Allen Ginsberg’s 1985 Naropa class continues from here
AG: How did we get on to daydreams and poetry?
Student: John Lennon?
AG: Oh, that the poetry was to cut through, or the reality, the direct contact with reality. And it creates a bit of an artifact (or) objectification of that, which will cut through a disastrous daydream (or a daydream which would be disastrous for you and others, if you acted it out, if they didn’t get straightened out – like the bad daydream, let’s say of the Cold War, which is truly a daydream, which absorbs everybody’s energy and money. It is a big daydream). That’s all this imaginal world and these people are…. Robert Creeley uses this word, “imaginal” – (for) imagining of what the world it might be like if this/that happens – (because) then we have to go to (build the) Star Wars (bases) and go further and further into the Cold War as we imagine it to be. I guess.. (I don’t know what point I was trying to make) – Would a poem be able to cut through the Cold War and end that daydream?
Student: Hasn’t yet.
Student: Problem is that you can’t cut through war entirely, it’s like fear, you have to imagine the winter’s coming and so you store the firewood. How do you cut through that? You have to (think of the piece of..
AG: So then the poem would be the estimate, (to) estimate the balances of the Cold War?
AG: ..and (to see that as a real war), to see its consequence and its shape.
Student (2): Allen, you’ve written several poems which I think which have been very effective in this proposal.
AG: I don’t think so. I’m having a completely revisionist view of my own (predictions)
Student (3): You even said one of them hasn’t stopped the.. not the Cold War.. the..
AG: No, (Bob) Dylan, said that – songs.. a song can’t get men out of jail. He got that from the Hurricane Carter thing . You remember he tried to get Hurricane Carter out of jail with a song? – (and that turned out not..)
Student(2): (He got him a) trial tho’. He helped get him a trial.
AG: Yeah, but he lost the trial.
AG: You can have another theory that the most sensitive and intelligent people read the poetry and that affects everybody else – You know, if twenty wise men read it, their thought-waves will affect everybody else, and their gestures, and the way they drink their tea.
Student(3): Not the ones in power, tho’
Student (4): Trickle-down theory, tho’
AG: There is a trickle-down theory. See, the original trickle-down theory was there were ten wise and beloved guardians (the Jews have another number), the ten wise men that secretly guard the world……I don’t know… There’s a Hebrew notion of the ten, or twelve, wise men, who are completely unknown, whose sanity upholds the world, and that prevents us from falling into formal chaos, so that, at least, we can go about our business without worrying too much, otherwise everybody would be a mess and it would (all) be chaos – These guys just hold everything up by one thread!
Larry Fagin (sitting in on the class): Well there’s also the concept of Sophia, wisdom and Yahweh, that you talk of, what was it? – the father of the father of the father the father of Sophia and, who’s a deluded God. So the people who are worshipping that God are doubly heathen, worshipping a deluded God – that’s kind of horrible way of thinking about it .
Larry Fagin: Yeah, Gnostic
AG: I still want to stay back on “Why are we writing poems?” (and) (For) what purpose does it function?”
to be continued
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately one-hundred-and-six-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately one-hundred-and-ten-and-three-quarter minutes in