Dharma Poetics – 7

Allen Ginsberg on Dharma Poetics continues from here

AG: I had brought a lot of works to present as an anthology of themes and I don’t know how much of that we’ll be able to get through because I’m just actually beginning the aspect of “path”.  There is a text (by) Lu ChiWen Fu, (a) prose poem on the art of letters, which has a few basic statements, ((on) one of which Gary Snyder has written a poem):

“When we writers come to grasp axes and hewing axe handles, we do, after all, select models which are near at hand”

Snyder’s poem, he was showing his son how to make an axe and he was using an axe to shape the axe handle and he suddenly flashed on this prose poem on the art of letters, realizing he was actually going through exactly the same process (and) enacting the precise image that (in his) Wen Fu, Lu Ji was noting.  In this case it is breath and mind itself which is the axe handle close at hand, (which are the materials for making poetry so that they’re totally close at hand) – both breath for recitation and mind moving from one perception to another, which serve as models for the poem.  Or I would apply this little aphorism that way, that if you do have a loose mind (in the sense of open, letting go of thoughts and then thoughts rise vividly), and you don’t attempt to set up a short-circuit by clinging to a thought and abusing it for egocentric reasons, by building it up, trying to make it sound portentous, literary, final, mysterious … if you don’t use it, in the sense of not merely note it with negative, capable, benevolent, indifferent, attentiveness, but attempt to get ahold of it and build it up into some kind of a prize-winning poem, if you use it that way for greedy, grasping purposes then it gets (a) very heavy-handed feeling and the lightness of mind disappears and you no longer have poetry but you have what is called academic verse….

tape ends here and then continues 

AG:   ….and that notion of the impermanence of singular thoughts, or the passing of thoughts and letting go of thoughts, is, in poetry, the notion of general impermanence of all phenomena of course.  And that’s perhaps the most basic statement in poetry, as it has always been in Buddhism, the recognition of impermanence.

to be continued

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