Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 122

[cover for On Tibetan Buddhism, Mantras and Drugs – Interviews with Allen Ginsberg by Paul Lobo Portuges,  published by Word Palace Press, San Luis Obispo, California, 2013]

[Cover illustration for the recently-published Brazilian (Portuguese) edition of Spontaneous Mind (Mente Espontanea) Selected Interviews 1958-1966, published by Novo Século (New Century) in São Paulo, Brazil, 2013]

[Cover illustration for original US edition of Spontaneous Mind – Selected Interviews 1958-1996, published by HarperCollins, New York, 2001]

A follow-up on last week’s post about philistinism, and ignorance about Allen, in Arica, Chile. The controversy, it seems, has now effectively been resolved by … Read More

Remembering Kathy Acker

[Kathy Acker (1947-1997) – photograph by Allen Ginsberg. Copyright – Allen Ginsberg Estate – caption – “Kathy Acker in Green Room, Detroit Institute of the Arts, one night February 1985 we read together with Diane Di Prima – she writes violent sexual feminist narratives, parody of imaginative love-torture novels, lives in London, first published chapters of books as pamphlets I found in the mail from Lower East Side New York”]

Kathy Acker’s has been … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 62 (William Carlos Williams 6)

[William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)  – Photograph via University of Pennsylvania Archives]

AG: Please raise your hands.. Okay, so that’s good.. So I can read on a little more of (William Carlos) Williams. Some students who were here before have heard me read some of these. Last year I went through some of the same poems, and I hate to repeat, but the bulk of people in class aren’t familiar with these specific poems and I think they are highlights of Williams’ practice and they’re good solid poems you can get mind’s eye into, so it’s a good entry into … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 61 (William Carlos Williams 5 – To Elsie)

AG: There’s a very beautiful poem to America (by William Carlos Williams) called “To Elsie”. Considering how mixed-up everyone else was in their language, and how mixed-up they were in their desires, substituting desires for television with desire for a clear language, or practice of clear language, or substituting argument for clear language. [Allen reads Williams’ “To Elsie”]


The pure products of America go crazy – mountain-folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of Jersey with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf mutes, thieves, old names and promiscuity between

devil-may-care men who have taken … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 60 William Carlos Williams 4)

Allen Ginsberg, June 28 1976 class on Spontaneous Poetics at Naropa Institute, transcription of Allen’s 1976 summer sessions continues. More on William Carlos Williams. Some of this material Allen has already been through in his extensive William Carlos Williams classes of the previous year (see for example here, here and here).

AG: So we’re on (William Carlos) Williams, having focused, finally, on his conception of “No ideas but in things” and some literal fact (as part of his theory of “sticking close to the nose”. [Allen reads Williams’ poem “Smell” – “Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed/nose … Read More

Allen Ginsberg & Michael McClure – 1976 Naropa “Retrospective” Reading


[Allen Ginsberg & Michael McClure, circa 1965. Photographer unknown]

We’ve been featuring of late transcription from Allen’s 1976 summer-session teaching at Naropa Institute – Spontaneous Poetics. Alongside of that (and alongside all the other classes) there was also a lively reading-series at Naropa that year (which Allen actively participated in), perhaps the highlight of which was his own June 16 reading with Michael McClure (the introduction is by Anne Waldman).

Courtesy the remarkable Internet Archive, we have the audio (in two segments) of this unique collaborative event. The poets decided, rather than having two distinct sets, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 121

A couple of weeks back (yes, it’s taken us that long to recover from all of the travel!) Allen was honored as one of the national heroes of the liberation struggle for the creation/establishment of the modern state of Bangladesh .“September on Jessore Road”, it seems, had, in 1971, an extraordinary effect in publicizing the appalling plight of the refugees and spreading word on the refugee-crisis there. Bob Rosenthal and Peter Hale, of the Ginsberg Estate, flew out to the official ceremonies to accept the award on Allen’s behalf. Here’s a few notes about (and selected images from) what … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 59 (William Carlos Williams 3)

AG: I would just like to read two short poems of (William Carlos) Williams that I think are crucial to this (discussion of “No ideas but in things“), and also intersect with Buddhist practice of sunyata breath, which the upstairs guru (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche) discoursed on the other night. [Allen begins by reading Williams’ poem Good Night”] GOOD NIGHT

In brilliant gas lightI turn the kitchen spigotand watch the water plashinto the clean white sink,On the grooved drain-boardto one side isa glass filled with parsley –crisped green

              … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 58 (William Carlos Williams 2)

[William Carlos Williams ( 1883-1963)]

“No ideas but in things” – Allen tries to explain William Carlos Williams‘ famous dictum to his students (Naropa Summer Session, 1976)

AG: (Doctor Williams) is all about accuracy. The phrase “clamp your mind down on objects” is his, the phrase, “No ideas but in things”. “No ideas but in things”. Does anybody not understand what that means? – “No ideas but in things”? Is there anybody that doesn’t get that? [Student raises his hand] – Okay, is there anybody else who doesn’t get that? Please raise your hand if it isn’t perfectly … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 57 – (William Carlos Williams 1)

[William Carlos Williams c.1948 –  photograph by Constantin Joffe]

AG: We’ve gone all the way to the other end again. Now (we’ll) come back to- something like haiku, like Reznikoff William Carlos Williams. Most people here have read Williams, I guess. How many have not at all [Student raises his hand] – just one? – [to Student] – you’ve not read Williams, that’s right? – Okay, so for those who haven’t, Williams is the clearest and simplest and most direct, (He’s) trying to tie the mind down, bring the imagination down to earth again, and put all of … Read More