance of the legendary Allen Ginsberg's epic poem, "Witchita Vortex Sutra". Recorded at the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in New York City in 1994, "Witchita Vortex Sutra" features Ginsberg and an all-star cast of extraordinary musicians including: Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith), Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Philip Glass, Marc Ribot, Arto Lindsay, Michael Blair (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits), Christian Marclay, David Mansfield (Bob Dylan), Stephan Smith, and Elliot Sharp.

Produced by Hal Willner (Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull), "Witchita Vortex Sutra" is Ginsberg's epic poem about the Vietnam War written in 1966. Willner remarked, "If one were to change a few names, locations, and statistics the poem could have been written today."

Allen Ginsberg is the greatest American poet of the Beat Generation and one of the most esteemed American writers of the 20th century. He has published countless books of poetry and prose as well as compendiums of letters and journals. "Howl", "Kaddish", "Sunflower Sutra", and "America" comprise some of Ginsberg's most famous poems. "Howl", a radical critique of American culture, became a manifesto to the Beat movement and one of the most famous poems written in the last century.

Ginsberg won numerous awards, including the National Book Award for The Fall of America: Poems of These States in 1974, the Woodbury Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Although famously known as a poet, Ginsberg has also appeared on albums by John Lennon, The Clash, Leonard Cohen, and The Fugs. In 1996, Ginsberg recorded his poem "The Ballad of the Skeletons" accompanied by music from Paul McCartney and Philip Glass. The accompanying video was in heavy rotation at MTV.

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