Jamgon Kongtrül’s Direct Path to Enlightenment – 2

[The First Jamgon Kongtrül  [sic] – Jamgon Kongtrül the Great  (1813-1899)]

[Allen continues his discussion of Jamgon Kongtrül’s Direct Path To Enlightenment]  Student:  (Sometimes you have to be strict with someone to make them learn a lesson)

AG: Yes, but that’s.. it’s.. it’s like saying … It’s linked with “Don’t make wicked jokes”.  In other words, don’t… Skillful Means [Upaya] may be being blunt but it doesn’t mean being mean – or if there’s meanness to the bluntness then obviously it’s not Skillful Means, it’s not opening up space. “Don’t strike at the heart”, meaning..actually.. in a literal … Read More

Jamgon Kongtrül’s Direct Path to Enlightenment – 1

AG: [continuing with his annotations of William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence] This is a great one, for last night, the lecture last night (sic, August 10, 1978)) [Allen is referring to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche‘s ongoing NAROPA lecture(s)]

“To be in a passion,  you good may do but no good if a passion is in you” – That’s the whole key to Vajrayana. That … Read More

William Blake – Auguries of Innocence – 6


[Beggar with a Lyra (c. 1900) – Photograph by Nikolay Svishchev-Paola]


[Allen continues with his observations and annotations on William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence]

AG: “The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air/Does to Rags the Heavens tear”  – That’s an interesting one – “The Beggars Rags fluttering in (the) Air” (and you just see a leprous beggar, lying down on the ground, with the rags fluttering in air).. actually, there’s a very funny sort of space-shot there – that the rags would be “fluttering in Air” ) – “Does to rags the Heavens tear” – What does that mean?… Read More

Poetics and Meditation – (William Blake – Auguries of Innocence 5)


Continuing with Allen’s reading from, and annotation of, William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence”

“He who torments the Chafers Sprite/Weaves a Bower in endless Night” (William Blake)  
AG: Do you know  what “the Chafer” was? – “He who torments the Chafers Sprite”. What is a “Chafer“? – what kind of bird?
Student: No, (it’s) an insect..
AG: An insect ? What kind?
Student 2: (… It’s a cicada..?)

AG: Ah! – Thus – “Weaves a Bower”


[“The poison of the Snake & Newt/ Is the sweat of Envys foot” 

“The poison of the Honey

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Ben Schafer’s Allen Ginsberg Memories

[Ben Schafer]
[Otis Gibbs]


Episode 46 – Otis Gibbs interviews Ben Schafer about Allen and friends – halcyon days in New York’s East Village in the late ‘Eighties. We highly recommend this self-effacing loving and intimate recollection Some related content – We’ve already featured Bob Rosenthal (Allen’s secretary)’s memories in a four-part series here – and Steve Finbow has posted a working-for-Allen account (“What It Was Like Working For Allen Ginsberg; A Chat With His Assistant-Turned-Biographer”) here  –  More memories to come on the Allen Ginsberg Project.   … Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s Uncle Sam Hat

[Allen Ginsberg on Central Park Bandstand, 5th Avenue Peace Demonstration to Stop The War in Vietnam. 1966 -Photograph by Fred W McDarrah  c. the Estate of Fred W McDarrah and Getty Images]

Fred W McDarrah‘s iconic shot of Allen wearing his Uncle Sam hat – (an image that became transformed into a poster, that, at one time, in the ‘Sixties, was ubiquitous, hanging on seemingly every student’s bedroom or dormitory wall). He (Allen) tells the story (of the events of that day, March 26, 1966)  in the recently re-published National Security Archives interview: “I remember specifically one time, … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 225


Sometime since we noted great Ginsberg parodies – Remember Yelp? and Tweet? – even “Peter LaBarbera” (!) – Filip Noterdaeme has taken it one stage further, not just revisiting ‘Howl” (the opening poem) but that entire book! – Growl and Other Poems will be published by Lit Fest Press in the Spring of 2016. Meanwhile, here’s the opening salvo – “Growl” (and Noterdaeme on the thinking behind it) Gary Snyder in the current Newsweek Robert Frank in this weekend’s The New York Times Jonah Raskin‘s curt and-to-the-point interview with Lawrence Ferlinghetti published  … Read More

William Blake – Auguries of Innocence – 4


[William Blake’s script – from “Augurires of Innocence” in the Pickering manuscript]

Continuing with Allen’s reading from, and annotation of, William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” AG: “The Catterpiller on the Leaf/ Repeats to thee thy Mother’s grief “ – That’s a mysterious one. How do we make that one? – “The Catterpiller on the Leaf/ Repeats to thee thy Mother’s grief “

Student:  (Maybe the caterpillar being born…)

AG: Being born. Yes. Being born of earth, really. In the Book of Thel, actually, if you read the Book of Thel, that actually completely explains that couplet, because it’s

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William Blake’s – Auguries of Innocence – 3



[William Blake’s script – from “Augurires of Innocence” in the Pickering manuscript]

Continuing with Allen’s reading from, and annotation of, William Blake’s “Auguries of  Innocence” AG: “Every Wolfs and Lions howl/Raises from Hell a human soul” – did you get that? – it doesn’t put it down in Hell, it raises it from Hell, (that is) the energy of the wolf’s and lion’s howl “Raises from Hell a Human Soul”, merely by their raw energy, the naked nature. And then the compliment of that is: 
 “The wild deer wandring here and there/Keeps the Human Soul from Care” … Read More