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E.C. Henry

Reading this post could make a man fail a drug test.

Lucid stuff... I suddenly feel like a threat to myself, perhaps society at large. Time to go upstairs and come down with a good rom/com, "13 Going on 30."

Poetry: drugs for the mind.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Laura Deerfield

"Mind is shapely, Art is shapely." was one of Ginsberg's favorite lines. He was fond of saying it (at least in the brief time I knew and studied with him)... liked using it as a pick-up line to convince pretty young men that he was as "shapely" as them - in mind and art, if not body.

He is missed.



Wonderful responses, in the true spirit of Ginsberg.

Have you ever tried to levitate a studio? If anyone can do it, you can!

Reminds me of Kerouac’s “List of Essentials” for writers:

My favorites re screenwriting:

- Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
- Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
- Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
- Youre a Genius all the time
- Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven


nice stuff
mimimim information, minimum number of syllables.


EC: I love your definition of poetry.

Laura: Fascinating stuff. Want to tell us more about your time studying with Ginsberg?

Dottie: Thanks for the Kerouac! Neat and sweet.

Hey Uh: Mini-mimi-minimum-umum.

Laura Deerfield

Well, I took the MFA course in Writing and Poetics at Naropa University. The writing school there was founded by Anne Waldman and Allen Ginsberg - and named (somewhat absurdly) the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics - the latter half of the name being a reference to Gertrude Stein. I say absurdly, because I always considered Kerouac's work to be very much embodied, very much physical... but that little contradictory bit of excessive name dropping was very much in the spirit of the beat poets.

It's a small school, and the writing department, graduate and undergraduate, was perhaps 60 students, so there was a wonderful intimacy with the instructors. Ginsberg was there in the summer, and others like Hakim Bey, Adrienne Rich, Jerome Rothenberg and Diane diPrima taught courses. Anselm Hollo was on the regular staff. Other people came and spoke, performed or visited - including Philip Glass, Gregory Corso, Ed Sanders, and Ram Daas... I did a fundraiser with Ferlinghetti for a minority students' fund and got chewed out by Amiri Baraka for the same.

Really, it was an incomparable experience. I have several stories.

What I learned (and can apply to screenwriting,) and this may seem as contradictory as the school's name, was the value of structure. I wrote more formal poems while I was there than I ever have. I found that using the structure of a defined form was freeing to the imagination, it gave inspiration a lightning post to be drawn to. It allowed you to direct and craft the raw idea.

I was particularly fond of repetitive forms like the pantoum, which taught me how an image can be repeated to tie a poem together - and can change meaning slightly every time it recurs.

It also inspired me to go out and get life experience, to travel and have adventures - rather than become an academic. Nothing against academia. If I had gone that route I'd probably have a small measure more recognition as a poet, and a literary critic or theorist... but I think I've lived a far more interesting life.

For some of my poetry (I no longer write in form much, but it still influences my work):

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