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Allen Ginsberg, The Naropa Sessions: Nominal Tasks

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.

William Carlos Williams continues to be the thread that ties Ginsberg's lectures together. In this segment, he uses the late writer as a jumping off point for that discussion of two creative figures in history: Peter Bruegel and Emily Dickinson . He explains how the mundane themes in the painter's work was a source of inspiration for the writer. He applies this theory to the analysis of Dickinson's poem; I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Die. Ginsberg also introduces the notion of exercise and poetry. Williams had a stroke in his later years and was subsequently forced to rely on his wife for nominal tasks. He had to plan; to conceive of his written works before he sat down to write them because he struggled to use a typewriter. To this effect, exercise can be equated to both strength and concentration. From exercising the mind to the simple observations of writers and poets, a petty task might be seen as not all the more particular.


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.