1. "Kaddish" (often translated as "holy") refers to the Jewish mourner's prayer.

2. Ginsberg wrote the poem in response to the death, in 1956, of his mother Naomi, who had suffered from schizophrenia. He began it in Paris the following year, completing it in New York in 1959. A long poem, it is widely judged to be one of Ginsberg's best.

3. Bill Frisell's multimedia adaptation of "Kaddish" is not the first. In 1972, the poem was adapted for the stage at the Chelsea Theater Center in Manhattan, as well as at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The production's use of videotape for flashback scenes was considered innovative for its time.

4. You can read about that earlier production in "Chelsea on the Edge: The Adventures of an American Theater," by Davi R. Napoleon.

5. You can read "Kaddish" itself in "Kaddish and Other Poems: 1958-60," a Ginsberg anthology published by San Francisco poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights books.

Contact Richard Scheinin at 408-920-5069, read his stories and reviews at www.mercurynews.com/richard-scheinin and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/richardscheinin