Friday, February 18, 2005

Allen Ginsberg's 108 Mind Writing Slogans

Allen began compiling these during the time I worked for him in NYC circa 1989-1994. They follow the traditional Buddhist tripartite logic of Ground, Path, & Fruition. A precursor to the "Mind Writing Slogans" can be found in his poem,
"Cosmopolitan Greetings."

These slogans introduce both a western contemplative persepctive on mind training for poets as well as Buddhist methods learned by the poet from various Tibetan masters he studied with. Gibnsberg's "Mind Writing Slogans" present an essentialized version of his poetic aesthetic.



"First Thought is Best in Art, Second in Other Matters."
— William Blake

I Background (Situation, Or Primary Perception)

1."First Thought, Best Thought" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
2."Take a friendly attitude toward your thoughts." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
3."The Mind must be loose." — John Adams
4."One perception must immediately and directly lead to a further perception." — Charles Olson, "Projective Verse"
5."My writing is a picture of the mind moving." — Philip Whalen
6.Surprise Mind — Allen Ginsberg
7."The old pond, a frog jumps in, Kerplunk!" — Basho
8."Magic is the total delight (appreciation) of chance." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
9."Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes." –– Walt Whitman
10."...What quality went to form a man of achievement, especially in literature? ... Negative capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in
uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason." — John Keats
11."Form is never more than an extension ofcontent. — Robert Creeley to Charles Olson
12."Form follows function." — Frank Lloyd Wright*
13.Ordinary Mind includes eternal perceptions. — A. G.
14."Nothing is better for being Eternal
Nor so white as the white that dies of a day." — Louis Zukofsky
15.Notice what you notice. — A. G.
16.Catch yourself thinking. — A. G.
17.Observe what’s vivid. — A. G.
18.Vividness is self-selecting. — A. G.
19."Spots of Time" — William Wordsworth
20.If we don’t show anyone we’re free to write anything. –– A. G.
21."My mind is open to itself." — Gelek Rinpoche
22."Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no sound." — Charles Reznikoff

II Path (Method, Or Recognition)

23."No ideas but in things." "... No ideas but in the Facts." — William Carlos Williams
24."Close to the nose." — W. C. Williams
25."Sight is where the eye hits." — Louis Zukofsky
26."Clamp the mind down on objects." — W C. Williams
27."Direct treatment of the thing ... (or object)." — Ezra Pound, 1912
28."Presentation, not reference." — Ezra Pound
29."Give me a for instance." — Vernacular
30."Show not tell." — Vernacular
31."The natural object is always the adequate symbol." — Ezra Pound
32."Things are symbols of themselves." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
33."Labor well the minute particulars, take care of the little ones.
He who would do good for another must do it in minute particulars.
General Good is the plea of the Scoundrel Hypocrite and Flatterer
For Art & Science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars." — William Blake
34."And being old she put a skin / on everything she said." — W. B. Yeats
35."Don’t think of words when you stop but to see the picture better." — Jack Kerouac
36."Details are the Life of Prose." — Jack Kerouac
37.Intense fragments of spoken idiom best. — A. G.
38."Economy of Words" — Ezra Pound
39."Tailoring" — Gregory Corso
40.Maximum information, minimum number of syllables. –– A. G.
41.Syntax condensed, sound is solid. — A. G.
42.Savor vowels, appreciate consonants. — A. G.
43."Compose in the sequence of musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome." — Ezra Pound
44."... awareness ... of the tone leading of the vowels." — Ezra Pound
45."... an attempt to approximate classical quantitative meters . . . — Ezra Pound
46."Lower limit speech, upper limit song" — Louis Zukofsky
47."Phanopoeia, Melopoeia, Logopoeia." — Ezra Pound
48."Sight. Sound & Intellect." — Louis Zukofsky
49."Only emotion objectified endures." — Louis Zukofsky

III Fruition (Result, Or Appreciation)

50.Spiritus = Breathing = Inspiration = Unobstructed Breath
51."Alone with the Alone" — Plotinus
52.Sunyata (Sanskrit) = Ku (Japanese) = Emptiness
53."What’s the sound of one hand clapping?" — Zen Koan
54."What’s the face you had before you were born?" — Zen Koan
55.Vipassana (Pali) = Clear Seeing
56."Stop the world" — Carlos Castafleda
57."The purpose of art is to stop time." — Bob Dylan
58."the unspeakable visions of the individual — J. K.
59."I am going to try speaking some reckless words, and I want you to try to listen recklessly." — Chuang Tzu (Tr. Burton Watson)
60."Candor" —Whitman
61."One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." — W. Shakespeare
62."Contact" — A Magazine, Nathaniel West & W. C. Williams, Eds.
63."God appears & God is Light
To those poor souls who dwell in Night.
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of Day." — W. Blake
64."Subject is known by what she sees." -A. G.
65.Others can measure their visions by what we see. –– A. G.
66.Candor ends paranoia. — A. G.
67."Willingness to be Fool." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
68."Day & Night / you’re all right." — Gregory Corso
69.Tyger: "Humility is Beatness." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche & A. G.
70.Lion: "Surprise Mind" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche &A.G.
71.Garuda: "Crazy Wisdom Outrageousness" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
72.Dragon: "Unborn Inscrutability" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
73."To be men not destroyers" — Ezra Pound
74.Speech synchronizes mind & body — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
75."The Emperor unites Heaven & Earth" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
76."Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world" — Shelley
77."Make it new" — Ezra Pound
78."When the music changes, the walls of the city shake" — Plato
79."Every third thought shall be my grave — W Shakespeare, The Tempest
80."That in black ink my love may still shine bright." –– W. Shakespeare, Sonnets
81."Only emotion endures" — Ezra Pound
82."Well while I’m here I’ll
do the work —
and what’s the Work?
To ease the pain of living.
Everything else, drunken
dumbshow." — A. G.
83."... Kindness, sweetest of the small notes in the world’s ache, most modest & gentle of the elements entered man before history and became
his daily connection, let no man tell you otherwise." — Carl Rakosi
84."To diminish the mass of human and sentient sufferings." — Gelek Rinpoche

Naropa Institute, July 1992
New York, March 5, 1993
New York, June 27, 1993