Meditation and Poetics – 47 (Alfred Stieglitz)



AG: (Who here caught Reginald Ray‘s) presentation on Friday. Can you raise your hands? Raise your hands high. Okay, I won’t go  over it again, though I think he gave a very coherent intellectual outline of stages of Buddhist awareness and penetration of mind. If you can, borrow notes or check it out with some classmates. At this point, I want to (with a little last look back), wrap up the SamathaVipassanaHinayana area that we’ve been dwelling in so far – … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 29 – Reznikoff 1

[Portrait of An Old Woman (1563) – Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569) – oil on panel 22cm x 18cm at the Alta Pinakothek, Munich]

AG: Did I read any (Charles)  Reznikoff yet? Students: No

[Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976)]

AG: Here. Okay. so on page 14 – “(7) – On Brooklyn Bridge I saw a man drop dead/It meant no more than if he were a sparrow./ Above us rose Manhattan/below, the river spread to meet sea and sky”  – These are a series of little sketches, mostly the city. He hung around New York City, working as a … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 27

Student: (What changes did the so-called Imagist poets go through?) 

AG: Well, let’s see. I’m not clear what changes they went through. They apparently went through several changes. That same group of people and friends went through several changes in terminology as they refined their thought – and then there was a lot of literary politics.
Apparently a very interesting poet named Amy Lowell picked up on the idea of Imagism and the ideas of Chinese poetry, and began somewhat vulgarizing it, and formed a school, and declared herself the head of it and I think she made an … Read More

Meditation & Poetics – 26

Allen’s July 24 1978 Meditation and Poetics class continues… AG: I was, I think, mentioning (Ezra) Pound‘s distinction between presentation and reference.  [to Students] Did I do that here with you?   Students: No AG: Okay. Pound was saying (that) if you want to present your image do it as directly as possible. You present the details, you present the minute particulars, you don’t just refer to them. Like, not “lady” walking down the street”, but “middle-aged lady with a large flower-hat and a purple dress” walking down the street. That is, you present her a little bit, you … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 25


Our serialization of Allen’s 1978 Naropa Institute lecture series, Meditation and Poetics continues with this class from July 24 1978 AG: So, heroic days, the (19)20’s and (19)30’s, with heroic figures making movements which are based on real philosophic ideas, which were themselves based on new notions of sense perception, sharpening and focusing of sense perception. Oddly enough, in the twentieth-century, there was this breakthrough . Maybe because everything was so confusing, so relative, the Industrial Revolution had gone so far and everything began changing so much that there was no intellectual standard, no God to appeal to anymore, … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 24

AG: So there was the first Imagist school which said, “Sight is where the eye strikes”, “Direct treatment of the object” (that’s from (Ezra) Pound‘s little easy, “How To Read” – “Direct treatment of the object, with as few fuzzy words as possible. As we concentrate on the breath, or as we’re one with the breath, so one is absorbed in clearly seeing a situation, a person, a look, a broken flower in a vase – or “so much depends/ upon/ a red wheel/ barrow/ glazed with rain/ water /beside the white/chickens” – you know that? (William Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 23

[“I Saw The Fgure 5 in Gold” Charles Demuth, 1928 (after the poem by William Carlos Williams) – oil, graphite, ink and gold leaf on paperboard, 35 1/2 x 30 ins – included in the Alfred Stieglitz Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York]

Imagism. So. In pursuit of similar focus and concentration and presence and prescience and perception and awareness that we’ve been discussing the last three months here, there was a similar breakthrough of awareness around the turn of the century, connected with the minds of the Dadaists and the Futurists, … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 18 (William Carlos Williams and Vipassana)


[Two Kittens in Silhouette –  a snapshot circa 1926,  by, presumably, William Carlos Williams (included in his papers at the Yale Collection of American Literature Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library]

AG:  The next stage, classically, in Buddhist thought, in Buddhist structure, is Vipassina.  Does everybody know what that is?  From Samatha to Vipassina.  Raise your hand if you do. Raise them.  Come on.  If you don’t, raise your hand.  Okay.  So the majority don’t know that Samatha-Vipassana philosophy distinction, which is like a great subtle, very interesting shot. Vipassina means insight. Samatha means quietening. Vipassana means insight.

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Carl Rakosi

[Carl Rakosi (1903-2004)] – Photograph by Gloria Graham]

Two introductions by Allen Ginsberg and one by Anselm Hollo to readings by Carl Rakosi (who shares the same birthday as the compiler of these notes) and who lived to be a spry one hundred. He would have been one hundred-and-eleven today! Allen Ginsberg’s Introduction to Carl Rakosi‘s reading at Naropa on June 30, 1987 (with David Cope) comes first (the entire reading can be listened to, in two parts – here – and here
AG: Carl Rakosi was born in Berlin in 1903. He was, for
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Expansive Poetics 100 – (Andre Breton 5 – Andre Breton’s Poetry of the Marvelous)

Andre Breton

AG: So (Philip Lamantia),  (Andre) Breton and the Surrealist school wanted a poetry of marvelousness, not any old plodding (like) the plums (that) you left in the ice-box (“This Is Just To Say”)  – (“I have eaten/the plums/that were in/the icebox/ and which/ you were probably/ saving/for breakfast/ Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold.” – which is (William Carlos) Williams), or the chewing-gum – (the little black mushrooms growing on the subway platform when I looked at them they were used chewing-gum) – [Allen is quoting from (Charles Reznikoff here – “Walk about a

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