John Giorno & William Burroughs At Naropa 1976

Continuing with our treasures from the Naropa Archives. Here’s another early (July 1976) reading – John Giorno and William Burroughs (the introductions are not by Allen this time, but by Michael Brownstein).

The reading is divided into two sections. After Brownstein’s introduction, Buddhist-practitioner, Giorno, reads first, reading two colorfully-titled pieces – “Drinking the Blood of Every Woman’s Period” and “Shit, Piss, Blood, Puss and Brains” –

Michael Brownstein on John’s Buddhist aesthetics: “(that) his poems are not Buddhist, as such, from the outside-in, like an anti-war poem would be, for example, or a love poem, using these things as themes, so much as they are a clear example of energy from Buddhist practice inside-out”

The Giorno reading begins approximately nine minutes in, “Shit, Piss, Blood” etc, starts approximately thirty-eight minutes in.

The second section, William Burroughs section, begins in media res. He starts off by reading “Tio Mate Smiles”, from the novel, The Wild Boys. This is followed (at approximately twenty-six-and-three-quarter minutes in) by “Lexington Narcotics Hospital” (from The Nova Express – “There’s an exclusive wing in Lexington reserved for the Do-Rights who are considered good rehabilitation prospects..”). At approximately thirty-two-and-a-quarter minutes in, he announces, “This piece, published in Harpers, was in answer to the question, “When did you stop wanting to be President?” – “When did I stop wanting to be President? At birth, certainly, and, perhaps before..” – reads “Commissioner of Sewers”

Burroughs concludes with “a little short piece called “From Here to Eternity“” (“..I was there. I saw it..”)

[Audio for the above is now available on the Naropa University Archives web-site here and here]

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