“For you good boys, with winesoaked teeth, that can’t understand these words on a heath, I’ll make it simpler, like a bottle of wine, and a good woodfire, under stars divine. Now listen to me, and when you have learned the Dharma of the Buddhas of old and yearned, to sit down with the truth, under a lonesome tree, in Yuma Arizony, or anywhere you be, don’t thank me for tellin, what was told me, this is the wheel I’m turnin, this is the reason I be: Mind is the Maker, for no reason at all, for all this creation, created to fall.”
— Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)
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Gregory Corso, Tangier, Morocco, July 1961. (photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)

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How do you write haiku?


Haiku? You want to hear haiku? You see you got to compress into three short lines a great big story. First you start with a haiku situation—so you see a leaf, as I told her the other night, falling on the back of a sparrow during a great big October wind storm. A big leaf falls on the back of a little sparrow. How you going to compress that into three lines? Now in Japanese you got to compress it into seventeen syllables. We don’t have to do that in American—or English—because we don’t have the same syllabic bullshit that your Japanese language has. So you say: “Little sparrow”—you don’t have to say little—everybody knows a sparrow is little because they fall so you say”


with big leaf on its back—


No good, don’t work, I reject it.

A little sparrow

when an autumn leaf suddenly sticks to its back

from the wind.

Hah, that does it. No, it’s a little bit too long. See? It’s already a little bit too long, Berrigan, you know what I mean?

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Chilean Poet and Mathematician, Nicanor Parra, Argetinian writer Miguel Grinberg, Allen Ginsberg and Maria Rosa Almendres, Havana, Cuba, February 1965. Almendres was head of the Casa de las Americas, Ginsberg’s sponsor in Cuba.

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The first thing I looked for
in my old garden was
The Cherry Tree.

My old desk:
the first thing I looked for
in my house.

My early journal:
the first thing I found
in my old desk.

My mother’s ghost:
the first thing I found
in the living room.

I quit shaving
but the eyes that glanced at me
remained in the mirror.

— Haiku, Allen Ginsberg (via cottoncandy-luck)
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Peter, Allen and Joanne Kyger with travel guides near Dharamsala, India, where they met with the Dalai Lama. Spring 1962. c. Gary Snyder.

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