Meditation and Poetics – 88 – Haiku – 1 (Spiritual Origins of Haiku)

[Bodhidharma (Daruma) – the Indian founder of Zen Buddhism, which he brought to China and subsequently Japan – from the British Museum collection – a Japanese hanging scroll painting from the Momoyama period, late 16th Century]

AG: What shall we do with this problem of wordlessness however. There are a lot of ways of dealing with the un-nameable, or what can’t be described, that we were talking about. So I’m now going to go to Haiku – Volume 1 again, and read swiftly through a whole succession of haiku dealing with different subjects, different aspects of … Read More

David Menconi Interview – 1 (Allen Ginsberg in 1987 Surveys His Musical History)

           [Allen Ginsberg with accompanist, Steven Taylor – performing live in Europe, 1986]

Allen Ginsberg, in 1987, surveys his musical history.

The interview (from which these remarks are excerpted) is dated June 25, 1987, and was
conducted by  journalist and music critic, David Menconi for the Boulder Daily Camera, the local paper. A considerably edited version  (incorporating some of these notes) was published contemporaneously, but the bulk of the interview has remained unpublished and is appearing for the first time here.  
part two – a continuation (Allen discusses Buddhism, politics,  poetry, and ’80’s zeitgeist),  will appear … Read More

Friday May 8 – Gary Snyder’s Birthday

[Gary Snyder – July 2002- Photo by John Suiter]

Gary Snyder‘s 85th birthday today.  Here‘s Gary interviewed by Eliot Weinberger, back in 1992, for the Paris Review. Here‘s the full interview that appeared four years later in the Paris Review. 

Here‘s more recent Snyder (from last month) interviewed on NPR and reading from his newest book, This Present Moment 

and the recent (April 22) Colorado College lecture and reading, “The Practice of the Wild”

Looking forward to John Suiter‘s upcoming biography . Here‘s an excerpt from Suiter-on-Gary (from his wonderful Poets Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 87 (Walt Whitman Lists – 5)

[“..Off on the lakes the pike-fisher watches and waits by the hole in the frozen surface”]
I wanted to finish (by) comparing that (Christopher Smart) with what will come after, which is haiku, (but, first),  I want to finish our catalog in (Walt) Whitman now, both for the tongue-ing of the line  (that.. (the) awareness of sound and vowel amd consonantal kick-up) and for accuracy of observation, as well as for those funny logical jumps and sort of querulous personal noticings, oddities and eccentricities of unborn spontaneous mind.
Allen continues/concludes his reading from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”, section 15
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Meditation and Poetics – 86 (Christopher Smart – 3)

“For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry” –  Allen concludes his reading of Christopher Smart to his 1978 Naropa class with, perhaps, his most famous lines.  For earlier Ginsberg-on-Smart see herehere and here

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 85 (Christopher Smart – 2)

[Angelic Musicians  – from Agnolo Gaddi‘s “Coronation of the Virgin” (c.1370)]

Allen continues his readings from Christopher Smart

“Of Spiritual Music” For the spiritual musick is as follows.For there is the thunder-stop, which is the voice of God direct.For the rest of the stops are by their rhimes.For the trumpet rhimes are sounds, bounds, soar, more, and the like.For the Shawm rhimes are lawn fawn moon boon and the like.For the harp rhimes are sing, ring, string, and the like.For the flute rhimes are tooth, youth, sooth, mute, and the like.For the clarinet rhimes are … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 84 (Christopher Smart – 1)

                                                   [Christopher Smart (1722-1771)

[Allen’s 1978 Meditation and Poetics class continues. He  begins by briefly surveying some of the recent topics that have been covered in the class. He does so playfully, using the Christopher Smart conjunction – “for” (in preparation now for some emphasis on Smart, and Smart’s extraordinary observations).]
AG: For we have discoursed on the nameless in poetry, for we’ve talked about Walt Whitman’s catalogs, lists, ellipses and minute particulars, for we’ve pointed to … Read More

Colin Still – Optic Nerve



 [Colin Still]

Colin Still and Optic Nerve’s poetic documentation and extraordinary achievement needs to be sung. So we’re singing it today here. By now, perhaps, many of you will have already seen, and be familiar with, this footage (Colin’s footage) – the legendary pairing – Allen Ginsberg accompanied by Paul McCartney, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, in October of 1995 – “The Ballad of The Skeletons” From the same occasion – “After Lalon” but that event and that footage, extraordinary though it is, is only the very tip of the iceberg. Colin has shot full-length
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May 1st – (May Day – Kral Majales)

Check out past May Day postings on the Allen Ginsberg Project – here, here and here even, (last year’s) here

A special May Day this year – (2015), it’s the 50th anniversary of  Allen’s fleeting elevation to  Kral Majales – King of May –   “And I am the King of May”


“And I am the King of May, which is the power of sexual youth,/and I am the King of May, which is industry in eloquence and action in amour,/and I am the King of May, which is long hair of Adam and the Beard of my own body/and … Read More