Allen Ginsberg on Jack Kerouac (1982 Workshop at the Kerouac Conference)


[“Jack Kerouac wandering along East 9th Street after visiting (William) Burroughs at our pad, passing statue of Congressman Samuel “Sunset” Cox, “the letter-carrier’s friend” in Tompkins Square toward Corner of Avenue A, Lower East Side, he’s making a Dostoyevsky-mad face or Russian basso be-bop Om, just walking around the neighborhood, then involved with The Subterraneans, pencils & notebook in wool shirt-pocket, Fall 1953, Manhattan” – (Photograph and Inscription by Allen Ginsberg) – c. Allen Ginsberg Estate.]

We’ve been in the past weeks spotlighting Clark Coolidge and Robert Creeley’s remarks at the 1982 symposium on Jack Read More

Q & A – 2 – (Poetry and Revision)


Cover for “First Thought Best Thought “ Chögyam Trungpa’s book of poems, published in 1983 by Shambhala

AG: Yeah? Student: ( I had some difficulty with your statement about poetry when you said (you advised not to) repeat again (that) you can’t go back and review) AG: Yes. (I’m just repeating for the mic), you had difficulty with my statement last time when I said that.. “just write what comes down into your mind , you can’t go back and revise”. Student: Right 

AG: What was…. Student: I had difficulty with that, because I felt that maybe somebody who … Read More

Meditation Advice

[Kobun Chino Roshi, sitting Sesshin at Naropa, July 1989. photo.c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

August 14 1978, Allen Ginsberg’s class on Meditation and Poetics continues. [Editorial note (via Randy Roark) – “The class begins with taking class roll and discussing credit requirements and other business. About mid-way through, the tape-machine begins malfunctioning and an indeterminate amount of the presentation (has been consequently) lost, as a result]

AG: Just to cover a little bit of meditation technicalities, which I may have said at one time or other. The purpose of having the eyes open is that you’re not checking

Read More

Trungpa Visits Allen’s Class – 6 (Q & A – 5) (Conclusion)


[Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987)]

Student:: I was wondering.. if…(most of the poets…) (have a readership)?

AG: Someone take the microphone over please..
David Rome: Yes, in Tibet, most of the poetry is accessible to everybody, or if it’s written by upper class people for upper class people, or if it’s all of the above, is it written for the common man?  Can everybody understand the poetry there?
Chogyam Trungpa: Well, anybody who can read, who can read, yes  – Well, we have problems with the peasant people who have never been taught reading or writing at all, so, … Read More

Trungpa Visits Allen’s Class – 5 (Q & A – 4)


[Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg & Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche at Naropa]

                AG: Gregory (Corso), you got any questions?

GC: No, no questions . Oh yeah, one,  one, right..
Chogyam Trungpa (to Gregory Corso): What – are you over there (tonight)?
GC:  Last night it was…Vajrayana
CT: Oh yeah
GC: Big crowd here [at Naropa] –  and I don’t think much of the crowd thought he was in Vajrayana, with his Crazy Wisdom, right?  – (Did you see) Crazy Wisdom, Allen?  [to Allen Ginsberg] – Don’t look at him, look at (me)
AG: Yeah, I would say so.  … Read More

Trungpa Visits Allen’s Class – 4 (Q & A – 3)


[Allen Ginsberg


[Richard Roth]



[ChogyamTrungpa Rinpoche]


[David Rome]

Student  [in media res]…..he says why talk about the “”I’ which interests me not at all, and he goes on to describe other things. He wasn’t interested in describing himself as (in) personal history, so, in that sense, there wasn’t (that) sort of obsession locked inside, he was always pushing it out

Allen Ginsberg:  Well..Returning to the outside to the look..Yeah
 You had a hand up, Richard Roth 
Richard Roth: I’d like to ask Rinpoche a question? Allen’s being dividing poetics up into HinayanaMahayana and Vajrayana. The first … Read More

Trungpa Visits Allen’s Class – 3 (Q & A – 2)


[Kirpal Gordon]


[David Rome]


 [William Blake]

AG:  I think Kirpal had his hand up first

Kirpal Gordon: Allen you described (William) Blake as a Vajrayana poet. I can imagine, here at Christmas-time, Santa Claus over here, and he’s a wino, an alcoholic, and a father and a son are walking towards him and the son sees a nice old man who gives presents and the father recognizes immediately that it’s an old wino (he’s picking up a little seasonal work). And.. now you have two perceptions here, and in (William) Blake’s system, one is the perception of … Read More

Trungpa Visits Allen’s Class – 2 (Q & A)

[Allen Ginsberg and Chogyam Trungpa at Naropa]

AG:Shall we open it up?

CT: Sure
AG: Anybody got any questions on the nature of perception and conception.
CT: Big subject eh?!
AG: Actually we got into a big…  (well), go on…
Student (1) – My question is if the mind… [Ancillary action (proceedings are obviously being filmed)  – AG: “You’re blocking his view  from the camera!” – Student resumes ] –   If the mind desires to work on a poem or the mind desires to think about a poem or think about something which you have done that day or you … Read More

Trungpa Visits Allen’s Class – 1


[Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche 1939-1987)]

AG: the poetry class.. [to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche] – does it make sense (you sitting), here?  [Allen points to location] – and there’s room for David (Rome) [Trungpa’s personal assistant], there. Welcome to my poetry class. This is Bobby Myers, my teaching assistant – and this [Allen continues with formal introductions] is Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan poet and meditation teacher – and David Rome here.

So.. We had been reading haiku today, both Japanese (and American), talking about space in haiku – “A wild sea/ and stretching across to the isle of Sado/the Milky Read More

“Mind is shapely, Art is shapely”


[The Sleeping Gypsy (La Bohémienne endormie) (1897) –  by Henri “Douanier” Rousseau – oil on canvas 51″ x 79″ in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York]

AG: Yes? Student: I was wondering if you were (suggesting poetry and meditation) in the same (breath as)  functions of the mind? I was wondering if you are saying that – that poetry is a function of the mind? AG: Sure.. Student: You expanded on (Jack) Kerouac‘s… AG: …if you write it down. Student: Can you expand on Kerouac’s “If the mind is shapely, the poetry … Read More