Introduction to Napalm Health 2014:
The Heart Sons & Heart Daughters of Allen Ginsberg
Napalm Health Spa (NHS) was an online indy micropress poesy magazine begun in 1990. Its title was taken from “Clean Cut Kid,” off Bob Dylan’s Empire Burlesque LP. The NHS archive can be found at http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/napalmmenu.html.
This Heart Sons & Heart Daughters Of Allen Ginsberg, which follows up on the 2013 Napalm Health Spa special edition Long Poems of the Postbeats, is the final issue. The magazine ran for twenty-five years and was contemporaneous to these other mags: Abraxis, Big Bridge, Big Hammer, Big Scream, Bombay Gin, Friction, Heaven Bone and Long Shot, to name a few Postbeat poetry venues.
Oakland poet Marc Olmsted had expressed the idea to me of heart sons and heart daughters years ago. The designation is a Tibetan Buddhist term referring to the influence of one’s teacher upon a student. The core of the “heartson” and “heartdaughter” idea is transmissional. The idea of a circle of younger poets around Ginsberg––poets whom he recognized, helped in many material and literary ways, for ambiguous reasons on occasion, prophetically on others––would themselves become lineage holders was always NHS’s organizing principle at its core. I was convinced early on about the merit of my contemporaries.
These poets and writers––individually and collectively––furthered American poesy consciousness with dharma vernacular invention that is both in the tradition of making it new and autonomous, and in a heartfelt way, always in the spirit of Allen Ginsberg, who served as a root face, mentor, friend, guide, icon, father being of their own life and/or art. They accomplished this in a historical context of tremendous diversity, alongside poets from across all life’s communities. Their accomplishments in poetry reflect the expansive nature of poetics experimentation and invention they both received and acted upon.
I witnessed most of these poets output first-hand, before and since Allen’s death in 1997. I knew of these people via Allen. I wanted to see if they amounted to anything. I felt that was my purpose. It had to be done. The writing herein is to be measured against its time and times to come. It does not exist as a kind of re-creation of Beat literature. These are not poets who toiled in the fields of anonymity their entire lives to pay homage exclusively to somebody else. It’s a beautiful arc––this walk of the poems––that each poet herein made and leaves the future.
I would like to thank every single person who contributed to the magazine over the years. To the poets that held up the magazine’s run by their work... All 400-plus poems in the Heart Sons & Heart Daughters of Allen Ginsberg have, since the astonishing circumstances of their makings, a durability.
Allen’s memory is one of antidote––venon & antivenon. His was a candor-driven, vivid antiwar & compassionate tradition, a counteractive to any neurotic-paranoid-tradition. This is what the heart sons and heart daughters did with their lives as poets, to both the credit of his living memory and to the accomplishment of each of their own dreams for the world.
4 July 2014