Jack Collom (1931-2017)

Following the death of Larry Fagin, news reaches us this morning of the death of another of the great Naropa poet-teachers, Jack Collom. When Allen and Anne Waldman set up the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in 1974 in Boulder, Colorado, Colorado already had one distinctive inventive joyful maverick poet at hand, Jack Collom. He was swiftly engaged in the experiment and soon (not soon enough, as we recall) became an integral part of the faculty. This page (from the Naropa University Archive) provides links to countless instances of Jack’s participation. We might, arbitrarily, single out … Read More

Jim Carroll Workshop – 2

JC: Well, I’m going to play a song that was a great..  one of my favorites… ..Actually, I’m going to play this early Velvet Underground song and then I’m going to play a Phil Ochs song. For some reason, Phil Ochs and The Velvet Underground have this weird connection for me. I mean. they got me into poetry as much as Bob.. well more than Bob Dylan, and as much as Frank O’Hara
[Student/technical assistant plays The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” – JC: “Yeah go ahead..just turn it up here” – Student: The … Read More

Ginsberg 1982 Kerouac Workshop Conclusion (Q & A)


Jack Kerouac with the scroll

AG: I have three twenty-nine [looking at the clock]. I brought, as I said, those papers and so we will distribute them. There’s two sets two different things. Maybe if we… they can pass them out themselves, if we just hand them.. Or we can put them in two piles here and people can pick them up as they leave, maybe?  That might be the easiest way. The one who did all the xeroxing for you is a poet, Gregg R. (sic) from Indianapolis, So I have these sets.. one of these pages is the

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Expansive Poetics – 109 (Beauty, Humor (and no belly-laughter from television)

[A performing chimpanzee, “Zippy”, watches tv in 1955]

Student:  Why do you find beauty in it (Benjamin Peret’s poem, “Hymn of The Patriotic Old Soldier”) if it’s so crude ?

benjamin péret

[Benjamin Peret]

AG: If it’s crude? Well, there’s a certain delicacy. In this sense, he’s parodying an old soldier. He’s like a tough, funny, French, old soldier who’s very frank, who doesn’t give a shit for the army and doesn’t give a shit for patriotism but is an old soldier and won his Legion of Honor and he’s actually exhibiting a certain humanity – “To remember my ribbon … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 107 (Philippe Soupault)

[Philippe Soupault (1897-1990)]

AG: So you can do it in a short form too. You don’t have to write a big long long (poem). So we go back to “the frogs”, back to the French, to Benjamin Peret (he’s after (Robert) Desnos (where is Peret (in our anthology)?  [Allen searches through the class anthology] – maybe earlier, yeah – 1899. Let’s see, we have Peret, we have (Philippe) Soupault) – Souplault – 1897 – Now Soupault is the man considered by.. French.. 1897.. Philippe Soupault. There’s Tristan Tzara, and then there’s Andre Breton, and then there’s Philippe … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 104 (Weird Juxtapositions)

[John Ashbery – The Little Tower of Babel, (2010) – collage 15.2 cms x 20.3 cms – courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery]

  (Weird juxtapositions) – Gregory Corso is a master of this. He actually took this method beyond the Surrealists and beyond any others that I know, in his book Happy Birthday of Death, and had a series of brilliant single-word poems – “Bomb” (which we have in here (in our anthology)), “Marriage – taking a concept or an idea (an idea-word, not just the word but the idea-word) – and then writing down, wittily, all … Read More

Expansive Poetics 102 – (Robert Desnos)

Robert Desnos

[Robert Desnos (1900-1945)]

AG: We also have, moving on fast to Robert Desnos, who died in a concentration camp during World War II – 1900 you’ll find him.. [Allen is referring here to his listing in the classroom anthology] – “The Voice of Robert Desnos” – “So much like the flower and the current of air/like the waterway like the shadows passing everywhere/like the smile glimpsed this amazing evening at midnight/so much like everything happiness and sadness/it’s yesterday’s midnight lifting its naked torso above/belfries and poplars./ I’m calling those lost in the countryside/the old corpses the young oaks … Read More

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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Expansive Poetics – 99 – (Andre Breton – 4 – Andre Breton’s Surrealist Precursors)


AG: Let’s see what else he (Andre Breton) says (in his first Surrealist Manifesto) – “…(the) omnipotence of the dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends definitivly to ruin all the old psychic mechanisms and to take their place in the solution to the principal problems of life” – [(In other words, inspired automatonism as a response to a burglar or policeman or war) – After remarking that a number of poets from Dante to Shakespeare ‘in his best-days” (sic) might be looked on as “super-realists” (Surrealists), on genius, he says] –  “In the … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 98 – (Andre Breton 3 – Andre Breton and William Carlos Williams)

[Andre Breton and William Carlos Williams]

Student (CC): (But) aren’t there dream-like qualities to each of those poets?

AG: Whom?

Student (CC): ((Tristan) Tzara), (Andre) Breton and (William Carlos) Williams

AG: Yeah, but Williams’ main method was literalistic – pretty much pragmatic Yankee literal, trying to correspond to reality, and Breton and Surrealism had as their aim to  liberate men from reality, or what was supposed to be reality, and put them on another plane of totally free imagination where there was no anchor-drag back to the forms that are perceived by reason. So they wanted something anti-rational. Maybe … Read More