Allen Ginsberg 1985 Naropa reading

[Allen Ginsberg in 1985]

Continuing from yesterday’s Eric Mottram-Philip Whalen reading

Allen Ginsberg  (following some brief announcements of upcoming readings by Anne Waldman)

Anne Waldman introduces Allen Ginsberg:;

AW: Allen Ginsberg – Guggenheim Fellow and member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, the author of Howl, Kaddish, Planet News, The Fall of America, Mind Breaths, Plutonian Ode, Poems 1977-1980. His Collected Poems was published in January 1985 by Harper and Row. He has recently returned from China where he has been lecturing at the invitation of the Chinese Writers Union. He’s sung with Bob Dylan and The Clash,Read More

Allen Ginsberg at Cheltenham 1993

Allen Ginsberg, in 1993, reading at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in England. The feature today on The Allen Ginsberg Project. Allen reads a selection of poems, (mostly from White Shroud and the, subsequently-published Cosmpolitan Greetings

Introduction: Good evening everybody and some of you I’m sure came to the event where Allen Ginsberg was being interviewed by John Calder here today and will have suffered as Mr Ginsberg did the problems of the weather and British Rail. Years ago Allen Ginsberg wrote of Jack Kerouac that he was the sole full-moving thing, earlier today I’m afraid Allen Ginsberg was the sole … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 6

[“No ideas but in things” – Simon Cutts (1909) neon manifestation of  William Carlos Williams‘ imperative]

Student: Allen? AG: Yeah? Student: In that credo of his [William Carlos Williams‘] that everybody’s heard so many times – “No ideas but in things’ AG: Um-hmm Student: …when you said that you were going to do Williams for this, the first thing I thought about.. AG: Um-hmm Student: …was relating that answer to the Buddhist answer of no things, just like you cut out… AG: The Buddhist what? Student: I was wondering about relating it to that statement. AG: Relating … Read More

William Burroughs at Naropa 1982 (Q & A – part two)

… in media res.. William Burroughs is talking about Joseph Conrad
WSB:  ….oh he’s a very great writer, my god!  He’s a great creator of character. You can see the characters – Elmer, Lingard… Not interesting people, for the most part, at all, but, like, neither is (are) (Jean) Genet‘s characters interesting in themselves but he manages a transmutation there that makes a really dull person like Willems in An Outcast of the Islands interesting -Lingard, they’re all dull people
Q: Do you see much of Genet at all?
WSB: No he’s very hard to find, he… I … Read More

William Burroughs – (Commissioner of Sewers)


 Burroughs Centennial celebration continues. Here is Klaus Maeck‘s 1991 documentary – William S Burroughs – Commissioner of Sewers, featuring, in a suitably cut-up form, Jurgen Ploog‘s interview with Burroughs, and footage from a 1986 Burroughs reading (recorded in Berlin, Germany, in May of 1986).  We’ve featured a snippet of this before (on Burroughs’ birthday) but here is the whole thing. JP: I want to ask you William, what made you become a writer? I’m referring  to your remark, in the preface to Queer, where you said that your wife, your wife Joan’s death had … Read More

Ego and A Dream (A Leap Year Posting)

Leap Year, 1958, all those years ago, 31-year-old Allen had been dreaming, the night before, about.. T S Eliot. “What’s my motive dreaming his/ manna? What English Department/would that impress? What failure/ to be a perfect prophet’s made up here?” – (an) “overambitious dream of (an) eccentric boy”. All through his life Allen wrote down his dreams, looked for their portents and signs – “God forbid (that) my evil dreams come true”! – and, in so many ways, they did, didn’t they?
Last nite I dreamed of T.S.Eliot
welcoming me to the land of dream
Sofas couches fog … Read More

Whitman Introduction (1975 Naropa Class)

AG: You’ve all heard some of Whitman. His first line, which is generally taught in high school, and which you all know, isn’t generally spoken correctly, it’s “I celebrate myself, and sing myself” (Allen emphasizes the second syllable – he then goes on to read the first five stanzas of “Song of Myself”, pausing only after/mid-way through the third section – “Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of all things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself” – Actually that sounds like Philip Whalen a little – “while they discuss I am silent, … Read More

Spiritual Poetics 6

Allen Ginsberg on Spiritual Poetics continues

Student: It encourages me that India has had this experience of yoga and meditation for a millennia, tho’ I don’t get the sense that Hindus write poetry like yours.
AG: They sure do!
Student: They write the Vedas and the write the hymns to the deities, but they don’t write things about suicide-notes and they don’t subject you to the garbage of the mind
AG: If you think the mind is.. I don’t know if I want to buy that “garbage” phrase, I mean, the mind is the mind.
Student: You don’t have to … Read More

Spiritual Poetics – 4

Student: Does it always have to do with what you choose to use?, whether you’re typing, or writing, or (using a) tape-recorder (amassing) amounts of material in that way?

AG: Right. Very much so. Yeah. I want to go into that, actually, in about four sentences. I just want to get to the nub of “selection”, because that used to be a big academic argument – the principle of selectivity, and “beatnik” writers being un-selective, and that selection was so important, that you really had to make fine intellectual distinctions between different … Read More