Fan Mail

We couldn’t resist this. In the spirit of the previous (yesterday’s) plaintive post, and in anticipation of the coming weeks (when more from this 1975 Naropa class will be serialized).

In class, speaking of Arthur Rimbaud, Allen breaks in, to read out loud a Rimbauldian letter he’d received (from a more-than-enthusiastic fan in New Jersey):

“Dear Mr Ginsberg, I am 17, the age when the body’s elixir’s and spirit’s salivas are inexorably brought to a boil I have read and love your poetry and I too, as these impudent verses attest, am a poet” – [(and) so forth.. actually it’s a pretty strange letter, Allen interjects] – “Perhaps what I have written is not good, perhaps from your hand it passes straight to a waste-basket or a pile of unanswered correspondence, but of these ill-starred poems I can say one thing absolutely. No one has ever written anything like them. I believe, because of Howl, because of Kaddish, even because of the Fall of America you will understand me through them and appreciate them. Help me! All true poets are brothers! I want to come and live with you! – a poetic incest, if you please! Like Rimbaud and Verlaine, I am shut up in my parents’ house alone and turning morose and chagrined and sad. Every school I’ve attended has thrown me out. Anyone who has any sway over my fate recommends professional help. A poet like yourself. I’ve not even train fare to the city. I’m restrained, I tell you. Let me be with you so that what is tearing me apart can get out, the thing inside that makes me write, your friend X.

Allen notes that he had also enclosed some poems. (“Perfect Rimbaud actually, more like a.. perfect Rimbaud translation, anyway, as good as any of the Rimbaud translations” )

“I got about a dozen poems from him in the last two weeks so I sent him the NAROPA catalog, and said show (this) letter to your mother and have her send you out here! And I also said (that) everybody I showed your poems to said send a picture! – so he sent a picture, and he looked absolutely great, beautiful, like as good as Rimbaud!”

Oh Allen!

Source: – (approximately 76-77 mins in)

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