Saturday, April 11, 2009

How (Allen) Ginsburg died by Gelek Rinpoche --

The "Philip" in the story is composer Philip Glass.

I saw Allen Ginsburg at a poetry reading at Annenberg Center in Philadelphia about 1994. The house manager got me into the packed room (I was ushering) by asking me,
"Kyi, you have something to do in here, don't you?"

So I stepped behind the ropes and stood and listened to Ginsburg and Robert Creeley talking to each other in arm chairs on the stage.

At the end of the discussion, he was looking for his carryall bag like an old lady. Somebody found it for him.

I asked him which was his best poem. He said "Kaddish, definitely Kaddish."

I was too poor to have a book of his poems, but I had "Kaddish" in an anthology, so he signed that.

In 1997 I went to Boulder, and just before I got there, I saw Ginsburg had died on TV. In Boulder, it turned out my hostess knew Ann Waldeman and took me to Ginsburg's funeral service at the Naropa Institute.

While Ginsburg's voice read poetry on tape, his photograph was ceremoniously burned.

It was sad but there was a sense of closure about it all.

I rather like Tibetan Buddhism, which seems to me more in tune with the western world than the Theravada Buddhism of my home country.

Blog copyright Kyi May Kaung.