Macho-Beatniks?

Ginsberg’s 1979 Naropa class on William Blake (on “The Four Zoas”) continues (from here) with a detour (Allen explains what he means by the term  “macho-beatnik” – poetic aggression, commenting in the light of events at a recent Denver Poets Day)    

Student:  (Macho-beatnik?)  –  This is the vision that started Naropa as a school?

AG:  No, it’s just what I was thinking (about) just now.  Well, last night we had Denver Poets Day and apparently at night all the Denver poets went off and got drunk and took quaaludes and pills and started fights with the cops wearing some big Denver Poets Day blue thing, and started kicking people around in the bar. And then Charlie Ross (sic) came late. after all the Denver poets had fled, and (was) picked up by the cops and beaten up as a consequence of the scene that had started earlier they had fled from.

Student:  Uh-huh.  What about….

AG:  So it was that element of unrealized aggression.

Student:  I didn’t know of that event, that Denver Poets thing, but I specifically asked (about) the conception of the founding of Naropa Institute.

AG:  That was in mind.  Something like that.

Student:  Well, I was personally at something and I didn’t feel anything really Naropa there except for the….

AG:  No, it wasn’t Naropa.  I was just talking about that element of … what was the element in the poets.

Student:  You meant Saturday.

AG:  Saturday.  I’m sorry.  The Denver Poets Day, downtown.  That element of Luvah – that is say Luvah at war, emotions in a chaotic and confused state at war and aggressive, wanting to be lord, having to relate to wakened mind, aware of its own aggression.  A mind aware of its own aggression was the conception of relating poetry to Buddhist practice and meditation.  I was just answering with an example from two days ago – from Saturday.  I was answering your question, but you were trying to make a specific example.

Student:  Yeah, I was trying to make it specific in the sense of the people who founded the school, what their poetic imagination (was, their) sense of vision..

AG:   (Of) which school (are you speaking)?

Student:  I think it was called….

AG:  The Kerouac part? (Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics)

Student:  Yeah.

AG:  Well, Anne (and) I had that in mind.  Something like this.

Student:  Like what?

AG:  What I just explained.

Student:  Like a bunch of …

AG:  Relating….

Student:  … being men, being very frustrated, and drink a lot of beer and hog the energy of the space at that time?  That was the vision?

AG (clearly ironic, dismissive):  Well, that aspect of myself, which was a big frustrated man trying to hog all the energy with uncontrolled aggression, yes!   Of course!  Certainly!  Does that answer your question?

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here beginning at approximately forty-and-a-half minutes and concluding at approximately forty-three-and-a-half minutes in

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