4/20 – Allen Ginsberg’s 1992 High Times Interview

Allen Ginsberg’s High Times interview with Gregory Daurer appeared originally in February 1992.

Before the interview Daurer penned a few introductory paragraphs:

“Count Beat poet Allen Ginsberg among the nation’s first hemp activists. After his seminal poem “Howl” thrust him into the national spotlight in 1956, Ginsberg began speaking out in favor of marijuana-law reform, gay rights, and a myriad of other causes close to his heart. Since then, he’s produced a body of work (including Planet News, the anti-nuke Plutonian Ode, and White Shroud) that has earned him the recognition of not only the counterculture, but also … Read More

Montreal, 1969 Q & A – 19 (Conclusion)

Student: : Do you consider marijuana or tripping a good alternative to the pain of life and the terror of death?

AG: Do I consider marijuana or tripping a good alternative to pain of life, the fear or terror of death? – No, actually, marijuana… If anything, it will augment, or increase, or amplify, the anxiety, the realization, (or at least that’s what I’ve found).

The problem is that.. death is not terror, to be feared – Pain, physical pain, bodily pain, might be scary, you know – or.. painful (but…)

I think, probably, the result of some experiences with … Read More

Montreal, 1969 (Q & A – 18)

[Photo, Coney Island, 1940 via Weegee]

Transcription from Allen’s 1969 Montreal Q & A continues here and concludes this week. (Comprehension is difficult in this and on the final tape so there may be some minor errors in transcription) but… <

AG: [in media res] ….more than I.. So there is no permanent fixity, and there’s not even any permanent soul, there’s just tendencies assembling and dispersing, phantom matter, so to speak. In the “Kaddish” poem, there’s a lot of… from my own unconscious, non-Buddhist, images of our selves (where that was exciting – and I kept … Read More

Naropa Symposium continues & concludes

The transcription of the 1983 Naropa symposium, featuring Gary Snyder, continues

Gary Snyder: [following Joe Richey’s recitation of his poem] That’s your own poem?Joe Richey: That’s my poem [rounding applause]Student: That’s alright!GS: Picked the wrong guy!Allen Ginsberg:  Lets see if you can pull anything from anybody else, not in this room?Student: Not in this room?AG: YeahStudent: That [Richey’s poem] was goodJR… Read More

Naropa Summer School/Gary Snyder

The Naropa Summer Writing Program.  The Writing Program for the four-week Summer 2016 sessions at Naropa (starting June 12) has already been announced.  Among the highlights (alongside program co-ordinator, Anne Waldman) –  Steven Taylor, Margaret Randall, Thurston Moore, Eileen Myles…  For more information – see hereWe thought today (this weekend) to go back (over thirty years!) to 1983 and a relatively early moment in the Summer program – a symposium panel, chaired (but, by his own confession, very openly) by Gary Snyder.

                        … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 264

[Allen Ginsberg recording session at the Record Plant Studio, New York, November 13, 1971 – from left to right – David Amram,Bob Dylan, Happy Traum, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky (kneeling), Denise Mercedes, Allen Ginsberg, Sadi Kaze, John Sholle, Arthur Russell, and Ed Sanders – Photograph by Fred W McDarrah © The Estate of Fred W McDarrah]

Big news! – the release next month of a three-CD box set – The Last Word on First Blues,  on Omnivore Recordings –  “the first box set of Allen Ginsberg as a singer-songwriter”. The collection will include a re-release of the classic 1983 John Read More

Montreal, 1969 Q & A – 17 – Krishna and The Void – Metaphysical Speculation

Q: Do you think that the void could be incomplete?
AG: I don’t know if the void could be, the philosophy might be incomplete, but I don’t think that the void is incomplete.
Q; But if you say that the void is the ultimate truth then how can you..
AG: I ain’t saying the void is the ultimate truth. I’m just saying that’s one of the…  You know what I would say? – All ideas as to the nature of the self , as well as to the existence of the self, as well as all ideas as to the … Read More

Montreal 1969 Q & A – 16 (Buddhism and Breathing – The Red Tin Begging Cup)

Q: The dedication on the “Laughing Gas” poem – to Gary Snyder,“The red tin begging cup you gave me,/I lost it but its contents remain undisturbed” – Does that refer here to any specific transmissions of concepts that you use today? 

AG: Well, yeah,  both (Jack) Kerouac and he explained to me the doctrine of the Abyss of Light, or the Void (of Light), or formulated it in my head before I understood it myself, actually, or taught me Prajnaparamita Sutra,which…. so.. (which explains that rationally). Gary also gave me a red tin begging cup, a red tin … Read More

Montreal, 1969 Q & A – 15 (Physical Alienation)

Q: If you could make a diagram…

AG: Wait, I didn’t finish that bit about Whitman. What I was just trying to say was there are passages in Whitman, in which he is able compleely to reveal his tenderness, and no other poet was that open before him. And there’s a passage in Democratic Vistas where he says that tenderness is the political basis of democracy, otherwise you aint got no democracy, otherwise there’s not going to be democracy. Unless,  “the people”, unless the people love each other, then there’s not going to be any kind of community. So you can’t … Read More

Allen Ginsberg, Montreal, 1969 (Q & A – 14) (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 … Read More