Mexico CIty Blues – 6


[Henry Luce]

[“…And nobody cares how you hang/ Your spaghetti wash…”]

[Louis Armstrong]


[“..I want to go and live in the desert..”]

[“…One Thousand/Two hundred and fifty/Men/Sitting around a grove/of trees/Outsida town/right now/  With Buddha/is their leader/Discoursing in the middle,/Sitting lotus posture…”]

Allen’s notations on Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues continues

“America is a permissible dream” – This is in (19)53, and Henry Luce was writing about the “American Century”, and Henry Luce was having lunch with John Foster Dullesevery week in Washington, and spreading the basic CIA moral American line through Time magazine and the Luce … Read More

Mexico City Blues – 5

“They got nothing on me/at the university/Them clever poets/of immensity..” – That’s very funny, actually – “Them clever poets /of immensity” – “With charcoal suits/and charcoal hair/And green armpits…” – “Green armpits” – that’s because when we introduced Gregory Corso to John Clellon Holmes and he read some of Gregory’s early poetry, Holmes, who was a mid-town sophisticate, said, “Oh he writes green armpit poetry”. I guess you all know “green armpit poetry”. (There’s) much of it written around here [at Naropa]. It’s a whole genre of poetry, of beginning … Read More

Mexico City Blues – 4



[Jack Kerouac in a Merchant Marine cap – c.1944]


[Dexter Gordon, resting. New York City, 1949 – Photograph by Herman Leonard]



[Charlie Mingus, Roy Haynes, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker at The Open Door, New York City, 1953]


[Dizzy Gillespie – New York City, 1948 – Photograph by Herman Leonard]


[William Shakespeare]

[Allen Ginsberg’s examination of Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues continues] AG:  [Mexico City Blues – 42nd Chorus]:

“POEM WRITTEN ON A SAILBOAT/ It’s a powerful sock powerful/Mock powerful breeze blowin/Across this leeward shirsh/Of fought waters thrashin/Up to spit on the … Read More

Naropa Summer Writing Program, 2015

It’s that time of the year again. This week sees the beginning of the 2015 Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Summer Writing Program

“The Summer Writing Program is a four-week-long convocation of students, poets, fiction writers, scholars, translators, performance artists, activists, Buddhist teachers, musicians, printers, editors and others working in small press publishing. Programming includes workshops, lectures, panels, readings, special events and more.”This years’s theme – “The Braided River – Activist Rhizome” – the four weeks being broken down as, week one – “Disparities, Exigencies, Identity, Language”, week two, “Who am I when I dream: Philo-poetics”, week … Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s Top Ten Films – part 2


Continuing from yesterday’s listing of “Allen Ginsberg’s Top Ten films”. We begin today with the very earliest that he cites, Sergei Eisenstein‘s 1925  Броненосец«Потемкин» Bronenosets Potyomkin (Battleship Potemkin

The Franco-centric nature of Allen’s choices we’ve remarked upon already –  two Jean Cocteaus and two Marcel Carnés. This is the second one of Carné’s, his classic  1938 film noir, Le Quai Des Brumes (Port of Shadows)

et aussi français – Jean Renoir‘s 1937 La Grande Illusion (The Grand Illusion)
To conclude with two more closer-to-home. The first, Robert Frank and Alfred
Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s Top Ten Films – part 1

Back in the 1980’s (and, indeed, into the 1990’s – and beyond?) Kim’s Videos (on St Marks Place, later on Avenue A) was an essential part of Allen’s New York East Village neighborhood. As Allen’s upstairs neighbor, Richard Hell remarked (in a valedictory piece, in 2014, in the New York Times) – “The moment Kim’s opened, it supplanted everything else in the area. It was so much better curated”. Carefully arranged (via directors, via genres), mind-boggling comprehensive, it had…  well, everything!  Too expansive to keep up a regular (printed) catalog, there were one or two desultory attempts to map the … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 222

The Academy of American Poets, on the occasion of his 89th birthday, gave Allen a tribute (the key component of which is this wonderful video of him and Steven Taylor on the rooftop of his East 12th Street, East Village apartment, in his final year, 1997, performing “A Western Ballad” (“the first song I ever wrote”). This video was produced and directed by Leita Luchetti as a part of the Poetry Breaks. series.More kudos for Allen, he was posthumously inducted, in 2015, (alongside Isaac Asimov, Dawn Powell, Francine Prose, Colm Tóibín, children’s book author Ezra Jack Keats and … Read More

Mexico City Blues – 3

AG: The most amazing weird formulations are in (Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues) in the 32nd Chorus:“Newton‘s theory of relativity/and grave gravity/is that rocks’ll fall on your head/  Pluto is the Latest Star/  Astrononical facts/ from under the bar./  Little cottages of hills receive/the Constellation of/the Sourthern Hemisphere./ Where rosy doves’re seen flying/ Past Pis Cacuaqaheuro/Monte Visto de Santo/De Gassa – healing helium/gas – from the substance/on the sunstar – / gas discovered on the sun/ by spectral gazing/  Sorcerers hoppity skip/with the same familiarity /In my Buddhaland dreams -/  Monotonous monotony/ of endless grape dirigible stars.” 

(Then) – … Read More

“Mind is shapely, Art is shapely”


[The Sleeping Gypsy (La Bohémienne endormie) (1897) –  by Henri “Douanier” Rousseau – oil on canvas 51″ x 79″ in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York]

AG: Yes? Student: I was wondering if you were (suggesting poetry and meditation) in the same (breath as)  functions of the mind? I was wondering if you are saying that – that poetry is a function of the mind? AG: Sure.. Student: You expanded on (Jack) Kerouac‘s… AG: …if you write it down. Student: Can you expand on Kerouac’s “If the mind is shapely, the poetry … Read More

Mexico City Blues 2 – (The Discriminating Mind)

Student: Allen
AG: Yes?
Student: That’s [Mexico City Blues] also (an) essay form
AG: Probably sonataform
Student: Essay and sonata form
AG: Well, it’s [(Chorus 24) is]  just basically just logic. A statement…
Student:  (With essay thoughts you verify them..)
AG: Yes
Student: (..You argue your points, and…)
AG: Yeah, so (here) it’s just sort of common sense. It isn’t that much of a mystical mysterium. It gets reduced. So, simply to say that, (here) items of thought-forms themselves, or dots of thought-forms, or the monads of thought-forms, are built in(to) this triple-ripple (like the “kerplunk” that … Read More