The Virtual Memories Show

Dr. Stevan M. Weine joins the show to talk about his amazing, illuminating and important new book, BEST MINDS: How Allen Ginsberg Made Revolutionary Poetry From Madness (Fordham University Press). We get into the nexus of poetry, suffering and trauma that enveloped Ginsberg's life, what it took for him to write Howl, and his mother Naomi's schizophrenia and what it meant for him to wrestle with it in Kaddish. We talk about the history of psychiatry, the legacy of some truly terrible practices (like prefrontal lobotomization), and what lies ahead for the field, while also exploring Stevan's mid-'80s interviews with Ginsberg and the discoveries he made in the family's psychiatric records, the power of self-mythology and how it can elide the facts (like how old Allen was when had to sign the consent form for his mother's lobotomy), and how Ginsberg balanced on the fine line between madness and great art. Plus, we discuss Ginsberg's activism and advocacy (including a controversial endorsement), the impact of his best-known poems on the public's understanding of mental illness, what it meant to Stevan to discover Ginsberg's poetry in junior high, whether he's got some poems of his own, and a lot more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_533_-_Stevan_M_Weine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27am EDT

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