Writing to Wake Up


Natalie Goldberg: I also place on the altar a photo of Allen Ginsberg in a yellow wood frame, sitting in a white shirt, cross-legged, his face captured in an uncanny smile. He is our muse of raw honesty for the week. An essay of his written in 1974 is titled “Polishing the Mind” and connects the study of the mind with poetry. When I read it, I knew I had found my wiring path. I wanted to document and structure a practice for others to follow, a way through writing to wake up. I consider Allen Ginsberg the grandfather of the writing practice lineage.


Allen Ginsberg: The only things we “know” are what we think in the moments we give ourselves away, “tip our mitt.” 233


Jack Kerouac: No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge


Allen Ginsberg: What happens if you make a distinction between what you tell your friends and what you tell your Muse? The problem is to break down that distinction: when you approach the Muse to talk as frankly as you would talk with yourself or with your friends. 264


Allen Ginsberg: It’s the ability to commit to writing, to write, the same way that you … are! Anyway! … Their waggishness, or their campiness, or their neurasthenia, or their solitude, or their goofiness … 265


Allen Ginsberg: What is socially unspoken, what is prophetic from the unconscious, what is universal to all men, what’s the main subject of poetry, what’s underneath, inside the mind. So, how do you get that out on the page? 301-302


Allen Ginsberg: If we don’t show anyone, we’re free to write anything.

–from Essential Allen Ginsberg Reading Group, Monday Night 17 August

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