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

Announcing Spiritual Poetics

[Allen Ginsberg with Anne Waldman at NAROPA Institute 1975 (in the background, dancers Douglas Dunn and Barbara Dilley) – photo by Rachel Homer copyright]
Announcing the upcoming (on-line) publication of the first chapter of a long-awaited and crucial project – Allen Ginsberg’s Selected NAROPA Lectures 1975-1997.
The very first of these lectures – on “Spiritual Poetics” – delivered on this very day, thirty-seven years ago – will be serialized, in this space, (the Allen Ginsberg blog), throughout the up-coming week(s).
We at the blog, wish to salute, at the outset, the tireless and heroic work, accomplished over many years now … Read More

Smoking Typewriters


Smoking Typewriters, historian John McMillian‘s recently-published definitive history of the underground press scene in America in the ’60s, and of “the rise of alternative media”, brings to mind an earlier “Smoking Typewriters”, Allen’s lead essay in the 1981 City Lights compendium, UnAmerican Activities – The Campaign Against The Underground Press (edited by Geoffrey Rips & Anne Janowitz, with reports by Aryeh Neier, Todd Gitlin and Angus MacKenzie). That book was the result of a decade’s zealous study made possible by the release of files, courtesy of FOIA (the Freedom of Information Act – ironically, an outgrowth of the … Read More

Little Fish Devours The Big Fish

Following on from yesterday’s “Capitol Air”, here’s another rock Allen, or more precisely, pop Allen – circa 1983, his collaboration with the Lawrence, Kansas, band, Start (from the album Look Around, on Fresh Sounds Records – another cut from the album can be sampled here).

The poem Allen chooses to sing/recite is his “Little Fish Devours The Big Fish”, another political screed (“Hypocrisy is the key/ to self-fulfilling prophecy”), subsequently published in White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985, and drawing, very much from his visit to Nicaragua, and appearance at the Poetry Festival in Managua, the previous year. His … Read More

Poetry In Motion (ASV #14)

Ron Mann’s groundbreaking 1982 documentary feature, Poetry In Motion, remains a treasure-trove of performance and poetry, and poetry-in-performance, and features a stellar group of (mostly North American) poets (twenty-five from a group of sixty-five originally filmed), among them, Allen, Anne Waldman, John Giorno, William Burroughs, Amiri Baraka, Ed Sanders, Robert Creeley, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, John Cage, and Jim Carroll. Introduced and punctuated by the acerbic thoughts of Charles Bukowski, the film also affords us rare glimpses of such legendary figures as Ted Berrigan and Helen Adam and – it was partially Canadian-financed – Christopher Dewdney (reading a, … Read More

David Schneider on Philip Whalen (early Whalen)

[“Philip Whalen, Sensei, in his peaceful chair, my apartment living room, East 12th Street New York March 1984. he was visiting East coast to give readings N.Y. and Buffalo, calm poet. ‘What are you reading?’ ‘I’m not reading I’m just turning the pages.’ ” – Allen Ginsberg. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

The current (summer) issue of Tricycle contains an excerpt from David Schneider’s forthcoming Phil Whalen biography – Crowded by Beauty: A Biography of Poet and Zen Teacher, Philip Whalen. Schneider, currently, (since 1995), based in Germany (Cologne), studied and practiced at the Zen Center in San Francisco from … 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

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 34

[Allen Ginsberg – painting by Chris O’Neal – from Howl! Festival – Art Around The Park, 2011]
First, belatedly, to note the recent Ginsberg meme – substitute “Murdoch” for “Moloch” in Howl. Here‘s Mitch Myers proposal of the “Mash-Up” (from the Hollywood Reporter)..
and here‘s Dennis Potter’s scathing indictment of (Rupert) Murdoch a good many years earlier, 1994, to be precise, in his haunting last interview
We were also unnerved by this photographic evidence!
Most “mashers” seem to be content with using James Franco’s recitation of Howl. We would, of course, draw your attention to this – … Read More

Allen and Bob in Renaldo and Clara (ASV # 13)

[Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, 1976, on the Rolling Thunder tour]

[2012 update – Renaldo and Clara, Bob Dylan’s “classic subterranean film”, despite these notes, remains strictly under copyright, unreleased, and (the many “bootlegs” circulating, notwithstanding), strictly unavailable. The video-clip that first appeared on this post was from an unauthorized source and has been taken down. Likewise, our somewhat forward presentation (via the Dangerous Minds blog) of the whole movie (in this post of February 2012). A brief clip (Allen and Dylan famously at Jack Kerouac’s grave in Lowell) can be glimpsed here (it’s one of the “extras” on Jerry … Read More

Nam June Paik (1932-2006)

[John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, Nam June Paik, Merce Cunningham, New Years Day 1984, at the time of the “Good Morning, Mr Orwell” collaboration, directed by Paik – photo by Hank O’Neal]
Nam June Paik was born on this day, July 20, 1932.
Born in Korea and educated in Japan, he is generally considered the first video artist and the pioneer of all subsequent media art. Exhibited all over the world, a recent retrospective show took place at the Tate, Liverpool, in England. The curator, Sook-Kyung Lee speaks on his significance here, here, and here.
Allen’s involvement with him … Read More