William Blake Class – 8 (Urizen continues)

Transcription of Allen’s 1978 seminar on William Blake’s Book of Urizen continues. We’ve been serializing it here on The Allen Ginsberg Project this past couple of weeks. See, for example, here and here.
Side B of the tape begins in media res

AG: … so that he says up there, “The senses inward rushed shrinking”, that’s the same, page 81 [The Book of Urizen, Chapter IX] – So that’s that whole point I was trying to make about the eyes here. Now that’s Urizen himself he’s talking about because Urizen is symbolized by an eye. Then, now here’s the … Read More

John Antonelli – Kerouac The Movie (ASV #31)

Still reeling from the Kerouac 90th birthday celebrations of last week, and before the expected onslaught of publicity following Walter Salles’ upcoming, On The Road adaptation, we turn to Kerouac-in-the-movies, and in particular John Antonelli’s 1985 documentary (or is it docu-drama?), now available in its entirety, here
(Not available in its entirety, but also well worth seeing is Richard Lerner and Lewis MacAdams investigation, “What Happened to Kerouac?” (here‘s the trailer), but we’ll save that for another time) 
Docu-drama – i.e. some of the film is re-enactments (Jack Coulter plays Kerouac, David Andrews plays … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 65

[Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovksy and fellow meditators, blocking the supply rail for Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production facility, Jefferson County, Colorado, June 1978. photo c. Joe Daniel]

One year on from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (of March 11). Here’s one of numerous news reports (this one from Aljazeera). Here’s Aileen Mioko Smith, executive-director of the Kyoto-based Green Action, speaking on Democracy Now! – Here’s our old friend (much-missed) Nanao Sakaki (in 1999, wise and prophetic – “Stone Age Japanese never knew Atomic Energy./ Now nuclear power plants are/ Poisoning modern Japan to a slow death”). Here … Read More

William Blake Class – 7 (Urizen continues)

AG: Chapter IV [of the Book of Urizen] – Urizen is still asleep, however. All this time, while
being created by Los, while being given form by Los, Urizen is still asleep. We all know why Los wants to give Urizen a form? Does everybody got that? The reason Los, Imagination, has to give madness a definite form (or Urizonic madness, rational madness, a definite form), is that otherwise it will go infinitely in every direction and it will never be limited. Unless he gives it a definite form, he can’t deal with it. It’s a corollary, as … Read More

William Blake class – 6 (Urizon and the Skandhas)

I want to go through the text (of the Book of Urizon) more carefully now. Chapter IV. There are six verses. What I’m going to do is deal with this very, very carefully, so if you pay attention you can hear something (if you don’t pay attention, it’ll go right by you). The first verse, form is established – “Los smitten with astonishment/ Frightened at the hurtling bones” – (In the) second verse, there is some relation of feeling, “peturbed” and “sulphureous”. (In the) third and fourth verses, some kind of discrimination and conception being made, and formations –

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William Blake class – 5 (Urizen continues)

AG: Okay. Fine. Some of us got up to the library and went through the complete book in pictures, comparing it to other matters. So I’ll give you the picture references for those of you who have the book, but we’ve already gone through that for the small number of people who got up there actually. (Having less people) made it easier, but they’re really gorgeous, the books. So if you can get to the Special Collections and ask to see the prophetic books in color, it’s worth … Read More

Jack Kerouac’s Birthday

[(top to bottom) Jack Kerouac, Tangier Beach, 1957; Jack Kerouac, New York City 1944; Allen Ginsberg & Jack Kerouac, New York City, 1944-45; Jack Kerouac, Tompkins Park, New York City, 1953; Jack Kerouac, Tompkins Park, New York City, 1953; Jack Kerouac, Staten Island Ferry Dock, New York City, 1953; Jack Kerouac, Tangier, Morocco, 1957; (Photos c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)]
Handsome Jack through Allen’s lens. Jack Kerouac would’ve been 90 years old today. Happy Birthday Jack! – There’s another portfolio of photos of him over at Slate (Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation – images by Elliott Erwitt, and
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Kate Linhardt’s Crazy Wisdom: History of Naropa (ASV #31)

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 … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 64

Filmmaker Stan Brakhage died nine years ago on this day. Here’s Brakhage’s [fittingly on film – the source is his commentary, included as an extra in the Jerry Aronson DVD set] – generous words, thoughtful words, he speaks fondly of Allen, and of Allen’s ethical standards (quoting the words of Tennessee Williams) – “Nothing human disgusts me, except deliberate cruelty”.
and Ethan Nichtern, founder of the inspirational Interdependence Project – (we encourage memoir and recollection) – recently … Read More

Robert Johnson Centennial

[Robert Johnson (1911-1938), studio portrait c.1935, one of only two verified known published photos ]
Today is the Robert Johnson Centennial – and we couldn’t let it go without a tip of the hat from the Allen Ginsberg Project. We’ve already featured Robert Johnson in our intriguing “Allen Ginsberg’s Jukebox” postings (“Allen’s Jukebox: The Country Blues” – see here). We send you, of course, to the official Robert Johnson site, the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation. “Crossroad Blues, “Walking Blues”, “Stones In My Passway”, “Hellhound On My Trail”, and “Love In Vain” were Allen’s choices. To listen to … Read More