Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971)

Remembering today one of the great Buddhist teachers, Suzuki Roshi,  Shunryu Suzuki, influential Soto Zen priest and founder of the San Francisco Zen Center and the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center (the first Soto Zen training monastery in the United States and one of the very first Buddhist training monasteries to be established outside of Asia)

Suzuki was also the author of the hugely popular Zen Mind, Beginners Mind  (1970). a key book from a key figure in the spreading in the West of the dharma.

Here’s Allen – from an interview, circa.1996, with David Chadwick: 

DC: Can you remember the … Read More

Philomene Long’s The Beats – An Exisitential Comedy

We continue our spotlighting of video now available via the digitalization of Allen’s Stanford University archives.

Today – Philomene Long & (Jay D Kugelman)’s LA-based documentary from 1980,  The Beats: An Existential Comedy

The video is available – here

[Stuart Z Perkoff appearing on Groucho Marx’s tv show, You Bet Your Life – from The Beats – An Existential Comedy]

Initially conceived as a tribute to the poet Stuart Z Perkoff (1930-1974), it developed into, significantly, more – much more.

As one reviewer had it, “The film is not so much a historical documentary of the period as a recreation … Read More

Allen Ginsberg 1985 “New England Today” Interview

Continuing with our on-going feature of videos from the recently-digitalized Stanford Archives – today a tv appearance from 1985, on “New England Today” (on the occasion of the publication of Collected Poems 1947-1980)  

Interviewer: My guest right now is Allen Ginsberg and he has written a number of poems and this is a big book if you like poetry, a big book of Collected Poems from 1947 to 1980, and, actually, this is your whole life in these poems, isn’t it Allen?

AG: Yes, everything I’ve written in poetry for thirty-three years, with profuse illustrations, numerous notes at the … Read More

More Observations on Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound died 45 years ago today in Venice, Italy. He is buried  in the Cimitero di San Michele (along with other twentieth-century icons – Sergei Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky..)

Allen, from his recollection, of a conversation, in the restaurant of the Pensione Cici in Venice, some five years earlier:

“The intention was bad – that’s the trouble – anything I’ve done has been an accident – any good has been spoiled by my intentions – the preoccupation with irrelevant and stupid things -” Pound said this quietly, rusty voiced like an old child, looked directly in my … Read More

Allen Ginsberg – Ars Poetica – Dallas Texas 1980 – Joe Stanco Interview

Following on from last weekend, and complimentary to an earlier tape that we featured (from Richmond College, Dallas Texas), another video gem from the Stanford Archives – Ars Poetica – An Interview with Allen Ginsberg conducted by Joe Stanco

[The participants begin, caught in conversation, in media res]

JS: Oh. – My name is Joe Stanco and I’m talking today with Allen Ginsberg and, at the moment, we were discussing Ezra Pound who’s certainly..in fact you said, at one point, “the most important American poet since Whitman

AG: I guess. Yeah. Well… (Because ) he had more effect … Read More

Allen Ginsberg 1974 San Francisco tv Interview – “I Believe” – part 2

continuing from yesterday – (transcript of Allen Ginsberg and Father Mike S Riley’s 1974 conversation picks up approximately sixteen-and-a-half minutes in)

MR: What’s a nice Jewish boy like you doing with all of the Christian metaphors and analogies?. It’s just “Christ,” “Jesus, “”the Church”, “Crucifixtion”…

AG: Well, what I’ve been talking (except to the reference to St John of the Cross) has mostly been formal Buddhist dharma, which is a perception of the Universe as transient, in the sense of..    The basic.. first basic thing is – all the constituents of being are transitory. So that’s why I’ve … Read More

Allen Ginsberg 1974 San Francisco tv Interview – “I Believe”

Continuing our spotlight on some of the video treasures in Stanford University’s recently-digitalized archive – Allen on San Francisco television (KPIX) in 1974, interviewed by Father Mike S Riley on his inter-faith tv show, “I Believe”

[Allen begins reading from “Sad Dust Glories”]  – “When I sit/I see dust motes in my eye/Ponderosa needles trembling/shine green/in blue sky./Wind sound passes thru/ pine tops, distant/windy waves flutter back/oak leaves/and leave thenm still/like my mind/which forgets why the blue jay across the wood’s clearing/squwks, in mid-afternoon.”

MR: Welcome to “I Believe” and Allen Ginsberg. Allen, I suspect that a lot … Read More

Allen Ginsberg – Richland College reading – part 2

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Richland College reading – continuing from yesterday

AG: So I would say now move on to.. 1956- moving on from 1956 to 1976. I have a series of poems which will require some music also – “Father Death Blues” – if we can get together on the stage –

My father died in 1976 in midsummer and I wrote a series of poems while he was alive because I spent a lot of time with him during the previous..during the winter that he was wasting, He was quite old and not in pain because it was a … Read More

Henry King – 1 (“Like to the falling of a star”)

AG:  So there’s another poem that I handed out – Sic Vita by Henry King  (which I think is the most poem.. most perfect of that (transience poetry), but it also has a very great rhythm, very great cadence, that comes out of the logic of the presentation of the idea.

“Like to the falling of a star,/ Or as the flights of eagles are,/ Or like the fresh spring’s gaudy hue,/ Or silver drops of morning dew,/ Or like a wind that chafes the flood,.” –  ( you know, “chafes the flood”? – ruffles the surface of … Read More

Edmund Bolton’s Palinode

[“As vanisheth the light-blown bubble ever…..’]

AG: We’re way off the subject. ..which was.. there was a really great poem I wanted to lay out, which I put out,  by Henry King, (which is like the “Palinode“.) – We’ll get back to this (the “Palinode”) –  I mean, has anybody got some heavy thing that they want to continue it on?

Edmund Bolton’s “Palinode” (on page two-seventy), which sets forth a great theme that recurs through all English poetry and also a great logical way of handling the theme – and I   would like it because it’s … Read More