AG: I’m halfway through this book [R.H.Blyth – Haiku – Volume 1], so actually I could zap through the chief haikuof this book, according to about twenty years of reading and re-reading, before we’re done.
Do most of you know these particular ones? Is there anybody that knows these already?
Meeting, the two old friends laugh aloud In the grove, the fallen leaves are many.
Packed in and sleeping with others Again getting up from this night’s lodging.
The wandering poet, Basho, describing his own empty wanderings – “Packed in and sleeping with others/Again getting up from this night’s lodging”.
(R.H.) Blyth, who was the author of this, suggests a number of qualities, such as space (and) time, which are, for him, the empty subjects, so to speak, the empty subjects of haiku – selflessness, loneliness, grateful acceptance, wordlessness, non-intellectuality, contradictoriness, thus humor, freedom from conceptions, non-morality, simplicity, materiality – those are … Read More
A cricket chirps and is silent the guttering lamp sinks and flares up again Outside the window, evening rain is heard It’s the banana plant that starts talking about it. It’s the banana plant that speaks of it first
[Hanging scroll of an Indian Buddhist arhat by Japanese painter, Shiba Kokan (1747-1818)]
AG: Then there’s the Śrāvaka Buddhaas part of the Hinayana. The guy who just meditates for himself and never gets out of it into the bodhisattvapath. So there’s an old Chinese poem deriding an aged monk for worshipping the sutras, for worshipping the books themselves.
David Menconi’s 1987 Interview with Allen Ginsberg (featured here last week) continues: AG: (So) I was working here at Naropa from 1978 to 1983, getting a small salary, but also contributing money to keep the place going until we became accredited, like now. Teaching here seven months a year, I didn’t have much income except by going out and doing poetry readings. In 1982, I signed a contract with Harper and got a little more money (not a lot – about as much as the average high-school teacher’s salary). Last year  I got a job at … Read More
actual haiku themselves, referring back to both (Christopher) Smart and (William) Blake’s long-line form, noticing that, in a sense, the haiku is parallel to the long-line form. The long line is only good if you’ve got a haiku in it, or you’ve got some mind-jump
[“To have the sun and moon in one sleeve/To hold the universe in the palm of one’s hand”]Allen continues from the Zenrin-kushu: “To have the sun and moon in one sleeve./ To hold the universe in the palm of one’s hand”Then there’s a line by (W.B.) Yeats – “I carry the sun in a golden cup and the moon in a silver bag.”
“If you don’t get it from yourself,/Where will you go for it” – “If you don’t get it from yourself,/Where will you go for it – Where … Read More
Allen Ginsberg to Paul Bertram (1928-2013) , in 1947, from the Ginsberg-Bertram letters
Readers+Writers Journal, this week, announced the discovery (in a trove of newly-found letters and postcards from Allen to his life-long friend, Rutgers professor and Shakespearean scholar, Paul Bertram), of, arguably, the first known reference in the writings of the Beat Generation to the seminal term “Beat”.
Paul Bertram’s 1965 volume – Shakespeare and The Two Noble Kinsmen (Rutgers University Press)
Writing as early as July 14, 1947, (these are “among the earliest, if not the earliest collection of Ginsberg correspondence ever” appearing on the market), Ginsberg … Read More
AG: So this one that follows covers a great gap of time without actually mentioning the years properly, directly – “Meeting, the two friends laugh aloud./In the grove, the fallen leafs are many.” – [Allen repeats this allegedly Confucian poem] – “Meeting, the two friends laugh aloud./In the grove, the fallen leafs are many.” – … Read More