Mind Writing Slogans

Rick and Rosemary Ardinger’s Limberlost Press in Boise, Idaho, in 1994, published an edition, of 800 copies, of Allen’s classic Mind Writing Slogans. There had been, as the dates at the bottom attest, previous gatherings, but this gathering may be regarded as definitive. As Allen writes in the preface there (“Definitions, A Preface”):

Chogyam Trungpa, remarked “Writing is writing the mind”, thus the title. Ground, Path and Fruition are common stages of Tibetan style dharma teaching, often condensed into slogans for mind-training traditioned in Eastern thought.
Here, Ground means the situation of mind: we’re all amateurs at reading our own minds, but that’s all we have to work with, mutability of consciousness, appearance of chaos, our own confusion, inconsistency, awareness, humors & mental information.
Path: How to use, order and select aspects of mind, how accept and work with ordinary mind? We can only write what we know and teach same, what tricks and techniques of focus are practicable?
Fruition: What to expect, what to aim for, what result? Candor – to reveal ourselves to ourselves, reveal ourselves to others, resolve anxiety of confusion & relieve our own and others’ sufferings.
Two decades’ experience teaching poetics at Naropa Institute, half decade at Brooklyn College , and occasional workshops at Zen Center Shambhala/Dharmadhatu weekends have boiled down to brief mottos from many sources found useful to guide myself and others in the experience of “writing the mind”

The gist, the distillation, of Allen’s teaching practice., an invaluable resource.
Here are his “Mind Writing Slogans”


“First Thought is Best in Art, Second in Other Matters.”
— William Blake

I Background (Situation, Or Primary Perception)

      1. “First Thought, Best Thought” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      2. “Take a friendly attitude toward your thoughts.” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      3. “The Mind must be loose.” — John Adams
      4. “One perception must immediately and directly lead to a further perception.” — Charles Olson, “Projective Verse
      5. “My writing is a picture of the mind moving.” — Philip Whalen
      6. Surprise Mind — Allen Ginsberg
      7. “The old pond, a frog jumps in, Kerplunk!” — Basho
      8. “Magic is the total delight (appreciation) of chance.” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      9. “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.” –– Walt Whitman
      10. “…What quality went to form a man of achievement, especially in literature? … Negative capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” — John Keats
      11. “Form is never more than an extension of content. — Robert Creeley to Charles Olson
      12. “Form follows function.” — Frank Lloyd Wright* (* Quoting his mentor: Louis Sullivan).
      13. Ordinary Mind includes eternal perceptions. — A. G.
      14. “Nothing is better for being Eternal Nor so white as the white that dies of a day.” — Louis Zukofsky
      15. Notice what you notice. — A. G.
      16. Catch yourself thinking. — A. G.
      17. Observe what’s vivid. — A. G.
      18. Vividness is self-selecting. — A. G.
      19. “Spots of Time” — William Wordsworth
      20. If we don’t show anyone we’re free to write anything. –– A. G.
      21. “My mind is open to itself.” — Gelek Rinpoche
      22. “Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no sound.” — Charles Reznikoff
      23. II Path (Method, Or Recognition)

      24. “No ideas but in things.” “… No ideas but in the Facts.” — William Carlos Williams
      25. “Close to the nose.” — William Carlos Williams
      26. “Sight is where the eye hits.” — Louis Zukofsky
      27. “Clamp the mind down on objects.” — William Carlos Williams
      28. “Direct treatment of the thing … (or object).” — Ezra Pound
      29. “Presentation, not reference.” — Ezra Pound
      30. “Give me a for instance.” — vernacular
      31. “Show not tell.” — vernacular
      32. “The natural object is always the adequate symbol.” — Ezra Pound
      33. “Things are symbols of themselves.” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      34. “Labor well the minute particulars, take care of the little ones.
        He who would do good for another must do it in minute particulars.
        General Good is the plea of the Scoundrel Hypocrite and Flatterer
        For Art & Science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars.”— William Blake
      35. “And being old she put a skin / on everything she said.” — W. B. Yeats
      36. “Don’t think of words when you stop but to see the picture better.” — Jack Kerouac
      37. “Details are the Life of Prose.” — Jack Kerouac
      38. Intense fragments of spoken idiom best. — A. G.
      39. “Economy of Words” — Ezra Pound
      40. “Tailoring” — Gregory Corso
      41. Maximum information, minimum number of syllables. –– A. G.
      42. Syntax condensed, sound is solid. — A. G.
      43. Savor vowels, appreciate consonants. — A. G.
      44. “Compose in the sequence of musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome.” — Ezra Pound
      45. “… awareness … of the tone leading of the vowels.” — Ezra Pound
      46. “… an attempt to approximate classical quantitative meters . . . — Ezra Pound
      47. “Lower limit speech, upper limit song” — Louis Zukofsky
      48. “Phanopoeia, Melopoeia, Logopoeia.” — Ezra Pound
      49. “Sight. Sound & Intellect.” — Louis Zukofsky
      50. “Only emotion objectified endures.” — Louis Zukofsky
      51. III Fruition (Result, Or Appreciation)

      52. Spiritus = Breathing = Inspiration = Unobstructed Breath
      53. “Alone with the Alone” — Plotinus
      54. Sunyata (Sanskrit) = Ku (Japanese) = Emptiness
      55. “What’s the sound of one hand clapping?” — Zen koan
      56. “What’s the face you had before you were born?” — Zen koan
      57. Vipassana (Pali) = Clear Seeing
      58. “Stop the world” — Carlos Castaneda
      59. “The purpose of art is to stop time.” — Bob Dylan
      60. “the unspeakable visions of the individual — Jack Kerouac
      61. “I am going to try speaking some reckless words, and I want you to try to listen recklessly.” — Chuang Tzu (translated by Burton Watson)
      62. “Candor” —Walt Whitman
      63. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” — William Shakespeare
      64. Contact” — A Magazine, Nathaniel West & William Carlos Williams, editors.
      65. “God appears & God is Light
        To those poor souls who dwell in Night.
        But does a Human Form Display
        To those who Dwell in Realms of Day.” — William Blake
      66. “Subject is known by what she sees.” — A. G.
      67. Others can measure their visions by what we see. –– A. G.
      68. Candor ends paranoia. — A. G.
      69. “Willingness to be Fool.” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      70. “Day & Night / you’re all right.” — Gregory Corso
      71. Tyger: “Humility is Beatness.” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche & A. G.
      72. Lion: “Surprise Mind” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche & A. G.
      73. Garuda: “Crazy Wisdom Outrageousness” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      74. Dragon: “Unborn Inscrutability” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      75. “To be men not destroyers” — Ezra Pound
      76. Speech synchronizes mind & body — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      77. “The Emperor unites Heaven & Earth” — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
      78. “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” — Percy Bysshe Shelley
      79. “Make it new” — Ezra Pound
      80. “When the music changes, the walls of the city shake” — Plato
      81. “Every third thought shall be my grave — W. Shakespeare, The Tempest
      82. “That in black ink my love may still shine bright.” –– W. Shakespeare, Sonnets
      83. “Only emotion endures” — Ezra Pound
      84. “Well while I’m here I’ll
        do the work —
        and what’s the Work?
        To ease the pain of living.
        Everything else, drunken
        dumbshow.” — A. G.
      85. “… Kindness, sweetest of the small notes in the world’s ache, most modest & gentle of the elements entered man before history and became his daily connection, let no man tell you otherwise.” — Carl Rakosi
      86. “To diminish the mass of human and sentient sufferings.” — Gelek Rinpoche

Naropa Institute, July 1992, New York, March 5, 1993, New York, June 27, 1993

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