Meditation and Poetics – 8

Sumi-e painting of meditation
AG: So during that time we were silent, a number of events took place but the major one, I guess, is when that first big breeze blew in with a good deal of sound from the outside — papers flew a little bit, but there was this big statement from the outside coming in, which is similar to our own breath, actually. Strangely enough it was part of it.  We were breathing and then the world was breathing in on us.  But that was, for me, the most … in the stillness of mind of sitting, relative stillness of mind, … Read More

Joanne Kyger’s 80th Birthday

Joanne Kyger and Donald Guravich [Joanne Kyger and Donald Guravich in 2007 – Photograph by Cirrelda Snider-Bryan]

The remarkable, wonderful, Joanne Kyger, turns eighty-years-old today! – Impossible to believe! – Happy Birthday, dear Joanne!  Don’t miss our previous links-rich Kyger-birthday-postings on the Allen Ginsberg Project  here, here and here  Here’s Allen’s vintage (March 1962) photo – (his caption):  “Joanne Kyger, hills leading to Himalayan Peaks, studying guidebook on wall in Amora, we were on Pilgrimage to Buddhist sites, here visiting Lama Govinda..”

Some recent video(s) – Joanne on her colorful West Coast history (as part of a panel at the recent … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 7

File:Red Wine Glass.jpg
Student:  Well, sometimes I think it’s  [the practice of sitting meditation is] unfair.
AG:  Well, why?
Student:  I think there’s some constructional concepts that you can hold onto,  that you don’t have to put them all out the door.
AG:  Well, the constructional concepts we want to hold onto here are, we’re breathing …
Student:  This is what I wanted to get to.
AG:  … and we’re taking down the … we’re recollecting thoughts on the breath….
Student:  I had a wonderful thought about breath that I wanted to….
AG:  Are you registered in this course?
Student:  I… I…
AG:  … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 6

[“No ideas but in things” – Simon Cutts (1909) neon manifestation of  William Carlos Williams‘ imperative]

Student: Allen?AG: Yeah?Student: In that credo of his [William Carlos Williams‘] that everybody’s heard so many times – “No ideas but in things’AG: Um-hmmStudent: …when you said that you were going to do Williams for this, the first thing I thought about..AG: Um-hmmStudent: …was relating that answer to the Buddhist answer of no things, just like you cut out…AG: The Buddhist what?Student: I was wondering about relating it to that statement.AG: Relating the statement “No ideas but in things” to … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 5 (William Carlos Williams)

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)


AG: Now, I’ll read a couple of poems by William Carlos Williams before generalizing further. 
“Thursday” – How many people know that poem “Thursday” which I read year after year here?   Okay, so, it’s the sort of intersection point between poetics and meditation. 
Williams Carlos Williams, for those of you who don’t know, is maybe the most solid, grounded, practical, straightforward American poet of this century.  So we’re using him for basic ground, to begin with, somebody that everybody can understand, an intersection point where everybody here can get it on together, those who don’t write … Read More

Marianne Moore on Allen Ginsberg

Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore (1887-1972)

Marianne Moore (who’s birthday it is today) writing to the young Allen Ginsberg. Allen, on the advice of William Carlos Williams, had forwarded an early manuscript of poems

July 4 1952 Dear Mr Ginsberg. I have been thinking about this manuscript [Empty Mirror] which you have left me. I am sad to find that it reflects hardship. You have ability, and that means responsibility, does it not? There are in writing a few technicalities to think about; but the thing that matters is our sense of awareness; this comes first. What are we to … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 197

Diane Di Prima‘s new book from City LightsThe Poetry Deal is out. We’ve reported before about her recent troubling health difficulties. The emergencies still remain but still the urgency of the work, still the extraordinary achievement of the work. “In The Poetry Deal“, her publishers write, (di) Prima maps out over forty years of San Francisco history, from the culture of the late ‘Sixties, to her grief over her friends’ passing during the AIDS epidemic, to stories of her countercultural colleagues and the rapidly changing environment she has seen take place over the years in (San Francisco), the … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 4

AG: Does anybody have any technical question?
Student: Can you be heard? 
AG:  Pardon me?
Student:  Could they hear you in the back?
AG:  Could you hear all that, loud enough to follow? –  Okay.
AG: Yes?
Student:  Is it okay to let your eyes wander?
AG:  Yeah, if they wander.  Just relax your eyes.
Student:  Can I lean against the wall?
AG:  If you lean against the wall, unless it’s because of the pressure around here and too many people, you won’t probably have your back or spine straight enough and it leads … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 3

Meditation class
[Sitting Meditation (Samatha) at Naropa]
AG: Yes?
Student:  What’s a discourse?
AG:  A discourse is talking.  Talking.  Improvised conversation on a theme, improvised discussion on a theme.
Student:  Allen?  Are we going to (have to go out and buy) Collected Earlier Poems in paperback … because…
 AG:  No.  What I asked you to read was William Carlos Williams. It doesn’t exist, alas, in paperback.  It’s hardcover. [Editorial note – A Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams does now exist – in a two volume edition – in paperback]. And this is, perhaps, the only school in America where this … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 2 (Intro)

AG: So  everybody knows a little poetry but how many here don’t meditate?  Or haven’t had any formal meditation practice?  Okay. So the thing is that you signed up for a course in meditation and poetics.
Student:  And also, of course, meditation (is also part of…)
AG:  Yeah.  So you’ve got another course in meditation somewhere else? 
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  Yeah.  Well you can get started on that.
Now, as I said, I told somebody to go read (William Carlos) Williams and then go over and get some meditation instruction from… who is it that gives it? 
 Student:  Veena … Read More