Spiritual Poetics 6

Student: It encourages me that India has had this experience of yoga and meditation for a millennia, tho’ I don’t get the sense that Hindus write poetry like yours.
AG: They sure do!
Student: They write the Vedas and the write the hymns to the deities, but they don’t write things about suicide-notes and they don’t subject you to the garbage of the mind
AG: If you think the mind is.. I don’t know if I want to buy that “garbage” phrase, I mean, the mind is the mind.
Student: You don’t have to buy…
AG: Well, first of all, … Read More

Spiritual Poetics 5

[Pablo Neruda – (1904-1973)]
Student: Do you find that even just transcribing down straight thoughts tends to focus your attachment to your thoughts sometimes? I found that…

AG: Focus your attachment? What do you mean?

Student: Yeah, with journals. I found that keeping journals, I got so attached to thoughts, so aware of thoughts that I would, I think, actually, subtly manufacture more to make a more pleasing journal.

AG: Well, yeah, there’s a certain amount of baroque elegance that can be indulged in, playfulness. If it’s playful enough, it’s alright. Sometimes. Because that’s just sheer abundance and playfulness, but … Read More

Spiritual Poetics 4

Student: Does it always have to do with what you choose to use?, whether you’re typing, or writing, or (using a) tape-recorder (amassing) amounts of material in that way?

AG: Right. Very much so. Yeah. I want to go into that, actually, in about four sentences. I just want to get to the nub of “selection”, because that used to be a big academic argument – the principle of selectivity, and “beatnik” writers being un-selective, and that selection was so important, that you really had to make fine intellectual distinctions between different kinds of thoughts, and only choose the (most) … Read More

Spiritual Poetics 3

ah-mantra

[seed syllable AH, (in fact an A) – Calligraphy by Chogyum Trungpa. Source:< "Calligraphies by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, 1980, Los Angeles"]

The title of the course is “Spiritual Poetics”, which was just a spontaneous title arrived at when we had to have a title, but it might as well be used. And we’re beginning with considerations of breath, considerations of vowel, and the relationship between vowel and intelligence, vowel and soul, I’ll try to define more clearly the words I’m using.

Vowel and intelligence and vowel and soul, as they are etymologically connected as breath and soul have been connected, as with Chogyam (Trungpa)’s teaching – … Read More

Spiritual Poetics

SPIRITUAL POETICS

Allen Ginsberg Class – NAROPA Institute July 31, 1974

AG: (This) I got from Karma Thinley, who’s a lama, friend of (Chogyam) Trungpa in England – OM, you might want to write it down so it won’t be mysterious: OM (O-m.) SARASWATI (S-a-r-a-s-w-a-t-i) , Sar-a-swa-ti – how many have heard of Saraswati? – okay, Om-Saraswati, HRIH (H-r-i-h), SOWAH (S-o-w-a-h – So-hah), so it’s easy, Om-Sarawati-Hrih-Sowah

[Raja Ravi Varma – Saraswati (1848-1906)]

“Om”, you know – body sound, salutation. Saraswati – is generally pictured with a veena in one hand and a book in the other. Riding, what?. Riding … Read More

Original Beats – Huncke and Corso

Francois Bernardi’s short film, Original Beats, is this weekend’s film-showing – featuring.. two of the most hard-core (Beats) – Gregory Corso and Herbert Huncke – and a paean to a lost New York – Times Square and the Chelsea Hotel (no longer, the same Chelsea Hotel these days, nor the same Times Square, sad to report).
It opens with footage of Huncke in the back-seat of a taxi-cab – one rainy evening in Manhattan – fish-eye glimpses of the Chelsea (interiors and exteriors) – Huncke’s genial narrative. Gregory Corso first appears about two and a half minutes in:
GC: … Read More

Dialectics of Liberation 1967 (ASV 9)

More extraordinary footage. Allen at the Dialectics of Liberation Congress in London in 1967, a unique international symposium, gathered, “to demystify violence in all its forms”. Also included here, footage of Paul Goodman, Herbert Marcuse, and an incendiary Stokely Carmichael..
“Don’t escalate the hostility, don’t escalate the anger, control your mind, watch what you’re doing, be aware – totally”
“It isn’t love that’s being sought here. It’s not love that’s being offered. What’s being offered, in a sense – or proposed, I mean – is awareness, of what your own feelings are, and of the movement of … Read More

My Conscience Says Tell The Truth in Finland

Footage has just emerged of Allen in Finland in 1983 (and of Burroughs too, for that matter) – both snatches of interview(s) and brief glimpses of readings. The footage is from Finnish YLE tv. Allen is seen reading, spiritedly, from “America”- a line at a time, followed by Finnish translation (Burroughs is glimpsed reading sections from A Place of Dead Roads – “and swear to me that you will never wear a policeman’s badge”). The video accompanies an article on the Beats in Finland in that nation’s newspaper and can be accessed here.
AG: My conscience says “tell the … Read More