A William S Burroughs Birthday Celebration
Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

with Steven Taylor, Erik Drooker, Peter Carlaftes, and V Vale

celebrating the release of

Don't Hide the Madness: William S. Burroughs in Conversation with Allen Ginsberg

Edited by Stephen Taylor

Published by Three Rooms Press

In DON'T HIDE THE MADNESS, the fathers of the Beat movement converse about deeply intimate and personal history while gathered at Burroughs' house in Lawrence, Kansas. The conversation includes discussion of:

  • David Cronenberg's film adaptation of Burroughs' classic novel Naked Lunch
  • Shamanism, including a detailed description of the shamanic exorcism of the demon Burroughs believes forced him to kill his common-law wife in 1951
  • Literary associates, influences, techniques, and insights
  • Punk rock's contributions to counterculture lore

With the current political landscape mirroring many aspects of the early Beat period, DON'T HIDE THE MADNESS is particularly timely. Interest in both authors' work is on the rise. Many consider these legendary icons' perspectives to particularly prophetic.

DON’T HIDE THE MADNESS features a newly-commissioned illustration of Burroughs and Ginsberg by celebrated artist R. Crumb on the cover, as well as 17 rare photos by Ginsberg, many taken during the session.

William S. Burroughs was a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author whose influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Burroughs wrote eighteen novels and novellas, including Naked Lunch, Junky, and Queer, as well as six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. In 1991, director David Cronenberg adapted Naked Lunch for the screen in a film starring Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Roy Scheider, and Ian Holm. Burroughs also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances as himself in films.

American poet, philosopher, and photographer Allen Ginsberg is considered to be one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation during the 1950s and the counterculture that soon followed. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression and was known as embodying various aspects of this counterculture, such as his views on drugs, hostility to bureaucracy and openness to Eastern religions. He was one of many influential American writers of his time known as the Beat Generation, which included famous writers such as Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. Among his many published poetry collections, he is best known for Howl and Other Poems, Kaddish and Other Poems, and Collected Poems, 1947-1997.

Steven Taylor is a poet, musician, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist. He has published two books of poems and a musical ethnography, False Prophet: Field Notes from the Punk Underground . He has composed music for the theater, film, radio drama, and installations and made more than a dozen records with various artists His articles, reviews, essays, and poems have appeared in various anthologies and zines. From 1976-1996 he collaborated on music and poetry works with Allen Ginsberg, and has been a member of the seminal underground rock band The Fugs since 1984. He has also toured and recorded with Anne Waldman, Kenward Elmslie, and the New York hardcore band False Prophets. From 1990-2008 he was on the faculty at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. He is senior editor at Reality Sandwich. He lives in Brooklyn.


Books related to this event:

Product image
Don't Hide the Madness
William S. Burroughs in Conversation with Allen Ginsberg
William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg
2018 Edition
Burroughs. Ginsberg. A never-before-published conversation about poetry, literary influences, shamanism, punk, and peyote.