Allen in 1976 – The Vision of Naropa

western buddhist practice, contemporary buddhism, modern buddhism

[ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987)]

Allen Ginsberg, August 8 1976, (early days), speaking on the formation and the vision of the Naropa Institute (now Naropa University)

AG: In the last few days we’ve seen a lot of high American artistic activity presented here from this stage – Wednesday night, William Burroughs, who’s perhaps the dean of American novelists, at top form and funnier than ever, read an enormous beautiful section of.. from old and new work..Naked Lunch to the present year, which actually is, for any art audience in America, a great occasion, familiar and at home

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Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 144

[Leonardo DiCaprio and Allen Ginsberg – Photograph by Jerry Aronson]  

“The film of the year”? – “The film of the year”? –  Well, obviously, we had to run this one! – Rebecca Cope, in Harpers Bazaar, on Kill Your Darlings.  Kill Your Darlings “buzz” continues to roll on, full pace. Here’s Timothy M Gray, in Variety: “The chief lure of “Darlings” for mainstream audiences and kudos voters will be word of mouth about (Daniel)Radcliffe’s breakthrough performance [as Allen Ginsberg], though the film has many other assets…Radcliffe said he’s dissimilar to Ginsberg, but added, “We are both

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Spontaneous Poetics – 138 (Political Commitment – 3)

[Allen Ginsberg & members of the ad hoc Rocky Flats Truth Force meditating in the path of  an approaching train that was carrying radioactive detritus away from the Rockt Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, 25 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado, July,1978]  

Student: I wanted to ask (Allen) a question. AG: Yeah Student: You don’t have to take the mike.  Do you really think that.. I mean, I think that this country, and all power structures like it, can absorb, I don’t know, I think, can absorb millions of sitting Buddhists, and continue with the same activities, and be not conscious of … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 137 (Political Commitment – 2)

[Original transcription note – the first ten minutes of this side (this new side) of the tape is blank. It is unclear whether any significant portion of the class is missing] AG:… (a recognition that) riotous madness is not going to make the scene. So there’s an element of intelligence in Wordsworth‘s reactionary-ism at the very end. If you were to set it against the mentality of revenge, resentment, aggression and karmic confusion that we set up in the late (19)60’s.  So, at this point, who can be self-righteous anymore? Really. I certainly can’t, and I don’t think that … Read More

More Radcliffe on Ginsberg


Trying not to burden you all too much with this (the guy, after all, is giving – and will be giving – plenty of interviews, in advance of, and doing the publicity for, his upcoming movie) – Daniel Radcliffe is Allen Ginsberg! – But, (from Yahoo movies blog), we thought to run this, considering it’s so specifically Ginsberg-centric (and in case you haven’t seen it).

Interviewer: Tell us about how you stepped into the sensible shoes of the young Allen Ginsberg the year he entered Columbia University?
Daniel Radcliffe: The first point of reference for me was … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 136 (Political Commitment – 1)

Student: You were talking about political disillusionment the other day. AG: Yeah. Student: What’s the nature now [1976] of your political commitment?   AG: Very complicated. I felt that I had left that hanging in the air, unresolved. In fact, hadn’t even formulated what I was trying to say but what I was doing was presenting specimens. I guess that was obvious. I was presenting specimens of different political attitudes, (from Shelley to Wordsworth to Whitman, (and) with a little reference to (Timothy) Leary. Student (Can you talk about your own development?) AG: Well, okay, I began, basically, in terms … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 135 (Gertrude Stein)

File:Félix Valloton, Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1907.jpg

[Gertrude Stein – Portrait of Gertrude Stein by Felix Valloton (1907)]  

Student: Where do you think that (Gertrude) Stein figures into this lineage of voices that you’ve presented to us from (Walt) Whitman through (William Carlos) Williams, or… AG: Well, I was hoping that Phil(ip) (Whalen) would teach Stein at one point or other, because Phil taught… originally.   He’s the best Stein voice I heard, or reader, (that) I(‘ve) heard – [to Philip Whalen]  Are you going to be talking about that at all? Philip Whalen: Yeah, I plan to. .. AG: Okay. My own thought … Read More

Philip Lamantia


[Philip Lamantia (1927-2005) – Photographed in 1981 by Chris Felver]

Happy, immensely happy, to be able to announce the publication (long-awaited publication) of The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia. For other Lamantia-on-the-Ginsberg blog postings, see here, here and here and here and here, On this occasion, we feature…    

from “The Literary History of the Beat Generation”, Allen’s 1982 Naropa lecture series – his seminar on Philip Lamantia – a full transcription  (the audio is available here (starting approximately thirty-one-and-three-quarter minutes in) and continuing here)  

AG: So..we’ll start with Lamantia. How many know Lamantia? – I brought

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Daniel Radcliffe Reading from Howl (“Purgatoried”)

Daniel Radcliffe is interviewed and reads some lines (the opening lines, of course!) from Allen’s epic “Howl”  “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,/ dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,/ angelheaded hipsters…” (which is Lucien Carr, by the way, he was the original “angelheaded hipster”) …burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night”… There’s one phrase I love that comes up in a minute… “who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 143

Summertime over now and a few (belated) notes on two summer-time conferences – ESBN (the European Beat Studies Network) 2, which took place in Aalborg (the University of Aalborg), Denmark, August 28th-30th, and Out of The Shadows (focusing on Beat Women Writers), which took place at the University of Agder, Norway, September 2nd-4th.  At the former, you would have been treated to Professor Jason Lee – “Buddha With A Melody: Evolution, Sex and Ginsberg’s Influences”, Luke Walker – “Exchanges Between Ginsberg, Dylan and Blake” and Rebecca Evans – “Kaddish – Tribute To My Father” (and a whole … Read More