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reed magazine logoSpring 2008

What’s on Tape 1?

Soon after Reed magazine published a story about the first-known recording of “Howl” (Winter 2008), a Portland alumnus walked into the basement of the library, a cassette tape in his hand. Steven Halpern ’85 had read the article, which noted that of two tapes made of a poetry reading by Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder ’51 on February 14, 1956, only Tape 2, containing Ginsberg’s reading, could be found in the library’s special collections. Halpern had Tape 1.

On it is recorded Gary Snyder’s reading from the same night, including many first-recordings of his poems. Halpern obtained the cassette while conducting research on the Beats under the direction of history professor Dorothy Johansen ’33. It is a copy of the original reel-to-reel tape, which has not been located. The text Halpern copied from the original box (no longer extant) read as follows:

Gary Snyder: Reading at Reed 14 Feb. 1956. Poetry Reading
Made in the school year ’55–1956 at Reed College
and for the sake of this recording Synder was on a trip
north from San Francisco that is briefly described in
the Dharma Bums trip with Allen Ginsberg.
Snyder talks about his lookout experiences
and early poetry writing.
An important tape

Look for more literary analysis of Tape 1 in
an upcoming issue of Reed magazine.

reed magazine logoSpring 2008