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Allen Ginsberg, The Naropa Sessions: Fresh Water



This is one in a series of ten lectures given by Allen Ginsberg at the Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado, in the summer of 1975.

During this seminar, Ginsberg continues with a discussion about William Carlos Williams and the his school of poetry, the Objectivists. Among others, the school included Charles Reznikoff and George Oppen. After reading a selection of the groups works, he relates them to the haiku poet Shiiki. He explains how their practice revolved around watching the natural object and treating it as such, rather than using it into a symbol. For the Objectivists, the natural object was inherently a symbol; which was a slight contrast to the Imagists, who argued that an idea could also be an object. With these two schools of poetry in mind, Ginsberg tells his class to consider three points in poetry: the direct treatment of a poem, economy of words, and the sequence of the musical phrase.

The Naropa Institute was founded by Chögyam Trungpa, an exiled Tibetan tuku, in 1974. This liberal arts school initially offered MFA's in the visual arts, dance, theater, and poetry; as well as undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Buddhist Studies. It was founded with the intent of creating a dialog between the “world's wisdom traditions.” Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, and John Cage were among the faculty, who together formed the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets.
 

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