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Download Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews, 1958-1996 epub

by Allen Ginsberg

From his conversation with the conservative William F. Buckley on PBS to his testimony at the Chicago Seven trial to his passionate riffs on Cezanne, Blake, Whitman, and Pound, the interviews collected in Spontaneous Mind, chronologically arranged and in some cases previously unpublished, were conducted throughout Allen Ginsberg's long career. From the late 1950s to the mid-1990s, Ginsberg speaks frankly about his life, his work, and major events, allowing us to hear once again the impassioned voice of one of the most influential literary and cultural figures of our time.

Download Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews, 1958-1996 epub
ISBN: 0060930829
ISBN13: 978-0060930820
Category: Literature
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Author: Allen Ginsberg
Language: English
Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 26, 2002)
Pages: 624 pages
ePUB size: 1905 kb
FB2 size: 1677 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 991
Other Formats: mbr lrf txt lrf

Allen Ginsberg was a poet, teacher and activist. I believe all these facets of his art were always part of him, but each had a period of ascendancy. The fifties,the poet. The sixties, the teacher, and the seventies, the activist. Later, we see the wise elder of the tribe. A generalization but useful in understanding Ginsberg. All three are found in this great book of interviews. The introduction by Edmund White explores the skills demonstrated in his use of the interview. The choice of interviews are wonderful. The interplay of Ginsberg and the interviewers are like a watching the perfect tennis match where the beauty of the play is as enjoyable to the spectator (reader) as the score (content). The interviews cover a wide range of topics which reveal as much as Ginsberg intended, and in the best of them, more. This may be a better place to read a "biography" of Ginsberg than in the standard form.
Brilliant interviews. Illuminating, insightful, prescient and funny. The interviews traverse multiple decades. The interview with the contentious conservative Washington reporter was a gem--Allen ends up leading him in a meditation! Allen Ginsberg was not only fully embedded in his time, but also way ahead of it, as this book shows so well.
wonderful and enlightening.
Mitars Riders
This book is loaded with information and after almost 600 pages later; here I am with an overview. Most of the books I read tend to be around 200 to 300 pages, so this book is like two or three books put together, consisting of different interviews from the 1950's to the 1990's and a very mixed bag, packed with intriguing thoughts of poetry, prosody, prose, Ginsberg and the Beatific scene that emerged from the late 1940's that subsequently influenced the psychedelic generation of the 60's.

There is some real insightful information on poetry here, very educational and foundational to the beatnik poetic movement, and poetry in general. Ginsberg relates his influential poets that inspired him, molding his thought processes and way of life. From Ezra Pounds, Walt Whitman, the painter Cézanne, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, Rimbaud and from 1948 a mystical experience with the words of William Blake, whose voice appeared to him after masturbating and subsequently experiencing some other mystical visions and awareness. Blake, although not a living person from our time era, became Ginsberg's guru upon the advise of an Indian teacher. In some cases of poetry and linguistic teaching of stanzas and crescendos, I was reminded of Peter Eckermann's, Conversations of Goethe and their discussions.

There are great explanations of the spontaneous style of poetry, the Buddhist flashes of thoughts that come from the spaces between thoughts, that spring up in the perception of the moment, the present flash to be written down in that precise way, the style of momentary thought speech converted into writing and there you have Kerouac and Ginsberg and Burroughs, except with Burroughs it is with flashes of mental pictures converted into words. This is not the conventional style of sitting down and organizing formal structures, nor a laid out novel or rhyming poetry, no, it is spontaneous and attempts to capture the sudden flash of idea - "first thought, best thought" as Ginsberg's later teacher the Tibetan Buddhist Lama, Chogyam Trungpa shared with him, or visa versa, and it was Trungpa's school that also endorsed the Kerouac School for Disembodied Poets. Even Shakespeare was the spontaneous poet, "every third thought will be my grave," unlike the mechanical, arid, conformity of what was taught in the Universities when Ginsberg attended in the 40's. So I say to this, hey, I guess Kerouac wasn't a babbling, rambling madman, but instead he was actual, solid, writing real bits of consciousness, at least according to Ginsberg. His words were like the jazz, the bebop of bits of everyday sudden speech, spontaneous.

Also are some great stories of the crew: Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, Cassidy, Snyder, and Orlovsky. Some of this gets rather explicit. Ginsberg was gay and I don't think that should be censored from this amazon review. In this book he is explicit in describing the love acts of himself and Kerouac, Orlovsky, Cassidy and others, including his acknowledgment of Walt Whitman homosexuality. Interestingly, in one interview, Ginsberg relates the highest love as a nonsexual male relationship - this sounds like Socrates at the Symposium.

There are also interviews relating to the Chicago Seven and it's political opposition to the conformity of the masculine police state mentality. Great thoughts on censorship, sacredness, hippie flower power, LSD, Yage, peyote, prosody, Bob Dylan, the Teton Mountains, Buddhist conceptions, the Cabala's ultimate science of ZimZum, detachment, karma, Ezra Pound, Dionysian orgies, the Berkley Renaissance, explicit sex (censorship), belly breathing, anger control, Visions of Cody, Hinduism and Woodsworth.

Of course there's a lot said of Ginsberg's poems such as Howl, Kaddish, Wichita Vortex Sutra, Fall of America and their influences and styles. There are also scores of book references that would take years to read, but nevertheless, great leads to book buying and increasing comprehension and insight into poetry, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Snyder, McClure, Corso, Ferlinghetti, Snyder, Burroughs, and the beatnik frame of no-mind.

This book teaches a lot and I am impressed at the amount of insight Ginsberg had, intellectually, emotionally, and poetically and if I can use the word "spiritually."
"Spontaneous mind," a collection of interviews, is an uncensored perspective of Allen Ginsberg's life, work and the events of his time. The poet felt the interview was an art form, an opportunity to discuss and teach about writing, music, spirituality and whatever topic may surface. Although some celebrities may shun the interview, Ginsberg clearly held a passion for the medium which is quite palpable throughout this collection. In fact, Ginsberg does not flinch at any of the questions, but instead attacks them with fervor and honesty.

The editor, David Carter, includes several vigorous and worthy spars. A conservative William Buckley begets a heated discussion about America in 1968 concerning drugs, censorship and the Vietnam War. A stoic Christian confronts the Buddhist devotee with God's Word. Ginsberg patiently reaches for truth and understanding with compassion in every interview. He is generous with his thoughts but at times the interviews are long-winded. This is the inherent danger of being spontaneous, the cliche of beatniks being free-spirits who spout non-sequiturs off the top of their heads seems eerily true at times. However, the text is a lucid portal for the reader to glimpse the beatnik world through the eyes of one of its gods. Ginsberg's history is an indelible part of beatnik culture. William Blake, Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac and numerous other notable influences are also discussed.

Bohdan Kot
i am a ginsberg fan and so i am biased but this book of interviews is really an enjoyable read. sure some of the interviews are dated but they really show the great intuitive thinker and off the cuff debater the allen ginsberg really was.
especially fun is his debate with john lofton who attempts to bury ginsberg in his born-again brand of conservativism. also fun is allen's transcripts from the chicago seven trial. i actually found this a hoot.
also his discussion on poetics is quite enlightening.
we miss you allen; your shining mind, intelligent wit and your shaman boddisattvic spirit
Here is where Ginsberg's brilliance is perhaps best shown. In conversation, he revealed his passion and sharpness for all topics. His "poems" should probably not be called poems, but instead exercises in poetic freedom, which is ultimately a futile task, especially when approached for the mere sake of asserting more freedom. One is baffled at the mere badness of his poems, which are not in the Whitmanian vane at all, but in the vane of bloated mounds of words. Nonetheless, Ginsberg, the "excitable visionary Jewish Budhist," is beautifully and swiftly rendered in these interviews.