Kate Linhardt’s Crazy Wisdom: History of Naropa

Not to be confused with Johanna Demetrakas’ film with a similar title, Crazy Wisdom is a 2010 film featuring interviews with various figures from NAROPA . Kate Linhardt, the director, writes, “For my senior thesis project at Vassar, I made this documentary about The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Founded in 1974 by Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Gregory Corso, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and many other well known poets, artists, and intellectuals, the school remains a unique haven for writers and spiritual seekers. “Crazy Wisdom” explores the program’s history, the integration of Buddhism into the writing curriculum, and the inevitable changes the program has undergone over the last 35 years. It includes interviews with students and faculty members, interspersed with archival audio material and footage from a documentary made about Naropa in 1978 entitled “Fried Shoes, Cooked Diamonds” [that would be Costanza Allione’s movie, see here – last week]. In an interview (here) with Indiewire, she elucidates further: “I attended Naropa’s Summer Writing Program in the summer of 2005 and was really overwhelmed and curious about the whole scene there. That’s how I got interested in the school. It was like some bizarre conflation of a rapid weight loss program and a strange metaphysical trade fair. [sic] Very new age-y and earnest [sic] – I had always been such a big Beat fan and I read (Jack) Kerouac in high school and looked up to all those writers, but when I got there and saw this legacy and met the people who went to the school, I had a sense that it was much more complicated than I realized”. A fascinating document. Our Portuguese sister-site, dharma/arte, has some charming memories by Helena Patsis-Bolduc (another alumnae), occasioned by viewing this film [2017 update – regrettably, no longer available].


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