Allen Ginsberg in Austin – Interview – 1978

Interviewer: So we want to figure out what’s best, you know, what will be most comfortable for you. What I want to do is an oral history of the ‘Sixties and Austin’s an interesting area because there’s a major university with a lot of anti-war… There was a segregtion case, a very famous law case here in 1959. There’s been an awful lot of work with the valley farm workers and Chicanos, plus we”ve got the Rothschilds here [sic], we’ve got all of LBJ‘s legacy. Basically, Austin’s sort of conservative but with the university and the State Capitol here, … Read More

Gary Snyder 1983 Naropa Reading – 1

Gary Snyders reading at the Naropa Institute, on the occasion of the 1983 publication of his collection Axe Handles is this weekend’s feature. 
The transcription of the reading will appear in two sections. 
The reading begins with an introduction by Allen Ginsberg  
AG: (This will be) the first reading by Gary Snyder in Boulder since 1972, when there was a reading up at the University with the Japanese poet, Nanao Sakaki, myself, Robert Bly, Chogyam Trungpa and Gary. And this month [August 1983] there’s been a great series of poetry readings in the town, with Anne Read More

William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence – 1

So (William) Blake has a series, like those two-line poems that we were doing, that verge on Vajrayana, that is to say, turning things inside out, taking … Read More

The 1996 National Security Archive Interview – part 2



[Allen Ginsberg, reading at The Knitting Factory, New York City, 1995]

Allen’s 1996 Interview for the National Security Archive at George Washington University continues from here

AG: So I found I was kicked out by the Prague police and the Havana police. Then, when I got back, I took part in various anti-war demonstrations. But I found that the day I arrived in Prague, I had been put on the dangerous security list of J.Edgar Hoover as a crazed, violent, or.. I don’t know what he thought I was! – And that he should talk, I must say! … Read More

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 – 96 – Haiku – 9 (Haiku continued)

AG: One (haiku) that suggests space:

      Oh, snail
      climb Mt. Fuji,
      but slowly, slowly.
That’s Issa, who is the most like William Carlos Williams in temperament – that is to say, he includes himself as a solitary, lonesome, weepy object, a sort of objective picture of self.  He was the one that had for a brushwood gate, for a lock, the snail. He also was the one, 
      The young girl 
      blew her nose
      in the evening glory
      Beaten      at battledore and shuttlecock
      the beautiful maiden’s anger.
That’s like a tiny novel, too.  
      An autumn night,      … 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 – 93 – Haiku – 6 (More Haiku)

 [Shinsui Ito  (1898-1972)  – wood-block print – Night Rain at Mii Temple (1917)]

AG: So this is obviously one proceeding from meditative state, now. “Rain at Night”

A cricket chirps and is silent                                           the guttering lamp sinks and flares up again                Outside the window, evening rain is heard                   It’s the banana plant that starts talking about it.       It’s the banana plant that speaks of it first
The morning after the gale, too                                     the peppers are red..
[(the green peppers, or peppers growing on the vine)]                                                     
The morning after the gale, too/the peppers are red.

The first snow                                                                    just enough

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Mediation and Poetics – 91 – Haiku – 4 – (Zhuangzi)

[Hokusai (1760-1849)  Philosopher Watching A Pair of Butterflies (1814) – plate from picture book. Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden National Museum of Ethnography]

So what I’d like to do now is read through a whole range of these, getting now into the actual haiku themselves, referring back to both (Christopher) Smart and (William) Blake’s long-line form, noticing that, in a sense, the haiku is parallel to the long-line form. The long line is only good if you’ve got a haiku in it, or you’ve got some mind-jump

“The cow comes,/moo, moo/ out of the mist”

“Yield to the willow/all

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