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Allen Ginsberg, The Naropa Sessions: For America

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.

In this lecture, Allen Ginsberg takes his students to the Black Mountain College and Alfred Stieglitz's Gallery 291. The most prominent commonality shared between the two institutions was the founding ambition to define Americanness. Ginsberg uses these references to not only historicize the ongoing search for American arts, but also as a gateway to discuss their grittiness. He talks about the refute that matched what was ultimately defined and asserted as Americanness by the intellectual community, as well as those who were inspired by it. Ironically enough, in defining America through their art, these vanguards ultimately inspired many in Europe. As a near form of thanks, they wrote poems and made art about these new found allies. He traces this stretch of influence to many, including Paul Klee and Rainer Gerhardt.

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.


Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas


An unparalleled collection of recovered and restored programs from the seventies produced by Charles Ruas, and featuring Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anaïs Nin, William Boroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, among numerous others.