Belatedly Annotating Kaddish

Here’s an interesting curio sent on to us by Micah Berul, one of Allen’s ex-students from Brooklyn College, who writes: “Going through some old things, (I) came across an essay on “Kaddish” (that) I wrote while a student of Allen’s…in 1995 or 1996, in his class, “A Literary History of the Beat Generation”” (Editor’s note: Allen taught classes under this heading both at NAROPA and at Brooklyn, most notably, in 1987 in Brooklyn, along with a reading series under that title). Micah goes on: “He was kind enough to mail me my essay back after the semester ended with his handwritten comments. As you can see, he seemed to like it. It’s written to him, addressing him as “you”, which you won’t see in (very) many essays on Kaddish”. “An intelligent, sympathetic evaluation”, Allen declares, “of the theistic/non theistic split of mind (in the poem)”. Micah Berul is currently a labor lawyer living in San Francisco.

Dear Mikah (sic), Sorry to return this so late, & to have got your 2 notes & not replied before – overwhelming mass of paperwork, 4 CD Holy Soul box set of CDs – new Poem book last year, paperback Howl Annotated & Journals Mid-Fifties – all out now.

this is an intelligent & sympathetic evaluation of the theistic/nontheistic split of mind in Kaddish Poem Thanks, Allen Ginsberg, 3/27/94

Well, more overtly factual, palpable rather than Idea.

(left margin)
the passage ” O Russian faced, woman on the grass,” has classical elegance poetical construction like Tennyson etc.

bottom : see also Father Death Blues in Poem Don’t Grow Old 1976.

“God’s perfect Darkness”


near (this is a near Buddhist notion)

yes a touch of conventional Theism, or traditional theistic language here.

or transgressing literary convention, and making the transgression “sacred.”

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