Friday, August 21, 2015


The best joint I ever smoked was with John Lennon. I’ve been talking about it ever since. The worst joint I ever smoked was with Herbert Huncke and Gregory Corso. I had a headache for four days and misplaced for seven years an edition Gregory signed and numbered. I'm glad marijuana is finally almost legal.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Suddenly  at the University of Chicago I discovered  I could no longer tolerate  literary criticism.  I had noticed that anthologies of poetry and anthologies of art criticism seemed to have the same authors--Ashbery, Benedikt, Schjeldahl, O’Hara, et cetera--and all these writers seemed to live in New York. So I transferred to Columbia and decided to interview poets for my dissertation. Why not? Sexual Politics by Kate Millet had been a Columbia dissertation.
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Saturday, August 15, 2015


Are we to judge everyone by their political views? Reagan was an actor and public speaker. John Wayne was a movie star and hypocrite. James Stewart was a movie star, a courageous war veteran, an intelligent and modest Republican. Stewart would certainly have been a wiser president than Reagan. Perhaps however like William Tecumseh Sherman he could not stomach the political process. Politicians have strong stomachs. “Sherman and Grant drank whiskey, smoked cigars and liked to kill.” Grant did such a bad job as president that the United States waited until 1952 before electing another war hero. Do Hillary Clinton and all the Republican candidates fill you with fear?

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Friday, August 14, 2015


There’s a new mountain-climbing movie called Meru. Does it deal with reality & civilisation as thoroughly as W.B.Yeats in his poem Meru?

Civilisation is hooped together, brought
Under a rule, under the semblance of peace
By manifold illusion; but man’s life is thought
And he, despite his terror, cannot cease
Ravening through century after century,
Ravening, raging and uprooting that he may come
Into the desolation of reality:
Egypt and Greece good-bye, and good-bye Rome!
Hermits upon Mount Meru or Everest,
Caverned in night under the drifted snow,
Or where that snow and winter’s dreadful blast
Beat down upon their naked bodies, know
That day brings round the night, that before dawn
His glory and his monuments are gone. 

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