AG: (“Sense seeks and finds the thought” (William Blake) ) So “genius finds thought without seeking & thought thus produced finds the sense.” Is that clear? Is that clear? I mean, does anybody not understand that reversal? Because the sort of squarer, more rationalistic or literalistic thought is that you’ve got to know what you say before you say it. So, as Robert Duncan says, “How do I know what I mean until I say it?” Or how do any of us know what we think until we say it? And actually the whole poetic process shares that. … Read More
[The participants begin, caught in conversation, in media res]
JS: Oh. – My name is Joe Stanco and I’m talking today with Allen Ginsberg and, at the moment, we were discussing Ezra Pound who’s certainly..in fact you said, at one point, “the most important American poet since Whitman”
AG: I guess. Yeah. Well… (Because ) he had more effect … Read More
Q: You said that your poetry is a practice as well, so..is it..do you meditate every day? do you use poetry as a practice?
AG: It’s a form of practice. I sit now about forty minutes to an hour every day. There have been long periods where I’ve sat for an hour, two hours, every day, and there have been long periods where I have been on retreats where I would sit all day, … Read More
AG: And… more on death… was..(224th Chorus, Mexico City Blues) – “Great God Almighty/, What’s to be done?/O what’s to be done?/ Sings the majestical keener/and moaner/At the Mexican Funeral home -/And from a clap in the up clouds/Comes a clap of clouts,/”All has been done”/As Theravada say “Nothing”/Nada moonshine number, whats been done?/All been done – all singly blessed – /All has been done? The mansion’s/been built and Damema/grown old & died/in burning house within?…” [Damema is Milarepa‘s teacher, Marpa‘s, mother…er wife! – so, odd, he knew Damema. I think his knowledge of Damema … Read More
Allen’s 1979 Naropa class on Basic Poetics continues. He continues surveying the early English poems in the Norton Anthology
AG: “Merciles Beaute” by Chaucer – (page) 53 – What I’m hitting are the prettiest.. the prettiest rhythms, prettiest rhythms and images that I remember, that I’ve learned when I was going to high school and college. Apparently, (except, to say. maybe in Canada), most of these texts are no longer taught, even in college, so that most of you who have gone through some sort of schooling haven’t run into them. What really got me was, the first year … Read More
Student: I have two questions, one is this – that the first time at a poetry reading, (which you’ve referred to here), when you get into writing poetry, do you think that first type of flowery, primary thing… I think, that anyone can, if they want to write poetry, can follow up and get naturally into that, you know. And if you’re crummy at it, it sounds like greetings cards…
Student: …and if you’re good at it, it sounds like (Ken) Kesey gets into on grass here, when he’s doing all those Shakespearean rants and stuff.
And … Read More
[“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.]