rayer flags in the Himalayas (Nepal)
Prayer flags in the Himalayas (Nepal)


Pathpoesia Prayer Flag Project: Background


While visiting the Tashi Gomang Stupa outside Crestone, Colorado during the summer of 2006, I had a vision of fusing poetry with traditional Tibetan prayer flag forms. In the creation of an American prayer flag poetics, rooted in Diamond Earth spiritual bardic lineage dating back to earliest Mindfulness conjurings, I envisioned the poem itself would continue to play a direct role as Dark Age protector, instigator, national narrative or personal ego identity shredder.


These pathpoesia prayer flags were designed to according to lung ta style. A small number of these prepared objects, sanctified by traditional Tibetan prayer flag makers working in exile in Nepal, were sent to friends as gifts that winter, hoping these poets would hang the flags from porches, rooftops, across back country rivers, high peaks, in offices, subways, carrying them into demonstrations, war zones, letting the flags cast their spells wherever human eyes arising from suffering may pass.


Two different sets were printed. The first was a 50th anniversary reprint of the original version of "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. Peter Hale of the Allen Ginsberg Estate remarked, "I really do see how physically the poem does work in that format."


A second, redesigned "Howl" prayer flag, was produced by the Museum of American Poetics Publications in 2009. With the approval of the Allen Ginsberg Estate, these new sets featured Ginsberg’s final version of “Howl” and also features a Buddha doodle by Allen Ginsberg. Individual flags are approximately 8.5" (w) x 10" and a set includes 15 flags, and are printed on a blend of traditional Nepalese flag cotton and silk, making for a shinier finish than the first, out of print, run.


To view the original 50th Anniversary “Howl” Prayer Flag Project (2006),

Click on the blue flag image below.





Click here to purchase the 2009 final version Howl Prayer Flag at the MAP Store.



Jim Cohn

Boulder, CO

3 March 2007

Revised 29 April 2010

Updated 8 June 2016