Diane di Prima continues

[The Seven Joys of Mary (1480), Hans Memling (c.1433-1495) ]

Diane di  Prima – continuing from yesterday

DD: Okay, part five of this poem [ “Loba‘]  was going to be –  [(it) makes me nervous when people take notes] – part five was going to be kind of.. was going to be a study of the Mary legend, you know. based on… partly started of from a Hans Memling painting – The Seven Joys of The Virgin – But before Mary showed up all these other ladies showed up first and I did a whole lot of other … Read More

Diane di Prima

[Diane di Prima, Boulder, Colorado, 1987 -Photograph by Allen Ginsberg – (c) Estate of Allen Ginsberg]

It’s Diane di  Prima’s birthday. She’s 83. We send her greetings on her birthday and celebrate with this remarkable vintage tape (it’s another of the Bay Area Writers series at Novato, California – see here, here and here) , June 2, 1976, she reads from (and comments on) her epic masterpiece, Loba ( as well as reading, at the end, several sections from the earlier  Revolutionary Letters).

 DD: I’d like to start by reading parts of this long thing that’s five … Read More

1979 Allen Ginsberg Reading in Toronto (Plutonian Ode & other poems)



More vintage footage this weekend (courtesy Don Rothenberg)  – Allen Ginsberg (with Steven Taylor) in Toronto, in April 1979, on the occasion of the World Symposium on Humanity event there. The main feature – (following some brief explication) – a reading, in its entirety, by Allen, of his recently-composed “Plutonian Ode” The footage can be viewed here

The  tape begins in media res with Steven Taylor on guitar accompanying Allen (on aboriginal songsticks) in a version of “Put Down Your Cigarette Rag“. This is followed, at approximately three-and-three-quarter minutes in, (“for loud voice, oratorical “), … Read More

Shelley (Allen’s 1975 NAROPA class – 3)

File:Portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley by Curran, 1819.jpg
[Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) (painted by Amelia Curran (1775-1847) in 1819]
Allen Ginsberg on “The History of Poetry” continues from here
AG: Move on to.. There are certain things in Shelley that should be noted. You had the “Ode to the West Wind”. There is a great thing called “The Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” – again Neo-Platonic. It’s actually very similar to what Wordsworth said in the “Intimations of Immortality” except it’s a little bit more abstracted in Shelley. It’s like trying to break through consciousness to another level of consciousness, to some sort of abstracted Platonic eidolonic … Read More

Gnosticism, Milton & More (Allen’s 1975 NAROPA class continues – 1)

A classic painting often used to describe the journey of the Gnostic

Continuing with Allen’s June 23 1975 NAROPA lecture, (topics already covered, John Donne and Andrew Marvell – and now this):

AG: According to some Gnostic schools, in the beginning was the Abyss of Light, which somehow shimmered to reflect itself for a moment and that reflection was the Word, known as Sophia, wisdom, or word, and in Sophia’s mind, being born, she had a thought and, as (William) Blake says, “One thought fills immensity”. So her thought was the first Aeon, first time-span, presided over by the Archon, or ruler of the Aeon, or guardian … Read More