Materialien zum Neobuddhismus


Wilhelm II.: "Völker Europas, wahrt Eure heiligsten Güter!"

4. USA und Hawaii

5. Beat-Buddhismus

von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --  4. USA und Hawaii. -- 5. Beat-Buddhismus. -- Fassung vom 2005-07-07. -- URL: -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert: 2005-06-07

Überarbeitungen: 2005-07-07

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung Neobuddhismus, Univ. Tübingen, SS 1987, SS 2003, SS 2005

Copyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers.

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Diese Inhalt ist unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz lizenziert.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Buddhismus von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

0. Übersicht

1. Einleitung

2. Weiterführende Ressourcen

Abb.: Einbandtitel

Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- [Grundlegend. Da ich aus urheberrechtlichen Gründen hier nicht ausführlich aus den Werken der behandelten Dichter zitieren kann, empfehle ich nachdrücklich dieses Buch als ergänzendes Lesebuch.]

Abb.: Einbandtitel

The Portable Beat reader / edited by Ann Charters.  -- New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 1992.  --  xxxvi, 645 S. ; 21 cm.  -- ISBN: 0140151028. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei bestellen}

Abb.: Umschlagtitel

Watson, Steven: Die Beat-Generation : Visionäre, Rebellen und Hipsters, 1944 - 1960. -- St. Andrä-Wördern : Hannibal, 1997. -- VIII, 382 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Originaltitel: The birth of the beat generation (1995). -- ISBN: 3-85445-155-5

3. Hintergrund: Beat Generation

"The term beat generation was introduced by Jack Kerouac in approximately 1948 to describe his social circle to the novelist John Clellon Holmes (who published an early novel about the beat generation, titled Go, in 1952, along with a manifesto of sorts in the New York Times Magazine: "This is the beat generation"). The adjective "beat" (introduced by Herbert Huncke) had the connotations of "tired" or "down and out", but Kerouac added the paradoxical connotations of "upbeat", "beatific", and the musical association of being "on the beat".

Calling this relatively small group of struggling writers, students, hustlers, and drug addicts a "generation" was to make the claim that they were representative and important—the beginnings of a new trend, analogous to the influential Lost Generation. This is the kind of bold move that could be seen as delusions of grandeur, aggressive salesmanship or perhaps a display of perceptive insight — it might be best to think of it as an insight into some trends that became self-reinforcing: the label helped to create what it described.

The members of the beat generation were new bohemian libertines, who engaged in a spontaneous, sometimes messy, creativity. The beat writers produced a body of written work controversial both for its advocacy of non-conformity and for its non-conforming style.

Echoes of the Beat Generation run throughout all the forms of alternative/counter culture that have existed since then (e.g. "hippies", "punks", etc). The Beat Generation can be seen as the first modern "subculture". See the "Influences on Western Culture" section below.

The major beat writings are Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Allen Ginsberg's Howl, and William Burroughs' Naked Lunch. Both Howl and Naked Lunch became the focus of obscenity trials in the United States that helped to liberalize what could be legally published.


The canonical beat generation authors met in New York: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, (in the 1940s) and later (in 1950) Gregory Corso. In the mid-'50s this group expanded to include figures associated with the San Francisco Renaissance such as Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen and Lew Welch.

Perhaps equally important were the less obviously creative members of the scene, who helped form their intellectual environment and provided the writers with much of their subject material: There was Herbert Huncke, a drug addict and petty thief met by Burroughs in 1946; and Hal Chase, an anthropologist from Denver who in 1947 introduced into the group Neal Cassady.

Also important were the oft-neglected women in the original circle, including Joan Vollmer and Edie Parker. Their apartment in the upper west side of Manhattan often functioned as a salon (or as Ted Morgan puts it, a "pre-sixties commune") and Joan Vollmer in particular was a serious participant in the marathon discussion sessions.

William Burroughs was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1914; making him roughly ten years older than most of the other original beats. While still living in St. Louis, Burroughs met David Kammerer, presumbably an association based on their shared homosexual orientation.

David Kammerer became obsessed with a young student of his named Lucien Carr, and when Carr was sent off to school, Kammerer began a pattern of following him around the country. The two met up with Burroughs again while he was living in Chicago, and later when Carr was transferred to Columbia University in 1943, both Kammerer and Burroughs followed. While at Columbia University, Lucien Carr met Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and introduced them to William Burroughs.

In 1944 Carr stabbed and killed Kammerer in an altercation that took place in a park on the Hudson River, and disposed of the body in the river. This may have been some form of self-defense, though Carr was the only witness to the scene. Kerouac helped Carr dispose of the weapon, and was arrested as an accessory to the crime when Carr turned himself in the next day. Kerouac wrote about this much later in the book Vanity of Duluoz (1968), though some version of these events also made it into his first novel The Town and the City (1950).

Burroughs had long had an interest in experimenting with criminal behavior, and gradually made contacts in the criminal underground of New York, becoming involved with dealing in stolen goods and narcotics and developing a decades long addiction to opiates. Burroughs met Herbert Huncke, a small-time criminal and drug addict who often hung around the Times Square area.

The beats found Huncke a fascinating character. As Ginsberg put it, they were on a quest for "supreme reality", and somehow felt that Huncke, as a member of the underclass had learned things they were sheltered from in their middle/upper-middle class lives.

Various problems resulted from this association: In 1949 Ginsberg was in trouble with the law (his apartment was packed with stolen goods, he had been riding in a car full of stolen goods, and so on). He pleaded insanity and was briefly committed to Bellvue, where he met Carl Solomon. When committed Carl Solomon was more eccentric than psychotic — a fan of Antonin Artaud, he indulged in some self-consciously "crazy" behavior: he stole a peanut butter sandwich in a cafeteria, and showed it to a security guard. If not crazy when he was admitted, he was arguably driven mad by the insulin shock treatments applied at Bellvue, and this is one of the things referred to in Ginsberg's poem "Howl" (which was dedicated to Carl Solomon). After his release, Solomon became the publishing contact that agreed to publish Burroughs first novel "Junky" (1953) shortly before another serious psychotic episode resulted in him being committed again.

The introduction of Neal Cassady into the scene in 1947 had a number of effects. A number of the beats were enthralled with Cassady — Kerouac's road trips with him in the late 40s became a focus of his second novel, On the Road; and Ginsberg had an affair with him. Cassady is most likely the source of "rapping" the loose spontaneous babble that later became associated with "beatniks". He was not much of a writer himself, though the core writers of the group were impressed with the free-flowing style of some of his letters, and Kerouac cited this as a key influence on his invention of the spontaneous prose style/technique that he used in On the Road (the other obvious influence being the improvised solos of Jazz music). This novel (when it eventually appeared in 1957) transformed Cassady (under the name "Dean Moriarty") into a cultural icon: a hyper wildman, frequently broke, largely amoral, but frantically engaged with life.

The time lags involved in the publication of Kerouac's On the Road often creates confusion: It was written in 1952 — around the time that John Clellon Holmes published "Go", and the article "This is the beat generation" — and it covered events that took place much earlier, beginning in the late 40s. Since the book was not published until 1957, many people received the impression that it was describing the late '50s era, though it was actually a document of a time ten years earlier.

The legend of how "On the Road" was written was as influential as the book itself: high on speed, Kerouac typed rapidly on a continuous scroll of telegraph paper to avoid having to break his chain of thought at the end of each sheet of paper. Kerouac's dictum was that "the first thought is best thought", and insisted that you should never revise text after it is written — though there remains some question about how carefully Kerouac observed this rule.

In 1950 Gregory Corso met Ginsberg, who was impressed by the poetry Corso had written while incarcerated for burglary. Gregory Corso was the young d'Artagnan added to the original three of the core beat writers, and for decades the four were often spoken of together; though later critical attention for Corso (the least proflific of the four) waned. Corso's first book The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other Poems appeared in 1955.

Then during the 1950s there was much cross-pollination with San Francisco area writers (Ginsberg, Corso, Cassady and Kerouac all moved there for a time). Ferlinghetti (one of the partners who ran the City Lights press and bookstore) became a focus of the scene as well as the older poet Rexroth, whose apartment became a Friday night literary salon. Rexroth organized the famous Six Gallery reading in 1955, the first public appearance of Ginsberg's poem Howl.

An account of the Six Gallery reading forms the second chapter of Jack Kerouac's 1959 novel The Dharma Bums, a novel about another poet that read at the event: Gary Snyder (written about under the name of "Japhy Ryder"). As most of the people in the Beat movement had urban backgrounds, writers like Ginsberg and Kerouac found Snyder, with his backcountry and rural experience, and his education in cultural anthropology and Oriental languages, to be a refreshing and almost exotic individual. Lawrence Ferlinghetti has referred to him as 'the Thoreau of the Beat Generation". One of the primary subjects of The Dharma Bums is Buddhism (and the different attitudes that Kerouac and Snyder have towards it). The Dharma Bums undoubtably helped to popularize Buddhism in the West.

Women of the Beat Generation

There is typically very little mention of women in a history of the early Beat Generation, and a strong argument can be made that this omission is largely a reflection of the sexism of the time rather than a reflection of the actual state of affairs. Joan Vollmer (later, Joan Vollmer Burroughs) was clearly there at the beginning, and all accounts describe her as a very intelligent and interesting woman. But she did not herself write and publish, and unlike Neal Cassady, no one chose to write a book about her; she has gone down in history as the wife of William Burroughs, killed in an accidental (or perhaps "accidental") shooting.

Gregory Corso insisted that there were many female beats, in particular, he claimed that a young woman he met in mid-1955 (Hope Savage, also called "Sura") introduced Kerouac and Ginsberg to subjects such as Li Po and was in fact their original teacher regarding eastern religion (this claim must be an exaggeration, however: a letter from Kerouac to Ginsberg in 1954 recommended a number of works about Buddhism).

Corso insisted that it was hard for women to get away with a Bohemian existence in that era: they were regarded as crazy, and removed from the scene by force (e.g. by being subjected to electroshock). This is confirmed by Diane di Prima (in a 1978 interview collected in The Beat Vision):

I can't say a lot of really great women writers were ignored in my time, but I can say a lot of potentially great women writers wound up dead or crazy. I think of the women on the Beat scene with me in the early '50s, where are they now? I know Barbara Moraff is a potter and does some writing in Vermont, and that's about all I know. I know some of them ODed and some of them got nuts, and one woman that I was running around the Village with in '53 was killed by her parents putting her in a shock treatment place in Pensylvania ...

However, a number of female beats have perservered, notably Joyce Johnson (author of Minor Characters); Carolyn Cassady (author of Off the Road); Hettie Jones (author of How I Became Hettie Jones); Joanne Kyger (author of Going On; Japan and India Journals; Just Space); and the aforementioned Diane di Prima (author of This Kind of Bird Flies Backward, Memoirs of a Beatnik). Later, other women writers emerged who were strongly influenced by the beats, such as Janine Pommy Vega (published by City Lights) in the 1960s, and Patti Smith in the early 1970s.

The Beatnik Stereotype

The term "Beatnik" was coined by Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle on April 2, 1958 as a derogatory term, a reference to the Russian satellite Sputnik, which managed to suggest that the beats were (1) "way out there" and (2) pro-Communist. This term stuck and became the popular label associated with a new stereotype of men with goatees and berets playing bongos while women wearing black leotards dance.

Abb.: Bob Denver als Maynard G. Krebs in Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-24]

A classic example of the beatnik image is the character Maynard G. Krebs played by Bob Denver on the Dobie Gillis television show that ran from 1959 to 1963. The general beat stereotype also owed something to some of the popular film actors emerging during the early and mid 1950s (for instance, Marlon Brando and James Dean) who had youthful, adventurous, "rebel" images.

In the popular television cartoon show, The Simpsons, the parents of Ned Flanders are beatniks. (Hurricane_Neddy [1] (

In another cartoon, Doug, Doug's sister, Judy, dresses and talks in the manner of a beatnik.

Abb.: Filmplakat

A sensationalist Hollywood interpretation of the sub-culture can be seen in the 1959 film The Beat Generation.

Influences on Western Culture

There are many writers, artists and musicians who explicitly acknowledge a debt to the beat writers (and for more about them, see the individual articles for each author); but the Beat Generation phenomena itself has had a huge influence on Western Culture overall, larger than just the effects of some writers and artists on other writers and artists.

In many ways, the Beats can be taken as the first subculture (here meaning a cultural subdivision on intellectual/artistic/lifestyle/political grounds, rather than on any obvious difference in ethnic or religious backgrounds). During the very conformist post-World War II era they were one of the forces engaged in a questioning of traditional values which produced a break with the mainstream culture that to this day people react to -- or against.

There's no question that Beats produced a great deal of interest in lifestyle experimentation (notably in regards to sex and drugs); and they had a large intellectual effect in encouraging the questioning of authority (a force behind the anti-war movement); and many of them were very active in popularizing interest in Zen Buddhism in the West.

A quotation from Allen Ginsberg "A Definition of the Beat Generation." as published in Friction, 1 (Winter 1982), revised for "Beat Culture and the New America 1950-1965":

Some essential effects of Beat Generation artistic movement can be characterized in the following terms:
  • Spiritual liberation, sexual "revolution" or "liberation," i.e., gay liberation, somewhat catalyzing women's liberation, black liberation, Gray Panther activism.
  • Liberation of the word from censorship.
  • Demystification and/or decriminalization of some laws against marijuana and other drugs.
  • The evolution of rhythm and blues into rock and roll as a high art form, as evidenced by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and other popular musicians influenced in the later fifties and sixties by Beat generation poets' and writers' works.
  • The spread of ecological consciousness, emphasized early on by Gary Snyder and Michael McClure, the notion of a "Fresh Planet."
  • Opposition to the military-industrial machine civilization, as emphasized in writings of Burroughs, Huncke, Ginsberg, and Kerouac.
  • Attention to what Kerouac called (after Spengler) a "second religiousness" developing within an advanced civilization.
  • Return to an appreciation of idiosyncrasy as against state regimentation.
  • Respect for land and indigenous peoples and creatures, as proclaimed by Kerouac in his slogan from _On the Road_: "The Earth is an Indian thing."
  • The essence of the phrase "beat generation" may be found in _On the Road_ with the celebrated phrase: "Everything belongs to me because I am poor."
The Transition to the "Hippie" Era

Some time during the 1960s, the rapidly expanding "beat" culture underwent a transformation: the "Beat Generation" gave way to "The Sixties Counterculture", which was accompanied by a shift in public terminology from "beatnik" to "hippie".

This was in many respects a gradual transition. Many of the original Beats remained active participants, notably Allen Ginsberg, who became a fixture of the anti-war movement -- though equally notably, Kerouac did not remain active on the scene: he broke with Ginsberg and criticized the 60s protest movements as "new excuses for spitefulness". The Beats in general were a large influence on members of the new "counterculture", for example, in the case of Bob Dylan who became good friends with Allen Ginsberg.

According to Ed Sanders the change in the public label from "beatnik" to "hippie" happened after the 1967 "Be-In" in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park (where Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Michael McClure were leading the crowd in chanting "Om").

One version of the beatnik to hippie transition (with emphasis on the Lower East Side of New York) is documented by Sanders in his series of stories collected in Tales of Beatnik Glory:

We were going to miss Beatnik, a word we never used but secretly loved. No longer would Civil rights marchers be deprecated as "beatnik race-mixers" in the klan towns of the South. Now we were "hippie dope-scum."

There were certainly some stylistic differences between "beatniks" and "hippies" — somber colors, dark shades, and goatees gave way to colorful "psychedelic" clothing and long hair. The beats were known for "playing it cool" (keeping a low profile) but the hippies became known for "being cool" (displaying their individuality).

In addition to the stylistic changes, there were some changes in substance: the beats tended to be essentially apolitical, but the hippies became actively engaged with the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. To quote Gary Snyder in a 1974 interview (collected in The Beat Vision):

... the next key point was Castro taking over Cuba. The apolitical quality of Beat thought changed with that. It sparked quite a discussion and quite a dialogue; many people had been basic pacifists with considerable disillusion with Marxian revolutionary rhetoric. At the time of Castro's victory, it had to be rethought again. Here was a revolution that had used violence and that was apparently a good thing. Many people abandoned the pacifist position at that time or at least began to give more thought to it. In any case, many people began to look to politics again as having possibilities. From that follows, at least on some levels, the beginning of civil rights activism, which leads through our one whole chain of events: the Movement.
We had little confidence in our power to make any long range or significant changes. That was the 50s, you see. It seemed that bleak. So that our choices seemed entirely personal existential lifetime choices that there was no guarantee that we would have any audience, or anybody would listen to us; but it was a moral decision, a moral poetic decision. Then Castro changed things, then Martin Luther King changed things ...
Historical Context

The postwar era was a time where the dominant culture was desperate for a reassuring planned order; but there was a strong intellectual undercurrent calling for spontaneity, an end to psychological repression; a romantic desire for a more chaotic, Dionysian existence.

The beats were a manifestation of this undercurrent (and over time, a primary focus for those energies), but they were not the only one. Before Jack Kerouac embraced "spontaneous prose", there were other artists pursuing self-expression by abandoning control, notably the improvisational elements in jazz music, and the action paintings of Jackson Pollack and the other abstract expressionists.

Also, there were other artists in the post-war period who embraced a similar disdain for refined control, often with the opposite intent of suppressing the ego, and avoiding self-expression; notably, the works of the composer/writer John Cage and the paintings and "assemblages" of Robert Rauschenberg. The "cut-up" technique that Brion Gysin developed and that William Burroughs adopted after publishing Naked Lunch bears a strong resemblence to Cage's "chance operations" approach.

The beats were certainly not the only form of experimental writing in the post-war period. Various other movements/scenes can be identified that were happening roughly concurrently:

  • the Angries a group of post-war British writers with which the Beats are sometimes compared
  • The Black Mountain poets (which John Cage was also associated with)
  • The San Francisco Renaissance can be regarded as a separate movement of its own, with origins preceding the beats.

There were many influences on the beat generation writers: Blake was a large intellectual influence on Allen Ginsberg and there are striking echoes of Walt Whitman's style in Ginsberg's work; the novel You Can't Win by Jack Black was a strong influence on William Burroughs; Marcel Proust's work was read by many of the beats, and may have inspired Kerouac in his grand scheme for a multi-volume autobiographical work.

The full historical background arguably includes: Henry David Thoreau , Imagism (especially Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and H.D.), the Objectivists and Henry Miller. Some points to consider:

  • Gary Snyder read Pound early and was encouraged in his interests in Japan and China by Pound's work.
  • William Carlos Williams encouraged a number of beats and wrote a preface for Howl and other poems.
  • Pound was also important to Allen Ginsberg and to most of the San Francisco Rennaissance group (Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, etc).
  • H.D. was crucial to Robert Duncan.
  • Rexroth published with the Objectivists.

One prominent critic of the Beats was Norman Podhoretz. He was a student at Columbia who knew Ginsberg and Kerouac (some of his student poetry was published by Allen Ginsberg before their falling-out). Later Podhoretz became editor of the neo-conservative publication Commentary.

In 1958, he published an article in the Partisan Review titled "The Know-Nothing Bohemians". As Russell Jacoby (in his book The Last Intellectuals) describes it, in this essay Podhoretz "defended civilization against the barbarians":

"There is a suppressed cry in those books [of Kerouac]: Kill the intellectuals who can talk coherently, kill the people who can sit still for five minutes at a time." "The Bohemianism of the 1950s" is "hostile to civilization; it worships primitivism, instinct, energy, 'blood.'" For Podhoretz, "This is the revolt of the spiritually underprivileged."
Podhoretz thought he glimpsed a link between the beats and the delinquents, a common hatred of civilization and intelligence. "I happen to believe that there is a direct connection between the flabbiness of American middle-class life and the spread of juvenile crime in the 1950s, but I also believe that juvenile crime can be explained partly in terms of the same resentment against normal feeling and the attempt to cope with the world through intelligence that lies behind Kerouac and Ginsberg."

Another quotation from "The Know-Nothing Bohemians":

"Being against what the Beat Generation stands for has to do with denying that incoherence is superior to precision; that ignorance is superior to knowledge; that the exercise of mind and discrimination is a form of death ..."

Ginsberg responded in a 1958 interview with The Village Voice (collected in Spontaneous Mind), specifically addressing the a charge that the Beats destroyed "the distinction between life and literature.":

The novel is not an imaginary situation of imaginary truths — it is an expression of what one feels. Podhoretz doesn't write prose, he doesn't know how to write prose, and he isn't interested in the technical problems of prose or poetry. His criticism of Jack's spontaneous bop prosody shows that he can't tell the difference between words as rhythm and words as in diction ... The bit about anti-intellectualism is a piece of vanity, we had the same education, went to the same school, you know there are 'Intellectuals' and there are intellectuals. Podhoretz is just out of touch with twentieth-century literature, he's writing for the eighteenth-century mind. We have a personal literature now-Proust, Wolfe, Faulkner, Joyce.

Gary Snyder in a 1974 interview (collected in The Beat Vision), comments on the subject of "casualties" of the Beat Generation:

Kerouac was a casualty too. And there were many other casualties that most people have never heard of, but were genuine casualties. Just as, in the 60s, when Allen and I for a period there were almost publicly recommending people to take acid. When I look back on that now I realize there were many casualties, responsibilities to bear.
Principal writings of the Beat Generation
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
  • Junky by William S. Burroughs(1953)
  • Howl and other Poems by Allen Ginsberg (1956)
  • Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (1959)
  • The First Third by Neal Cassady (1970)
  • Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson (1983)
Some proto-beat writings
  • The Town and the City* by Jack Kerouac (1950)
  • Go by John Clellon Holmes (1952)
  • Who Walk in Darkness by Chandler Brossard (1952)
  • Flee the Angry Strangers by George Mandel (1952)
  • Halfway Down the Stairs by Charles Thompson (1957; depicts late 1940s proto-beats)

Kerouac's first novel, The Town and the City, like all of his major works, is essentially an autobiographical novel about the beat circle, but it is not usually considered a "beat novel" because he had not yet developed his own style (he was consciously imitating Thomas Wolfe). A similar argument is usually made about Holmes's Go.

"The so-called Beat Generation was a whole bunch of people, of all different nationalities, who came to the conclusion that society sucked."
- Amiri Baraka
"But yet, but yet, woe, woe unto those who think that the Beat Generation means crime, delinquency, immorality, amorality ... woe unto those who attack it on the grounds that they simply don’t understand history and the yearning of human souls ... woe in fact unto those who those who make evil movies about the Beat Generation where innocent housewives are raped by beatniks! ... woe unto those who spit on the Beat Generation, the wind’ll blow it back."
- Jack Kerouac
"Three writers does not a generation make."
- Gregory Corso
"Nobody knows whether we were catalysts or invented something, or just the froth riding on a wave of its own. We were all three, I suppose."
- Allen Ginsberg (quoted in Great Poets Howl: A Study of Allen Ginsberg's Poetry, 1943-1955 ISBN 3820477616)

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-22]

4. Personen

Die Nennung der Personen ist nach ihrem Geburtsjahr geordnet.

4.1. Kenneth Rexroth (1905 - 1982)

Abb.: Kenneth Rexroth
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-24]


"American poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth (December 22, 1905 – June 6, 1982) was among the first poets in the United States to explore Japanese poetry traditions such as haiku. He is credited with having led the "poetry renaissance" in San Francisco and was associated with the Beat Generation, although he was later critical of the movement. Rexroth's poetry, essays and journalism reflect interests in jazz, politics, culture and ecology. Rexroth's poetic voice is similar to that of Du Fu, whom he translated, expressing indignation with the inequities of the world from an existential perspective.

Rexroth had two daughters, Mary and Katherine, by his third wife, Marthe Larsen.

Early years

Rexroth was born Kenneth Charles Marion Rexroth in South Bend, Indiana, the son of Charles Rexroth, a pharmaceuticals salesman, and Delia Reed. His mother died in 1916 and his father in 1918, after which he went to live with his aunt in Chicago and enrolled in Chicago Art Institute. He spent his teenage years as an art student and soda jerk, along with other odd jobs. In 1923–1924 he was imprisoned for being partial owner of a brothel. He married Andree Dutcher in 1927, a commercial artist from Chicago. Andree died of complications from epilepsy in 1940.

Major achievements

During the 1970s Rexroth, along with the scholar Ling Chung, translated the notable Sung Dynasty poet Li Ch'ing-chao and an anthology of Chinese women poets, titled The Orchid Boat.

With The Love Poems of Marichiko, Rexroth claimed to have translated the poetry of a long dead Japanese poet, but it was later disclosed he was the author and he gained critical recognition for having conveyed so authentically feelings of someone of another gender, culture, and time period.

Biographical notes

He was a conscientious objector during World War II and was actively involved with helping Japanese-American internees.

Rexroth is said to have read the entire Encyclopædia Britannica "like a novel" once a year. His books indicate familiarity with subjects ranging from political anarchism, painting, and world religions, to classical Chinese literature and philosophy."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-24]

Bewertung Rexroths in deutscher Literaturwissenschaft:

"Rexroth, Kenneth, amerikanischer Lyriker, 22. 12. 1905 South Bend, Indiana - 6. 6. 1982 Montecito/Calif. Abstrakter Maler; Mitglied der San Francisco-Gruppe und Verteidiger der 'beat generation'. - In seinem Frühwerk Anklänge an den Surrealismus und Imagismus unter Einfluss von W. C. Williams, Freude am Experiment. Später mehr klassizistische Formen von ausgeprägtem Klang- und Rhythmusgefühl für persönliche, stark gedanklich-abstrakte Aussagen. Ausgezeichnete Anthologien von Gedichten aus dem Japanischen, Chinesischen, Griechischen, Lateinischen u. a. Sprachen."

[Quelle: Lexikon der Weltliteratur : Autoren und Werke / Gero von Wilpert. -- Berlin : Directmedia Publ., 2000. -- 1 CD-ROM. -- (Digitale Bibliothek ; 13). -- ISBN 3-89853-113-9. -- s.v.]

Kenneth Rexroth und Buddhismus:

"Whether or not Rexroth engaged in any formal practice in those days (aside from the "empty days" for contemplation, which he mentioned in letters to his publisher, James Laughlin) is not clear. What is apparent is his contempt for many forms of Buddhism and for some Buddhist practitioners: Rexroth frequently railed against Zen, citing its alliance with military power in Japan, and he said of Kerouac that "his Buddha is a dimestore incense burner, glowing and glowering sinisteringly in the dark corner of a beatnik pad and just thrilling the wits out of bad little girls." In 1958, Rexroth told two interviewers that Zen was for "white people" and that the only acceptable form of Buddhism was Shingon.

But time seemed to have mellowed Rexroth. Perhaps as a result of the two years he spent in Kyoto on a Fulbright (1974-75), Rexroth, in his later years, seemed to admit more readily to being influenced by Buddhism, though he still denied having any "doctrinaire belief." In an interview conducted several years after he returned from Japan, Rexroth was asked, "Do you follow a particular spiritual path?" He replied: "I don't like to say I'm a Buddhist—there are an awful lot of funny people running around saying they are Buddhists—but I suppose I am one. I've been steadily drifting toward it for many years."

In short, with respect to Buddhism, Rexroth seems to have played a dual role for the Beats: He was both an ancestor, in that he made some Asian literature and thought accessible early on, and a "like mind," a fellow traveler, who began identifying himself more personally with Buddhism in the seventies, long after many of the Beats had committed themselves to Buddhist practice. Rexroth never went so far as to reject Western theology altogether; his life was a sort of spiritual mosaic, wherein he frequently lit candles on Friday nights and eventually, as his parents had before him, converted to Catholicism (shortly before his death in 1982). His wife, Carol Tinker, claimed that he died a Catholic and a Buddhist, saying that Rexroth was essentially a Buddhist, but that he also believed in observing the rituals of the culture to which he was closest by birth."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 322f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Rexroths buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.2. Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)


Zu Alan Watts siehe u.a.: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28

Abb.: Alan Watts
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28]

"Alan Wilson Watts (January 6, 1915 – November 16, 1973) was a philosopher, writer, speaker, and expert in comparative religion. He wrote over twenty-five books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, consciousness and the pursuit of happiness, relating his experience to scientific knowledge and to the teachings of Eastern and Western religions or philosophies (Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism). Beyond this, he was sensitive to certain new leanings in the West, and was in a position to be a proponent for certain shifts in attitudes regarding society, the natural world, lifestyles, and aesthetics. Alan Watts was a well-known autodidact. He was most renowned as an interpreter of Asian philosophies.

Early years

Watts was born to middle class parents in the village of Chislehurst, Kent, England in 1915. His father was a tire salesman, his mother a housewife whose own father had been a missionary. With modest financial means, they chose to live in bucolic surroundings and Alan, an only child, grew up learning the names of wildflowers and butterflies, playing at creekside, and performing funeral ceremonies for birds. Probably due to the influence of his mother’s religious family, the Buchans, an interest in "ultimate things" seeped in. But it mixed with Alan’s own interests in storybook fables and romantic tales of the mysterious Far East. Watts also later wrote of a mystical sort of vision he experienced while ill with a fever as a child. During this time he was was also influenced by Far Eastern landscape paintings and embroideries that had been given to his mother by missionaries returning from China. With regard to the examples of Chinese paintings he was able to see in England, Watts wrote "I was aesthetically fascinated with a certain clarity, transparency, and spaciousness in Chinese and Japanese art. It seemed to float..." [as presented in his autobiography]. These works of art emphasized the participative relationship of man in nature, a theme that would be important to him throughout his life.

By his own assessment, Watts was imaginative, headstrong, and talkative. He was sent to boarding schools (which, as well as an academic dimension, had a religious one) from early years. During holidays in his teen years, Francis Croshaw, a wealthy epicurean with strong interests in both Buddhism and the exotic, little-known aspects of European culture, took Watts on a trip through France. It was not long later that Watts felt forced to decide between the Anglican Christianity he had been exposed to and the Buddhism he had read about in various libraries, including Croshaw’s. He chose Buddhism, and sought membership in the London Buddhist Lodge which had been established by Theosophists, and was now run by the barrister Christmas Humphreys. Watts became the organization’s secretary at 16. The young Watts experimented with several styles of meditation during these years.

Though Watts was frequently at the top of his classes scholastically, and was given responsibilities at school, he botched an opportunity for a scholarship to Oxford by styling a crucial examination essay in a way that was read as presumptuous and capricious.

Hence, when he graduated from secondary school, Watts was thrust into the world of employment, working in a printing house and later a bank. He spent his spare time involved with the Buddhist Lodge and also under the tutelage of a "rascal guru" named Dimitrije Mitrinovic. He also read widely in philosophy, history, psychology, psychiatry, and Eastern wisdom.

Through Humphreys he was able to come into contact with eminent spiritual authors (e.g., Nicholas Roerich, Dr. Radhakrishnan) and prominent theosophists like Alice Bailey. London afforded him considerable other opportunities, as well. He attended the World Congress of Faiths at the University of London in 1936, heard D.T. Suzuki read a paper, and afterwards was able to meet this esteemed scholar. Besides these discussions and personal encounters, by studying the available scholarly literature, he absorbed the fundamental concepts and terminology of the main philosophies of India and East Asia. In 1936, at 21 years old, Watts got his first book published, The Spirit of Zen, which he acknowledged later to be mainly digested from the translated writings of Suzuki.

In 1939, at the age of 24, he and his bride left England to live in America. He had married Eleanor Everett, whose mother Ruth Fuller Everett was involved with a traditional Zen Buddhist circle in New York. A few years later, Ruth Fuller married the Zen master (or "roshi"), Sokei-an Sasaki, and this Japanese gentleman served as a sort of model and mentor to Alan, though Watts was too independent to remain within a formal Zen training relationship with Sasaki. During these years, according to his later writings, Watts had another mystical experience while on a walk with his wife.

Due to his need to find a professional role and his desire to sidestep America’s military draft in the early 1940s, Watts entered an Anglican (Episcopalian) school (Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, in Evanston), where he studied Christian scriptures, theology, and Church history. He attempted to work out a blend of contemporary Christian worship, mystical Christianity, and Asian philosophy. Watts was awarded a masters degree in theology in response to the thesis which he published as a popular edition under the title Behold the Spirit. The pattern was set, in that Watts did not hide his dislike for religious outlooks that were dour, guilt-ridden, or militantly proselytizing, whether found within Judaism, Christianity, or certain "life-denying" forms of Hinduism and Buddhism.

All seemed to go reasonably well in his next role, as Episcopalian priest (beginning in 1945), until an extramarital affair resulted in his young wife having their marriage annulled. It also resulted in Watts leaving the ministry by 1950. He spent New Years getting to know Joseph Campbell, his wife, Jean Eardman, and John Cage. In the spring of 1951 he moved westward to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies, in San Francisco. Here he taught alongside Saburo Hasegawa, Frederick Spiegelberg, Haridas Chuadhuri, lama Tokwan Tada, and various visiting experts and professors. Hasegawa, in particular, served as a teacher to Watts in the areas Japanese customs, arts, primitivism, and perceptions of nature.

Always an avid and self-directed learner, Watts studied written Chinese and practiced Chinese brush calligraphy with Hasegawa. While Watts was noted for an interest in Zen Buddhism, with its origins in China, his reading and discussions delved into Vedanta, "the new physics", cybernetics, semantics, process philosophy, natural history, and the anthropology of sexuality.

Middle years

After heading up the Academy for a few years, Watts left the faculty for a freelance career in the mid 1950s. He began a regular radio program at Pacifica radio station KPFA in Berkeley, which was later carried by additional Pacifica stations. In 1957 he published one of his best known books, The Way of Zen, which focused on philosophical explication and history. Besides drawing on the lifestyle and philosophical background of Zen, in India and China, Watts introduced ideas drawn from semantics and cybernetics (Norbert Wiener's early work on cybernetics had been recently published). Watts offered analogies from cybernetic principles possibly applicable to the Zen life. The book sold well, eventually becoming a modern classic, and helped widen his lecture circuit.

Around this time, Watts toured parts of Europe with his father, meeting the renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung. In relation to modern psychology, Watts' instincts were closer to Jung's or Abraham Maslow's than to those of Freud.

When he returned to the U.S., he began to dabble in psychedelic drug experiences, initially with mescaline given to him by Dr. Oscar Janiger. He soon tried LSD several times with various research teams led by Drs. Keith Ditman, Sterling Bunnell, and Michael Agron. Watts’ books of the sixties reveal the influence of these chemical adventures on his outlook.

For a time, Watts came to prefer writing in the language of modern science and psychology (Psychotherapy East and West is a good example), finding a parallel between mystical experiences and the theories of the material universe proposed by twentieth-century physicists. He later equated mystical experience with ecological awareness, and emphasized whichever approach seemed best suited to the audience he was addressing.

Watts' explorations and teaching brought him into contact with many noted intellectuals, artists, and American teachers in the human potential movement. His friendship with poet Gary Snyder nurtured his sympathies with the budding environmental movement, to which Watts gave philosophical support.

In certain ways, Watts' philosophy was similar to that of Hegel, except that Watts emphasized feelings instead of understandings alone, and as time went on Watts more and more sought practical and everyday applications for his outlook.

Some people who knew him said Watts was one of the best conversationalists they had ever known, while others enjoyed his playfulness.

Though never affiliated for long with any one academic institution, he did have a fellowship for a couple of years at Harvard University. He also lectured to many college and university students. His lectures and books gave Watts far-reaching influence on the American intelligentsia of the 1950s-1970s. But Watts was often seen as an outsider in academia. While some college and university professors found his writing and lectures interesting, others said things like: "He's not really a scholar of Eastern philosophy. He's not that disciplined. Alan Watts doesn't teach Eastern philosophy, he teaches 'Alan Watts'."

Watts often alluded to or wrote about a group of neighbors in Druid Heights (near Mill Valley, California), who had used physical effort along with architecture, gardening, and carpentry skills to make a beautiful and comfortable life for themselves. He was clearly impressed with what human creativity and commitment could achieve.

Regarding his intentions, it can be argued that Watts (like his fellow expat and British friend, Aldous Huxley) attempted to lessen ill will, and simple embarrassment at being human. He felt this teaching could improve the world. He also articulated the possibilities for greater incorporation of aesthetics (for example: better architecture, more art, more fine cuisine) in American life.

Later years

In his writings of the 1950s, Watts expressed what the zen-type inner experience might lead to on the personal level - more spontaneity, a more relaxed attitude, and generally being more fully human. He also conveyed his admiration for the practicality in the historical achievements of Chan or Zen in the Far East, for it had fostered farmers, architects, builders, folk physicians, artists, and administrators among the monks who had lived in the monasteries of its lineages.

In his mature work, it becomes clear that Watts was not especially committed to the Zen Buddhism with which he tended to be identified in the popular mind, but saw himself as Taoist in spirit, and was very interested in "civilizing" and making more humane the post-Christian industrial culture of the modern West. Child rearing, the arts, cuisine, education, law and freedom, architecture, sexuality, and the uses and abuses of technology were all of great interest to him.

In his writings, Watts alluded to his own political shift from Republican conservatism to a more open-minded legal and political outlook. However, his opinions did not lean to the political left. He was more libertarian, distrusting both the left and right. He disliked much in the conventional idea of "progress". He hoped for change, but he preferred amiable, semi-isolated rural social enclaves, and also believed in tolerance for urban tenderloins, social misfits, and weirdo artists. Like J.R.R. Tolkien, Watts hated the suburbanization of the countryside and the way of life that went with it.

In one campus lecture tour, which Watts titled "The End to the Put-Down of Man," Watts presented positive images for both nature and humanity, spoke in favor of the various stages of human growth (including the teenage years), reproached excessive cynicism and rivalry, and extolled intelligent creativity, good architecture and food.

Watts felt that ethics had nothing to do with the fundamental realization of one’s deep spiritual identity. He advocated social rather than personal ethics (an emphasis which, perhaps, led to problems in his own relationships). In his writings, Watts was increasingly concerned with ethics applied to relations between humanity and the natural environment and between governments and citizens. He wrote out of an appreciation of a racially and culturally diverse social landscape. At the same time, he favored representative government rather than direct democracy (which he felt could readily degenerate into a mobocracy).

He often said that he wished to act as a bridge between the ancient and the modern, between East and West, and between culture and nature.

Watts led some tours for Westerners to the Buddhist temples of Japan. He also studied the traditional Chinese energy exercise Tai Chi Chuan, a set of dancelike movements, under an Asian master, Al Chung-liang Huang. Watts lived his later years at times on a houseboat in San Francisco Bay and at times in a secluded cabin at Mt. Tamalpais. He struggled increasingly with alcohol addiction, which probably shortened his life. He died at home, while asleep next to his third wife, in 1973 at the age of 58.

Philosophy summarized

Alan Watts was a popular post-modern philosophical writer. His writing reflects the fact that he sought liberation from the bounds of the culture and psychology he had inherited in Britain. Despite the intellectual opportunities he knew had been afforded by the schools he had attended in childhood, he felt the general cultural influence (particularly the religious ideas) had been restrictive and repressive. He believed Christendom, as a culture, had developed through the centuries in a way that had not fully accepted human nature, and therefore often stifled people and set them at odds with nature, rather than effectively teaching them to discipline themselves.

Although Watts had a lifelong interest in things extraordinaire (parapsychology, mysticism, thaumaturgy, and the lives of saints, spiritual giants, and religious geniuses), he saw himself as an ordinary person: a good thinker and public speaker, an accomplished writer, to be sure, but neither heroic nor powerful in the sense of wealth and fame. He was convinced that a human being is an expression of God (to use a Western word). In accordance, he developed a philosophy for the ordinary person of the industrialized world – a world that was too often rushed and sometimes felt imperiled by its own military possibilities or by the environmental backlash of technological blunders and over-population.

His was a philosophy informed by the lifeways of Asia, intended to be shared with those people whom modern life had afforded some leisure time they might devote to contemplation, self-development, sensuality, enjoyment of nature, and fun. He was aware of his own inordinate proclivities and follies. Yet Watts was a man who felt that there was no reason that life shouldn't be lived with gusto. He loved good food, good literature, fine wines and tobaccos, beautiful scenery and women. Intelligent people seemed to strike him as one of the beauties that life offered; unintelligent people bored him. His mature philosophy abounds in reflections of these facts. Though he personally knew many brilliant individuals, he directed most of his writings to the growing number of reasonably intelligent and moderately educated people maturing in America and elsewhere.

In the decades since the middle 1960s, much of Watts’ personal sensibility has become evident as a notable theme among attitudes and in the lives of North Americans and Western Europeans, even among many people who have only the vaguest acquaintance with Eastern philosophy, or cultural analysis, or schools of thought in law or education."

[Quelle: -- 2005-04-27]

Allan Watts und Buddhismus:

Im Vorwort zu

Watts, Alan <1915-1973>: The way of Zen. -- [New York] : Pantheon, [1957]. -- 236 S. : Ill.

 schreibt Watts

"I cannot represent myself as a Zenist, or even as a Buddhist, for this seems to me to be like trying to wrap up and label the sky. I cannot represent myself as a scientifically objective academician, for---with respect to Zen---this seems to me to be like studying bird-songs in a collection of stuffed nightingales. I claim no rights to speak of Zen. I claim only the pleasure of having studied its literature and observed its art forms since I was hardly more than a boy, and of having had the delight of informal association with a number of Japanese and Chinese travelers of the same trackless way."

4.3. Harold Norse (1916 - )

Abb.: Harold Norse, 1988
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]


"Harold Norse: born 1916, New York City. B.A., Brooklyn College 1938; M.A., New York University 1951. At age 22 in 1939 he became a member of W. H. Auden's inner circle, cited by scholar/critic Nicholas Jenkins in The New Yorker, April 1, 1996. William Carlos Williams called him "the best poet of your generation". The 10-year correspondence between Norse and Williams (1951-1961) was published by Bright Tyger, San Francisco 1990. Williams wrote the Preface to Norse's translations of G. G. Belli, the 19th-century Roman dialect poet, published by Jargon Books, 1960; then by Villiers Ltd. London, 1974 and a second US edition Perivale Press 1974. That year City Lights published Norse's Hotel Nirvana: Selected Poems, establishing him among the leading Beat poets. He was nominated for the 1974 National Book Award.

Norse lived in the "Beat Hotel" in Paris, 1960-63, with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. There he wrote his experimental cut-up novel, Beat Hotel, published in German by Maro Verlag, Augsburg 1973, now in its 30th printing; Atticus, San Diego, Cal. 1983, and in Italian, Caneggio, 1985.

With Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976, Gay Sunshine Press 1977, Norse became the leading gay liberation poet. His Memoirs of a Bastard Angel (William Morrow), 1989, preface by James Baldwin, further established his reputation. The book documents his relationships with W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, e.e. cummings, Tennessee Williams, William Carlos Williams, James Baldwin, Dylan Thomas, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Bukowski, Robert Graves, Anais Nin, Paul and Jane Bowles and many more. Love Poems, Crossing Press 1986, received wide critical acclaim.

Norse has produced 12 books of poetry and 3 of prose. He has received 2 NEA poetry grants and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Poetry Association. His work has been praised by major writers including Robert Graves, James Baldwin, Christopher Isherwood, Charles Bukowski, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Anaïs Nin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti et al.

He has been translated into German, French, Italian, Greek, Dutch, Tamil, Japanese, Arabic, etc., and has appeared in many anthologies: New Directions 13, ed. James Laughlin, 1951; New World Writing 13, ed. Reed Whittemore; Mentor, New American Library, 1958; City Lights Journal, ed. L. Ferlinghetti, #1, 1963; #4 1978; Best Poems of 1968: Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards, ed. Hildegarde Flanner, 1969; Poems from Italy, translations, ed. William Jay Smith, Crowell, 1972; City Lights Anthology, ed. Ferlinghetti, City Lights 1974; A Geography of Poets, ed. Edward Field, Bantam 1979; The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse, ed. Stephen Coote, Penguin 1983; An Ear to the Ground, ed. Harris & Aguero, University of Chicago Press, 1989; Big Sky Mind: Buddhism & the Beat Generation, ed. Carole Tonkinson, Riverhead Books, NY, 1995; City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology, City Lights, 1995; Mondadori (in Italian) 1997. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Harold Norse und Buddhismus:

"Norse began to learn about Buddhism in Florence in 1956 through a book given to him by a friend. Shortly thereafter the poet became ill with viral pneumonia and went to convalesce in Spain; he brought his newfound meditative practices with him. When Norse received a letter from William Carlos Williams, he was stunned to read that poets back home had started to pursue the same interest. On February 14, 1957, Williams had written to urge him to return to the States to take part in a new literary movement: "They are headed by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac ... A feature of the united front that these men present is that they are all Zen Buddhists, one of their most influential members [Gary Snyder] is at the present time living in a monastery in Japan. . . ." Norse recorded his reaction in his memoirs: "I was astonished, for I too was practicing Buddhist meditation. My friend Edgar had given me a book published in Ceylon called The Way of Mindfulness by Bhikku Soma. He also sent me the name of a German Buddhist monk in his eighties to whom I wrote for advice while practicing meditation. The effect on me of learning that Allen Ginsberg was doing this in New York was electric, not to mention that he had become a leader in a literary movement."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 161f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Norses buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.4. Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919 - )

Abb.: Lawrence Ferlinghetti


"Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919) is a poet who is best known as the co-owner of the City Lights Bookstore and publishing house, which published early literary works of the Beat Generation, including Jack Kerouac, Kenneth Rexroth and Allen Ginsberg.

Ferlinghetti was born of an Italian-Portuguese-Sephardic immigrant family in Yonkers, New York, he attended the Mount Hermon School and then University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and then served in the United States Navy during World War II. After the war, he got a master's degree from Columbia University and a doctorate from the Sorbonne. While studying in Paris, he met Kenneth Rexroth, who later persuaded him to go to San Francisco to experience the growing literary scene there. Between 1951 and 1953 he taught French, wrote literary criticism, and painted.

In 1953, Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin started a bookshop, which they named City Lights after a film magazine Martin had started. Two years later, after Martin had left for New York, Ferlinghetti started the publishing house, specialising in poetry. The most famous publication was Howl, the poem by Allen Ginsberg, which was initially impounded by the authorities, and subject of a groundbreaking legal case.

Ferlinghetti had a retreat in a fairly wild area of Coastal California, Big Sur. He always enjoyed nature, and he espoused a liberal spirituality imbued with kindness. These aspects of his character inclined him toward friendships with American practitioners of Buddhism, like Ginsberg and Gary Snyder.

Ferlinghetti's best-known collection of poetry is A Coney Island of the Mind, which has been translated into nine languages. In 1998 he was named Poet Laureate of San Francisco. In addition to writing and publishing poetry and running the bookstore, Ferlinghetti continues to paint, and his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums.

Ferlinghetti's poetry often reflects his views about politics and social issues of the time, and he challenges the current thoughts about an artist's role in the world."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Bewertung Ferlinghettis in deutscher Literaturwissenschaft:

"Ferlinghetti, Lawrence, amerikanischer Lyriker, * 24. 3. 1919 Yonkers, N. Y. Als Kind und Soldat in Frankreich; Studiert an Columbia University und Sorbonne; seit 1951 in San Francisco, wo seine Buchhandlung zum Mittelpunkt der literarischen und geistigen Bewegung der 'Beat Generation' u. der Poetry Renaissance von San Francisco wurde; in der von ihm gegründeten 'City Lights Press' verlegt er moderne avantgardistische Lyrik ('Pocket Poets Series'); aktiv in der Anti-Vietnam-Bewegung. - Verfasser zeitkritischer, deskriptiver und satirischer Gedichte, die in scharf gesehenen, oft von der Malerei inspirierten Bildern die Fülle des Diesseitigen einfangen sollen. An Whitman erinnernd. Bemühung um gesprochene, z. T. unter Jazzbegleitung vorgetragene Dichtung. Übs. J. Prévert (1958)."

[Quelle: Lexikon der Weltliteratur : Autoren und Werke / Gero von Wilpert. -- Berlin : Directmedia Publ., 2000. -- 1 CD-ROM. -- (Digitale Bibliothek ; 13). -- ISBN 3-89853-113-9. -- s.v.]

"DAS LYRISCHE WERK von Lawrence Ferlinghetti

(amer.). – Wie bei vielen Lyrikern der sogenannten Beatgeneration, zu deren Vätern Ferlinghetti zählt, sind auch bei ihm lyrisches Werk, Person und andere Aktivitäten schwer zu trennen. Nach frühem Verlust seiner Eltern und wechselvoller Kindheit studierte Ferlinghetti an der University of North Carolina, an der Columbia University und der Sorbonne in Paris, wo er 1949 promoviert wurde. Zurück in den USA, ließ er sich als Lehrer, Kritiker, Lyriker und Buchhändler in San Francisco nieder. 1954 erweiterte er seine »City Light Books«-Buchhandlung zum Verlag, in dem er 1956 Allen Ginsbergs Howl and Other Poems veröffentlichte. Der Zensurprozess um Howl brachte nicht nur Ginsberg, sondern auch Ferlinghetti als Verleger internationale Bekanntheit, und »City Light Books« wurde zum Vorbild zahlloser kleiner, unabhängiger Verlage, die Ende der fünfziger Jahre gegründet wurden.

In der Lyrik Ferlinghettis finden sich Methoden und Ideen des französischen Surrealismus der dreißiger Jahre mit der radikalen politischen Tradition des amerikanischen Populismus verschmolzen. Schon in seinem ersten Gedichtband Pictures of the Gone World, 1955 (Bilder der vergangenen Welt), erscheint der Dichter als Künder des gesellschaftlich Unkorrumpierten, das er sprachlich paradox in Szene setzt. In seinen Allusionen, Deklarationen und »abstrakt expressionistischen« Szenarien betont Ferlinghetti immer wieder die Notwendigkeit einer politischen Stellungnahme des Künstlers, denn »Truth is not the secret of a few« (»Die Wahrheit ist nicht das Geheimnis einiger weniger«). Stilistische Vorbilder sind E. E. Cummings und Kenneth Patchen neben Jacques Prévert; Guillaume Apollinaire und Blaise Cendrars.
Eine eigene Form findet Ferlinghetti kurz darauf in der Kombination von Jazz und Lesung. 1958 erscheint eine Sammlung dieser neuen Jazz-Gedichte unter dem Titel A Coney Island of the Mind (vgl. dort). Der Titel-Zyklus präsentiert der Vorbemerkung des Autors nach eine Art »circus of the soul«. In Impressionen aus San Francisco, Erinnerungen und Reiseeindrücken, ironischen Meditationen über das Weltgeschehen, das amerikanische Leben, Dichtung und Kunst, die Liebe entwickelt Ferlinghetti hier die für ihn typische Kritik am amerikanischen Kapitalismus und der Konsumgesellschaft. Durchgehend wird das Bild einer apokalyptischen, entmenschlichten Welt entworfen. Teil II der Sammlung (Oral Messages) enthält sieben für Jazzbegleitung konzipierte längere Gedichte, die durch Wiederholungen, Parallelismen und Variationen eines Themas versuchen, musikalische Elemente in eine Sprechrhythmik umzusetzen. Zentral das Selbstporträt Autobiography, das persönliche Reminiszenzen mit surreal-poetischen Augenblickseindrücken zu einer persönlichen Litanei montiert. Auch hier überwiegt eine kulturkritisch-pessimistische Sichtweise. Es finden sich deutliche Anspielungen auf die Kalte-Kriegs-Stimmung der Eisenhower-Zeit: So wartet der Protagonist vergeblich auf eine »rebirth of wonder«, in der sich endlich das wahre, demokratische Amerika zeigen werde (I am Waiting).

In den sechziger Jahren beteiligt sich Ferlinghetti an drei literarischen Zeitschriften, die der Literatur der Beats gewidmet sind: ›Beatitude‹ (1960), ›Journal For The Protection Of All Beings‹ (1961) und sein eigenes ›City Light Journal‹ (1962). In seinen Gedichten wechseln sich euphorische Momente mit düsteren Visionen ab. Der 1961 veröffentlichte Gedichtband Starting from San Francisco (Abfahrt in San Franzisko) setzt sein soziales und politisches Engagement fort, indem er eine Reise durch ein entfremdetes Amerika beschreibt, das von Reklametafeln verunziert, vom Auto beherrscht ist. »Who stole America?« (»Wer hat Amerika gestohlen?«) fragt er entsetzt. »Attacken« gegen die Politiker schließen den Band ab (Tentative Description of a Dinner to Promote the Impeachment of President Eisenhower; One Thousand Fearful Words for Fidel Castro).

Unter dem Einfluss der Hippiebewegung ab Mitte der sechziger Jahre zieht auch in die Lyrik Ferlinghettis ein optimistischerer Ton ein. Zwar warnt er in Interviews wiederholt vor der Naivität der »Counterculture«, in Gedichten wie After the Cries of the Birds Have Stopped in dem Band The Secret Meaning of Things, 1969 (Die geheime Bedeutung der Dinge), jedoch stellt sich die Zukunft als »new visionary society« dar, in der langhaarige Mystiker umherwandern und sich San Francisco vom Rest der USA abgespalten hat. In The Situation of the West Followed by a Holy Proposal erklärt er pathetisch: »we'll still have the sun / in which to recognize ourselves at last across the World / over the obscene boundaries!« (»wir werden alle immer noch die Sonne haben, in der wir uns schließlich über die obszönen Grenzen hinweg in der ganzen Welt wiedererkennen!«)

Die Metapher der Reise zur Beschreibung des äußeren wie inneren Zustandes der Welt dominiert auch Ferlinghettis Sammlung Open Eye, Open Heart, 1973 (Offenes Auge, offenes Herz). In dem gleichbetitelten ersten Teil macht sich der Dichter zunächst selbst zum Gegenstand des poetischen Diskurses, um dann in Teil II, Poems in Transit, Reisebeobachtungen zu versammeln. In den Kapiteln Public & Political Poems und American Mantra & Song knüpft Ferlinghetti wieder an sein Diktum von der Funktion des Dichters als Wahrheitskünder an und versucht, allerdings nicht immer überzeugend, die Situation im kriegsgeschüttelten Vietnam und in den Diktaturen in Griechenland und Spanien mit dem Alltag in Amerika in Verbindung zu bringen.

Ihren Höhepunkt findet Ferlinghettis Versuch einer politischen Lyrik ohne Verlust ihrer poetischen Dimension schließlich in der zweiten Hälfte der siebziger Jahre in sogenannten »Populist Manifestos«, die in den Bänden Who Are We Now?, 1976 (Wer sind wir jetzt?), und Landscapes of Living & Dying, 1979 (Landschaften des Lebens und Sterbens), zwischen Prosagedichten, filmischen Analogien, Allusionen an die bildende Kunst und allgemeinen Ansichten des Lebens dezidiert die poetische Sprache in den Dienst des politischen Kommentars und Aufrufs stellen.

»Poets, come out of your closets, / Open your windows, open your doors, / You have been holed-up too long / in your closed worlds«, heißt es in seinem ersten Manifest, und: »Poetry isn't a secret society, / It isn't a temple either. / Secret words &amp; chants won't do any longer / . . . / Time now to open your mouths / with a new open speech, / time now to communicate with all sentient beings«

(»Dichter, kommt aus euren Kammern, öffnet eure Fenster, öffnet eure Türen, ihr habt euch schon viel zu lange in euren geschlossenen Welten verkrochen. . . . Lyrik ist keine Geheimgesellschaft und auch kein Tempel. Geheime Worte & Lieder bringen es nicht mehr . . . Es ist Zeit, den Mund aufzumachen, mit einer neuen offenen Sprache, Zeit, mit allen empfindenden Wesen zu kommunizieren«).

Als Ergebnis von Ferlinghettis ausgedehnten Reisen in Europa erscheint 1984 der Band Over All the Obscene Boundaries (Über all die obszönen Grenzen hinweg), in dessen poetischen Vignetten er seine Konfrontation mit Alltag und Kultur der Alten Welt reflektiert.

Abgesehen von Coney Island of the Mind und konträr zu seiner Aufnahme beim Publikum ist Ferlinghettis Lyrik von der Kritik eher zurückhaltend aufgenommen worden. Seine Verbindung von Jazz und Lyrik, sein Einsatz der Alltagssprache, des Obszönen und der Lesung, um die Lyrik in den Alltagsdiskurs zurückzuholen, sowie seine Ablehnung der akademischen Lyrik als inauthentisch machen ihn jedoch zu einer der einflussreichsten Figuren der amerikanischen Gegenwartslyrik."

[Quelle: Hans-Peter Rodenberg. -- In: Kindlers neues Literatur-Lexikon. -- München : Systhema, 1999. - 1 CD-ROM. -- ISBN 3-634-23231-5. -- s.v.]

Lawrence Ferlinghetti und Buddhismus:

"Ferlinghetti's role as a publisher was powerful. He brought out work by Diane di Prima, Bob Kaufman, and many others. And while he turned down Kerouac's offer to compile an anthology of Buddhist poetry (Kerouac's own mixed with that of Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen), he did offer to publish Kerouac's The Scripture of the Golden Eternity. As a bookstore owner he took risks by stocking his shelves with then-incendiary material such as Lenore Kandel's The Love Book. Furthermore, Ferlinghetti's poetry, particularly his spontaneous compositions to jazz, was also influential.

In the sixties, Ferlinghetti, a public defender of free speech, became ever more engaged in politics. As an anarchist, he eschewed traditional religions, but found himself attracted to what he called "the anti-authoritarianism of Zen Buddhism." He embarked on a course of sitting meditation in the sixties and experimented with mantra chanting, using both the Hare Krishna mantra and the Heart Sutra. This mantra practice found its expression poetically in his collection Open Eye, Open Heart, which Ferlinghetti once described as an attempt to create "an American mantra" using English words in rhythmic patterns. Ferlinghetti also studied with the spiritual teacher Jiddhu Krishnamurti in Ojai, California. He became close with Alan Watts, and Ferlinghetti wrote a remembrance of Watts's death ceremony: "... they were all now chanting the Great Prajna Paramita Sutra slowly and solemnly and with great force and beauty and I was thinking this should surely change the world as when they chant it altogether at the Zen Center in San Francisco I hope it changes at least the nearby Fillmore ghetto into a place of light & enlightenment where no more hunger or evil will ever exist.""

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 306f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Ferlinghettis buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.5. Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969)

Abb.: Jack Kerouac


"Jack Kerouac (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist, writer, poet, artist, and one of the most prominent members of the Beat Generation. His writings, most of which were autobiographical, revolved most of the time around his own adventures throughout the world, and also around some of his own ponderings and reflections that ensued during the course of his life.

Most of his life was spent in the vast landscapes of America and with the people that live among them. Faced with a fast-changing America, Kerouac sought to find his place in this climate and tried to effect a change, bringing him to reject the values of the fifties that celebrated growing consumerism and the new suburban lifestyle, among many other things. His writings actually often reflect a profound desire to break free from society's mold and to try to find a deeper meaning to life, which eventually led him to start experimenting with different drugs (he once tried psilocybin with Timothy Leary), to study spiritual teachings such as those offered by Buddhism, and to embark on numerous trips throughout the world. His books are also sometimes credited as having contributed in sparking the counterculture of the 1960s.


Early years

Born Jean-Louis Lebrid de Kerouac, in Lowell, Massachusetts, to a family of Franco-Americans. His parents, Leo-Alcide Kerouac and Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque, were natives of the province of Quebec in Canada. Like many other Quebecers of their generation, the Lévesques and Kerouacs emigrated to New England to find employment. Jack didn't start to learn English until the age of six. At home, he and his family spoke Quebec French. At an early age, he was profoundly marked by the death of his elder brother Gérard, later prompting him to write the book Visions of Gerard.

Later, his athletic prowess led him to become a star on his local football team, and this achievement earned him a scholarship to Columbia University in New York. It was in New York that Kerouac met the people whom he was to journey around the world with, and return to write about: the so-called Beat Generation, which included people like Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs. After breaking his leg and arguing with his coach, his football scholarship did not pan out, so Kerouac left to join the Merchant Marine in 1942. In 1943, he joined the United States Navy but discharged during World War II on psychiatric grounds.

Later years

In between his sea voyages, Kerouac stayed in New York with his friends from Columbia. He started writing his first novel, called The Town and the City, which was published in 1950 and earned him some respect as a writer.

Kerouac wrote constantly, despite not publishing another novel until 1957 when On the Road, published by Viking Press, finally appeared in print. From the point of view of the character Sal Paradise, this mostly autobiographical work of fiction dealt with his roadtrip adventures across the United States and into Mexico with Neal Cassady (represented as Dean Moriarty). The novel is often described as the defining work of the post-World War II jazz-, poetry-, and drug-affected Beat Generation and earned him the right to be noted as the stereotypical king of the beat generation. Allegedly using Benzedrine and coffee, Kerouac wrote the entire novel in only two weeks in an extended session of spontaneous prose, or stream of consciousness. This style of writing was heavily influenced by Kerouac's appreciation for the improvisational nature of American Jazz music. Kerouac was hailed as a major American writer, and reluctantly as the voice of the Beat Generation.

His friendship with Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and George Whitman, among others, defined a generation. Kerouac also wrote and narrated a "Beat" movie titled Pull My Daisy in 1958.

In 1954, Kerouac discovered Dwight Goddard's A Buddhist Bible at the San Jose Library, which then marked the beginning of his studies of Buddhism and his own personal quest for enlightenment. He chronicled parts of this, as well as some of his adventures with Gary Snyder, in the book "The Dharma Bums", set in Northern California and published in 1958. Kerouac developed something of a friendship with the scholar Alan Watts (cryptically named Arthur Wayne in Kerouac's novel Big Sur, and Alex Aums in Desolation Angels). He also met and had discussions with the famous Japanese Zen Buddhist authority D.T. Suzuki. At some point in his life Kerouac wrote Wake Up, a biography of Siddhartha Gautama (better known as the Buddha) that remains unpublished.

Kerouac died prior to finishing his "Duluoz Legend" project, which exists only as an incomplete autobiographical manuscript.

Death and afterwards

He died on October 21, 1969 at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida from an internal hemorrhage at the age of 47, the unfortunate result of a life of heavy drinking, seen by some as a way to overcome his shyness. He was living at the time with his third wife Stella, and his mother Gabrielle. He is buried in his home town of Lowell.

A DVD entitled "Kerouac: King of the Beats" features several minutes of his appearance on Firing Line, William F. Buckley's television show, during Kerouac's later years when alcoholism had taken control. He is seen often incoherent and very drunk.

Books also continue to be published that were written by Kerouac, many unfinished by him. A book of his haikus and dreams also were published, giving interesting insight into how his mind worked.

In August 2001, most of his letters, journals, notebooks and manuscripts were sold to the New York Public Library for an undisclosed sum. Presently, Douglas Brinkley has exclusive access to parts of this archive until 2005. The first collection of edited journals, Wind Blown World, was published in 2004.

Published works

Kerouac's most familiar work is On the Road. During his years of rejection by publishers, he wrote a number of mostly autobiographical books, some of which he carried around in manuscript form in his rucksack. His body of work includes:


Kerouac's writings maintain a sense of urgency while embarking on a journey during which he explores the society surrounding him by mystifying those experiences. Kerouac's writings contained a social and sexual recklessness (and descriptions of quasi-criminal activities) that surprised and upset readers at the time they were published.

There is a book featuring much of Jack's early writings when he was first beginning as a writer, entitled Atop an Underwood. A journal of some his dreams was also published after his death, in a book called Book of Dreams."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-07]

Bewertung Kerouacs in deutscher Literaturwissenschaft:

"Kerouac, Jack, amerikanischer Schriftsteller, 13. 3. 1922 Lowell, Mass. - 21. 10. 1969 St. Petersburg/Florida. Sohn eines Druckers; Columbia University; bis 1950 Tramptouren durch USA und Mexiko, Gelegenheitsarbeiter. - Mit Allen Ginsberg beeinflusst er die Revolte der Beat Generation gegen die kommerzialisierte Gesellschaft; Vorbild für die Counter Culture. An Whitman erinnernde Feier Amerikas und gesteigerter Lebensintensität, die in Sexualität, Jazz, Rauschmitteln den Weg zu einer mystischen Wirklichkeit sucht. Überschäumend spontane, mit Obszönitäten und Jazz-Slang gespickte Sprache. Alle Romane Kerouacs können als Teile einer großen Autobiographie angesehen werden (Vorbild: Thomas Wolfe)."

[Quelle: Lexikon der Weltliteratur : Autoren und Werke / Gero von Wilpert. -- Berlin : Directmedia Publ., 2000. -- 1 CD-ROM. -- (Digitale Bibliothek ; 13). -- ISBN 3-89853-113-9. -- s.v.]

Jack Kerouac und der Buddhismus:

Abb.: Titelbild einer Ausgabe der literarischen Zeitschrift Beatitude

[Bildquelle: Watson, Steven: Die Beat-Generation : Visionäre, Rebellen und Hipsters, 1944 - 1960. -- St. Andrä-Wördern : Hannibal, 1997. -- VIII, 382 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Originaltitel: The birth of the beat generation (1995). -- ISBN: 3-85445-155-5. -- S. 178]

"Beat-Seligkeit im Buddhismus

Während Ginsberg in Mexiko war, weilte Jack Kerouac zu Besuch bei den Cassadys, wo es zu einem merkwürdigen Kampf der »Götter« kam: Buddha gegen Edgar Cayce.

Auf einem Parkplatz, wo er arbeitete, hatte Neal ein Buch über Cayce entdeckt und war augenblicklich gefesselt von dem Glauben des hellsichtigen Mediums an Karma und Reinkarnation. Die Cassadys nannten ihren Cocker Spaniel nach ihrem neuen Guru, gingen mit religiösem Eifer zu den Zusammenkünften seiner Gruppe und fanden Trost in Cayces Glauben an vergangene Leben. Ein Medium sagte Cassady, er sei in seinen früheren Leben ein Mörder und ein Opiumabhängiger gewesen; während er dieser Deutung mit Tränen in den Augen lauschte, glaubte er sich im Lauf seiner vergangen Leben entwickelt zu haben und sah Hoffnung für die Zukunft. Carolyn fand eine neue Rationalisierung für ihre turbulente Ehe. »Reinkarnation muss die Erklärung dafür sein, warum du und ich zusammen sind«, sagte sie. »So fühle ich mich gleich viel besser.« Kerouac und Ginsberg jedoch hielten Neals Wechsel zwischen Leere und Manie als Symptome dafür, dass sich hier jemand an den letzten Strohhalm geistiger Gesundheit zu klammern versuchte. Psychologische Tests aus jener Zeit bestätigten ihnen ihre Ansicht; man diagnostizierte bei Cassady Wahnvorstellungen, er stand am Rande einer Psychose.

Kerouac, der für seinen Besuch bei den Cassadys den Bus nahm, hatte seine Reise über den Kontinent mit Meditieren und Büchern über Buddhismus verbracht. Erst wenige Monate zuvor war er konvertiert. Eines Tages (ungefähr im Januar 1954) war er auf dem Nachhauseweg von der Stadtbibliothek Richmond Hill in Ashvaghosas Life of the Buddha auf einen Satz gestoßen, der ihn sofort gefesselt hatte: »FRIEDE JENSEITS DES SCHICKSALS«. Noch am selben Abend meditierte er das erste Mal und »sah goldene Schwärme von Nichts«.

Kerouacs Bekehrung kam im Gefolge einer monatelangen Depression, die seinen Besuch bei den Cassadys verzögert hatte. Er hatte nicht zum ersten Mal das Gefühl, dass es mit seiner Jugend vorbei und er auf dem Tiefpunkt angekommen sei. »Es ist alles Kacke, ich möchte sterben«, schrieb er. In diesem Herbst hatte seine Freundin Alene Lee ihn wegen Gregory Corso verlassen. Kerouac quälte sich selbst, indem er ihr an ihrem Arbeitsplatz - sie war Serviererin - nachspionierte und ihr seine fiktionale Aufarbeitung ihrer Affäre zeigte: The Subterraneans. Es war dies der jüngste in einer Reihe unveröffentlichter Romane. Als er den Buddhismus entdeckte, war er einunddreißig, lebte bei seiner Mutter, hatte Probleme mit Unterhaltszahlungen, und niemand verlegte sein Werk.

Kerouac reagierte sofort auf die beiden fundamentalen Wahrheiten des Buddhismus: »Das Leben ist ein einziger Kummer.« Und: »Die Ursache allen Leids ist dummes Verlangen.« Im Mahayana-Buddhismus fand er zwei Modellgestalten, mit denen er sich zutiefst identifizierte: den Thathagata, der immer unterwegs ist und sich ohne weltliche Bindungen durch das Leben bewegt, und den Bodhisattva, der das persönliche Heil zugunsten einer Erlösung aller fühlenden Wesen ablehnt. Er entdeckte im Buddhismus eine Nachsicht und Milde, die dem Katholizismus abging.

Kerouac versuchte darauf verzweifelt, sein Ich zu überwinden und sich der Disziplin des Buddhismus unterzuordnen. Nach seinem Besuch bei den Cassadys richtete er sich in Richmond Hill in einem Leben der Entsagung ein. Er zog hinter dem Haus Kartoffeln und Bohnen, schwor dem Alkohol wie dem Sex ab und beschränkte sich auf eine Mahlzeit am Tag. Er meditierte, studierte Buddhismus und dachte sogar an eine neue, vom Buddhismus beeinflusste Version von On the Road. Nicht durch die Bank erfolgreich in seiner Disziplin, schrieb er Ginsberg: »Ich habe mich erst kürzlich wieder im >Remo< sinnlos besoffen und mich á la Subterraneans angewidert.« Burroughs reagierte auf Kerouacs neues Glaubensbekenntnis mit Erinnerungen an seine eigenen Erfahrungen mit Yoga Anfang der vierziger Jahre; wie gewöhnlich war Burroughs der erste gewesen.

Du solltest dich mit tibetanischem Buddhismus und Zen befassen. Und dem Tao. Lass Konfuzius aus. Er ist ein salbungsvoller alter Langweiler. Die meisten seiner Sprüche liegen auf dem Niveau von »Konfuzius sagt...« Meine gegenwärtige Orientierung steht dem Buddhismus diametral gegenüber und ist damit vielleicht eine Weiterentwicklung. Ich sage, wir sind hier in Menschengestalt, um von den menschlichen Hieroglyphen der Liebe und des Leids zu lernen. Es gibt keine tiefe Liebe, kein tiefes Gefühl ohne das Risiko, sich dabei bis zur Invalidität zu verletzen. Es ist eine Pflicht, dieses Risiko einzugehen, zu lieben und zu fühlen, ohne Schutz und Rückhalt. Ich spreche dabei nur für mich.

Kerouacs Besuch bei den Cassadys endete nach zwei Monaten mit einem erbitterten Streit um die Verteilung von etwas Marihuana. Kerouac stürmte hinaus und machte sich auf ins Cameo Hotel, wo er in einem Schaukelstuhl am Fenster seinen ersten Gedichtzyklus, »San Francisco Blues«, schrieb. Der Streit um das Marihuana hatte lediglich die Probleme zwischen ihnen auf den Punkt gebracht, beispielsweise ihre gegenseitige Eifersucht in bezug auf Carolyn, Jacks Mittellosigkeit und Neals zunehmenden Rückzug.

Einen empfänglicheren Jünger fand Kerouac in Ginsberg, und die Korrespondenz der beiden aus jener Zeit wurde von der Diskussion um den Buddhismus dominiert. Sich zu Ginsbergs Lehrer aufwerfend, schrieb Kerouac eine hundertseitige Zusammenfassung des Buddhismus mit dem Titel »Some of the Dharma« und schickte Ginsberg detaillierte Anregungen zur Meditation. Die Keime für Ginsbergs Spiritualität waren schon während seiner Studienzeit gesät worden, als er in Raymond Weavers Seminar zenbuddhistische Koans gelesen hatte. Damals hatte er in sein Tagebuch geschrieben: »Ich muss die Zeit finden, eine Saison in Tibet zu verbringen.« Und erst 1953, also noch vor Kerouacs Bekehrung, hatte er sich in Bücher über chinesische Malerei und »die Erhabenheit und Kultiviertheit (in der Bedeutung von Bildung und Erfahrung, nicht Unechtigkeit) des Ostens vertieft«. Er verglich Kerouacs Konversion mit seinem eigenen visionären Erlebnis von 1948: »Ich nehme an, deine Erfahrungen mit Buddha und die meinen mit Blake liegen auf einer Ebene.« Unter Kerouacs Anleitung nahm Ginsbergs neue spirituelle Suche Gestalt an, obwohl er sich zunächst gegen Kerouacs Betonung des Leidens als »eine bösartige Entdeckung von Jack« verwehrte. Jahre später - nach weiterer Unterweisung durch Gary Snyder und Philip Whalen sowie einer Japanreise - begann Ginsberg diszipliniert und täglich zu meditieren, legte ein Gelübde ab und wurde als »buddhistischer Jude« zum internationalen Botschafter dieser Religion. Zeitlebens jedoch nannte er Kerouac seinen ersten buddhistischen Guru.

Nur wenige konnten Kerouacs Hinwendung zum Buddhismus ernst nehmen, manch einer sah darin gar vornehmlich die Marotte eines Literaten, während andere wiederum sie schlicht für eine Erfindung hielten, die seinen psychischen Bedürfnissen zustatten kam. Da er Probleme mit den Knien hatte, hielt er es nur wenige Minuten in einer bestimmten Meditationsposition aus, und seine Version des buddhistischen Weisen ähnelte verdächtig sowohl Christus als auch seinem Bruder Gerard. Kerouac fand jedoch im Buddhismus die Erklärung für sein vergangenes und künftiges Leid. Im Dezember 1954 dachte er prophetisch über die beiden Alternativen nach, die dem Weisen offenstanden: »Ist er berühmt, verfolgt man ihn bis ins Grab; ist er ein Nichts, wird ihn keiner haben wollen.«"

[Quelle: Watson, Steven: Die Beat-Generation : Visionäre, Rebellen und Hipsters, 1944 - 1960. -- St. Andrä-Wördern : Hannibal, 1997. -- VIII, 382 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Originaltitel: The birth of the beat generation (1995). -- ISBN: 3-85445-155-5. -- S. 178 - 181]

"In 1954, Kerouac's reading of Thoreau's Walden led him to pursue a serious, self-taught program of Buddhist study, and his affinity for the teachings was immediate. Both Kerouac's sense of compassion for the down-and-out, the "beat," who populated his novels, and his revolutionary new method of "spontaneous bop prosody" found full expression in Buddhist thought. The Surangama Sutra, for example, affirmed Kerouac's own commitment to spontaneity; in the sutra, the Buddha counsels: "If you are now desirous of more perfectly understanding Supreme Enlightenment and the enlightening nature of pure Mind-Essence, you must learn to answer questions spontaneously with no recourse to discriminating thinking." Kerouac had discovered a version of this text in a San Jose library; shortly thereafter he went north, where he wrote San Francisco Blues, his first book of "blues"-inspired poetry and a work that reflects his newfound spiritual interest. Kerouac returned to his mother's home in April of 1954 determined to pursue a monastic, contemplative style of life. He then began an ambitious program of sitting meditation and sutra reading and incorporated Buddhist understanding into his own observations about the nature of consciousness, later describing the mind as a "beating light" that reveals the fluctuation, and hence the falseness, of all it illuminates.

Kerouac's discovery of Buddhism also coincided with his redefinition of the term "Beat." Not long after his initial reading of Buddhist texts, Kerouac went to visit his birthplace, Lowell, where he had a vision in a church. Having already coined the phrase "Beat Generation," he now came to understand the word "Beat" as meaning not simply down-and-out but also "Beatific, trying to be in a state of beatitude, like St. Francis, trying to love all life, being utterly sincere and kind and cultivating 'joy of heart.'" This flash of insight propelled Kerouac to attend to his Buddhist studies with still more fervor and despite acute phlebitis in his legs he immersed himself in the practice of sitting meditation. He also embarked on two Buddhist works, a life story of the Buddha, Wake Up, and a book of notes and translations based on his Buddhist readings, which he called Some of the Dharma.

Kerouac's hermetic, meditative existence intensified while he lived at his sister's home in North Carolina, but his practice of spending nearly all of his time in silent contemplation came under fire from his family, who equated his behavior with laziness. When in July of 1955 On the Road was finally accepted for publication, Kerouac immediately took his publisher's advance and set off for Mexico City in the hope of finding a more peaceful setting for his meditation. There he wrote the Buddhist-inspired poem Mexico City Blues and Tristessa, a novel that Kerouac thought exemplified Buddhism's First Noble Truth, the truth of suffering.

In August of 1955, he wrote to Allen Ginsberg from Mexico: "All I want as far as life-plans are concerned from here on out, is compassionate, contented solitude—Bhikkuhood is so hard to make in the West—it would have to be some American streamlined Bhikkuhood, because so far all I've done is attract attention . . ." But this was only the beginning of the attention Kerouac was to receive. In the fall, Kerouac went on to Berkeley, where he found Ginsberg busy planning what was to become the legendary Six Poets at the Six Gallery reading, the event that launched the Beats into mainstream consciousness. It was at this time, after Kerouac had already enjoyed sustained periods of practice and solitary study, that he met the "dharma bums," the West Coast poets who shared his interest in Buddhism, among them Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Lew Welch. For the first time, Kerouac was exposed to other Buddhists, ones who had been informed not only by reading but also by contacts with teachers and Asian-American communities. When Kerouac attended one of Kenneth Rexroth's famous literary evenings, he announced to everybody that he was a great Buddhist scholar, but, according to Rexroth, promptly quieted down after learning that everyone in the room spoke at least one Asian language.

Buddhist themes continued to dominate Kerouac's creative work; during this time he produced Visions of Gerard as well as adding to Some of the Dharma. In the spring of 1956, Kerouac returned to the West Coast to spend time with Gary Snyder before Snyder's departure for Japan. At Snyder's suggestion, Kerouac tried his hand at writing a sutra, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, before ascending to a peak in the Cascades for an eight-week stint as a fire lookout. Kerouac had been looking forward to this experience of solitude as an opportunity to practice meditation and write, dreaming of "Zen lunatics" and solitary mountain mystics such as Han Shan (or "Cold Mountain"), the seventh-century Chinese poet. His taste for Buddhism in a formal setting was limited, and he envisioned instead a new American Buddhism—a meditation center without rules, where wandering bhikkus could rest and meditate during their journeys on the road. He confided to friends his desire to found a monastery in Mexico, starting with his own "dobe hut," or, alternatively, to find a cave where he and Snyder could spend summers practicing "like Milarepa" (a Tibetan saint). After his stint on Desolation Peak, however, it became clear that such heavy doses of solitude did not agree with him. He was only too happy to return to the frenetic activity of the city.

In September 1957, On the Road was published and greeted with tremendous media attention—both positive and negative. Unwittingly, Kerouac succeeded in becoming the symbol of a generation. The life of a solitary Buddhist wanderer now an impossibility, Kerouac became increasingly overwhelmed by the pressures of celebrity, and began to take refuge in alcohol. In November of 1957, while On the Road was on the bestseller list, Kerouac, at the urging of his publisher, wrote The Dharma Bums. Again the reactions that his work provoked were extreme. Support from some corners was strong. The American Buddhist, the organ of the Buddhist Churches of America, ran a review of the novel that said, "As a book The Dharma Bums is an answer to the literature of disillusion, petulant sensualism and indignation against dry-heart bourgeois hypocrisy. ... As an alternative to the packaged way of life it should be taken seriously by youth and taken as a threat by our policy makers on the east coast." But, by the mainstream press, Kerouac was condemned as an enemy of the American way and his literary talents were dismissed as not writing but "typing." Amid hostility from the scions of the literary establishment, outrageous demands from a reading public that gave him no privacy, and a rising tide of "beatniks" who had less and less to do with Kerouac's beatific vision, he sank into alcoholic despair. Only a few years after their initial meeting, Kerouac wrote to Snyder that his Buddhism was dead. In his later years he turned toward the Catholic faith in which he was raised and continued to shy away from publicity, becoming more isolated even from his friends. In 1969, at the age of forty-seven, Kerouac died of cirrhosis."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 24-27. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Kerouacs buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

Jack Kerouacs Übersetzungen buddhistischer Begriffe:

[Quelle: Watson, Steven: Die Beat-Generation : Visionäre, Rebellen und Hipsters, 1944 - 1960. -- St. Andrä-Wördern : Hannibal, 1997. -- VIII, 382 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Originaltitel: The birth of the beat generation (1995). -- ISBN: 3-85445-155-5. -- S. 180]

4.6. Philip Whalen (1923 - 2002)

Abb.: Philip Whalen


"Philip Whalen (October 20, 1923 – June 26, 2002) was a poet and a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beat generation.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Whalen served in the US Army Air Corps during World War 2. He attended Reed College with Gary Snyder and Lew Welch and graduated with a BA in 1951. He read at the famous Six Gallery reading in 1955 that marked the launch of the West Coast beats into the public eye.

Whalen became a Zen Buddhist monk in 1973, becoming head monk, Dharma Sangha, in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1984.

His books include Off the Wall: Interviews with Philip Whalen (1978), Enough Said: 1974-1979 (1980), Heavy Breathing: Poems, 1967-1980 (1983) Two Novels (1986), and Canoeing up Cabarga Creek: Buddhist Poems 1955-1986 (1995)."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Philip Whalen und Buddhismus:

"Philip Whalen's first exposure to Buddhism was as a high school student at his hometown library in Portland, Oregon. Curious about religions, Whalen sought out alternatives to Christianity in books on theosophy, Buddhism, and Asian thought. After being drafted and serving in the military, Whalen planned to study Oriental languages at the University of California at Berkeley but, when his money ran short, returned instead to Portland, where he attended Reed College. At Reed, he became friends with Lew Welch and Gary Snyder and eventually moved in with them. The three of them shared in Snyder's discovery of the haiku translations by R. H. Blyth and, later, the writings of D. T. Suzuki, and encouraged in each other a mutual interest in Asian thought.

After college, Whalen made his way to San Francisco, where he worked odd jobs and continued writing. In 1952, he moved into an apartment with Gary Snyder. He had followed Snyder's lead in finding employment as a fire lookout in Washington State and was still up in his watchtower in 1955 when he received an invitation from Snyder to read at the Six Poets at the Six Gallery reading. Whalen accepted and soon met Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

In 1960, Whalen's first two books, Like I Say and Memoirs of an Interglacial Age, were published. Whalen also became friends with a number of other San Francisco poets who shared his interest in Buddhism: Joanne Kyger, Will Petersen, and Albert Saijo. In the mid-sixties, Whalen joined Snyder in Kyoto, eventually returning to the States in order to proofread his forthcoming collection, On Bear's Head. In 1969 Whalen returned to Kyoto for several years. In 1971, Whalen, back in the States, went to live at the San Francisco Zen Center on the invitation of the abbot, Richard Baker Roshi. One year later Whalen requested ordination as a monk, and three years later he became head monk at the Zen Mountain Center in Tassajara Springs, California. He also taught periodically at Naropa Institute as a visiting poet. During these years he published many volumes of poetry as well as a novel. In 1987, Whalen left his teacher, Baker Roshi, at his urging, and in 1991 Whalen was installed as the abbot of the Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco.

Whalen's productivity as a writer has slowed in proportion to the time he devotes to his Buddhist practice."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 193f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Whalens buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.7. Bob Kaufman (1925 - 1986)

Abb.: Bob Kaufman


"Poet, prose poet, jazz performance artist, satirist, manifesto writer, and legendary figure in the Beat movement, Bob Kaufman successfully promoted both anonymity and myths of his racial identity and class origins. While romanticized biographies ascribe to him such epithets as griot, shaman, saint, and prophet of Caribbean, African, Native American, Catholic, and/or Jewish traditions, respectively, Kaufman was most likely the tenth of thirteen children of an African American and part Jewish father and a schoolteacher mother from an old New Orleans African American Catholic family. After an orderly childhood that probably included a secondary education, he joined the merchant marine and became active in the radical Seafarer's Union. An itinerant drifter and self-taught poet (but for a brief stint at the New School for Social Research and among the Black Arts and Beat literati of New York), he identified with the lives and cryptically quoted the works of poet-heroes such as Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Arthur Rimbaud, Guillaume Apollinaire, Federico Garcia Lorca, Hart Crane, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, and Nicholas Guillén, as well as improvisational artists and jazz musicians, including Charlie Parker, after whom he named his only son. In individual poems he is, variously, an experimental stylist in the Whitman tradition ("The American Sun"), a French surrealist and existentialist ("Camus: I Want to Know"), a jazz poet after Langston Hughes, and in dialogue with bebop and the Black Arts movement ("African Dream," "Walking Parker Home").

Still "minor," compared to his white bohemian contemporaries, as editor of Beatitude, a San Francisco literary magazine, Kaufman is credited by some with coining "Beat" and exemplifying its voluntarily desolate lifestyle. He enjoyed an underground existence as a "poets' poet" (in Amiri Baraka's poem "Meditation on Bob Kaufman," Sulfur, Fall 1991) and as a legendary performer in the much memorialized street scenes of San Francisco's North Beach and New York's Greenwich Village during the late 1950s through the late 1970s. Kaufman is best known for short lyric poems in African American (Langston Hughes, ed., The New Negro Poetry, 1964, being the first) and avant-garde anthologies (New Directions in Prose and Poetry, #17, 1967, covering poetry and prose; The Portable Beat Reader, 1992). Works originally published by City Lights Bookstore of San Francisco are collected in two New Directions publications, Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness (1965) and The Ancient Rain: Poems 1956-1978 (1981). Three early broadsides, Abomunist Manifesto (1959), Second April (1959), and Does the Secret Mind Whisper? (1960) extend his eclectic aesthetics into prose fiction and programmatic prose poetry. The Golden Sardine (1967) was translated and influential in France (as William Burroughs, Claude Pelieu, Bob Kaufman, Paris, 1967). The latter, along with South American and other translations, have earned Kaufman a wider reputation abroad than among mainstream critics in the United States.

Rather than address electoral, protest, or even literary politics in traditional ways, his elusive and allusive writings as well as his tragicomic life sustain a critique of the subtle rules and terrible punishments that, as he knew them, enforce American bourgeois values of race, class, sexuality, and rationality. Answering McCarthyism, Beat, and Black Arts manifestos with Dadaist anarchism and surrealist irrationalism, "Abomunism" (his contraction of, among other things, communism, atom bomb, Bob Kaufman, and abomination), is serious in its "black humor." From the late 1960s onward, through stretches of withdrawal and suffering the ill effects of political blacklisting and harassment, alcohol, drugs, electroshock treatments, and imprisonment, Kaufman recorded both with humor and pathos the pain of society's victims. While no booklength study has yet been devoted to Kaufman, several recent essays affirm his deceptively broad intellectual interests and the ambiguous power of individual acts of cultural resistance in the continuing struggles of oppressed peoples.

From The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Copyright © 1997 by Oxford University Press."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Bob Kaufman und Buddhismus:

"After joining the Merchant Marine at the age of thirteen and serving for two decades, Bob Kaufman moved to New York to study at the New School for Social Research. While he was on the East Coast, Kaufman met Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs. He later moved to San Francisco, and quickly became a prominent figure in the San Francisco poetry community, frequently reading at the Co-Existence Bagel Shop. Kaufman also helped to edit Beatitude, the periodical that took Kerouac's exposition on the term "Beat" for its title. Kaufman's broadsides were published by City Lights, and his first book of poetry, Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness, was published by New Directions in 1965. Kaufman frequently got into altercations with the police over free speech. In 1963, after the assassination of President Kennedy, Kaufman launched a protest in the form of silence, by taking what Eileen Kaufman described as a "Buddhist vow of silence," a vow he maintained until the Vietnam War ended twelve years later. He also renounced writing and went into a self-imposed four-year retreat in 1978. Kaufman died in 1986.

Kaufman was raised in a religious household; he attended synagogue with his father, an Orthodox Jew from Germany, as well as church with his mother, a Catholic from Martinique. He also learned about voodoo from his grandmother. Kaufman studied Zen Buddhism, practiced prostrations, and made frequent references to Buddhist thought throughout his writing, particularly in his later work."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 283f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Kaufmans buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.8. Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997)

Abb.: Allen Ginsberg in Kuba, 1965
[Bildvorlage: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]


"Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American Beat poet born in Paterson, New Jersey. He formed a bridge between the Beat movement of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s, befriending, among others, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Herbert Huncke, Rod McKuen, and Bob Dylan.

Ginsberg's poetry was strongly influenced by modernism, romanticism, the beat and cadence of jazz, and his Kagyu Buddhist practice and Jewish background. He considered himself to have inherited the visionary and homoerotic poetic mantle handed from the English poet and artist William Blake on to Walt Whitman. The power of Ginsberg's verse, its searching, probing focus, its long and lilting lines, as well as its New World exuberance, all echo the continuity of inspiration which he claimed. Other influences included the American poet William Carlos Williams.

Ginsberg's principal work, "Howl", is well-known to many for its opening line: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness". It was considered scandalous at the time of publication due to the rawness of the language, which is frequently explicit. Shortly after its 1956 publication by San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore, it was banned for obscenity. The ban became a cause célèbre among defenders of the First Amendment, and was later lifted after judge Clayton W. Horn, declared the poem to possess redeeming social importance. Ginsberg's liberal and generally anti-establishment politics attracted the attention of the FBI, who regarded Ginsberg as a major security threat.

It is of some interest to note that the second part of Howl was inspired and written primarily during a peyote vision. Ginsberg attempted a number of poems while under the influence of various drugs, including LSD. This practice was a specific manifestation of his more general experimental approach. He also "wrote" poems by reciting them into tape recorders and transcribing the results, and -- after being encouraged by Chögyam Trungpa (see below) -- he began extemporaneous composition on stage.

In his writing and in his life Ginsberg strove for freedom and authenticity. Many of his poems are extremely honest and direct. For example, in "Kaddish" he describes his mother's madness in unflinching terms. In "Many Loves" he describes his first sexual contact with Neal Cassady, a lover and friend. Some of his later poems focus on his relationship with Peter Orlovsky, his lifetime lover to whom he dedicated Kaddish and Other Poems.

His spiritual journey began early on with spontaneous visions, and continued with an early trip to India and a chance encounter on a New York City street (they both tried to catch the same cab) with Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master of the Vajrayana school, who became his friend and life-long teacher.

In his political life he was an iconoclast, using his wit and humor to militate for the cause of others' personal freedom, often at significant risk to himself. Ginsberg also helped found the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, a school founded by Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.

In 1993, the French Minister of Culture awarded him with the medal of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

List of works
  • Howl and Other Poems (1956)
  • Kaddish and Other Poems (1961)
  • Reality Sandwiches (1963)
  • The Yage Letters (1963) - with William S. Burroughs
  • Planet News (1968)
  • The Gates of Wrath: Rhymed Poems 1948-1951 (1972)
  • The Fall of America: Poems of These States (1973)
  • Iron Horse (1974)
  • Mind Breaths (1978)
  • Plutonian Ode: Poems 1977-1980 (1982)
  • Collected Poems: 1947-1980 (1984)
  • White Shroud Poems: 1980-1985 (1986)
  • Cosmopolitan Greetings Poems: 1986-1993 (1994)
  • Howl Annotated (1995)
  • Iluminated Poems (1996)
  • Selected Poems: 1947-1995 (1996)
  • Death and Fame: Poems 1993-1997 (1999)
  • "Our goal was to save the planet and alter human consciousness. That will take a long time, if it happens at all."

[Quelle: - Zugriff am 2005-05-22]

Bewertung Ginsbergs in deutscher Literaturwissenschaft:

"Ginsberg, Allen, amerikanischer Lyriker, * 3. 6. 1926 Paterson, N. J.; Studiert an Columbia University, Gelegenheitsarbeiten u. Reisen in Amerika, Mexiko, Europa und im Orient. Lebt z. Zt. in New York. - Führender Vertreter und Anreger der Beat Generation (Poetry Renaissance von San Francisco), eines neo-religiösen Anarchismus und der Counter Culture-Bewegung in den USA. Anleihen bei östlicher Mystik und der prophetischen Lyrik W. Blakes; Bewusstseinsexperimente mit Drogen. Das hymnisch-epische Gedicht 'Howl' handelt von der Zerstörung des Menschen durch den Moloch der modernen technologischen Massengesellschaft und den Versuchen einer esoterischen Gruppe, in rauschhaften visionären Zuständen (Sex, Drogen, Alkohol, Jazz) zur Erkenntnis einer metaphysischen Wirklichkeit zu gelangen. Es ist ein Schrei der Qual und des Protestes, in ganz auf akustische Wirkung berechneten formlosen Langzeilen in der Tradition W. Whitmans und halluzinatorischen Bildern, gegliedert durch eine dem Jazz entlehnte, zur Inkantation neigende rhythmische Technik der Wiederholung ('beat' = Rhythmus, geschlagen, beatus)."

[Quelle: Lexikon der Weltliteratur : Autoren und Werke / Gero von Wilpert. -- Berlin : Directmedia Publ., 2000. -- 1 CD-ROM. -- (Digitale Bibliothek ; 13). -- ISBN 3-89853-113-9. -- s.v.]

"DAS LYRISCHE WERK von Allen Ginsberg

(amer.). – Mehr als jeder seiner Zeitgenossen hat Allen Ginsberg versucht, das Programm der amerikanischen Beatgeneration der fünfziger und sechziger Jahre zu realisieren: die Durchdringung von Kunst und Leben. Es ist darum schwer abzuschätzen, ob Ginsberg mehr durch seine Lyrik oder durch seine schillernde Persönlichkeit zu der Zentralfigur der Lyrik der Beats geworden ist. Bereits während seiner Studienjahre an der New Yorker Columbia-Universität traf Ginsberg, der Sohn eines eher konservativen Englischlehrers, der selbst Gedichte schrieb, und einer kommunistischen Aktivistin, mit Jack Kerouac und Neal Cassady zusammen und entwickelte für sich Vorstellungen einer »oral poetry« in der Tradition Walt Whitmans. Nachdem die frühen Gedichte, später veröffentlicht in den Bänden Empty Mirror, 1961 (Leerer Spiegel), Reality Sandwiches, 1963 (Wirklichkeitsschnitten), und The Gates of Wrath, 1972 (Die Tore des Zorns), eher konventionell geschrieben waren, gelang Ginsberg 1956 der Durchbruch mit Howl and Other Poems, 1956 (Das Geheul und andere Gedichte), das Kerouacs Programm der »spontanen Prosa« in die Lyrik überträgt. Wegen seiner Offenheit und sexuellen Freizügigkeit sorgte der Gedichtband für einen Skandal. Stilistisch angelehnt an die »hot rhythms« des frühen Jazz und spontane Assoziationen aus dem Unbewussten, wird jener Moloch Amerika beschworen, dem sich die Beatgeneration unter dem Eindruck der Atombombe und der Intellektuellenhetze des Senators McCarthy gegenübersah. Deutlich auch ist der Einfluss von William Burroughs zu erkennen, der Ginsberg in die Sex- und Drogenszene Manhattans einführte und ihn dazu ermutigte, sich in seiner Lyrik offen zu seiner Homosexualität zu bekennen. Als Außenseiter, die sich mit dem von der Gesellschaft verdrängten Leiden identifizieren, werden die Protagonisten von Howl zu den Heiligen der neuen Zeit, zu den durch ihr Leiden wahrhaft empfindenden Menschen. Auch die anderen Gedichte dieses Bandes entwerfen das Bild eines lebensfeindlichen Amerika, das sich bar aller emotionalen Tiefe allein im Konsumtaumel ergeht und jede Abweichung von der Norm unterdrückt (A Supermarket in California, America).

Auch in seinem nächsten Gedichtband Kaddish and Other Poems, 1961 (Kaddisch und andere Gedichte), formuliert Ginsberg seine Kritik an der amerikanischen Gesellschaft introspektiv. Im unter Drogeneinfluss entstandenen Titelgedicht nimmt er das persönliche Erlebnis des Todes seiner Mutter in einer Nervenheilanstalt zum Anlass, sich mit dem eschatologischen Problem des Todes und der Suche nach dem Leben auseinanderzusetzen. Auf einer zweiten Ebene wird der Tod der Mutter dabei zum Tod der Nation als Opfer einer emotionsentleerten, entfremdeten Welt. In den anderen Gedichten werden Drogenerfahrungen (Laughing Gas; Mescaline; Lysergic Acid) und Impressionen aus Paris (Europe! Europe!; At Apollinaire's Grave) lyrisch verarbeitet und die Rolle des Dichters als politischer Prophet und Seher in der visionären Tradition William Blakes definiert (Death to Van Gogh's Ear!).

Nachdem Ginsberg das poetische Konzept visionärer Bewusstseinserweiterung zunächst vor allem als intrapsychischen Vorgang untersucht hatte, versuchte er in den sechziger Jahren, das daraus abgeleitete »kosmische Bewusstsein« aktiv auf Gesellschaft und Politik anzuwenden. 1964 proklamierte er sich in seinem Aufsatz Back to the Wall als einem »linken Flügel« der Beatgeneration zugehörig. In Planet News, 1968 (Nachrichten vom Planeten Erde), nimmt seine Lyrik einen fast dokumentarischen Charakter an; in der Diktion der rhapsodischen Erzählung werden poetisch Ginsbergs Reisen durch Amerika, Europa und Asien (Journal Night Thoughts; Last Night in Calcutta; Kral Majales), die Stimmung in der gegenkulturellen Bewegung (Who Be Kind To; First Party at Ken Kesey's with Hell's Angels), Demonstrationen und kleine Ereignisse am Rande verarbeitet. Als ein Ergebnis von Ginsbergs langem Indienaufenthalt 1962, dokumentiert in Indian Journals, 1970 (Indische Tagebücher), machen sich Zeichen einer Abwendung Ginsbergs von einer nach außen gerichteten Bewusstseinserweiterung bemerkbar (The Change: Kyoto-Tokyo-Express). Im zentralen Gedicht des Bandes wird diese neue Hinwendung zum Körper und zum Ich im Hier und Jetzt in Kontrast zum politischen und sozialen Zustand der USA und der weltpolitischen Situation gesetzt (Wichita Vortex Sutra). Ähnliche Themen sind Gegenstand der in schneller Folge veröffentlichten Gedichtsammlungen T. V. Baby Poems; Airplane Dreams und Angkor Wat (alle 1968).

Inzwischen längst zur öffentlichen Figur geworden, war Ginsberg Ende der sechziger Jahre aus der gegenkulturellen Szene nicht mehr wegzudenken. Er prägte den Slogan von der »flower power«. Keine politische Veranstaltung fand ohne ihn statt: 1967 »Pentagon Exorcism«, 1968 Teilnahme an den Demonstrationen gegen den Konvent der Demokratischen Partei in Chicago, in deren Folge er mit Führern der »Black Panthers« und der Neuen Linken in einem Schauprozess angeklagt wurde. Konsequent wurden in den »travel poems« in The Fall of America, 1972 (Der Niedergang Amerikas), 1974 mit dem National Book Award ausgezeichnet, der Vietnamkrieg, der Zustand der amerikanischen Gesellschaft, Umweltverschmutzung und Profite der Konzerne zu den dominierenden Themen. Gleichzeitig entwickelte Ginsberg in Aufsätzen und Vorträgen seine Theorie der Korrespondenz von Atem und Lyrik, von deren Anwendung er sich erhoffte, die geschriebene Form von Lyrik aufbrechen zu können und so an die Tradition mündlicher Überlieferung von essentiellen menschlichen Erfahrungen anzuknüpfen. Einige dieser Gespräche und Vorträge erschienen 1974 als Allen Verbatim. Gleichzeitig nahmen die fernöstlichen Einflüsse in seiner Lyrik zu. Was vorher in der Ekstase des Gedichts selbst erreicht werden sollte, wurde in Ginsbergs Lesungen nun durch einleitende tantrische Gesänge, Mantras und andere östliche meditative Techniken ersetzt. Als Nebenprodukt dieser Versuche einer Produktionsästhetik entstanden in Zusammenarbeit mit Bob Dylan vertonte Balladen, die Ginsberg 1975 als First Blues: Rags, Ballads & Harmonium Songs veröffentlichte.
Mit dem Niedergang der amerikanischen Gegenkultur ist auch in Ginsbergs Lyrik eine Wende zu spüren. Sicherlich auch beeinflusst durch weitere Reisen nach Asien, gehen die Gedichte von Mind Breaths, 1977 (Atemzüge des Geistes), von politischen Notizen zurück zur meditativen Auseinandersetzung buddhistischer Prägung. Sie nehmen die Form östlicher Haikus an, d. h. tief erfahrener Situationsbeschreibungen (Cabin in the Rockies; Teton Village) oder gewinnen ihre Form durch Mantras (Thoughts Sitting Breathing). Nur noch wenige Gedichte nehmen direkt zu politischen Problemen Stellung (Yes and It's Hopeless; Who Runs America?). Damit aber gibt Ginsberg seine Bestimmung als Seher und Verkünder persönlich erfahrener gesellschaftlicher Wahrheit auf und verlegt sich auf die Zurückgezogenheit des meditierenden Weisen. Während Iron Horse, 1972 (Dampfross), noch den erzählerisch-visionären Impuls Whitmans verarbeitet, sind in Plutonium Ode (1980) die meisten Gedichte privater Ausdruck ebenso privater Bewusstseinszustände. Damit aber laufen sie Gefahr, in hermetischer Abgeschlossenheit wieder in das gesellschaftliche Reservat des rein Ästhetischen zurückzugleiten, aus dem Ginsberg sie in Besinnung auf die Lyrik Whitmans und die Blakeschen Beschwörungen einer erweiterten Wirklichkeit herausgeholt hatte. Als ein Zeichen der Aufgabe dieser politisch-subversiven Dimension mag 1984 die Herausgabe der Collected Poems (Gesammelte Gedichte) des nunmehr zum »Klassiker« avancierten Ginsberg durch den New Yorker Verlag Harper & Row gedeutet werden."

[Quelle: Hans-Peter Rodenberg. -- In: Kindlers neues Literatur-Lexikon. -- München : Systhema, 1999. - 1 CD-ROM. -- ISBN 3-634-23231-5. -- s.v.]

Allen Ginsberg und Buddhismus:

"Although Ginsberg became acquainted with Buddhist thought before Kerouac, he did not begin serious study for many years. His initial interest was sparked by leafing through a book of reproductions of Chinese paintings at the New York Public Library, and while he sought out texts and encouraged his friend Neal Cassady to explore Buddhism, his own interest faded rapidly. Through his friendship with Kerouac and Snyder, Ginsberg became familiar with some aspects of Buddhist thought, but it was only years later, while traveling in India, that he found personal relevance in the teachings. There he met a Tibetan lama, Dudjom Rinpoche, and Ginsberg asked him about drug-induced visions. Dudjom Rinpoche counseled him not to cling to any vision, whether it was good or bad. This advice helped to release Ginsberg from an obsessive attachment to a mystical vision he'd had in 1948: he had heard William Blake's voice reciting "Ah, Sunflower" and felt that Blake was speaking to him through eternity; he experienced a sense of freedom and felt himself a part of a timeless universe. But, he says, he "doomed himself for the next fifteen years to trying to repeat the original vision through various means, from LSD to the obscure South American drug yage.

On a visit Ginsberg made to Gary Snyder and Joanne Kyger in Japan, Dudjom Rinpoche's words began to take hold and he finally accepted that he would never recover his original vision; in the act of relinquishing it, however, he found what he'd been seeking. That moment began a period of spiritual exploration during which he practiced Hindu mantra chanting and sitting meditation. In 1971, after about a year of steady sitting, Ginsberg met Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He studied with him closely and, at his request, cofounded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the Buddhist-inspired university founded by the Tibetan teacher. Ginsberg now studies with Gelek Rinpoche, whose center, Jewel Heart, is in Ann Arbor, Michigan."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 90f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Ginsbergs buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.9. Lew Welch (1926 - 1971?)

Abb.: Lew Welch


"Lew Welch (1926-1971?) was a poet associated with the Beats. He also wrote advertising copy and was responsible for the classic slogan Raid Kills Bugs Dead.

Early Life

Welch was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but moved with his mother and sister to California in 1929. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1944 but never saw active service. He worked for a period before joining Stockton Junior College, where he developed an interest in the works of Gertrude Stein.

In 1948, Welch moved to Reed College, where he roomed with Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen. Here he wrote his thesis on Stein and published poems in student magazines. William Carlos Williams visited the college and met the three poets. He admired Welch's early poems and tried to get his Stein thesis published.

The World of Advertising

After college, Welch moved to New York, but he started to display emotional and mental problems and went to Florida to take a course of therapy. He then went to the University of Chicago, where he studied philosophy and English. In Chicago, he joined the advertising department of Montgomery Ward, where he came up with the famous Raid slogan. He was working here at the time of the famous poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco that launched what was to become known as the San Francisco Renaissance.

Later Life and Work

Wanting to get back to poetry, Welch applied for a transfer to Montgomery Ward's Oakland headquarters and started to get involved in the San Francisco literary scene. He soon gave up advertising and earned a living driving a yellow cab while devoting more of his time to writing. He became an active participant in Beat culture, living at various times with Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and appearing as a character in Jack Kerouac's novel Big Sur.

Welch published and performed widely during the 1960s, and taught a poetry workshop as part of the University of California Extension in San Francisco from 1965 to 1970. On May 23rd 1971, he walked out of Snyder's house in the mountains carrying a revolver. His body was never found."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Lew Welch und Buddhismus:

"Welch moved out to San Francisco, where he wrote more poetry and practiced Zen meditation in Snyder's Mill Valley cabin. Welch soon met Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and other writers. In 1959 Welch and fellow poet Albert Saijo drove Kerouac back to New York. In 1960 Welch's first book of poetry, Wobbly Rock, was published and he met and became romantically involved with poet Lenore Kandel. Kandel and Welch lived together at East-West House, which, at different times, was also home to Philip Whalen, Albert Saijo, and Joanne Kyger, among others. He and Kandel accompanied Kerouac on a journey to Lawrence Ferlinghetti's cabin in northern California, a trip recorded in Kerouac's novel Big Sur,

After Welch's relationship with Kandel ended in the early sixties, he retreated to an abandoned cabin in mountain country, where he composed his Hermit Poems and drafted the poems for Way Back. In these poems a sense of place is paramount, and much of this poetry seems to reflect the influence of Chinese and Japanese nature poetry. In a preface to a collection of these works, Snyder wrote: ". . . Lew really achieved the meeting of an ancient Asian-sage-tradition, the 'shack simple' post-frontier back country out-of-work workingman's style, and the rebel modernism of art. ..." Over the next few years, Welch continued to publish, give readings, and regularly teach a poetry workshop. The influence of Welch's study of Zen texts makes itself felt in his later poems, which often present a puzzle or a question posed by a character Welch called the "red monk." Welch referred to these poems as "the first American koans.""

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 250f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Welchs buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.10. Albert Saijo (1927 - )

Abb.: Albert Saijo
[Bildquelle: Ken Ige. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23] 


"ACK Kerouac described his "Zen master" friend George Baso in "Big Sur" as being "just 5 feet 5 and a few pounds over that and so clean ... His answers come like an old man's (he's only 30)."

 Baso's spirit was a little harder to read. Intrigued by Baso's serene demeanor, Kerouac credited him with a magical possession of the secret meaning of life.

Albert Saijo, the inspiration for the fictional Baso, is now 71 and the physical description still fits. His tidy, well-tended appearance still gives up no secrets. You'd think he spent most of his life as a Zen gardener, instead of a wild man.

Saijo felt the urge to "turn on, tune in and drop out" in the '50s, long before Timothy Leary coined the flower child mantra. Although Saijo still sees himself as the "oldest Asian hippie," his roots are in the Beat Generation of thinking youths born to a puritanical, repressive 1950s America still shell-shocked by the Depression, World War II and the A-bomb. It was an America that wanted no more than to put on a happy face.

The Beats, as Kerouac and his fraternity of writers were known, wanted to lift that false mask. Through novels such as "Dharma Bums," "Big Sur" and "On the Road," Kerouac led young America to the flip side of '50s conformity.

"Civilization always has to have that element that wants to go to a single voice, a single way of doing things. Then we have more restrictions, more laws, and nobody questions whether this is right or wrong," Saijo said in an interview this week.

The private Saijo left most of the writing, fame and glory to the likes of Kerouac, poet Lew Welch, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. But now Saijo, who moved to Volcano on the Big Island from Northern California six years ago, is about to get his turn in the limelight with his collection of prose and musings, "Outspeaks a Rhapsody," due from Bamboo Ridge in July.

The prospect makes him nervous. "I've always been a private person, and yet here I am, offering myself on a platter. It was my ambition to tell the world what I think of it. All it is is one guy telling what it's like to be a male human in the 20th century as he looks at the world after 70 years."


"Outspeaks a Rhapsody" takes the form of a series of stream-of-consciousness rants and rhapsodies on topics such as the pain ("Analgesia -- Land of Pain Free") and the horrors of a technological society ("Luddite Manque"). Nevertheless, Saijo doesn't subscribe to Kerouac's mode of "spontaneous prose;" that is, making no changes once words are on paper. "I take great pains with my writing, although it does get easier with time, in that I take for granted that by now I should know grammar."

Saijo calls himself an amateur, even after publishing "The Backpacker," an out-of-print 1970s how-to on treading lightly upon the great outdoors in the days before The North Face and satellite navigation, and "Trip Trap," a collaborative memoir of a trek from Los Angeles to New York with Welch and Kerouac.

Saijo met Kerouac in the basement of a YWCA in San Francisco's Chinatown, where Human Potential Movement pioneer David Hunter was conducting classes. Kerouac and Saijo became fast friends, bound by an interest in Zen Buddhism, cool jazz, wanderlust, and at first, booze.

"Jack was an interesting guy, but right off, you have to realize he was an alcoholic, and it colored his view of the world," Saijo said. Kerouac died in 1969 of a massive abdominal hemorrhage said to have been brought on by drink.

Saijo survived by moving on to other substances, saying he became a "reborn human" in the '60s. "In the '50s, people were fueling themselves with coffee, booze and marijuana," he said. "The '60s were based on far stronger, more insightful, revelatory substances -- LSD, peyote, mushrooms.

"These things offered a way of looking at the world in a new way, not the way that they were brought up. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but reality can be a downer," he said. "The drugs put us on a new trip, helping us to get around this background and transcend it in order to get into a space that was a little more congenial."

Reality was too dismal to face. Saijo learned early, for instance, not to trust government. In 1942, Saijo and his family were pulled from their California home and interned at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, just for being of Japanese ancestry at a time the nation was at war with Japan.

"I knew what it meant economically and politically. It was cruel, it was awful being behind barbed wire, surrounded by armed guards and search lights," he said. "But it was also an adventure. I mean, getting pulled out of your house in the middle of the night, being taken to a strange place ... it was fascinating, and I've always been curious, questioning why things are the way they are."

Perhaps it was because his family lost everything when Saijo was young, that he never developed a passion for material goods. He doesn't even own copies of his books. To this day, he said, "I've always been on the fringe so it's home to me."

Never one to be restrained by the notion of a career, or being trapped by four walls, he got through life performing odd jobs. After an "instructional" marriage in his 30s that lasted seven years, he met a teacher named Laura and remarried. That marriage has endured 20 years, based on love, compatibility and a lot of patience on her part, he said.

The two found success in finding rundown homes, restoring them and reselling them.

In earlier years, when he was on his own, Saijo said he needed little to survive, save a knapsack on his back. In the late '50s and early '60s he had often headed to the high Sierras in an attempt to "be primitive" and return to nature and innocence.

This included going on a vision quest and fasting for 45 days, which he did in order to find an answer a great Bible mystery. The prophets somehow ended up going into the desert and fasting for 40 days. "Why was 40 the magic number? Why not 30 days, or 20?" I wanted to find out what the hell was going on," Saijo said.

What he found, he said, was "You go through a physical death process. Your mind becomes extremely clear, extremely calm. You feel no hunger. Your body feels light and comfortable. It's the purest high one can achieve. There's no chemical buzz. It's just the body turning itself on."

He plans to write a book about fasting, and says it is best done alone. "When someone else is there to take care of you, they get worried, they want to cook you good things to eat, they want to call in a doctor. What you really need is quiet and solitude."

Saijo just completed a 40-day fast earlier this year, saying he wanted to know whether a 71-year-old body could handle a fast as well as a 30-year-old one.

"It still works," he said.

In spite of his lifelong search for answers to the human predicament, little has changed since the days Saijo first saw human beings foundering. The problems -- which he says include over-population, unbridled commercialism, racism and incessant wars -- have gotten worse.

Saijo moved to the Big Island because "I got tired of living in a white-male dominant society. That sounds racist but after 60 years you think there must be another way. I find Hawaii more realistic. I like the interracial society, even though politics are bull---- wherever you go."

Still, he said, "When you begin to look at history, it's not one group or nation that's the bad guy. It's the human trip," he said. "We've become animals that have lost connection with our Earth nature. Some people take the Bible seriously when it says that humans have dominion over Earth. It puts you in an exploitive mode, which is destroying the Earth."

But Saijo doesn't become frustrated or angry. With all the restraint of a Zen master, he says that preaching never works.

"All you can do is do something with your personal life. Ask yourself how you are supporting what is happening out there and how can you take energy away from this madness.""

[Quelle: Nadine Kam. -- -- Zugrif am 2005-05-23] 

Albert Saijo und Buddhismus:

"Born in Los Angeles, Albert Saijo was fifteen when he was interred at Heart Mountain camp during World War II. A teenager and the son of a Christian minister, Saijo did not involve himself in the Buddhist activities sponsored by the camp. It was a full eight years later that he would begin to study with his fellow internee, Nyogen Senzaki.

Saijo returned to Los Angeles after the war, and it was there that he formally met Senzaki through a friend. In 1950, he began to regularly attend the meetings Senzaki held in his tiny room in a dilapidated hotel; Saijo continued to study with him for seven years. However, the increasingly active poetry community of North Beach proved too hard to resist and the young poet moved to San Francisco in the mid-fifties. There he met Lew Welch, Philip Whalen, and Gary Snyder and moved into East-West House. In 1959, Lew Welch introduced Saijo to Kerouac. The three of them then took off on a cross-country journey from San Francisco to New York, composing spontaneous haiku all along the way. When they arrived in Manhattan, they went to a service at the First Zen Institute, but Kerouac, drunk and distracted, spent the evening scribbling notes on Saijo's program. Of all of the Beats interested in Buddhism in the early fifties, Saijo was unique in having had the experience of formal practice. As Philip Whalen remembers, Saijo was the first person to instruct the other poets on how to sit properly.

Saijo continues to write poetry, much of it having to do with ecological concerns. He lives in Hawaii."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 241f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Saijos buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.11. Will Petersen (1928 - 1994)

Abb.: Will Petersen, Anfang 1950er-Jahre
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]


"Will Petersen was born in Chicago in 1928 to German immigrant parents, Robert Petersen and Minni Eder. Petersen is the oldest of three children. His twin siblings are Florence and Robert. He graduated from Steinmetz High School where he succeeded Hugh Hefner as the HS newspaper cartoonist. As the result of contracting polio at age16, his grades suffered. Upon graduating he went to live with his grandparents and enrolled at Wright Junior College in Chicago. While here, he becomes an extra for the Lyric Opera and is a spear holder in Charlton Heston's big break Julius Ceasar filmed at the Elks Memorial in Chicago. After 2 years he was admitted to Michigan State University. There he earned a BA & MA studying lithography with John S. deMartelly and painting (and partied) with Charles Pollock, Jackson’s older brother, who always wore a black hat even when dancing; Charles loved the blues. Petersen continued his love of cartooning and designed covers for the MSU Student Magazine, The Spartan. Petersen also marries his first wife.

Petersen first exhibited paintings and prints in 1951: Detroit Art Institute; Award, Terry Art Institute, Miami; two Purchase Awards, National Print Exhibition, Grand Rapids Art Museum; First Prize, Boston Printmakers. In 1952 a painting was shown at Momentum Mid-Continental Chicago (an alternative challenge to staid 1950’s Art Institute Annuals: times when a deKooning purchase raised an uproar and all 5 Chicago papers denounced money wasted in editorials). Petersen’s painting was reproduced in the then top art magazine Art Digest.

In 1952 Petersen was drafted by the US Army and sent to Korea. Petersen was then sent on to Hokkaido, Japan. He described the land as looking like the Midwest with "USA-type barns with silos, behind them bamboo & backed by Hokkusai ink-on-silk mountains." Here he learned to write characters with brush under Master Tahara.

At this time Petersen's first son, Edwin is born back in Michigan. In Kyoto, he was entranced by ancient Noh plays. He felt at home. Sculptor Tsuji led him to unknown, now famed, commercialized Ryoanji stone garden. Petersen returned to the US (his wife filed for divorce while he is still in Japan) in 1955 and lived in Oakland, California, before the As or the Raiders, when the Art Museum was a loft above the Civic Auditorium, when, as Gertrude Stein said, “there was no there there.”

From 1955-57 Petersen along with Mel Strawn founded the Bay Printmakers Society. He resumed exhibiting: International Color Lithography, Cincinnati Art Museum; Gravures Americaines d’aujourd’hui, Paris; & received an MFA on the GI Bill (with Nathan Oliveira) from the California College of Arts and Crafts where Diebenkorn was on the faculty. Petersen meets Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Phil Whalen, Ginsberg, McClure, and Rexroth. Petersen’s now famous “Stone Garden” essay is published in Evergreen Review.

Kerouac’s Dharma Bums comes out. Petersen’s buddy Gary Snyder is Japhy Ryder, Petersen in Rol Sturlason. Petersen becomes an editor and illustrator for the Berkeley Bussei, a publication put out by the Berkeley Buddhist Church and maintains a store front studio. The Bussei published Kerouac’s first Haiku poems. When asked to teach at CCAC, Petersen declines and opts to return to Japan via the freighter “Sea Dragon” late in 1957.

Jack Kerouac writes to Rev. Imamura’s wife Jane, November 1957, “ If and when you write to Will Petersen, tell him I think he is a great man and to keep up the good work.”

In 1957 Japan, there are still ox carts on downtown streets, some bicycles and a few cars. Petersen gets a bit part in a B-movie about motorcycle man, Honda. He picks up more spare change as a bearded battle field surgeon in a Samurai cut-em-up movie and then again as a side-burned ambassador signing a treaty. Yampolsky (Philip B. Yampolsky was Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University until his death in 1996.) got juicier roles such as a drunken GI in barroom brawls. Petersen auditions for the role of the co-pilot “Freckles” to Richard Widmark in a big ticket movie Flight from Ashiya.(1964)

Petersen teaches English at Japanese colleges and at Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Panasonic). Chairs a faculty of 30 or so American poets and painters all teaching English to Japanese businessmen. At the same time he locates an old Fuchs and Lang hand lithography press with stones. He resumes printmaking and makes what he calls “Stone Prints.”

He has shows at the Yamada Art Gallery and begins working with poet Cid Corman on the first early issues of Origin magazine. Petersen designs the magazine's title graphic. In the 60’s Petersen translates Akutagawa’s A Fools Life (reprinted 3 times), Zeami’s 15th Century Yashima (referred to as a ground-breaking masterpiece), built a bark-roofed studio in the remote village of Yase, exhibited at the Kyoto Art Museum (received the famed Suda Award... the first time a print received this prestigious painting award), and was included in the Mainichi Newspapers’ “Best of the Year” exhibit. He also takes a Japanese wife and has two sons Ren and Sei. Petersen continues to study Japanese Noh drama with a local troupe and preforms recitals.

Petersen returns to the USA in 1965 with his family and teaches drawing at Ohio State University. Petersen writes The Mask and excerpts are included in the Australian anthology Best from The Ear in A Wheatfield. He becomes friends with the printmaker Sidney Chafetz who also teaches at the OSU. Petersen leaves OSU in 1969 to help set up the print shop for John Wilson’s Lakeside Studio in Michigan. He lives in a log cabin and prints for the studio until a job offer at West Virginia University comes his way.

In 1970 Petersen moves his family to Appalachia. Morgantown, WV strangely feels like his 1950’s Japan life. There he becomes head of the printmaking department and becomes a favored professor among art students.

He becomes a good friend of Tom Nakashima, now well known as a contemporary painter and educator in DC and of Ben Freedman, a whimsical Klee cubist styled painter and draftsman of nutty rabbits & cats, a visual story teller all in dots, lines, collage, and broken color. Petersen separates from his Japanese wife and they eventually divorce. At the same time he meets Cynthia Archer then a printmaking graduate student at WVU, whom he later marries.

Petersen quits teaching in 1977 and opens his own studio in Morgantown and begins printing for artists and doing workshops across the state. Archer completes her graduate degree and Petersen and Archer publish “Plucked Chicken” an arts and poetry magazine. At the same time they found Plucked Chicken Press, an fine art lithography print studio, and begin printing for Lakeside Studios. Inspired by Jack Lemon of Landfall Press, Chicago, Petersen moves the press to 212 N. Canal Street in Chicago in the fall of 1979.

In a romantic old coffee warehouse loft on the Chicago River, with windows that faced the heart of the city, Petersen and Archer and the press spent 5 years editioning lithographs and publishing their own work along with the work of such noted Chicago artists as Richard Hunt, Martyl, Ruth Duckworth, Robert Middaugh, Margo Hoff, Thelma Heagstedt, Michael Croydon,William Conger, Harold Gregor, John Himmelfarb, Winifred Godfrey and David Driesbach as well as out of town artists, Tom Nakashima and Arthur Osver. The press threw print presentation parties that included poetry readings by local poets Douglas Macdonald, owner of Stone Circle Bookstore and Effie Mihopoulos as well as musicians, playwrights, belly dancers, and film makers. The parties brought dealers, clients, young artists, lawyers, doctors, and local Indian chiefs together. Plucked Chicken Magazine ceased publication with issue #6. In 1984 Petersen moved the press to Evanston, IL.
Petersen continued to publish other artists but slowly began focusing on his own work and began painting.

Petersen showed work at Fairweather Hardin Gallery in Chicago and at Anton Gallery in DC. and exhibited in Taipei’s International Print Exhibition, the British Biennial, the then Chicago International Art Fair and New Art Forms, and was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony to do a painting celebrating the premier performance of composer Murray Schafer’s Darkly Splendid Earth; The Lonely Traveler. This painting is reproduced on the cover of the CD. Petersen continued to work with the idea of a lonely traveler and a mysterious watcher in his paintings and prints. His “September Ridge” was published in, Gary Snyder: Dimensions of a Life and he was working on a translation of Japanese novelist Tsutsui’s The Fictives for Sam Francis’ Lapis Press up until his death on a clear blue sky morning, April Fool’s Day 1994."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Will Petersen und Buddhismus:

"Will Petersen had already launched a promising career as an artist when he was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1954 and required to serve as an education specialist in Japan. Upon his return to the States, Petersen moved to northern California and soon became a member of a Friday night study group that was guided by Reverend Kanmo Imamura and held at the Jodo Shinshu Berkeley Buddhist Church. Regular members of the group included Gary Snyder, Alan Watts, and Philip Whalen. Petersen took over the editorship of the group's magazine, the Berkeley Bussei, for one year in 1956. Under his editorship, the magazine published Kerouac's first haiku and a chorus from Mexico City Blues. In addition to work by Allen Ginsberg, Whalen, and Snyder, Petersen also wrote frequently for Bussei and published poems and other literary journals, and was in attendance on the night of the Six Gallery reading."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 273f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Petersens buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.12. Gary Snyder (1930 - )

Abb.: Gary Snyder
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-07]


"Gary Snyder (born May 8, 1930) is an American poet (often associated with the Beat Generation); and an essayist, lecturer, and an environmental activist who is frequently described as the 'laureate of Deep Ecology '— both roles reflecting his studies of Buddhist spirituality and nature. As a social critic, Snyder's views share something in common with Lewis Mumford, Aldous Huxley, Karl Hess, Aldo Leopold, and Karl Polanyi.

Early life

Snyder was born in San Francisco, California to Harold and Lois Snyder. His family, impoverished by the Great Depression, moved to Washington when he was two, where they tended a small dairy and made cedar-wood shingles, then moved to Portland, Oregon ten years later. During the ten childhood years in Washington, Snyder became aware of the presence of Coast Salish people and developed an interest in American Native peoples in general and their traditional relationship with nature. As an adolescent, he worked as a camp counsellor, and went mountain climbing with the Mazamas youth group.

In 1947, he started attending Reed College as a scholarship student. Here he met, and for a time roomed with, Philip Whalen and Lew Welch. At Reed, Snyder published his first poems in a student journal. He also spent a summer working as a seaman (an experience he was to repeat in the mid 1950s); as much as a way to earn money and experience other cultures, in port cities, this work served to put him in more touch with the oceans or aspects of the hydrosphere. In 1951, he graduated with a BA in Anthropology and literature and spent the summer working as a timber scaler in the Warm Springs Indian Reserve, experiences which formed the basis for some of his earliest published poems, later collected in the book Riprap. Snyder worked the next year as a fire lookout for a national-park area. He also encountered the basic ideas of Buddhism and, through its arts, some of the Far East's traditional attitudes toward nature. Going on to Indiana University to study anthropology (where Snyder also practiced self-taught Zen meditation), he left after a single semester to return to San Francisco and to 'sink or swim as a poet'.

The Beats

Back in San Francisco, Snyder lived with Whalen, who shared his growing interest in Zen Buddhism. Snyder's reading of the writings of D.T. Suzuki had in fact been a factor in his decision not to continue as a graduate student in anthropology, and in 1953 he enrolled with the University of California, Berkeley to study Oriental culture and languages. Snyder continued to spend summers working in the forests and one summer as a trail builder in Yosemite. He spent some months in 1955 living in a cabin in Mill Valley with Jack Kerouac. It was also at this time that Snyder was an occasional student at the American Academy of Asian Studies, where Saburo Hasegawa and Alan Watts, among others, were teaching.

Snyder met Allen Ginsberg when the latter sought Snyder out on the recommendation of Kenneth Rexroth. This period provided the materials for Kerouac's novel The Dharma Bums. It is sometimes said, with good reason, that Kerouac protrayed the main characters in his early novels as loving a dionysian life with more chaos in it than the norm of the era. As the large majority of people in the Beat movement had urban backgrounds, writers like Ginsberg and Kerouac found Snyder, with his backcountry and manual-labor experience and interest in things rural, a refreshing and almost exotic individual. Lawrence Ferlinghetti later referred to Snyder as 'the Thoreau of the Beat Generation'.

Snyder read his poem "A Berry Feast" at the famous poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco (October 13, 1955) that heralded what was to become known as the San Francisco Renaissance. This also marked Snyder's first involvement with the Beats, although he was not a member of the original New York circle, but rather entered the scene through his association with Kenneth Rexroth.

As recounted in Kerouac's Dharma Bums, even at age 25 Snyder felt he could have a role in the fateful future meeting of West and East. Snyder's first book, Riprap, which drew on his experiences as a forest lookout and on the trail crew in Yosemite, was published in 1959.


Independently, a number of the Beats such as Philip Whalen had become interested in Zen, but Snyder was one of the more serious scholars of the subject among them. He, in fact, became a trainee, spending most of the period between 1956 and 1968 in Japan, studying Zen first at Shokoku-ji and later in the Daitoku-ji monastery in Kyoto, then finally living for a while with a group of other people on a small, volcanic island. His previous study of written Chinese assisted his immersion in the Zen tradition (with its roots in Tang Dynasty China) and enabled him to take on certain professional projects while he was living in Japan.

Snyder decided not to become a monk and planned eventually to return to the United States to 'turn the wheel of the dharma'. He was married for a few years to another American poet, Joanne Kyger, who lived with him in Japan.

During this time, he published a collection of his poems from the early to mid '50s, Myths & Texts (1960), and Six Sections from Mountains and Rivers Without End (1965). (This last was the beginning of a project that he was to continue working on until the late 1990s.) Much of Snyder’s poetry expresses experiences, environments, and insights involved with the work he has done for a living: logging, fire lookout, steam-freighter laboring, translation of texts, carpentry, and life on-the-road presenting his poetry, among other such subjects.

Ever the participant-observer, during his years in Japan Snyder not only immersed himself in Zen practice in monasteries but also was initiated into Shugendo, a form of ancient Japanese animism. (See also Yamabushi.) As well, in the early '60s he travelled for some months through India with wife Joanne and Allen Ginsberg. Snyder and Joanne Kyger separated soon after the travel in India, and were later divorced.

He continued to educate himself - on subjects like geomorphology and forestry. These sorts of interests have probably surfaced as much or more in his essays and interviews as in his poetry.

Snyder lived for a time with a group of Japanese back-to-the-land drop-outs on Suwanose Island, where they beachcombed, gathered edible plants, and fished. On the Island, he married Masa Uehara, the mother of Snyder's two sons.

In 1968 his book The Back Country appeared, again a collection of poems stretching back over a couple decades.

Later life and writings

Regarding Wave, a stylistic departure offering poems that were more emotional, metaphoric, and lyrical appeared in 1969. In the late 1960s and after, the content of Snyder's poetry increasingly has to do with family, friends, and community. He continued to publish poetry throughout the 1970s, much of it reflecting his re-immersion in life on the American continent and his involvement in the re-inhabitation (or back to the land) movement in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California. His 1974 book Turtle Island, named for the aboriginal name for the North American continent, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

He also wrote a number of essays outlining his views on poetry, culture, social experimentation, and the environment. Many of these were collected in Earth House Hold (1969), The Old Ways (1977), The Real Work (1980), The Practice of the Wild (1990), A Place in Space (1995), and The Gary Snyder Reader (1999). In 1978, Snyder published He Who Hunted Birds in His Father's Village: The Dimensions of a Haida Myth, based on his Reed thesis. Snyder's journals from his travel in India in the mid 1960s appeared in 1983 under the title Passage Through India.

In interviews and in articles about him, Snyder provided much food for thought, starting back in the mid 1960s. In these, his wide-ranging interests in cultures, natural history, religions, social critique, contemporary America, and hands-on aspects of rural life, as well as his ideas on literature, were given full-blown articulation. In the 1980s and ’90s, he expressed a lot of these sorts of ideas in public lectures and in essays, including ones published in major outdoor and environmental magazines (and later collected in books).

In 1985, Snyder became a professor in the writing program at the University of California, Davis. Here he began to influence a new generation of authors interested in writing about the Far East, including novelist Robert Clark Young.

As Snyder's involvement in environmental issues and his teaching grew, he seemed to move away from poetry for much of the 1980s and early 1990s. However, in 1996 he published the complete Mountains and Rivers Without End, which, in its mixture of the lyrical and epic modes celebrating the act of inhabitation on a specific place on the planet, is both his finest work and a summation of what a re-inhabitory poetic stands for. This work was written over a 40-year period. It has been translated into Japanese and French. In 2004 Snyder published Danger on Peaks, his first collection of new poems in twenty years.

Along the way, Gary Snyder was awarded the Levinson Prize from Poetry journal, the American Poetry Society Shelley Memorial Award (1986), was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1987), and won the 1997 Bolingen Prize for Poetry.

Snyder's poetics

Gary Snyder uses mainly common speech patterns as the basis for his lines, though his style has been noted for its "flexibility" and the variety of different forms his poems have taken. He does not typically use conventional meters nor intentional rhyme. "Love and respect for the primitive tribe, honour accorded the Earth, the escape from city and industry into both the past and the possible, contemplation, the communal" - such, according to Glyn Maxwell, is the awareness and commitment behind the specific poems (Maxwell in "the Online Companion to the Anthology of Modern American Poetry).

Snyder has always maintained that his personal sensibility arose from his interest in Native Americans (“Indians”) and their involvement with nature and knowledge of it; indeed, their “ways” seemed to resonate with his own. And he has sought something kindred to this through Buddhist practices, Yamabushi initiation, and other experiences and involvements. However, since youth he has been quite literate, and he has written about his appreciation of writers of similar sensibilities, like D.H. Lawrence, W.B. Yeats, and some of the great ancient Chinese poets. William Carlos Williams was another influence, especially on Snyder’s earliest published work.

"I have some concerns that I'm continually investigating that tie together biology, mysticism, prehistory, general systems theory," Snyder once said in interview (New York Quarterly "Craft Interview," 1973). Besides 'non-human nature', sexuality is something often expressed or contemplated in Gary Snyder's poetry. A self-admitted and somewhat famed ladies' man through most of his life, Snyder has also been married four times.

Aside from content and style, Snyder's interests in anthropology and Native cultures, along with his Buddhism and environmentalism, have formed his attitude to poetry. He has often spoken of the poem as work-place, and, for him, the work to be done there is learning to be in the world.

Snyder argues that poets, and humans in general, need to adjust to very long timescales, especially when judging the consequences of their actions. His poetry examines the gap between nature and culture so as to point to ways in which the two can be more closely integrated.

Is Gary Snyder “a Romantic”?

Many people would say that poetry, inherently, is ”romantic.” Certainly there are many aspects of Gary Snyder’s work that might smack of romanticism, besides just that he writes poetry: his love of the untamed wilds of the Earth and the play of natural forces; his interest in, and often enthusiasm for, foreign cultures and his devotion to ancient things; his belief in the importance of intuition in his life path; his openness to the validity of magic and “the unexplained.” However, in Snyder’s work all this is balanced by an evident devotion to facts, appreciation of human practicality and capability, expressions of joy found in physical work, interest in science, and continual rumination on responsibility.

Is Gary Snyder "a Beat"?

Gary Snyder is widely regarded as a member of the Beat Generation circle of writers: he was one of the poets that read at the famous Six Gallery event mentioned above, and was written about in one of Kerouac's most popular novels, Dharma Bums. Some critics argue that Snyder's connection with the Beats is exaggerated and that he might better be regarded as a member of the West-Coast group the San Francisco Renaissance, which developed independently. Snyder himself has some reservations about the label "Beat," but does not appear to have any strong objection to being included in the group. He often talks about the Beats in the first person plural, refering to the group as "we" and "us".

A quotation from a 1974 interview at the University of North Dakota Writers Conference (published in The Beat Vision):

"... I never did know exactly what was meant by the term "The Beats," but let's say that the original meeting, association, comradeship of Allen [Ginsberg], myself, Michael [McClure], Lawrence [Ferlinghetti], Philip Whalen, who's not here, Lew Welch, who's dead, Gregory [Corso], for me, to a somewhat lesser extent (I never knew Gregory as well as the others) did embody a criticism and a vision which we shared in various ways, and then went our own ways for many years. ...
"Where we began to come really close together again, in the late 60s, and gradually working toward this point, it seems to me, was when Allen began to take a deep interest in Oriental thought and then in Buddhism which added another dimension to our levels of agreement; and later through Allen's influence, Lawrence began to draw toward that; and from another angle, Michael and I after the lapse of some years of contact, found our heads very much in the same place, and it's very curious and interesting now; and Lawrence went off in a very political direction for awhile, which none of us had any objection with, except that wasn't my main focus. It's very interesting that we find ourselves so much on the same ground again, after having explored divergent paths; and find ourselves united on this position of powerful environmental concern, critique of the future of the individual state, and an essentially shared poetics, and only half-stated but in the background very powerfully there, a basic agreement on some Buddhist type psychological views of human nature and human possibilities."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-07]

Bewertung Gary Snyders in deutscher Literaturwissenschaft:

"Snyder, Gary, amerikanischer Lyriker, * 8. 5. 1930 San Francisco; Studiert Anthropologie am Reed College (B. A. 1951), 1953-56 Japanologie und Sinologie in Berkeley; lebte bis 1964 vorwiegend in Japan, seither abwechselnd in Japan und USA. 1964/65 Dozent in Berkeley. - Aus dem Kreis der Beat-Lyriker kommend, ist Snyder stark von indianischen und buddhistischen Gedanken beeinflusst; er schreibt pastorale Gedichte mit ökologischer Motivation, verbindet Primitivismus und Kalkül; es geht ihm um eine neue Einheit von Mensch und kosmischen Rhythmen."

[Quelle: Lexikon der Weltliteratur : Autoren und Werke / Gero von Wilpert. -- Berlin : Directmedia Publ., 2000. -- 1 CD-ROM. -- (Digitale Bibliothek ; 13). -- ISBN 3-89853-113-9. -- s.v.]

"DAS LYRISCHE WERK von Gary Snyder

(amer.). – Vier Haupteinflüsse bestimmen Themen und Aussagen im poetischen Werk Snyders: eine ökologische Mystik, die Naturreligiosität der indianischen Kulturen, die Philosophien von Tao und Zen-Buddhismus sowie eine an den Idealen der Gewerkschaftsbewegung orientierte politische Haltung. Diese Themenkreise gehen fließend ineinander über und ergänzen sich, wobei die zugrundeliegenden Philosophien sich inhaltlich wie formal in den Werken niederschlagen. Snyders Beschäftigung mit diesen Themen ist durch seine regionale und soziale Herkunft bedingt erklärbar, zeigte sich aber zunächst vor allem auf akademischem Terrain: Seine völkerkundliche Examensarbeit (1979 veröffentlicht) beschäftigte sich mit einem Mythos der Haida, und als Student in Berkeley übersetzte er später die Gedichte des Zen-Weisen Han Shan. Daneben las er während seiner Arbeit als Feuermeldewächter in Nationalparks auch Blake, Thoreau und Chaucer, von denen vor allem die Natursuche in Thoreaus Walden Snyder geistesverwandt erschien. Jahre bevor die Beschäftigung mit Umweltproblemen auch in Intellektuellenkreisen begann und vor der oft romantisierenden Indianerrechtsbewegung in Europa und Nordamerika hatte sich Snyder mit diesen Themen bereits auseinandergesetzt und eigene Schlüsse gezogen.

Unter der Prämisse seines radikal ökologie-orientierten Anspruchs wurden die sprichwörtlichen »Backwoods« zum zweitenmal in der amerikanischen Literaturgeschichte zu einer Art revolutionärem Raum. Das erklärt die Formulierung der Widmung der Essaysammlung von 1969, Earth House Hold, »To Fellow Dharma Revolutionaries«: Der fernöstlichen Philosophie wird die adamische Gestalt des Revolutionärs aus der Wildnis assoziiert. Snyder wiederholt in dieser Figur scheinbar eines der Grundsymbole der amerikanischen Literatur, aber mit dem Unterschied, dass sich der dieser Figur in ihrer konventionellen Form eigene Widerspruch zwischen Naturverbundenheit und zwangsläufig naturzerstörender Geschäftigkeit in der Gegenwart nicht mehr überbrücken lässt. Der Rancher, Minenbetreiber und Holzbesitzer erscheint deshalb nicht als Erfolgsmensch, sondern z. B. in The Call of the Wild (in Turtle Island, 1974) als Monstrum. Dem einfachen Waldarbeiter wird dagegen nicht unbillig Schuld zugewiesen; es sind Ausbeutungsmechanismen, die den Arbeiter zur Naturzerstörung zwingen. Diese an gewerkschaftliche Argumente angelehnte Haltung erscheint auch als historisierender Topos in Gedichten, die an Arbeiterrechtler und Arbeitskämpfe der ersten Jahrhunderthälfte erinnern (Logging 5 und Logging 7 in Myths & Texts, 1960). Die Verantwortung für Umweltzerstörung, menschliche Grausamkeit und Gedankenlosigkeit lastet der Autor einem komplexen System an, das von naturfeindlicher judäo-christlicher Religiosität und kapitalistischem Wirtschaftsdenken oder seinem gleichermaßen zerstörerischen marxistischen Widerpart geprägt wird und das die ursprüngliche Verbundenheit von Mensch, Tier und Pflanze nicht nur aufgekündigt hat, sondern aktiv an der sukzessiven Vernichtung der einzelnen Teile – also auch der Menschen – arbeitet. Diesem Komplex setzt er vor allem die einfachen Lehren indianischer Naturreligion sowie taoistischer und tantrischer Übungen entgegen.

Diese Kombination aus ökologischem Anspruch, fernöstlichem und indianischem Spiritualismus und Arbeitersolidarität machte Snyder zu einem der führenden Poeten der »San Francisco Renaissance«. Seine literarische Einarbeitung als »Japhy Rider« in J. Kerouacs Dharma Bums (1958) ließ ihn zusätzlich zur Kultfigur werden, wobei die zeitgenössische Kritik gelegentlich nicht mehr zwischen dem Menschen und der Figur zu unterscheiden schien. Die teilweise überschwängliche Aufnahme seiner frühen Werke ist in diesem Zusammenhang zu sehen. Sie beschränkte sich zunächst auch weitgehend auf Kreise der Alternativkultur. Im Unterschied zur Thematisierung und literarischen Vermittlung innerpsychischer Einsichten und Probleme, die im Vordergrund der poetischen Arbeiten der anderen Beat-Lyriker stehen, weisen die von Snyder behandelten Themen über die Person des Autors hinaus auf die Naturgebundenheit von Erfahrung und Erlebnis. Auch formal setzt er sich ab. Schon die zuerst 1958 erschienenen Bearbeitungen der ursprünglich der chinesischen Zen-Tradition entstammenden Cold Mountain-Gedichte des Han Shan fallen durch ihre sorgfältige Strukturierung und ein ständiges Bemühen um Straffheit und Genauigkeit der Form auf. Anders als viele seiner Kollegen der Beat-Ära überarbeitete Snyder Gedichtmanuskripte teilweise mehrfach, eine Arbeitsweise, die scheinbar im Widerspruch steht zur Betitelung des eigenen ersten Gedichtbandes als Riprap (1959). Während in Riprap Gedichte wie der T-2 Tanker Blues oder Cartagena Ähnlichkeit mit den Bekenntnisgedichten z. B. Ginsbergs aufwiesen, hatte Snyder in Myths & Texts zur eigenen Form gefunden. Seine Sprache ist knapp und um Präzision bemüht, dabei konzentriert auf die genaue Wiedergabe von Beobachtung und Empfindung, die oft in eine Phrase gefasst erscheinen. Halb- und Binnenreime verweisen auf Traditionsbewusstsein, metaphorische Umschreibungen sind selten. Vielfach wird ein Einklang von Druckbild, Lautung und Objekt im Sinn der Zen-Dichtung versucht, wobei sich Snyder aber nur selten auf die drei Zeilen des klassischen Haiku beschränkt. Experimente mit »gefundenen« Gedichten wie der Nahrungsmittelliste eines Indianerstamms kommen in ausgeführter Form in Myths & Texts vor. Begrenzten »Found poetry«-Charakter haben allerdings die vielen Wiedergaben gehörter Kommentare, Ansichten und Einsichten von Waldarbeitern und Seeleuten, mit und unter denen der Autor jahrelang arbeitete. Bücher und Buchwissen haben in diesem Kontext geringen Wert: »The book's in the crapper / They're up to the part on ethics now« (»Das Buch is' im Scheißhaus / Sie sin' jetzt bei dem Teil über Ethik«) heißt es in Myths & Texts. Archetypische Figuren sind in vielen Gedichten Sprecher kurzer Texte; eine Vermittlungsform, die die Eindrücklichkeit der Texte noch verstärkt. Entsprechend weisen auch viele der zitierten Charaktere Ähnlichkeiten mit Zen-Weisen auf. In den späteren Bänden werden diese Gestalten durch Figuren ersetzt, die weniger spezifisch nur anhand von Namen oder Vornamen ausgewiesen werden.

Der 1974 erschienene Band Turtle Island bekam den Pulitzer-Preis und steigerte Snyders Bekanntheit noch einmal. Die Verwendung von Indianermythen, die schon in Myths & Texts eine prominente Rolle gespielt hatten, wurde von zeitgenössischen Autoren indianischer Herkunft (z. B. Leslie Silko in An Old Time Indian Attack in Two Parts) zum Teil kritisiert. Tatsächlich ist sie konsequenter Ausdruck der antiurbanen und antizivilisatorischen Tendenzen, die das poetische Werk von Anfang an begleitet hatten und in den späteren Gedichtbänden verstärkt zum Ausdruck kommen.

Die Herausgabe der Interview- und Essaybände The Old Ways und The Real Work sowie der Notizen in Earth House Hold in den siebziger Jahren signalisierte Snyders beginnende Integration in den Kanon und ermöglichte Vergleiche zwischen Notizen, Gedichten und Kommentaren. Die Bände deuten keineswegs auf einen Stillstand: In The Old Ways (1977) vollzieht der Autor konsequent den Schritt zur eigenen Zeitrechnung, die sich nicht mehr am christlichen, sondern an einer Art artistischem Nullpunkt orientiert: First printing 40077 (Reckoning roughly from the earliest cave paintings) (Erstausgabe 40077 – Grob von den frühesten Höhlenmalereien an gerechnet). Es fällt allerdings auf, daß sich viele der Gedichte in den neueren Bänden auf Ereignisse beziehen, die bis in die fünfziger Jahre und auf die nämlichen Erfahrungen als Holzarbeiter, Zen-Schüler und Feuerausguck zurückzuführen sind, die auch schon den Erfahrungshintergrund von Myths & Texts ausmachten. Der Autor ist sich dieses Prozesses bewusst: In Axe Handles (1983) erinnert er sich beim Verfertigen eines Beils für seinen Sohn an Pounds Diktum »When making an axe handle / the pattern is not far off« (»Wenn man einen Axtgriff macht / ist das Modell nicht weit«), das vor Pound wiederum auf einen chinesischen Text des 4. Jh.s zurückgeht. Der Dichter kommt zu dem Schluss: »And I see: Pound was an axe,/ Chen was an axe, I am an axe / And my son a handle, soon / To be shaping again, model / And tool, craft of culture, / How we go on.«

[Quelle: Wolfgang Hochbruck. -- In: Kindlers neues Literatur-Lexikon. -- München : Systhema, 1999. - 1 CD-ROM. -- ISBN 3-634-23231-5. -- s.v.]

Gary Snyder und Buddhismus:

"In the summers, Snyder worked as a mountain lookout, where according to the journal from one summer, 1953, he passed the time with a volume of the collected Blake, sumi painting, and Walden. Members of his family had been homesteaders and Wobblies, and there was much in Thoreau's anarchic politics and connection to nature that had a resonance for Snyder. In 1955 Snyder participated in the Six Poets at the Six Gallery reading, and made fast friends with Jack Kerouac. Kerouac sensed in Snyder a coming together of different strands of American myths and created a character based on Snyder, Japhy Ryder, who was to galvanize a generation and touch off a "rucksack revolution" across the country. As Snyder has said:

"If my life and work is in some sense a kind of an odd extension, in its own way, of what Thoreau, Whitman, John Muir, etc. are doing, then Jack hooked into that and he saw that as valuable to him for his purposes in this century." In the same interview with Barry Gifford and Lawrence Lee, Snyder added: "In a way the Beat Generation is a gathering together of all the available models and myths of freedom in America that had existed before, namely: Whitman, John Muir, Thoreau, and the American bum. We put them together and opened them out again, and it becomes like a literary motif, and then we added some Buddhism to it."

The year following the Six Gallery reading, Snyder left for Japan to engage in formal Zen practice. While he was there, studying with Oda Sesso Roshi, his first two books of poetry, Riprap and Myths & Texts, were published. Despite his physical remove from the Beat Generation, Snyder continued to wield a powerful influence on the movement both through his own work and through his friendships with many Beat writers. Joanne Kyger, Philip Whalen, and Allen Ginsberg were all drawn to Japan by Snyder's presence. He also introduced many to sitting practice, through personal example and through writings such as "Spring Sesshin at Sokoku-ji," a detailed description of monastery life published in the Chicago Review, 1958 Zen issue.

In 1969, Snyder returned to the United States, where he continued his prodigious output of essays and poems. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Turtle Island, his 1975 collection. He now lives at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada foothills, where he writes and also practices at the Ring of Bone Zendo."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 172f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Snyders buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.13. Lenore Kandel (1932 - )

Abb.: Lenore Kandel mit Timothy Leary
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]


"Lenore Kandel (born 1932) is a poet who was briefly notorious as the author of a short book of poetry, The Love Book, a small pamphlet of 8 pages with 4 poems, including "To Fuck with Love" which was prosecuted for obscenity in 1967 in San Francisco during the hippie movement in Haight-Ashbury.

She was a speaker at the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, January 14, 1967. She was one of 15 people interviewed in Voices from the Love Generation. She published one other book of poems, Word Alchemy in 1967, but is known to have continued writing throughout her life.

She is considered by some to be one of the major poets of the 20th century, but is generally unknown and unappreciated. Volume 1, No. 1 of the internet literary and erotic magazine, The Divine Animal, features Lenore Kandel and her work [1] ("

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Lenore Kandel und Buddhismus:

"Lenore Kandel decided at the age of twelve, from her wide readings in comparative religion, that Buddhism was the way of life she wanted to pursue. In 1959 she began sitting zazen in New York. In the same year, Kandel had three short collections of her poetry published. In 1960 she moved to San Francisco, where she became romantically involved with Lew Welch. Not long after her arrival, she became a resident at East-West House and began to study with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. It was through Welch that Kandel met Jack Kerouac, who immortalized her in Big Sur as Ramona Swartz: "a big Rumanian monster beauty of some kind I mean with big purple eyes and very tall and big (but Mae West big), . . . but also intelligent, well read, writes poetry, is a Zen student, knows everything ..."

Kandel's work was admired by her own contemporaries and singled out for praise by established poets such as Kenneth Rexroth. Today she remains best known for her erotic poetry, particularly The Love Book, which like "Howl" was deemed pornographic and forcibly removed from Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Bookshop by the San Francisco State Police. When challenged in an obscenity court, Kandel defended The Love Book as the culmination of "a twenty-three-year search for an appropriate way to worship" and an attempt "to express her belief that sexual acts between loving persons are religious acts." Much of Kandel's work carries explicit tantric references. In recent years, she has continued to write poetry and pursue an interest in Tibetan Buddhism."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 269f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Kandels buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.14. Michael McClure (1932 - )

Abb.: Michael McClure


"Michael McClure (October 20, 1932) is an American poet and playwright.

One of five poets who read at the famous Six Gallery reading in 1955 (along with Allen Ginsberg), McClure's works, along with those of Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti are often associated with both the Beat Generation and the later San Francisco poetry movement.

An odd footnote to his long poetic career is his co-authorship (with B. Neuwerth) of the playground-rhyme-like popular song, Mercedes-Benz for Janis Joplin.

McClure collaborative performances with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek fuse spoken word poetry and improvised jazz piano."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Bewertung Michal McClures in deutscher Literaturwissenschaft:

"McClure, Michael, amerikanischer Schriftsteller, * 20. 10. 1932 Marysville/Kansas; lebt seit 1953 in San Francisco, seit 1962 Prof., Calif. College of Arts and Crafts. - Von Artaud und Olson beeinflusster Lyriker im Umkreis der 'San Francisco Renaissance'; Suche nach transzendentaler Körpererfahrung in sehr persönlichen Liebesgedichten; Protest gegen Erlebnis- und Sprachschemata durch gewollte Obszönität und stilistische Experimente; Angriffe auf die kriegslüsterne Staatsmaschinerie. Auch Romane sowie Dramen von provokativem Erotismus."

[Quelle: Lexikon der Weltliteratur : Autoren und Werke / Gero von Wilpert. -- Berlin : Directmedia Publ., 2000. -- 1 CD-ROM. -- (Digitale Bibliothek ; 13). -- ISBN 3-89853-113-9. -- s.v.]

"DAS LYRISCHE WERK von Michael McClure

(amer.). – Michael McClure ist als Lyriker, Dramatiker, Maler und Performance-Künstler das Multitalent unter den Dichtern der Beat-Bewegung. Wie bei Allen Ginsberg ist auch bei ihm der Versuch zu spüren, deren Symbiose von Kunst und Leben in seiner Person selbst engzuführen. Was seine Gedichte jedoch von Anfang an von den Gedichten der anderen Lyriker der Beat-Generation unterscheidet, ist die Betonung des biologischen Aspektes, des Verhältnisses von Geist und Körper. Der Dichter soll bei McClure wieder der besessene Schamane sein, der in seinen Evokationen einer anderen Wirklichkeit sich dieser einpasst und so Mensch und Natur wieder in Einklang bringt. Bereits nach dem Studium der Anthropologie, Biologie und Kunst hatte McClure begonnen zu malen und dabei eine Verbindung zwischen Lyrik und visueller Kunst zu schaffen, ein Versuch, der sich in einer dezidierten grafischen Gestaltung seiner Gedichte ausdrückt. In San Francisco lernte er durch Robert Duncan den Freundeskreis von Kenneth Rexroth kennen, zu dem neben Allen Ginsberg auch Robert Creeley und Charles Olson gehörten. McClures erste öffentliche Lesung in der Six Gallery im Oktober 1955 zusammen mit Philip Whalen, Gary Snyder und Allen Ginsberg, der zum erstenmal sein Gedicht Howl vortrug, wurde zur Geburtsstunde der sog. »San Francisco Renaissance«.

McClures erste Gedichte aus dieser Zeit, erschienen in den Sammlungen Passage, 1956 (Durchreise), und Hymns to St. Geryon and Other Poems, 1959 (Hymnen auf St. Geryon und andere Gedichte), sind noch recht traditionell gehalten. Programmatisch kündigt sich in ihnen jedoch bereits McClures spätere anti-mimetische Haltung an, die im Gedicht nicht eine Widerspiegelung der Realität, sondern ein wirkendes Ding selbst sieht.

Die Gedichte von The New Book / A Book of Torture, 1961 (Das Neue Buch / Ein Buch der Folter), und Dark Brown, 1961 (Dunkelbraun), verbinden das in Passage und Hymns to St. Geryon inhaltlich Beschriebene dann auch formal mit dem Prozess des Dichtens selbst. In Anlehnung an die Improvisation des »action painting« in der Malerei werden balladeske, onomatopoetische und synästhetische Elemente spontan verbunden. Bedeutend ist hier nicht so sehr der Inhalt des Gedichts als vielmehr der kreativ-ekstatische Prozess des Dichtens selbst, da dieser allein die Verbindung von Geist und Körperempfinden wiederherstellt, die auch in der Rezeption erfahren werden soll. Oft nimmt diese Ekstase provokatorisch die Form sexuellen Außersichseins an: Das längste Gedicht des Bandes beschreibt eine Folge von Orgasmen, gefolgt von 25 Wiederholungen des Wortes Oh und 45 einzelnen und gebündelten Ausrufezeichen.

Parallel zu seiner Lyrik schreibt McClure seine ersten experimentellen Theaterstücke und Essays. Mit den happeningartigen Stücken The Feast, 1960 (Das Fest), und The Beard, 1965 (Der Bart), erregt er öffentliche Skandale und profiliert sich als Dramatiker der Beats. Außerdem gibt er ab 1961 mit Lawrence Ferlinghetti und David Meltzer das ›Journal For The Protection Of All Beings‹ heraus, in dem die Beats ihr Interesse und ihre Sorge um die Natur und die Umwelt artikulieren – ein Anliegen, dem auch sein nächster Gedichtband Ghost Tantras, 1964 (Geister Tantras), gewidmet ist. Bereits in seiner Vorbemerkung fordert McClure den Leser/Sprecher auf, sich durch den Vortrag der »Gesänge« der körperlich-sinnlichen Unmittelbarkeit der animalischen Schichten in sich selbst zu versichern und sich damit seiner naturhaften Anteile gewahr zu werden. Formal vermischen sich in den Gedichten Zitate aus der Ikonografie der Pop-Art mit animalischen Lauten und verzerrtem Szene-Slang, wobei sich Tierhaftes und sprachliche Verweise auf sexuell Erregendes zur Vorstellung einer Verschmelzung von Triebleben und Kunst vereinigen. Die Diskrepanz zwischen ästhetischer Distanz und körperlich-sinnlichem Erleben, d. h. die Entfremdung von Kultur und Natur soll in einem Meat is Spirit-Bewusstsein von Dichter und Rezipient aufgehoben werden: In dem Sammelband Meat Science Essays, 1963 (Aufsätze zur Fleisch Wissenschaft), und dem Aufsatz Wolf Net, 1974 (Wolfsnetz), propagiert McClure eine Vernetzung von Mensch und Natur, in der die poetische Sprache eine direkte Fortsetzung der Physiologie des Körpers ist.

Nach Freewheelin Frank Secretary of the Angels (1969), einem Bericht über die Hell's Angels in Kalifornien, und den Romanen The Mad Cub, 1970 (Das verrückte Junge), und The Adept, 1971 (Der Adept), der Geschichte eines Kokain-Dealers, befasst sich McClure in den siebziger Jahren wieder intensiv mit dem Schreiben von Bühnenstücken. Die Gedichte der siebziger und frühen achtziger Jahre, erschienen in September Blackberries, 1974 (September Brombeeren), Jaguar Skies, 1978 (Jaguar Himmel), Antechambers & Other Poems, 1978 (Vorzimmer & andere Gedichte), und Fragments of Perseus, 1983 (Fragmente von Perseus), radikalisieren die ökologische Thematik in bezog auf ihre politische Dimension. »THERE IS BUT ONE POLITICS AND THAT IS BIOLOGY« (»Es gibt nur eine Politik, und das ist die Biologie«) erklärt McClure in dem Gedicht Poetics. Daneben stehen eher traditionell anmutende Naturgedichte (The List; Twin Peaks; For Joanna), typografische Experimente (The Skull; Antechamber) und poetische Beschwörungen der Einheit von Mikro- und Makrokosmos (Grey Fox at Solstice; The Glow; Scroll).
In seiner spezifischen Betonung der ökologischen Abhängigkeit der menschlichen Existenz und dem Verweis auf die politischen Implikationen dieser Einsicht hat McClure poetisch vorweggenommen, was zentrales Thema der New-Age-Bewegung und der neuen Physik der achtziger Jahre wurde, deren irrationalistische Tendenzen seine Lyrik allerdings auch teilt."

[Quelle: Hans-Peter Rodenberg. -- In: Kindlers neues Literatur-Lexikon. -- München : Systhema, 1999. - 1 CD-ROM. -- ISBN 3-634-23231-5. -- s.v.]

Michael McClure und Buddhismus:

"Michael McClure moved from Kansas to San Francisco in 1954 to study art, but after a workshop with poet Robert Duncan soon turned his attention to writing. His first reading was as part of the Six Poets at the Six Gallery. The following year, 1956, McClure s first book of poetry, Passage, was published. McClure writes primarily about nature, an interest he found mirrored in Asian texts. Buddhism, particularly the Hua-Yen Vision of Indra's Net, informs his work. In this regard, he is representative of the connection the Beats had, ultimately, with environmental movements. He has written that the nonhierar-chical, interdependent Buddhist approach to the natural world was the tonic needed by a country plagued by war neurosis: "The awareness that we are all without proportion, and that all living beings are proportionless, seemed natural. We who felt deeply in the cold fifties were either monists or animists.""

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 313f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von McClures buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.15. Joanne Kyger (1934 - )

Abb.: Joanne Kyger
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]


"Joanne Kyger (born 1934) is an American poet associated with the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beats.

Kyger studied at Santa Barbara College but left before graduating. She moved to San Francisco and became involved with the poetry scene around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan.

In 1959 she moved to Japan with Gary Snyder and then travelled to India with Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlofsky. She returned to the United States in 1964 and her first book, The Tapestry and the Web was published the next year.

Kyger has published sixteen books of poetry and prose, including Going On : selected poems, 1958-1980 (1983) and Just Space: poems, 1979-1989 (1991). She has lived in Bolinas since 1968, where she has edited the local newspaper and done some occasional teaching at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Joanne Kyger und Buddhismus:

"Joanne Kyger pursued her two interests, poetry and philosophy, when she was a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara. In 1957, Kyger moved to San Francisco, where she immersed herself in the city's increasingly active poetry community, meeting Philip Whalen and Gary Snyder, among others. Kyger moved into East-West House, a large turn-of-the-century building that had been turned into a communal living project, and soon after taking up residence there began studying with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, who had just arrived from Japan to teach at the Soto Zen Mission, located just around the corner. In 1960, Kyger left for Japan to join Gary Snyder, whom she then married. She lived in Kyoto for four years, during which time she wrote poetry, studied flower arranging, and practiced at Daitoku-ji with Ruth Fuller Sasaki. Her experiences are chronicled in Japan and India Journals: 1960-64.

Returning alone to San Francisco in 1964, Kyger began to write prodigiously, as well as give readings and participate in the Berkeley Poetry Conference. Her first book of poems, The Tapestry and the Web, was published the following year. In 1975 Kyger went to Naropa Institute, where she met Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and, later, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. She now sits at the Ocean Wind Zendo in Bolinas, California."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 231f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Kygers buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.16. Diane di Prima (1934 - )

Abb.: Diane di Prima, 1954
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]


"Diane Di Prima (born August 6, 1934) is an American poet who was one of the most active of women poets associated with the Beats.

Early Life

Di Prima was born in Brooklyn and educated at Swarthmore College. She began writing as a child and by the age of nineteen was corresponding with Ezra Pound and Kenneth Patchen. Her first book, This Kind of Bird Flies Backwards was published in 1958.

The Beats

Di Prima spent the early 1960s in Manhattan, where she became part of the Beat movement. She edited The Floating Bear with Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and was co-founder of the New York Poets Theatre and founder of the Poets Press. In 1966, she moved to Millbrook to join Timothy Leary’s psychedelic community there.

Later Life and Work

In the early 1970s, she moved to California, where she has lived ever since. Here, she became involved with the Diggers and studied Buddhism, Sanskrit, Gnosticism and alchemy. She also published her major work, the long poem Loba in 1978, with an enlarged edition in 1998. She teaches and continues writing, having published thirty-five books of poetry. Her selected poems, Pieces of a Song was published in 1990 and a memoir, Recollections of My Life as a Woman, in 2001."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Diane di Prima und Buddhismus:

"In 1962, di Prima met Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in San Francisco. She then packed up a zafu, a meditation cushion, and brought it back to New York and started sitting by herself. In Buddhist practice, she has written, she found the perfect complement to her work as a poet: "My work, my life, is images. This is what I do. When I first began sitting zazen I realized I was clearing my mind. By practicing deeply, the images start to flow. My teacher never contradicted this. Dharma practice and art are two sides of the same coin. Meditation is a rest from the art work." In 1968, she moved to the West Coast in order to "participate in the revolution" and to have more time to study with Suzuki Roshi at the Zen Center, where poets Philip Whalen and Gary Snyder were also practicing. While handing out free food with the Diggers, teaching writing workshops, and founding the Poets Press, di Prima continued to produce many volumes of poetry, much of her writing reflecting her strong political commitments and activism. After Suzuki Roshi's death, she became disaffiliated from the San Francisco center and studied for periods with Katagiri Roshi, Kwong Roshi, and Kobun Chino Roshi, as well as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, whom she had met in 1970.

Di Prima taught at the 1974 opening session of the Poetics Program at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. In 1983, di Prima decided that eleven years without a teacher and a practice community was too much, and took up formal study with Chogyam Trungpa. The same year she cofounded the San Francisco Institute of Magical and Healing Arts. At present she continues to write poetry as well as to study Tibetan Buddhism, magic, alchemy, and healing."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 140. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von di Primas buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

4.17. Anne Waldman (1945 - )

Abb.: Anne Waldman
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]


"Anne Waldman (born April 2, 1945) is an American poet who is associated with the group known as the Beats. Waldman was born in New Jersey. During the 1960s, she became part of the East Cost poetry scene, giving frequent readings at the St. Mark's Church Poetry Project, which she ran for a time. She has published eighteen books of poetry.

With Allen Ginsberg, she founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

"Anne Waldman

Born: April 2, 1945
Place of Birth: Millville, New Jersey

Anne Waldman was part of the late Sixties poetry scene in the East Village. She ran the St. Mark's Church Poetry Project, and gave exuberant, highly physical readings of her own work.

She became a Buddhist, worshipping with the Tibetan Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who would also become Allen Ginsberg's guru. She and Ginsberg worked together to create a poetry school, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, at Trungpa's Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Anne Waldman is one of the most interesting, vibrant and unpredictable members of the post-Beat poetry community. Her confluence of Buddhist concerns and thought-paths with sources of physicality and anger is particularly impressive (did you get all that?).

She was featured in Bob Dylan's experimental film 'Renaldo and Clara.' "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23]

Anne Waldman und Buddhismus:

"Waldman had her first taste of "watching her mind" in a comparative religion course at her progressive Quaker high school, which involved students participating in "silent meetings," meditation, for an hour. After the meditation, Waldman recalls there was a time to "speak out our secret observations, doubts, delight." She adds: "These were surprisingly secular occasions. Awareness practice with simplicity and rigor. No hierarchy, no priests." She was not yet twenty when she met a living Buddhist lineage holder, the Tibetan teacher Geshe Wangyal, who was then teaching in the small town of Freewood Acres, New Jersey.

In 1970, she met Chogyam Trungpa at his Tail of the Tiger retreat center [later renamed Karme Choling] in Barnet, Vermont. She stayed two weeks and began to think about performing her poetry in terms of breath and mantra chanting. In 1973 she took teachings for a month in India and took refuge with Chatral Rinpoche. In 1974, Waldman was invited to Boulder, Colorado, along with Allen Ginsberg and Diane di Prima, for the first program of the Naropa Institute. When Waldman arrived Chogyam Trungpa asked if she and Ginsberg would design a poetics department in which poets could learn about meditation and meditators could learn about poetry. He described this as a "one-hundred-year project, at least." The same evening the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics was born. The school was named in Kerouac's honor because, Waldman has written, "he had realized the first Buddhist Noble Truth, the truth of Suffering, and had written the spontaneous Mexico City Blues, an ecstatic series of choruses inspired by Buddhist thinking ('first thought, best thought'), be-bop, and his own lively poet-mind. Also a writer both generations of peers—my own and Allen's—might agree upon." The school had its first full summer program in 1975, and Waldman has maintained her high level of involvement ever since."

[Quelle: Big sky mind : Buddhism and the beat generation / Carole Tonkinson, ed. ; introduction by Stephen Prothero.  -- New York : Riverhead Books, ©1995.  -- x, 387 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- ISBN: 1573225010. --  "A Tricycle book." -- S. 350f. -- In diesem Buch eine gute Auswahl von Waldmans buddhistisch inspirierten Schriften.]

5. Chronik

Eine ausführlichere Chronik zu allen Aspekten der Beat Generation findet man in:

Watson, Steven: Die Beat-Generation : Visionäre, Rebellen und Hipsters, 1944 - 1960. -- St. Andrä-Wördern : Hannibal, 1997. -- VIII, 382 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Originaltitel: The birth of the beat generation (1995). -- ISBN: 3-85445-155-5. -- S. 319 - 340


Kenneth Rexroth (1905 - 1982) wird in South Bend, Indiana geboren


Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) wird  in Chislehurst, Kent, England geboren


Harold Norse (1916 - ) wird in New York City geboren


Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919 - ) wird in Yonkers, N. Y. geboren


Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) wird in  Lowell, Mass.  geboren- 21. 10. 1969 St. Petersburg/Florida


Philip Whalen (1923 - 2002) wird in Portland, Oregon geboren


Bob Kaufman (1925 - 1986) wird geboren


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) wird in Paterson, N. J. geboren


Lew Welch (1926-1971?) wird in Phoenix, Arizona geboren


Albert Saijo (1927 - ) wird in Los Angeles geboren


Will Petersen (1928 - 1994) wird in Chicago geboren


Gary Snyder (1930 - ) wird in San Francisco geboren


Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) wird Sekretär der London Buddhist Lodge von Christmas Humphreys (1901 - 1983)


Lenore Kandel (1932 - ) wird geboren


Michael McClure (1932 - ) wird in Marysville/Kansas geboren


Joanne Kyger (1934 - ) wird geboren


Diane Di Prima (1934 - ) wird in Brooklyn geboren


Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) lernt am World Congress of Faiths an der University of London  Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki  (1870 - 1966) kennen


Abb.: Titel

Es erscheint:

Watts, Alan Wilson <1915 - 1973>: The Spirit of Zen : a way of life, work and art in the Far East. -- London : John Murray, 1936.  -- 136 S. ; 17 cm.   -- (Wisdom of the East Series.)

Das Werk beruht hauptsächlich auf Übersetzungen von Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki  (1870 - 1966)


Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) heiratet Eleanor Everett, die Tochter von Ruth Fuller Everett (später: Fuller-Sasaki) (1893 - 1967)


Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) lernt Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) kennen.


Lucien Carr (1925 - 2005), Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) und Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) bilden ihre "New Vision". Grundaussagen:

  1. "Nackte Selbstverwirklichung ist die Voraussetzung der Kreativität

  2. Das Bewusstsein des Künstlers wird durch Störung der Sinne erweitert

  3. Die Kunst entzieht sich der konventionellen Moral."

[Quelle: Watson, Steven: Die Beat-Generation : Visionäre, Rebellen und Hipsters, 1944 - 1960. -- St. Andrä-Wördern : Hannibal, 1997. -- VIII, 382 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Originaltitel: The birth of the beat generation (1995). -- ISBN: 3-85445-155-5. -- S. 319f.]


Anne Waldman (1945 - ) wird in Millville, New Jersey geboren


Gary Snyder (1930 - ) immatrikuliert sich am Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Er studiert Literatur und Anthropologie und macht 1950 seinen Abschluss.


Abb.: William Blake: Selbstbildnis, um 1785-1790

Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) hat eine Vision, in der William Blake (1757 - 1827) zu ihm spricht. Für die nächsten 15 Jahre leitet ihn diese Vision.


Lawrence Ferling (später: Ferlinghetti) (1919 - )  zieht von Paris nach San Francisco


Albert Saijo (1927 - ) nimmt regelmässig an den Sitzungen von Nyogen Senzaki teil


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) nimmt erstmals Peyote


Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919 - ) und Peter D. Martin gründen den  City Lights Bookshop in San Francisco

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-24


Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) beginnt in der San Jose, California Library Buddhismus zu studieren, er "entdeckt" Dwight Goddard's A Buddhist Bible.  Er wohnt bei Neal Cassady (1926 - 1968) und seiner Frau Carolyn. Kerouac hilft Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997), der sich gleichzeitig für Buddhismus zu interessieren beginnt.


Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) beendet das Manuskript Some of the Dharma. Es erscheint erst 1997:

Abb.: Einbandtitel

Kerouac, Jack <1922-1969>: Some of the dharma. -- New York : Viking, 1997.  -- 419 S. ; 29 cm.  -- ISBN: 0670848778. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei bestellen}

1956 - 1968

Gary Snyder (1930 - ) verbringt die meiste Zeit in Japan und studiert Zen im Shokoku-ji und dann im Daitoku-ji Kloster in Kyoto


Abb.: Einbandtitel

Es erscheint:

Ginsberg, Allen <1926- 1997>: Howl, and other poems.  -- San Francisco : City Lights Pocket Bookshop, [1956]. -- 44 S. 16 cm.  -- (The Pocket poets series ; no. 4)


Harold Norse (1916 - ) kommt in Italien durch ein Buch mit dem Buddhismus in Berührung. Er praktiziert Satipatthana nach The Way of Mindfulness by Bhikku Soma (1898 - 1960). Er schreibt an einen achtzigjährigen deutschen Mönch um Rat bei der Meditation (gemeint ist wohl Nyanatiloka (1878-1957))

Gemeint ist wohl:

The Way of Mindfulness : the Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary : a translation of the Satipatthana Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya;
its Commentary, the Satipatthana Sutta Vannana of the Papañcasudani of Buddhaghosa Thera; and excerpts from the Linatthapakasana Tika, Marginal Notes, of Dhammapala Thera on the Commentary. / by Soma Thera <1898-1960>

First Edition: 1941 (Saccanubodia Samiti, Nandana, Asgiriya, Kandy)
Second Edition: 1949 (Mr. And Mrs. Nalin Moonesinghe, Colombo)

Online: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-24

1957 - 1975



Abb.: Einbandtitel einer späteren Ausgabe

Es erscheint:

Watts, Alan <1915-1973>: The way of Zen. -- [New York] : Pantheon, [1957]. -- 236 S. : Ill.


Abb.: Einbandtitel

Es erscheint:

Kerouac, Jack <1922-1969>: On the road.  -- New York, Viking Press, 1957.  -- 310 S. 22 cm.


Abb.: Einbandtitel

Es erscheint:

Jack Kerouac <1922 - 1969>: The Dharma Bums

"The Dharma Bums is a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The book is the follow-up to what is widely considered his best novel, On the Road. The semi-fictional accounts in the novel are based upon events that occurred years after On the Road. The main character is purportedly a fictionalized Gary Snyder who appears as Japhy Ryder. Also important in the narration is Kerouac's account of the Six Gallery Reading (, where Allen Ginsberg debuted a reading of his 1956 poem Howl and other authors such as Kenneth Rexroth and Philip Whalen performed. A key  ( of Kerouac's aliases for his friends is helpful in deciphering the rest of the characters.

The story largely follows the action of Japhy Ryder, whose penchant for the simple life and Zen Buddhism influenced Kerouac highly as he began to mature and on the eve of his wild and unpredicted success with On the Road. The action shifts between the wild, such as three-day long parties and a supposed reenactment of the Buddhist sexual right of the "Yab-Yum" ceremony to the sublime and peaceful imagery where Kerouac seeks a type of transcendence. The conclusion of the novel is a change in narrative style, with Kerouac working alone as a fire lookout on Hozomeen Mountain's Desolation Peak, in the North Cascades National Park (see also Desolation Angels). In this period Kerouac was pushed to a fragile psychological state because of the aloneness and the absence of alcohol, which was already becoming a substance that Kerouac was dependant upon. These elements place The Dharma Bums at a critical junction between what would be the consciousness-probing works of many authors in the 1960's such as Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-07]


(amer.; Ü: Gammler, Zen und hohe Berge). Roman von Jack Kerouac, erschienen 1958. – Kerouac, einer der Hauptautoren der Beat-Generation, ließ, nachdem er sechs Jahre auf die Publikation seines bekanntesten Buches, On the Road (1957), hatte warten müssen, bis 1968 in kurzer Folge zehn weitere Romane oder romanähnliche Bücher erscheinen, ehe er erschöpft von den Folgen seines rastlosen, ganz auf Erlebnisintensität ausgerichteten Lebens im Alter von 47 Jahren starb. Das Image des antibürgerlichen Alkohol-, Drogen- und Sex-Apostels, das ihm wie seinen Freunden noch heute anhaftet und zu dem er durch seinen Lebensstil und seine Bücher selbst beitrug, wird jedoch der Komplexität seines Wesens, seiner Werke und Ziele nicht gerecht. Der asketisch bis zu Erschöpfungs- und Depressionszuständen um einen seiner mystischen Vision adäquaten Prosastil ringende Kerouac, der von tiefer Religiosität erfüllte Katholik, dessen konservative Eltern aus dem französischen Teil Kanadas kamen, wird über dem Boheme-Image meistens übersehen. Er selbst war, im Unterschied zu den Freunden William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady und Gary Snyder, die in seinen autobiographischen Büchern zu Hauptfiguren wurden, eher ein Berichterstatter der ziellosen Reisen, der Gespräche und Lebensexperimente dieser Gruppe als der führende Kopf. Er war der Boswell seiner Generation; nicht zufällig zählte Boswells Life of Samuel Johnson zu den prägenden Lektüreerlebnissen seiner Jugend, neben Dostoevskij, Goethe, Whitman, Thomas Wolfe und Galsworthys Forsyte Saga.

Die bürgerliche Lebensordnung, das kapitalistische Wirtschaftssystem und militärisches Denken (im Zeitalter des Kalten Krieges) waren dem eher introvertierten Kerouac unerträglich als Ausdrucksformen einer Gesellschaft, die mit zerstörerischer Rationalität einen anti-spirituellen Lebensstil erzwang und dabei Spontaneität und Kreativität erstickte. Entsprechend sind seine Bücher der Realisierung und Förderung der letztgenannten Werte gewidmet. In diesen Zusammenhang gehört auch die Theorie des spontanen Schreibens, die Kerouac während der Arbeit an On the Road entwickelte, aber erst in den folgenden Büchern zum Teil realisieren konnte. Am überzeugendsten ist der spontan-assoziative Denk- und Schreibstil wohl in Visions of Cody gelungen, das gleichzeitig mit On the Road entstand und in dem Neal Cassady, der Dean Moriarty in On the Road, als Cody gleichfalls Hauptfigur ist. Teile dieses Buches erschienen 1960, der gesamte Text postum 1972. The Dharma Bums entstand erst nach Visions of Cody und wurde 1957 abgeschlossen.

Auch hier versucht Kerouac, spontan zu schreiben; auch hier geht es wie in On the Road um spontane, ziellos wirkende Reisen, zugleich Flucht und Queste, quer über den Kontinent (besonders Kalifornien und Mexiko); auch hier steht dem autobiographischen Protagonisten Ray Smith ein Freund als Reisegefährte zur Seite, Gary Snyder als Japhy Ryder. Neu hinzu kommt – wie in den anderen zwischen 1954 und 1960 entstandenen Büchern Kerouacs, besonders The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, 1960 (Das Buch der goldenen Ewigkeit) – die Auseinandersetzung mit dem Buddhismus, auch dies typisch für die Beat-Generation (Kerouac konvertierte freilich nicht, sondern fand einen Kompromiss zwischen Katholizismus und Buddhismus). Lange, ziellose Gespräche zwischen den Freunden, den »Dharma Bums« des Titels, umkreisen die Überwindung des Körperlichen und der Angst (als zentrales Thema des Zen-Buddhismus); man meditiert, strebt nach spontaner Erkenntnis des Wahren (auch unter Mitwirkung bewusstseinserweiternder Drogen) und geistiger Vervollkommnung, doch kommt auch das Körperliche (in verschiedenen Orgien) nicht zu kurz. Japhy Ryder bringt seinem Freund nicht nur den Buddhismus, sondern auch das Bergsteigen nahe, und so finden sich in The Dharma Bums (wie in On the Road) zahlreiche eindrucksvolle, von intensivem Erleben geprägte Landschaftsschilderungen. Anders als in On the Road werden das romantisch-suchende Leben und der Spontaneitätskult nicht nur in leicht distanzierter Form beschrieben, sondern der Erzähler versucht, sein Erleben und seine Gedanken unmittelbar, spontan-assoziativ in Sprache zu fassen. Jazz-Rhythmen, der Beat-typische Jugendjargon und gelegentlich schwer nachzuvollziehende autobiographische Assoziationsketten bestimmen dabei den Sprachduktus ebenso wie Anlehnungen an die Formelsprache der Sutras. Zusammen mit der sehr losen Episodenstruktur des Buches bewirkt dieser Schreibstil den (gewollten) Gesamteindruck der Formlosigkeit. Ein größerer Leserkreis war damit allerdings nicht anzusprechen, so dass das (teils sensationelle) Interesse an Kerouacs Büchern nach On the Road schnell wieder nachließ und hämische Kritiken in den Vordergrund traten."

[Quelle: Henning Thies. -- In: Kindlers neues Literatur-Lexikon. -- München : Systhema, 1999. - 1 CD-ROM. -- ISBN 3-634-23231-5. -- s.v.]


Abb.: Einbandtitel

Es erscheint in Buchform:

Watts, Alan <1915-1973>: Beat Zen, square Zen, and Zen.  -- [San Francisco] : City Lights Books, ©1959. -- 25 S. 21 cm.

Eine frühere Fassung des Textes war in Chicago Review. -- 1958-Sommer erschienen.

1959 - 1964

Joanne Kyger (1934 - ) lebt in Kyoto, Japan. Dort trainiert sie am Daitoku-ji mit Ruth Fuller Sasaki (1893 - 1967)


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) reist durch Indien, trifft Gary Snyder (1930 - ) und Joanne Kyger (1934 - ). 15 Monate lang reist Ginsberg und Peter Orlovsky (1933 - ) durch Indien auf der Suche nach spiritueller Leitung. Er sucht möglichst viele Sadhus auf.


 Diane Di Prima (1934 - ) trifft Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1904 - 1971) in San Francisco. Sie praktiziert dann für sich selbst Zen in New York


Abb.: Einbandtitel einer neueren Taschenbuchausgabe

Jack Kerouac's "The dharma bums" erscheint in deutscher Übersetzung:

Jack Kerouac <1922 - 1969>: Gammler, Zen und hohe Berge. -- [1. - 7. Tsd.]. -- Reinbek b. Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1963. -- 177 S.  ; 8°. -- (Rowohlt Paperback ; 19). -- Originaltitel: The Dharma Bums (1958). -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei bestellen}


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) reist von Indien weiter nach Japan, wo er fünf Wochen mit Joanne Kyger (1934 - ) und Gary Snyder (1930 - ) verbringt.


Bob Kaufman (1925 - 1986) nimmt ein  "Buddhist vow of silence" ( publiziert nichts) auf sich bis der Vietnam Krieg beendet ist


Beginn des Protestes gegen den Vietnamkrieg in den USA


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) und Gary Snyder (1930 - ) wandern in Oregon und Washington State und studieren gemeinsam Buddhismus.


Abb.: Einbandtitel der Ausgabe von 1998

Timothy Leary (1920 - 1996) reicht 1967 auf Aufforderung der Zeitschrift Horizon einen Artikel ein, den die Zeitschrift aber nicht veröffentlicht. In diesem Artikel beschreibt Leary Buddha satirisch als ersten Hippie. Der Artikel wurde 1968 veröffentlicht in:

Leary, Timothy Francis <1920 - 1996>: The politics of ecstasy. --New York : Putnam, [1968]. -- 371 S. : Ill.  ; 23 cm. -- S. 304 - 309. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei bestellen}

Der Anfang diese Artikels:

"The message of the Buddha, Gautama, is the familiar, ancient always to-be-rediscovered divine instruction:

Drop out
Turn on
Tune in

The avatar, the divine one, is he who discovers and lives out this rhythm during his earthly trip.

The life of the Buddha, Gautama, is simply another case illustration in the venerable library of tissue manuals on "How to Discover Your Own Buddhahood."

Gautama Sakyamuni was born a prince. His father, the king, and his mother, the queen, were determined that he should carry on the family business and not discover his divinity. According to familiar parental tradition, they attempted to protect their son from confronting the four basic dimensions of the human time span: sickness, age, death, and the existence of eccentric, barefoot holy men— alchemists who could show him how to solve the time riddle by—

Dropping out
Turning on
Tuning in

The truth of the matter is that the Buddha was born and brought up in Westchester County, educated at an Ivy League college and groomed for that pinnacle of princely success which would allow him in 1967 to subscribe to Horizon, a magazine particularly unlikely to confront him with the prospect of his own divinity.

First Gautama dropped out. Horrors! Did he really desert his wife and child? Run out on the palace mortgage payment? Welsh on his commitments to his 10,000 concubines? Leave the Internal Revenue Service holding the bag for the Vietnam War bill? Maybe he just moved with his wife and kids to Big Sur, not even leaving a forwarding address for fourth-class mail. Lost Horizon. Or maybe the dropout was internal (where it always has to be). Maybe he just detached himself invisibly from the old fears and ambitions. [...]"

[Zitiert in: Asian religions in America : a documentary history / edited by Thomas A. Tweed, Stephen Prothero. -- New York : Oxford University Press, ©1999. -- 416 S. : Ill. -- ISBN 0-19-511339-X. -- S. 233.]


Diane Di Prima (1934 - ) zieht nach San Francisco, um bei Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1904 - 1971) zu lernen


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) singt mit der Menge bei der Democratic National Convention, Chicago sieben Stunden lang "Om"


Gary Snyder (1930 - ): Smokey the Bear Sutra

"Smokey the Bear Sutra by Gary Snyder

Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago, the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite Void gave a Discourse to all the assembled elements and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings, the flying beings, and the sitting beings - even grasses, to the number of thirteen billions, each one born from a seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning Enlightenment on the planet Earth.

"In some future time, there will be a continent called America. It will have great centers of power called such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur, Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon. The human race in that era will get into troubles all over its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature."

"The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth. My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger: and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it."

And he showed himself in his true form of


A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and watchful. Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war; His left paw in the Mudra of Comradely Display - indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma; Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a civilization that claims to save but often destroys; Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the West, symbolic of the forces that guard the Wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the True Path of man on earth: all true paths lead through mountains; With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind; Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her; Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs; smashing the worms of capitalism and totalitarianism; Indicating the Task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes; master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.

Wrathful but Calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or slander him,


Thus his great Mantra:

Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana Sphataya hum traka ham nam


And he will protect those who love woods and rivers, Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children.

And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television, or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL:





And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out with his vajra-shovel.

Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice willl accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.

Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.

Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.

Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.

Will always have ripe blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.


thus have we heard.

(may be reproduced free forever)"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-07]


Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) stirbt in St. Petersburg, Florida an Leberzirrhose


Es erscheint:

Ginsberg, Allen <1926- 1997>: Indian journals, March 1962-May 1963: notebooks, diary, blank pages, writings. -- [San Francisco] : Dave Haselwood Books, [1970]  -- 210 S. Ill. ; 21 cm.


Abb.: Chögyam Trungpa

Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) trifft in New York Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche  (1940 - 1987)


Diane Di Prima (1934 - ) lernt Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche (1940 - 1987) kennen


Anne Waldman (1945 - ) lernt Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche (1940 - 1987) kennen


Philip Whalen  (1923 – 2002) lebt auf Einladung von Richard Baker Roshi (1936 - ) im San Francisco Zen Center.


Abb.: John Giorno
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]

John Giorno (1936 - ) nimmt in Darjeeling bei Dudjom Rinpoche die dreifache Zuflucht.


"JOHN GIORNO, born December 4, 1936 in New York City, is considered the originator of performance poetry, as well as one of the most innovative and influential figures of 20th century poetry. A stockbroker turned poet, Giorno met Andy Warhol at Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery in November 1962 and, soon after becoming friends, briefly indulged Warhol’s foot fetish. On Memorial Day weekend in 1963 they went away for a few days and Giorno woke up in the night to find Warhol staring at him—Warhol took a lot of speed in those days. “Would you like to be a movie star?” asked Warhol. “Of course,” said Giorno, “I want to be just like Marilyn Monroe.” Thus John Giorno became Andy Warhol’s first superstar; starring in Warhol’s first film, Sleep (1963), in which Giorno was filmed sleeping. In 1968, Giorno created Dial-A-Poem, making use of the telephone for the first time to communicate to mass audiences. Known for his bold, graphic subject matter, he has released numerous recordings and published over twenty books including, Balling Buddha (1970), Grasping at Emptiness (1985), and Just Say No To Family Values (2000). Giorno’s memoir, You Got To Burn To Shine (Serpent’s Tail, 1994) details his relationships with Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, his experience as a Tibetan Buddhist and his understanding of death in the age of AIDS. For many years Giorno performed with William Burroughs and with The John Giorno Band (1984-89). Giorno’s poem “Everyone Gets Lighter”, here included in volume 4 of Van Gogh’s Ear, was posted as a billboard on Staten Island for six months in September 2003. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997)  trifft in San Francisco Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche (1940 - 1987). Ginsberg klagt über seine Ermüdung. Trungpa antwortet: “that’s because you don’t like your poetry…make up your poems on the spot.” Seither ist Ginsberg unter dem Einfluss on Trungpa.


Lew Welch (1926-1971?) verschwindet spurlos (Freitod?)


Philip Whalen  (1923 – 2002) wird im San Francisco Zen Center zum Zen-Geistlichen ordiniert


Abb.: Chatral Rinpoche
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Anne Waldman (1945 - ) studiert einen Monat in Indien bei Chatral Rinpoche (1913 - )


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) zieht sich zum Vajrayana Seminar Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's (1940 - 1987) in Teton Village, Wyoming zurück. Dort meditiert er und schreibt eifrig. Das Hauptwerk dieser Zeit ist "Mindbreaths", später veröffentlicht in:

Ginsberg, Allen <1926- 1997>: Mind breaths : poems, 1972-1977. --  San Francisco : City Lights Books, ©1977.  -- 123 S. : Ill. ; 16 cm.  -- ISBN: 0872860922. --(The Pocket poets series ; no. 35)


Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) stirbt in Kalifornien


Philip Whalen  (1923 – 2002) wird Hauptgeistlicher am Zen Mountain Center in Tassajara Springs, California


Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche (1940 - 1987) gründet in Boulder Colorado die Naropa University.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23

Auf Aufforderung von Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche gründen Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) und Anne Waldman (1945 - ) die Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics an Trungpas neu gegründeten  Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.  Diane Di Prima (1934 - ) lehrt im ersten Kurs des Poetics Program

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-23


Kenneth Rexroth (1905 - 1982) verbringt zwei Jahre als Fulbright-Stpendiat in Kyoto, Japan.


Joanne Kyger (1934 - ) geht ans Naropa Institute und trifft Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1940 - 1987), später auch den 16. Gyalwa Karmapa (Rangjung Rigpei Dorje ) (1924 - 1981)


Während eines Seminars von Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche (1940 - 1987) weigern sich der Dichter W. S. Merwin (1927 - ) und seine Begleiterin Dana Naone, an einer nackten Halloween Party teilzunehmen, Trungpa befiehlt sie zur Teilnahme zu nötigen und sie gewaltsam nackt auszuziehen. (Merwin Incident). Dieser Vorfall führt - zu Recht - zu schweren Angriffen gegen Trungpa und Naropa.


Zum Merwin Incident erscheint der Untersuchungsbericht:

The party : a chronological perspective on a confrontation at a Buddhist seminary : report / prepared and written by members of the Investigative Poetry Group at the Naropa Institute ; with special additional work by Bataan Faigao ... [et al.] ; Ed Sanders, investigation coordinator.  -- Woodstock, N.Y. : Poetry, Crime & Culture Press, ©1977.  -- 110 S. ; 22 cm.

Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) widmet sich eine Zeitlang vor allem der Verteidigung Chögyam Trungpa's  (1940 - 1987).


Es erscheint:

Ginsberg, Allen <1926- 1997>: Mind breaths : poems, 1972-1977. -- San Francisco : City Lights Books, ©1977.  -- 123 S. : Ill. ; 16 cm.  -- ISBN: 0872860922. --(The Pocket poets series ; no. 35)


Bob Kaufman (1925 - 1986) zieht sich für vier Jahre zurück und enthält sich des Schreibens.


Zum Merwin Incident erscheint:

Clark, Tom <1941 - >: The great Naropa poetry wars / Tom Clark ; with a copious collection of germane documents assembled by the author. -- Santa Barbara : Cadmus Editions, 1980.  -- 87 S. ; 22 cm. ISBN: 0932274064


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) zieht nach Boulder, Colorado und widmet sich der Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics


Kenneth Rexroth (1905 - 1982) stirbt in Montecito/California  "a Catholic and a Buddhist"


Diane Di Prima (1934 - ) studiert formell bei Chogyam Trungpa (1940 - 1987). Sie gründet im gleichen Jahr The San Francisco Institute of Magical and Healing Arts, an dem sie bis 1992 westliche spirituelle Traditionen lehrt.


Philip Whalen  (1923 – 2002) wird Hauptgeistlicher des Dharma Sangha, in Santa Fe, New Mexico


Bob Kaufman (1925 - 1986) stirbt


Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche (1940 - 1987) stirbt


Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) arbeitet mit dem Komponisten Philip Glass (1937 - ) an “Wichita Vortex Sutra”


Auf Vermittlung von Philip Glass (1937 - ) trifft Allen Ginsberg trifft Ngawang Gelek, Rinpoche und schließt Freundschaft mit ihm


Philip Whalen  (1923 – 2002) wird Abt des Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco.


Will Petersen (1928 - 1994) stirbt


Abb.: Allen Ginsberg's wish
[Bildquelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. VI, No. 4 (Summer 1997). -- S. 8.]

Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) stirbt


Der Großteil des Nachlasses von Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) wird an die New York Public Library verkauft


Philip Whalen  (1923 – 2002) stirbt