The Museum of American Poetics
American Poet Greats Lecture Series

2001 - 2002 Season

The Wild West Wind / Remembering Allen Ginsberg
A lecture by Susan Edwards
October 16, 2001
Photo by Steve Miles

The talk will be inspired by Susan's recent publication of The Wild West Wind/Remembering Allen Ginsberg. Her personal reminiscences of a twenty-five year collegial relationship with Allen Ginsberg is an invitation into the raw heart of the twentieth century's greatest visionary American poet. While touching on many facets of a complex man, her talk will consider the sometimes outrageous efforts by the famed Beat poet to bring the meditative practices of Tibetan Buddhism to the poet's path.

Susan Edwards is a writer, book artist and metaphysician. She taught writing, sacred literature and did collaborative performance at Naropa University from 1979 to 1990 where she co-founded the Book Arts Program and directed the undergraduate Writing and Poetics Department. In her current work, she seeks to bring images and text together in aesthetic and digital ways. She also has her own company, The Practical Mystic, that produces and distributes tapes, chapbooks, broadsides and offers lectures and classes.

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Lew Welch
by Bill Scheffel
November 20, 2001
Photo by Jim Hatch

Lew Welch is a well-loved poet of the Beat circle. His writings reveal an uncanny understanding of Zen Buddhism, a Taoist love of nature and the hermit's way, and a street-wise American lingo that always remains tender. Few American poets exceed Lew Welch's ability to hone language into phrases of wit and intelligence that stick in the mind. Consider his insight into insights: “The mind grows in a flickering kind of way. Sometimes an insight comes too early to be fully understood. At other times, we are shocked that it came, being so obvious, so late.”

Bill Scheffel is a poet and teacher. He has taught Chance Synchronicity & Mind-Writing—a creative writing workshop that draws on the creative methods of John Cage, Chögyam Trungpa, Allen Ginsberg and others—in Boulder, Minneapolis, Kansas City Philadelphia and Juneau. He has taught writing workshops in the Boulder/Denver community for six years. He has read his poetry on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and has published in numerous journals. Bill also teaches Writer's Craft and Shambhala Meditation Practicum at Naropa University. In both courses he integrates mindfulness and awareness exercises with the creative process.

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Michael Ondaatje
by Katie Yates
January 15, 2002

In The Skin of a Lion (1987) and Anil's Ghost (2000) are texts which use an evolving set of narrative conventions which openly defy poetry's best attempts to circumscribe the language of simple human experience. From within the landscape of American poetry, I would like to show how Michael Ondaatje sustains poetic narrative in the face of subtle hints that such writing couldn't make sense, and to make suggestions as to where such brilliance leads rhetorically and otherwise.

Katie Yates is currently working on a book of aikido poems which will include a series of prints. She is a substitute teacher and editor of manuscripts for a gaming company in California that her sister owns.

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James Schuyler
by Gary Allen
February 19, 2002
Photo by Gerard Melanga

James Schuyler is most famously associated with New York poets John Ashberry and Frank O'Hara. In the spirit of Auden, his style is characterized by an effortless elegance and wit that supplely tracks the mercurial nuances of thought and perception. His poetry sparkles with a daily appreciation of the phenomenal world. His works include Freely Espousing (1969), The Crystal Lithium (1972), and A Few Days (1985). His book, The Morning of the Poem, won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. A novelist and art critic as well, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets in 1983.

Gary Allen is the author of The Missionary Who Forgot His Name and Other Poems (Selva Editions, $10.00). He has B.A. and M.F.A. degrees in Creative Writing from Naropa University. From 1995 to 2000 he lived in South Korea teaching English in various universities, translation classical Korean poetry, and traveling around Asia. He is currently an English instructor at Metro State College and Community College of Denver, a director of Shambhala Training, and a teacher of meditation in prisons.

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The Naropa University Audio Archive Project
by Steven Taylor, John Hansen, Jane Dalrymple-Hollo, Mary Kite, Alan Hartway, and Randy Roark
March 19, 2002

Live recordings of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Meredith Monk, Amiri Baraka, Gregory Corso, and others in movements that document the changes and challenges of American consciousness will be presented in a lively panel discussion concerning Naropa University's Audio Archive Project. This group of passionate artists and scientists is intent upon saving what is considered to be one of the three most important audio archives of twentieth-century poetry and literary culture.

John Hansen oversees CU-Boulder's contribution to a multi-university research effort for audio information retrieval for the National Gallery of the Spoken Word. Randy Roark is a poet, producer, and editor with Sounds True, a nationally known audio book publisher. Alan Hartway teaches philosophy, mythology, and ethics at Naropa University. Conservator of rare books Jane Dalrymple-Hollo has written and administered a consultation grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission on behalf of Naropa's Audio Archives. Musical arranger and performer Steven Taylor has a Ph.D. from Brown University and is currently the project director of Naropa's Audio Archives. Poet Mary Kite spearheaded the movement to digitize Naropa's Audio Archives.

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“Poetry Has Helped Me Make Films”
A talk by Stan Brakhage
April 16, 2002

Esteemed filmmaker Stan Brakhage will give a farewell talk on how poetry has helped him to make films—especially the poetry of Victor Hugo. Considered "the world's foremost living experimental film maker" (Ganguly, Sight & Sound, 20), this account will reel together the lives of poets who influenced the artist and his highly praised experimental avant-garde work. While roommates with Robert Duncan and Jess Collins in San Francisco, he befriended poets Rexroth, Creeley, Zukofsky, and many others. Later travels to New York brought close associations with Dorn, Olson, Ginsberg, and Kelly. All the while, in cities and mountains, the work went, and goes, on.

Stan Brakhage was born in Kansas City, Missouri on January 14, 1933. Educated at Dartmouth College in 1951, he dropped out as a freshman. He ran a small theater in Central City, Colorado before attending the Institute of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1953. In 1954, Brakhage went to New York where he became acquainted with avant-garde filmmakers include Maya Deren, Marie Menken, Willard Maas, Jonas Mekas, and Kenneth Anger. He began presenting his own films in public and lecturing on his own and other people's works in 1960. His major works, The Art of Vision and Dog Star Man, were completed in 1964. He competed the major abstract film The Text of Light in 1974. In 1981, Brakhage began teaching at the Boulder campus of the university of Colorado. The recipient of numerous film awards and five retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, he was most recently honored by the selection of Dog Star Man by the U.S. Library of Congress for inclusion into the national film registry.

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The 2001-2002 APG lecture series was supported, in part, with TumbleWords funds, a program of the Western States Arts Federation and the Colorado Council on the Arts, which is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.