Ginsberg-Corso 1989 continuing – 2 (Early Naropa -1)

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, after the first year of Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics,  here at New York University Loeb Center, January 1975,  photographer unknown.   

Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso’s 1989 discussion continues from here with a discussion of the early days of Naropa

GC:  (music in background)  ….(I want to talk about the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics), that’s very close to you, and that’s really unique, I think in America you know, it’s like, a poetry institute, but under the aegis of Naropa Institute.  Now that the man who initiated all that made it all has died.  Is it still going on, Naropa?

AG:  Yeah. Anne Waldman is running the poetics program  and the school has, of course, suffered a lot of blows and buffets because of various scandals … and the death of the leader

GC:   Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche?

Choyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987) at Naropa, April 12, 1985. photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries /  Allen Ginsberg Estate

AG: Yeah, who was a great lama and a great poet  and a great meditation teacher and was my guru

GC: Your guru?

AG: ….and his idea in founding Naropa was to teach the Buddhists golden tongue and give the poets some kind of discipline in meditation so that both sides would profit, and it’s worked out really well, so that, now that he’s gone, the place needs a meditation teacher, basically.

GC: I’ll say.

AG: It needs a spiritual head.

GC: Didn’t he leave someone behind his heir?

AG : Yeah, there’s Ozel Tendzin, who’s ill  [Editorial note  this is 1989, Ozel Tendzin died the following year] – so it’s been very inactive the last couple of years.

Ozel Tendzin (1943-1990), at Naropa,1984. photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries /  Allen Ginsberg Estate

GC: Ok.

AG: So what’s needed now is… what we had this summer was a Zen master, Kobun Chino Sensei

So for the first time in years everybody got up at seven in the morning and showed up at eight and sat for an hour…

Kobun Chino Roshi, sitting Sesshin at Naropa, July Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries /  Allen Ginsberg Estate

GC: Oh

AG: …and then nine o’clock went about our daily business And Anne organized an MFA program, which has lasted pretty long, which is working out really well, because, all of a sudden we found mommies couldn’t send their kids to gamble on an undergraduate education but grown-up people, who had their own money and their own choice,  would come out for a Master of Fine Arts.

GC: Ok

AG: So we got more people than we could handle.  We had to turn people away!

to be continued

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