Ginsberg-Corso 1989 continuing – 3 (Early Naropa – 2)

Naropa exhibition poster via Shambhala

Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso (on early Naropa) continuing from here

GC: Great – Is that the Kerouac School of..?

AG: Yes, the Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics,  which comes from.. one day I read to Trungpa all through Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues as we drove down from the meditation center in Vermont, Karme Choling, and he laughed all the way and said . “it’s a perfect manifestation of mind. So then the next day he said “I kept hearing your voice and Kerouac’s all night and it changed my view of poetry”. So he switched over from some sort of classical seven-syllable Tibetan form to the modern international free style and spontaneous mind and came up with the slogan “First Thought, Best Thought

GC: That’s Kerouac all the way

AG: Yeah, and it’s also William BlakeDo you know what he said? Blake said  “First thoughts are best in art, second thoughts in other matters” [Editorial note – this quote is attributed to Blake by Alexander Gilchrist in his 1863 biography of the poet]

GC: Ha ha!  Very good!

AG:  Isn’t that good? – “First thoughts are best in art, second thoughts in other matters,  in other business

GC: You came across something close to that many years ago, you told me, I never really let go of, Allen, which was pretty good, that if the soul is shapely…

AG: If the mind is shapely..

GC: If the mind is shapely..

AG: If the mind is shapely, the art is shapely. Well – “Mind is shapely, comma, Art is shapely”

GC: Yes

AG:So now we’ve got this big school  and so this summer was really amazing ‘cause   we began getting some artists and art critics in and Henry Geldzahler came and gave a long long lecture on his views on art

GC: Oh great!

AG: …how he knows what is genius and how he dowses painterly breakthroughs.

GC:  (You’re starting) to  get some good people up there. You got Marianne FaithfullShe’s teaching there too, yeah?

A: Marianne Faithfull was teaching lyric song and putting together like a little high-school opera

GC: Beautiful!

AG: You know, like all the students got together and put on a show.

GC: Great!

AG: Their own opera with their own lyrics.

Allen Ginsberg and Marianne Faithfull at Naropa, Boulder, Colorado, Summer 1988.  photo courtesy Stephen Miles

But that one day. Geldzahler lectured too.. and Burroughs came on and gave this great reading at five (and Geldzahler and David Hockney in the audience). And Hockney at eight o’clock lectured on Chinese art…

GC:: Oh that’s so nice!

AG : …and the relation between, like, the single-point view of Venetian perspective versus multiple points of view like the Chinese scrolls…

GC: Eh!, (and) they didn’t need the money, or anything like that. (They just spoke for) the joy, the love of it.

AG:  And then we all had supper. So there was this big supper with Marianne Faithfull, and Diane Di Prima, Anne Waldman, and David Hockney and Henry Geldzahler and all their attendants…

Henry Geldzahler, New York City, 1986 at the Jewish Book Fair reading – photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries /  Allen Ginsberg Estate

David Hockney lectures on Chinese art at Naropa, July 22, 1989, Boulder, Colorado. photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries / Allen Ginsberg Estate

GC: Okay..nice..beautiful..

AG …I served a big clam spaghetti.

GC: Great!

AG:  Who else was there then? – And who arranged it all, the invisible hand behind it all, was Raymond Foye  (he didn’t come this year, but he’ll be coming next year, I hope)

GC: That’s right. Underneath the Rockies, Allen- Right?  The Rinpoche supposedly took that place because they’re like the Himalayas in a way.. (or the pride of America?)

AG   The kundalini of America

GC: There you go, very nice.

AG: They have a thangka painting.They have a lot of jazz  programs. They have Buddhist psychology, Sanskrit, Tibetan.. So it’s like meeting of East and West and primordial mind.

to be continued

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