Allen Ginsberg – Montreal, 1969 – (Q & A – (Gary Snyder))

Q: [in 1969] -How close is your relationship with Gary Snyder (from a poetical point of view …. I don’t mean sexual…)

AG: We’re old friends.  We never made it!   I was always wanting to make it with him and he was always, like, too tight-assed! – until he went through his Zen training, and in his Zen training he had to (put a mountain in a teacup), he also had to become a woman at one point. In other words, the different koans made him go through odd roles, and they was finally a point where he had to become, like, he had to become my lover in his own imagination (or the equivalent in Zen training, he had to become a courtesan or something like that)– but, at that point, we didn’t have to make it, because we’d already made it in the mind.

Q: (What’s he up to now?)

AG: He’s working on the land, organizing ecology action groups. He’ll be in  ..He’s coming in next month and he and I are going to give a reading together at the YMHA in New York, which will be the first reading we’ve…

Q: Where? (When)

AG: YMHA in New York, November 24 (1969) That’s like a poetry series that.. an odd or ancient poetry series that none of us have ever read at. Gary’s never been invited and I’ve never been invited before this year. So we’re going to put on a ritual poetry reading together with Buddhist chants and Hare Krishna and poetry. And then we’re going to go off and do some walking in the woods, around Thanksgiving, and figure what to do, because we have some… he has some land up in the Sierras and I have land bordering it and we’re going to try to figure out what we’re going to do with it, whether to keep it as a park or whether to build a structure on it.   We’ve been.. like.. kept close contact and worked together. I learned a lot from him, year after year, because he’s so.. so disciplined, so smart! His book Earth House Hold .. do you know that? It’s just this year out and it’s about one of the best humane suggestions for, like, return to Mother Nature and, like, invention of our own rituals.

Q: He gets sort of prophetic in that book. You know, like in his 1955 journal as a look-out, he mentions something about having a wife and baby and living by the sea, and then, you know he just did this (1967) Banyan ashram thing… [Editorial note – Buzoko (The Tribe) at Suwanosejima – Nanao Sakaki, Gary Snyder & others – an experiment in communal living]

AG: Yeah – He’s got a lot of energy. I guess he’s one of the strongest.. of the older poets of the ‘Fifties, one of the strongest people. I mean he’s gotten harder and sharper as time has gone on. And more tender (which is what’s nice)

[Audience-member departs – AG: Goodnight sir – What was his name?  – (Charlie Richmond)  – Goodnight Mr Richmond – (wherever you are)]

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately one-and-a-half minutes in (fifth segment) and concluding at approximately four-and-quarter minutes in

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