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

Meditation and Poetics – 99 – Haiku 12 (Allen Ginsberg Haiku Class)

遠山が目玉にうつるとんぼ哉tôyama ga medama ni utsuru tombo kanaReflected In the eye of the dragonflyThe distant hills(Issa)

Student: Allen?AG: YesStudent: ((The compound) eye of a dragonfly, (comprises) a thousand [thirty-thousand] facets,  you can’t (actually) get a reflection from it (as a singularity))AG: All dragonfly’s eyes are thousand-faceted?  Well, I don’t know what we’re going to do with that.  I think (here) it does come from some observation of some (natural)…Student: (But it’s not biologically accurate..)AG: We’d have to question, then, the translation, maybe. But, actually, he might have had a little ant-heap, (for) which a thousand-faceted reflection would be the distant hills.

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Meditation and Poetics – 98 – Haiku – 11 (Haiku and The Gap of Space)

AG: (Haiku) …and the gap of spaceBillowing clouds –An antclimbs on to the ink stone(The ink stone where he’s mixing his ink to make the painting of the billowing clouds) – “Billowing clouds -/An ant/climbs onto the ink stone”.A cow is lowingin the cowshedunder the hazy moon(That’s very similar to that (one earlier)… (tape ends and then restarts here)  …the lowing of the cow and the hazy moon).Then, again, like the one of the firefly’s neck really is red in the daylight (“The firefly’s neck/in the daylight/is red” (Basho) [Hiru mireba kubisuji akaki  hotaru kana]). So other examples of minutely-perceived … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 95 – Haiku – 8 (Haiku continued part 2)


[Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)]

AG: I’m halfway through this book [R.H.Blyth – Haiku – Volume 1], so actually I could zap through the chief haikuof this book, according to about twenty years of reading and re-reading, before we’re done.
Do most of you know these particular ones?  Is there anybody that knows these already?
Student 1:  Yes.
Student 2:  Yeah, some of them.
AG:  Some?  From these translations?
Student 1:  (Some)
AG:  (But) the vast majority (doesn’t) – so I’d really like to [continue]. Because they’re so dear, so perfect crystal clear.  [These are the] precious ones and they’re … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 94 – Haiku – 7 (Haiku – continued)

Meeting, the two old friends laugh aloud                     In the grove, the fallen leaves are many.

Packed in and sleeping with others                          Again getting up from this night’s lodging.
The wandering poet, Basho, describing his own empty wanderings – “Packed in and sleeping with others/Again getting up from this night’s lodging”.
(R.H.) Blyth, who was the author of this, suggests a number of qualities, such as space (and) time, which are, for him, the empty subjects, so to speak, the empty subjects of haiku – selflessness, loneliness, grateful acceptance, wordlessness, non-intellectuality, contradictoriness, thus humor, freedom from conceptions, non-morality, simplicity, materiality – those are … Read More

Meditation and Poetics – 89 – Haiku – 2 (Zenrin-kushu continues)

[“..the wave exhibits the spiritual nature of the moon”]
 [Allen continues with his reading from R.H.Blyth’s classic anthology of Japanese haiku]
AG: So this one that follows covers a great gap of time without actually mentioning the years properly, directly – “Meeting, the two friends laugh aloud./In the grove, the fallen leafs are many.” – [Allen repeats this allegedly Confucian poem] – “Meeting, the two friends laugh aloud./In the grove, the fallen leafs are many.” – [and continues]:
“The cock announces the dawn in the evening./The sun is bright at midnight.”
“The cries of the monkeys echo through the … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 130 (Ginsberg & Whalen – Oriental Influences)



AG: There’s another book by (R.H.) Blyth called Senryu Notes Student: Called what? AG:  Senryu Notes – S-E-N-R-Y-U – Is that right?  [Senryu – Japanese Satirical Verses]Philip Whalen: Yeah, yeahAG: “Senryu” means what?

Philip Whalen: Senryu is the comical and obscene and..

AG: vulgar?

Philip Whalen: ..vulgar, that type of thing. Also, there’s a..

AG:  A two-volume history of haiku Philip Whalen: Yes, a two-volume history. Then there’s another book that’s called Oriental (Wit and) Humor [Oriental Humor], which is also..(a book of) senryu, and other jokes and song, and… (A)

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Spontaneous Poetics- 129 (Blyth and Haiku)

 AG: I got some complaints that last time (that) I was  getting up in the air, reading too much and boring people, (which is probably true, because my attention wavered occasionally when I was reading through the Wordsworth – most of the time I was there and present, but my attention waved too, as your attention must have –  partly out of desperation, because, actually, (with Wordsworth) I’ve sort of run out of things to teach! – except the things that I knew already, like “Tintern Abbey”, or “Intimations of Immortality..”  I would, if I had it, read through … Read More

What The East Means To Me – Allen Ginsberg at Kyota Seika

Yesterday’s transcription of Allen’s Q & A at the Kyoto Seika University, Japan, on November 2 1988, is followed today by footage (and transcription) of the full lecture – “What the East Means To Me” – Katagiri Yuzuru is once again the accomplished interpreter/translator. Our thanks, once again, to videographer, Ken Rodgers.

AG: So.. the subject is “What the East Means To Me”. So I will give a chronological account. One of my first memories was of the Pop figure, Pop art figure, kitsch figure, or comic-strip figure of a sinister Oriental, a Chinaman, Fu Manchu. He had a long … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 49 – A Brief Survey of Haiku


This [Allen hands out a home-made xerox-ed collection] is a little anthology of choice haiku taken from the four-volume set of haiku in the library collected by R.H.BlythSpring, Summer, Winter, Autumn. How many have looked into that, or know that collection? It’s a collection that (Jack) Kerouac used and Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen all used as a sort of poetics reference encyclopedia handbook inspiration text around 1955. I was reading haiku, then, in those books and chose the best ones, or the ones that stuck in my head, about twenty or thirty,

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