Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:12 am

Christmas Humphreys
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/6/19



March 28, 1977, the day of her death, was an interesting one....

Throughout the day many people spontaneously turned up to visit Freda, many of them from the Tibetan Friendship Group that Freda had founded. She greeted them all warmly and told them about her new project to sponsor Tibetan children in top Indian public schools, especially girls, who had less chance of receiving a good education than boys....

At six p.m. Freda and Pema Zangmo went for a walk, after which Freda settled down to some letter writing. She then took out some of her own childhood photographs and those of her children, taken in Lahore, before Partition. At ten p.m. Freda woke Pema Zangmo to give her instructions about certain gifts and money she wanted her to pass on to specific people. She brought out some yellow fabric as a gift for her faithful attendant to make into a nun's blouse, and told her to practice Dharma faithfully. Freda then dressed herself in her finest robes, telling the curious Pema Zangmo, "I will need them tomorrow." She then put on a tape recording of H.H. Karmapa, which he had sent her from New York, and sat down to meditate.

Pema Zangmo, who had gone back to sleep a few feet away from Freda, was awakened by the sound of "louder breathing." She got up and went over to Freda, who was still sitting bolt upright in the meditation position, and tapped her on the shoulder. Freda did not move, nor open her eyes. Peering closer, Pema Zangmo could detect no sign of outer life at all. In total panic she ran out into the hotel corridor screaming for help. A doctor was quickly summoned, who officially pronounced Freda dead. The cause: cardiac arrest....

Tributes began to pour in acknowledging her many achievements....

Christmas Humphreys, founder of the Buddhist Society in London, wrote a glowing tribute in their magazine, The Middle Way:

Freda Bedi showed what a Buddhist life should be. For twenty-five years she gave her life with immense and ceaseless energy to all in need of help, whatever their creed or caste or color. She never relaxed or hesitated. If the job was there to do she began it and relied, never in vain, on the needed support to appear. I saw much of the results of her labor when I was myself in India for the Dalai Lama in 1962, and endorse a remark by Mrs. Carlo Robins: "Freda Bedi is an example to all those adherents to any religion who readily regard their religion as being their life and not merely a department of it." Freda Bedi was a great woman, a great Buddhist and an inspiration to all Buddhists East and West to work unceasingly in the service of mankind.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

David Chadwick: [Trungpa] Rinpoche said that until he met Little Joe, the Peyote Road Man, Suzuki Roshi was the only sane man he'd met in America. Rinpoche said that after he left Tibet he never heard of his teacher again and he felt so sad and alone, and then when he met Roshi he felt that he had a friend. He said that all the people supporting him in England were only making things worse -- the whole Christmas Humphreys crowd.

-- Interviews: Bob Halpern cuke page, by Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, by David Chadwick

Christmas Humphreys
Christmas Humphreys
Born 15 February 1901
Ealing, Middlesex, England
Died 13 April 1983 (aged 82)
St John's Wood, London
Nationality UK
Occupation Barrister; judge; author
Years active 1924–1976

Travers Christmas Humphreys, QC (15 February 1901 – 13 April 1983[1]) was an English barrister who prosecuted several controversial cases in the 1940s and 1950s, and later became a judge at the Old Bailey. He also wrote a number of works on Mahayana Buddhism and in his day was the best-known British convert to Buddhism. In 1924 he founded what became the London Buddhist Society, which was to have a seminal influence on the growth of the Buddhist tradition in Britain. His former home in St John's Wood, London, is now a Buddhist temple. He was also an enthusiastic proponent of the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship.

Family and early career

Humphreys was born in Ealing, Middlesex, the son of Travers Humphreys, himself a noted barrister and judge.[2]


Sir Richard Somers Travers Christmas Humphreys (4 August 1867 – 20 February 1956) was a noted British barrister and judge who, during a sixty-year legal career, was involved in the cases of Oscar Wilde and the murderers Hawley Harvey Crippen, George Joseph Smith and John George Haigh, the 'Acid Bath Murderer', among many others.

Travers Humphreys was born in Doughty Street in Bloomsbury in London, the fourth son and sixth child of solicitor Charles Octavius Humphreys, and his wife, Harriet Ann (née Grain), the sister of the entertainer Richard Corney Grain. Humphreys was educated at Shrewsbury School and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1889. He was called to the Bar from the Inner Temple in 1889 and entered the chambers of E. T. E. Besley, where he concentrated on practice in the criminal courts.

On 1 March 1895 Oscar Wilde, Lord Alfred Douglas and Robbie Ross approached [his father] Charles Octavius Humphreys with the intention of suing the Marquess of Queensberry, Douglas' father, for criminal libel. Humphreys applied for a warrant for Queensberry's arrest and approached Sir Edward Clarke and Charles Willie Mathews to represent Wilde. Travers Humphreys appeared as a Junior Counsel for the prosecution in the subsequent case of Wilde vs Queensbury.

On 28 May 1896 Humphreys married the actress Zoë Marguerite (1872–1953), the daughter of Henri Philippe Neumans, an artist from Antwerp. In 1895 she had appeared in An Artist's Model with Marie Tempest, Marie Studholme, Letty Lind and Hayden Coffin. They had two sons, the elder of whom, Richard Grain Humphreys (1897-28 September 1917) was killed in France in the Third Battle of Ypres during World War I; the younger son was the noted barrister and judge Christmas Humphreys, who prosecuted Ruth Ellis for the murder of her lover David Blakely in 1955.

In 1902 Humphreys held a junior brief under H. F. Dickens KC for the defence of Emma 'Kitty' Byron, who was charged with the murder of Arthur Reginald Baker. Although Byron was convicted, Dickens's defence was so spirited that she was given a reduced prison sentence due to public petition.

Humphreys was appointed Counsel for the Crown at the Middlesex and North London sessions in 1905, a junior Treasury Counsel (or 'Treasury Devil') to the Crown at the Central Criminal Court in 1908, and was appointed one of three senior Treasury Counsel in 1916.

In 1910 Humphreys appeared as Junior Counsel in the prosecution of H. H. Crippen for the murder of his wife, Cora Henrietta Crippen; and in 1912 he appeared for the prosecution against Frederick Seddon, who was found guilty of poisoning Eliza Mary Barrow. He appeared for the prosecution at the Old Bailey in 1915 with Archibald Bodkin (later Director of Public Prosecutions) and Cecil Whiteley (later KC) against George Joseph Smith, the 'Brides in the Bath' murderer.

In 1916 he was one of the team who prosecuted Sir Roger Casement for treason. At the Central Criminal Court in 1922 he successfully prosecuted Horatio Bottomley for fraudulent conversion. Also in 1922 he appeared for the Crown, led by the Solicitor-General Sir Thomas Inskip, against Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters, who were jointly charged with the murder of Thompson's husband.

After appointments as Recorder of Chichester, Recorder of Cambridge and Deputy Chairman of London Sessions in 1926, Humphries was made a Judge of the King's Bench Division in 1928, and received the customary knighthood.[5] Although Humphreys had a long career at the Bar, it was unusual for someone whose experience was confined to criminal work to be appointed a High Court judge. His attitude while on the bench seemed fierce and intimidating, although Humphreys was popular among legal colleagues and in private was said to be witty.[9]

During the 1940s and early 1950s Humphreys sat in the Court of Criminal Appeal. After World War II, he sat in this capacity with Lord Chief Justice Lord Goddard and Mr Justice Lynksey to hear William Joyce's appeal against his conviction for treason during the war. The court rejected Joyce's appeal.[10] He also presided at the brief treason trial of John Amery, a British fascist who had set up the British Free Corps, a small wartime unit of British volunteers serving in the German Waffen SS. During the eight-minute trial, Amery was sentenced to death after pleading guilty, although Humphreys only accepted the guilty plea after making sure Amery was fully aware a death sentence would be the inevitable outcome of this.

In 1949, Humphreys presided over the trial of John George Haigh, the Acid Bath Murderer, whom he sentenced to death. In 1950, he sat with the Lord Chief Justice Lord Goddard and Mr Justice Sellers in the Court of Criminal Appeal to hear the appeal of Timothy Evans against his conviction for the murder of his baby daughter, evidence having also been admitted as to the death of Evans' wife.

He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1925 and a Privy Counsellor in 1946. He retired in 1951 as the senior and oldest King's Bench judge. He was a member of the Garrick Club and was a keen yachtsman...

In 1955 Humphreys appeared in Murder Anonymous, an episode in the long-running Scotland Yard series of short films, being interviewed by the host Edgar Lustgarten. Humphreys speaks for several minutes at the start of the episode and then again near the end. The film was released in November 1955, three months before his death.

-- Travers Humphreys, by Wikipedia

His given name "Christmas" is unusual, but, along with "Travers", had a long history in the Humphreys family.[1] Among friends and family he was generally known as 'Toby'.[1] The death of his elder brother shocked Humphreys into reflection about his beliefs and at age 17 he found himself drawn to Buddhism.[1] He attended Malvern College, where he first became a theosophist and later a convert to Buddhism, and Trinity Hall, Cambridge; he was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1924.

The same year, Humphreys founded the London Buddhist Lodge, which later changed its name to the Buddhist Society.[1] The impetus for founding the Lodge came from theosophists with whom Humphreys socialised. Both at his home and at the lodge, he played host for eminent spiritual authors such as Nicholas Roerich and Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan....

Other Oxford colleges, notably Brasenose and Pembroke, were helped in many ways as a result of Spalding's generosity. However, the best known benefaction he and his wife made to Oxford must be the resources they provided for the establishment of the Spalding Chair in Eastern Religions and Ethics, the first occupant of which was Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. This unique position is associated with a fellowship at All Souls College....

In practical terms the task of promoting knowledge of this healing unity centred on Spalding's plans for the Union for the Study of the Great Religions ('the Union'). The Union was founded in Oxford in 1950/1951 by Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Canon Charles E. Raven, and H. N. Spalding. Radhakrishnan was the first scholar to be elected to the Spalding Chair of Eastern Religions and Ethics. In later life he was to become Vice-President and finally President of India. He and Spalding soon established a firm personal friendship that was to continue until the latter's death. Radhakrishnan was appointed to the Oxford Chair in 1936 after Spalding had made the necessary funds available to the University....

Spalding was not an apologist for any one or other of the great religions of the world. As his friend Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan observed, HN was a deeply religious man, whose religion 'was not confined to a code of conduct and respect for outward forms. These latter were experienced as opening the door to the truths of spirit. Man is not a finished creation. He is an experiment of which he can be partly the creator. Religion is essentially the art and theory of the re-making of man. It assumes man's ability to change himself.'

-- The Spalding Trust and the Union for the Study of the Great Religions: H.N. Spalding's Pioneering Vision, by Edward Hulmes

and for prominent Theosophists like Alice Bailey and far Eastern Buddhist authorities like D.T. Suzuki. Other regular visitors in the 1930s were the Russian singer Vladimir Rosing and the young philosopher Alan Watts,[3] and in 1931 Humphreys met the spiritual teacher Meher Baba.[4] The Buddhist Society of London is one of the oldest Buddhist organisations outside Asia.

In 1945 he drafted the Twelve Principles of Buddhism for which he obtained the approval of all the Buddhist sects in Japan (including the Shin Sect which was not associated with Olcott's common platform) of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand and leading Buddhists of Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China and Tibet.

Legal work

When he had first qualified, Humphreys tended to take criminal defence work which allowed his skills in cross-examination to be used. In 1934, he was appointed as Junior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court (more commonly known as "the Old Bailey"). This job, known unofficially as the 'Treasury devil', involved leading many prosecutions.

Humphreys became Recorder of Deal in 1942, a part-time judicial post. In the aftermath of World War II, Humphreys was an assistant prosecutor in the War Crimes trials held in Tokyo.[5] In 1950 he became Senior Treasury Counsel. It was at this time that he led for the Crown in some of the causes célèbres of the era, including the cases of Craig & Bentley[6] and Ruth Ellis. It was Humphreys who secured the conviction of Timothy Evans for a murder later found to have been carried out by John Christie. All three cases played a part in the later abolition of capital punishment in the United Kingdom.

Also in 1950 at the trial of the nuclear spy Klaus Fuchs, Christmas Humphreys was the prosecuting counsel for the Attorney General.[7] In 1955 he was made a Bencher of his Inn and the next year became Recorder of Guildford.[8]


In 1962 Humphreys became a Commissioner at the Old Bailey. He became an Additional Judge there in 1968 and served on the bench until his retirement in 1976. Increasingly he became willing to court controversy by his judicial pronouncements. In 1975 he passed a six-month suspended jail sentence on a man convicted of two counts of rape. The 18-year-old had raped the two women at knife-point. The leniency of the sentence created a public outcry. His sentence of a man to eighteen months in jail for a fraud shortly afterwards added to the controversy.[9]

The Lord Chancellor defended Humphreys in the face of a House of Commons motion to dismiss him, and he also received support from the National Association of Probation Officers. However, he had pressure put on him to resign, which he did some six months after the controversy.[9]

Literary career

Humphreys was a prolific author of books on the Buddhist tradition. He was also president of the Shakespeare Fellowship, a position to which he was elected in 1955. The Fellowship advanced the theory that the plays generally attributed to Shakespeare were in fact the work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Under Humphreys the fellowship changed its name to the Shakespeare Authorship Society.

In 1962 Humphreys was appointed Vice-President of the Tibet Society, and made Joint Vice-Chairman of the Royal India, Pakistan and Ceylon Society.[10]

He published his autobiography Both Sides of the Circle in 1978. He also wrote poetry, especially verses inspired by his Buddhist beliefs, one of which posed the question: When I die, who dies?

He died at his London home, 58 Marlborough Place, St John's Wood.[2]

Published works

As author

• An Invitation to the Buddhist Way of Life for Western Readers
• Both Sides of the Circle (1978) London: Allen & Unwin (autobiography) ISBN 0-049-2102-38
• Buddhism: An Introduction and Guide
• Buddhism: The History, Development and Present Day Teaching of the Various Schools
• Buddhist Poems: a Selection, 1920–1970 (1971) London: Allen & Unwin, ISBN 0-048-2102-69
• A Buddhist Students' Manual
• The Buddhist Way of Action
• The Buddhist Way of Life
• Concentration and Meditation: A Manual of Mind Development
• The Development of Buddhism in England: Being a History of the Buddhist Movement in London and the Provinces (1937)
• Exploring Buddhism
The Field of Theosophy
• The Great Pearl Robbery of 1913: A Record of Fact (1929)
• An Invitation to the Buddhist Way of Life for Western Readers (1971)
• Karma and Rebirth (1948)
• The Menace in our Midst: With Some Criticisms and Comments, Relevant and Irrelevant
• One Hundred treasures of the Buddhist Society, London (1964)
• Poems I Remember
• Poems of Peace and War (1941) London: The Favil Press
• A Popular Dictionary of Buddhism
• A Religion for Modern Youth (1930)
• The Search Within
• Seven Murderers (1931) London: Heinemann
• Sixty Years of Buddhism in England (1907–1967): A History and a Survey
• Studies in the Middle Way: Being Thoughts on Buddhism Applied
• The Sutra of Wei Lang (or Hui Neng) (1953)
• Via Tokyo
• Walk On
• The Way of Action: The Buddha's Way to Enlightenment
• The Way of Action: A Working Philosophy for Western Life
• A Western Approach to Zen: An Enquiry
• The Wisdom of Buddhism
• Zen A Way of Life
• Zen Buddhism
• Zen Comes West: The Present and Future of Zen Buddhism in Britain
• Zen Comes West: Zen Buddhism in Western Society

As editor

(editor of several works by Daisetz Taitaro Suzuki):
• Awakening of Zen
• Essays in Zen Buddhism (The Complete Works of D. T. Suzuki)
• An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
• Living by Zen
• Studies in Zen
• The Zen Doctrine of No Mind: The Significance of the Sutra of Hui-Neng (Wei-Lang)

As co-editor

• Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky
• Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett

Of forewords and prefaces

• Buddhism in Britain by Ian P. Oliver, (1979) London: Rider & Company, ISBN 0-091-3816-06
• Diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui-neng (Shambhala Classics) by W. Y. Evans-Wentz (foreword), Christmas Humphreys (foreword), Wong Mou-Lam (translator), A F Price (translator)
• Essays In Zen Buddhism (Third Series) by D. T. Suzuki
• Living Zen by Robert Linssen
• Mahayana Buddhism: A Brief Outline by Beatrice Lane Suzuki
• Some Sayings of the Buddha

See also

• Buddhism and Theosophy
• Buddhism in the United Kingdom
• Buddhism in Europe
• Buddhism in the West


1. Daw, Muriel (February 2016). "Christmas Humphreys 1901-1983 A Pioneer of Buddhism in the West". The Middle Way. Buddhist Society. 89 (4): 279–286. eISSN 0026-3214.
2. "Humphreys, (Travers) Christmas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31265. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
3. Watts, Alan, In My Own Way: an autobiography, pg. 79–80., Novato: New World Library (2007)
4. Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher. 4. Myrtle Beach: Manifestation, Inc. p. 1432.
5. Jeanie M. Welch (2002). The Tokyo trial: a bibliographic guide to English-language sources. ABC-CLIO. p. 88. ISBN 0-313-31598-1.
6. Francis Selwyn (1988). Gangland: the case of Bentley and Craig. Crimes of the century. Taylor & Francis. p. 101. ISBN 0-415-00907-3.
7. : The World's Greatest Spies and Spymasters by Roger Boar and Nigel Blundell, 1984
8. Christmas Humphreys Biography Accessed 29 February 2012
9. Damien P. Horigan, "Christmas Humphreys: A Buddhist Judge in Twentieth Century London", Korean Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 24., p. 1-16.
10. Humphreys, Christmas (1972). Buddhism. Penguin. ISBN 0140202285.

External links

• Biography of Christmas Humphreys
• "Christmas Humphreys: A Buddhist Judge in Twentieth Century London" Damien P. Horigan Korean Journal of Comparative Law 24, 1–16
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:34 am

Spalding Trust
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/6/19



Gelek Rinpoche was another frequent guest at the Bedi household. A highborn reincarnate lama related to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Gelek Rinpoche was found by Freda in the Buxa refugee camp, plucked out, and taught the niceties of how to behave in Western society, Professor Higgins-style. "I stayed with Mummy and her family on and off for about three years. Trungpa and Akong were already living with her. Trungpa was very diligent, but I was lazy. I felt I was on holiday! Mummy Bedi helped me get over my monk's superiority complex. She also taught me to respect women and other people in general.

"Her intention was to teach me about life outside my small monastic world. I was completely unaware of anything other than Tibetan life. She taught me to speak proper English. 'Don't run your words together, say them separately,' she'd instruct. Mummy would also take me to social events such as diplomatic parties. She would literally take me by the hand and show me how to enter a room, how to behave, and what to say. 'If you do not know the person, you put out your hand and say, slowly, "How do you do, how lovely to meet you.'" Sometimes we acted out these scenes with her husband and two children, Kabir and Guli, as the audience.

"Mummy was very strict and stern, especially if I did not do my homework. But she was also very, very kind and extremely good at administration. Whatever she said she was going to do, she did it. She was completely generous with everything. Totally altruistic. There is no doubt she put me on the path for coming to the West. In fact, she told me to go to America. She said that Westerners needed the Dharma, that they needed help. She also told me that Westerners were more open than Tibetans and more forthright, which was encouraging. 'Whatever you know you can say -- the more you say, the more they will understand. You don't have to hide.' She was correct," he said.

Trungpa was installed as the principal of the Young Lamas Home School, and Akong was its manager.....

The tulkus were learning English and their lessons on the modern world with varying degrees of success. Freda's star student, Trungpa Rinpoche, however, was making exceptional progress, and Freda's aspirations for him became increasingly ambitious. He had a natural aptitude for English and had taken to reading the poets that Freda presented him with, especially T.S. Eliot.

Liberalism still permeates our minds and affects our attitude towards much of life....For it is something which tends to release energy rather than accumulate it, to relax, rather than to fortify. It is a movement not so much defined by its end, as by its starting point; away from, rather than towards, something definite....By destroying traditional social habits of the people, by dissolving their natural collective consciousness into individual constituents, by licensing the opinions of the most foolish, by substituting instruction for education, by encouraging cleverness rather than wisdom, the upstart rather than the qualified, by fostering a notion of getting on to which the alternative is a hopeless apathy, Liberalism can prepare the way for that which is its own negation: the artificial, mechanised or brutalised control which is a desperate remedy for its chaos....

[N]o one to-day can defend the idea of a National Church, without balancing it with the idea of the Universal Church, and without keeping in mind that truth is one and that theology has no frontiers....I have maintained that the idea of a Christian society implies, for me, the existence of one Church which shall aim at comprehending the whole nation. Unless it has this aim, we relapse into that conflict between citizenship and church membership, between public and private morality, which to-day makes moral life so difficult for everyone, and which in turn provokes that craving for a simplified, monistic solution of statism or racism which the National Church can only combat if it recognises its position as a part of the Universal Church....the allegiance of the individual to his own Church is secondary to his allegiance to the Universal Church. Unless the National Church is a part of the whole, it has no claim upon me....even in a Christian society as well organised as we can conceive possible in this world, the limit would be that our temporal and spiritual life should be harmonised: the temporal and spiritual would never be identified. There would always remain a dual allegiance, to the State and to the Church, to one's countrymen and to one's fellow-Christians everywhere, and the latter would always have the primacy. There would always be a tension; and this tension is essential to the idea of a Christian society, and is a distinguishing mark between a Christian and a pagan society....

We may say that religion, as distinguished from modern paganism, implies a life in conformity with nature. It may be observed that the natural life and the supernatural life have a conformity to each other... It would perhaps be more natural, as well as in better conformity with the Will of God, if there were more celibates and if those who were married had larger families.... I would not have it thought that I condemn a society because of its material ruin, for that would be to make its material success a sufficient test of its excellence....We need to know how to see the world as the Christian Fathers saw it....We need to recover the sense of religious fear, so that it may be overcome by religious hope....

It may be opportune at this point to say a word about the attitude of a Christian Society towards Pacifism....I cannot but believe that the man who maintains that war is in all circumstances wrong, is in some way repudiating an obligation towards society; and in so far as the society is a Christian society the obligation is so much the more serious. Even if each particular war proves in turn to have been unjustified, yet the idea of a Christian society seems incompatible with the idea of absolute pacifism; for pacifism can only continue to flourish so long as the majority of persons forming a society are not pacifists....The notion of communal responsibility, of the responsibility of every individual for the sins of the society to which he belongs, is one that needs to be more firmly apprehended; and if I share the guilt of my society in time of 'peace', I do not see how I can absolve myself from it in time of war, by abstaining from the common action....

The Church is not merely for the elect -- in other words, those whose temperament brings them to that belief and that behaviour. Nor does it allow us to be Christian in some social relations and non-Christian in others. It wants everybody, and it wants each individual as a whole. It therefore must struggle for a condition of society which will give the maximum of opportunity for us to lead wholly Christian lives, and the maximum of opportunity for others to become Christians. It maintains the paradox that while we are each responsible for our own souls, we are all responsible for all other souls, who are, like us, on their way to a future state of heaven or hell.

-- The Idea of a Christian Society (1939), by T.S. Eliot

He was keen on history and geography too. Freda decided that he was ready to try to get into Oxford, her own university, where he would receive the finest education the West had to offer. With such credentials he would be perfectly equipped and have the clout to bring the sacred Buddhist teachings to the outside world in a language it could understand.

With the help of John Driver, an Englishman who was also tutoring Trungpa, Freda set about getting a Spalding Scholarship for Trungpa, and succeeded. In early 1963 Trungpa set sail for England accompanied by Akong Rinpoche, to enter into the arcane, privileged, and hallowed halls of Oxford University. It was another epic journey into the unknown, heralding as many adventures, pitfalls, and triumphs as they had met in their escape from Tibet.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

The Spalding Trust is a charitable organisation based in Stowmarket, England. Its mandate is to promote intercultural understanding by encouraging the study of comparative religion.

Mr. and Mrs. H.N. Spalding established the Trust by means of two trust deeds in 1923 and 1928.[1] The Trust has made grants to individuals, institutions and libraries. Among its benefactions have been the Spalding Chair in Eastern Religions and Ethics and the Spalding Lectureship in Eastern Orthodox Studies, both in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford. The Trust also gave several grants to the School of Oriental Studies at the University of Durham in the 1950s. A Spalding Visiting Fellowship in Comparative Religion was established at Clare Hall, Cambridge in 1994.[2]

The Trust's website presents the scope of projects supported, and instructions for individuals applying for assistance.[3]

The Spalding Trust's chairs have included Sir Douglas Veale (1950-1953) and Thomas Knox-Shaw (1953-1971). The present chair (2000 to date) is Anne Spalding, H.N. Spalding's granddaughter.[1]:199

The Ellen Rebe Spalding Memorial Fund was set up by H. N. Spalding in memory of his mother and is a subdivision within the Spalding Trust. Numerous grants from this Fund have been used to help disadvantaged women and children in Oxfordshire, where the family lived and worked.[4]


1. Hulmes, Edward (2002). The Spalding Trust and the Union for the Study of the Great Religions: H.N. Spalding's Pioneering Vision. Spennymoor, England: Memoir Club. ISBN 1841040401.
2. Whaling, Frank (2003). "Review of The Spalding Trust and the Union for the Study of the Great Religions". Studies in World Christianity. 9 (2): 304–307. doi:10.3366/swc.2003.9.2.304.
3. "The Spalding Trust". Retrieved 2012-04-05. In the case of individuals, a grant may be offered, for example, to support the costs involved in a research project or the cost of publication of the results of research.
4. "Spalding Trust".

Further reading

Henderson, K.D.D.(Spring 1970). "The work of the Spalding Trust and the Union for the Study of the Great Religions". World Faiths: Journal of the World Congress of Faiths (No. 79): 1-6.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:56 am

In Memory of Rosemary Vosse (Karma Dolma Chuzom)
by Family Faraggiana of Turin, Italy, edited by Samten de Wet
Accessed: 4/6/19



Single-handedly Freda had already set the scene for Buddhism to make the historic leap from East to West when she had the foresight to establish the Young Lamas Home School. In 1972, the year of her full ordination as a bikshuni nun, she took another momentous step in that direction by personally agreeing to take the Buddha's message to South Africa, the first of several overseas "missions" she undertook. Hr journey there was significant not least because it revealed the full extent of the spiritual authority invested in her by the Karmapa, as well as the scope of the knowledge and personal realizations that she had attained in her relatively new religious path.

The invitation had come from Rosemary Vosse, a theosophist descended from Italian nobility, who had met Freda in India. She had literally begged Freda, now known as Sister Palmo, to come to South Africa, which was being brutally ripped apart by the bloody internal war of apartheid, as blacks fought for equal rights and the end to racial segregation. Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress (ANC), the group that led this fight, was serving a life sentence on Robben Island, a measure intended by the government to cut off the hope he had inspired in his followers. Everywhere, protestors were being beaten and jailed, and a general reign of terror, instigated by the police, hung like a dirty pall over the land.

It was an invitation Freda could not resist. Any notion of racial inequality and suppression of freedom was an immediate clarion call to her. In fact it was in Johannesburg that her hero, Mahatma Gandhi, had formulated his philosophy of peaceful civil resistance, triggered when he was ordered to move from a first-class carriage to a third-class carriage because he was "colored," despite the fact that he was working as a lawyer there and had a valid ticket. The result was Satyagraha, his Doctrine of Truth, which he propagated there for twenty years and which Freda espoused when she became a Satyagrahi.

Her tour was to encompass Johannesburg, Capetown, Durban, and Port Elizabeth. It started on an auspicious note. Stepping off the airplane and into the terminal, she saw a delicate pink, green, and yellow butterfly still alive in a wastepaper basket. She gently picked it up and put it in a flowerbed. Freda viewed it as a sign. "It had a significance I can't put into words, but something extremely beautiful happened as I entered Africa," she wrote to her family.

She addressed audiences, large and small, who had come as a result of publicity generated by her Tibetan Friendship Group. She was warmly welcomed, and the press was polite. She spoke from university podiums and temple high seats, telling people about her experience of Gandhi and her own time as the first Englishwoman to offer Satyagraha. And then, when the audience was warmed up, she moved on to even more unconventional themes -- reincarnation and the Tibetan tulku system -- showing them slides of the young rinpoches she had taught and of her own teacher, the Sixteenth karmapa.

"I tried to convey to them something of the wonder of the Tibetan masters, the Dalai Lama, and in particular my own guru," she said. The university students were especially rapt, she reported.

Her talks to the Indian community living there and to the small group of Buddhist sympathizers were more profound, and they allowed Freda to share the depth of her knowledge. She gave discourses on both major and minor points of Buddhist philosophy.

"I was able to give a talk on the realizations of Milarepa (Tibet's beloved poet-saint). I endeavored to bring out his philosophical approach as well as his beautiful teachings, which were based on the Vajrayana lyrics, which I translated. This talk was taped, as were many others," she stated.

In Milarepa's biography, examples can be found of a range of images of woman, from human to demonic and to divine. In general Milarepa disparages women, their nature, appearance, and the role they play in the life of the religious practitioner. 'Woman is always a trouble-maker ... the primary source of suffering',18 he warns (male) practitioners. Of woman's ability to attract men he cautions, 'At first the lady is like a heavenly angel ... middle-aged she becomes a demon with corpse's eyes ... at life's end she becomes an old cow with no teeth.'19 Of her role he is equally scathing, 'At her best, she may serve and devote herself to others, at her worst, she will bring mishap and disaster.'20 In the text, women themselves subscribe to this position, 'Because of my sinful Karma I was given this inferior [female] body',21 declares a young woman when she approaches Milarepa for Buddhist teachings. In these examples, the practitioner of Buddhism is implicitly male, the woman implicitly 'other'. While the male strives for perfection, the woman acts as obstacle and deterrent, or as an inferior being.

In many of the Buddhist scriptures there are numerous examples of teachings which pair together the female and the demon as beings which potentially cause difficulties for the 'practitioner' on the path. Robert Paul notes the connection between these categories, 'In general it may be said that the demons, the passions and women are conceptually related, and thought of as opponents of Buddhism, and of patriarchal unity.'22 Milarepa constantly warns of the destructive powers of women, admonishing his followers to reject their seductive charms, and become meditative hermits. Even a demon, who is subdued by Milarepa after she emerges from a crack in a rock, is told that she is in an unfortunate rebirth, not because of her demonic form, or because of living in a rock, but that 'Because of your evil habit propensities formed in the past, and your vicious doings in the present . . . you were born as a lower form of woman' (italics mine).23 In the relatively tormented world of demons, Milarepa is at pains to point out that the female demonic status is inferior to that of the male.

-- Traveller in Space: In Search of Female Identity in Tibetan Buddhism, by June Campbell

More impressively, Freda also revealed that she conferred initiations. This was nothing short of extraordinary. Only the most qualified lamas gave initiations, ceremonies that bestowed on the recipient the power, knowledge, and blessings of the particular buddha invoked. It was exceptional for a newcomer to Buddhism to be conducting this rite, and it was unheard of for a Western woman to do so. This was proof that the Karmapa held her in high spiritual regard.

"On Easter Sunday I was able to give the Forest Dolma (Tara) initiation, which His Holiness Karmapa had allowed me to confer. It was in a perfect setting, in a forest glade with pine needles all around, and the shrine at the foot of a tress," enthused the nature-loving Freda. She continued to give the Tara initiation throughout her tour. And then she ventured into the highly esoteric and advanced reaches of Tibetan Buddhism -- the Vajrayana or Diamond Path -- by conferring the initiation of the buddha of purification, Vajrasattva.

"I explained how to meditate on Vajrasattva, and say his hundred-syllable mantra," she explained. "It was a most interesting experience to be giving these teachings, and I do think that if the group carries on with the practice, there will be a quick and wonderful development, because the Vajrayana path is more rapid than the Mahayana path. But all the time I am weaving in the Mahayana. The Vajrayana is the meditation side, the Mahayana, the philosophy," she went on, indicating the highly arcane and intricate system of Tibetan Buddhism that Thomas Merton, the Jesuit, described as the most complex religion on earth. "It is complex and detailed because it is profound," said Freda.

Following her plan to sow permanent seeds of Buddhism in South Africa, Freda established small centers, often in people's homes, where people could gather to meditate, say prayers together, and study the Buddha's teachings. She fervently hoped the centers would grow.

Although she fell instantly in love with the natural beauty of Cape town, she was utterly dismayed by the absence of black faces in the suburbs she was visiting. This was apartheid at work.

"I was surprised to see so few Africans about -- they are living in outside areas. You do see them in shops and streets, but Cape Town has such a Western appearance. I was not prepared for that. I rather thought it would be like India, where there would be big houses and a lot of simple houses around. Instead it is like being in Switzerland or Holland -- there are hardly any black or brown faces visible."

Much to her delight, she did manage to introduce one African into Buddhism, when she gave the Refuge ceremony to a gathering at a home belonging to Bruce Ginsberg (later famous for introducing rooibos tea to the rest of the world).

"She was a housemaid and was extremely delighted to get it. It gave me some personal satisfaction too," Freda admitted. "Actually Buddhism is not a conversion religion -- and I cannot seek people out to give the teachings to, as much as I want to. We have to wait until people come voluntarily. That is how it should be," she added.

Despite being forbidden to proselytize, Freda was nevertheless openly thrilled when she was called upon to officiate at the funeral of a Chinese seaman who had been murdered in Port Elizabeth. Her fame as the only ordained Buddhist in South Africa had spread, much to the gratification of the sailor's Buddhist family. Freda saw it as yet another sign that her religion would take root in South African soil. Officiating at the cremation ceremony, Freda once again revealed her spiritual credentials when she performed the esoteric rite of powa -- the transference of consciousness -- a highly accomplished process whereby a "master" steers the departing mind, or soul, through the death process into a favorable future existence.

"I was able to use the Amitabha Puja for the first time in English," she elaborated, referring to the ritual of the Buddha of Infinite Light, much beloved of the Chinese. "I also made use of the teachings of powa, which the Venerable Ayang tulku [an eminent reincarnate lama recognized as a living expert in afterlife rituals] gave me in Mysore. It was miraculous I had it with me. by 'chance" I also had a special mandala from Rumtek to be used at the time of somebody's passing. Whatever I could do, I did, praying for the liberation of his mind into the luminous states of consciousness, which is the buddha-field. I also drafted a telegraph to H.H. Karmapa in Sikkim to do special ceremonies for the seaman.

"Many people there had never seen Buddhist rites before, and they were deeply moved. We felt it was extraordinary that the first Buddhist nun to reach South Africa was able to be in Port Elizabeth on the very day that the seaman needed help," she added.

She continued on her whistle-stop tour, founding centers, giving talks, and meeting would-be Buddhists. She was particularly happy when she came across the Indian community, who took her into their homes. "They helped stanch my homesickness at being severed from the motherland. It's a group of some thirty-five Indian families, who have kept the flag of Dharma flying here. I gave them the initiation of Jetsun Dolma in her form as the Perfection of Wisdom," she said, indicating the zenith of the wisdom path, "Emptiness," which is represented by the female form, out of which all things are made manifest.

Sheila Fugard, who met Freda in south Africa, was won over. She was the wife of the internationally renowned playwright Athol Fugard, as well as a poet and author in her own right, and was in a distressed state due to the constant harassment she and her husband were receiving from the police. Athol was courageously defying apartheid by writing and staging political plays, such as Blood Knot for a group of multiracial actors, and they were under perpetual surveillance as a result, with their house regularly being ransacked. It was a situation Freda understood only too well from her own experience of being harassed and pursued during her defiant fight for Indian independence. To Sheila, Freda, or Sister Palmo, as she called her, was a veritable lifeline. Her devotion became absolute, as depicted in the book she wrote about her, Lady of Realisation.

"We were going through a very tough time. I was under enormous stress and was just coming out of a nervous breakdown. We had no money and yet were still trying to create a new theater for all races, but the government was forbidding us to go into the townships, where the blacks lived," said Sheila, now living in California with her daughter.

There was also a lesser-known, religious component to apartheid. "The Dutch Reformed Church felt that blacks should have separate churches, and were fighting with the Catholics who wanted to open the churches to blacks. sister Palmo was invited in order hopefully to help sow seeds of harmony through establishing Buddhism, and teaching meditation," she explained before continuing with her own story:

"I knew nothing about Buddhism apart from reading Evans-Wentz (an early translator of Tibetan texts, including the Tibetan Book of the Dead). I was desperately seeking some means of achieving inner stillness, and had visited several teachers, including Sufis and Hindu swamis. They had offered advice and explanations as regards the nature of the mind, meditation, and the problems of living, but none really helped. The knots of personality remained unsolved.

"I went to a lecture sister Palmo was giving in a private house. As I walked in, I was met by a sight I had never seen before -- a middle-aged Englishwoman sitting in the lotus position, wearing maroon robes with a shaved head. There was no doubt she was beautiful, with a firm bone structure and skin, which, although aging, had a unique softness. She emanated a tranquility, an aura of profound compassion, and what could only be described as an elevated energy. There was an aspect of the yogi about her that fascinated me, and yet at the same time she was undisputedly the Western intellectual.

"What she said was interesting enough to draw me back to listen to her again. By the third time, I thought, 'Forget everything else, this is it.' I signed up for an initiation and a retreat. I was so glad I did. And I also took Refuge with her. The experience was unforgettably powerful," she reminisced.

Freda also had secular words of wisdom to offer regarding apartheid, telling her audience that the intellectuals invariably suffered in any repressive regime. "Such situations toughen the moral fiber," Freda told them. "Tenacity is at the root of sila, or morality, the very bedrock of Buddhism. And nonviolence is only understood through experience."

It was in the personal arena, however, where Freda provided the most comfort to Sheila Fugard.

On hearing about her breakdown and the traumas she was going through, Freda said, "Well, you know, what you are talking about is suffering. That was the Buddha's main message, it was the foundation of what he taught. But if you think of the mind like a lake, while the surface may be ruffled and agitated by waves, in the depths it is very calm and still.

"Mind is radiantly pure. emptiness, the primordial ground, underlies both samsara (the Wheel of Suffering) and nirvana. The world of meditation is of extraordinary beauty. In mastering concentration all concepts and confusion fall away. All is attainable by the pupil, but initiations by the guru, proper instruction, and firm endeavor are necessary.'

The effect of Freda's words was immediate and electric. "With those words Sister Palmo changed my life," said Sheila. "She made me realize that that was how it was. Suffering is there, clear and simple, and yet there is a way out. I understood that there was a deep reservoir of peace available to me beneath the fear and anxiety. From that moment I turned a corner and came out of my depression. Things slowly began to improve. She was an excellent teacher and had the clearest view of the Path of any Tibetan master I later met. She had a unique ability to cut through. She was also extremely articulate, the result of her education and talent as a writer and teacher."

As with all truly effective teachers, however, it was the unspoken qualities that Freda embodied that made an equally powerful impression on Sheila. Qualities including compassion, empathy, kindness, and a sense of humor, gained from a deep understanding of the Path, and literally embodied.

"Aside from her words it was her manner itself that was healing. she reached me at a human level. Sister Palmo became a role model, not just for me but for many women, because of all that she had been through and because she was powerful. Her life was vast. She'd been a conservative Englishwoman, an intellectual who had fitted in with a Sikh family, who had got involved in Indian politics, who knew Indira Gandhi and who had had a family before her inner path took over. She was extraordinary. I was her student, and was devoted as well as highly respectful of her," said Sheila.

When she flew out of South Africa, Freda left behind the Karma Rigdol centers she had established in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Port Elizabeth, all under the auspices of H.H. Karmapa, and a small but enthusiastic group of people committed to following the Buddhist path. Many, like Sheila Fugard, had taken Refuge with Freda, and had been given Tibetan names. Others, like Andre de Wet, became ordained taking a monk's name -- in his case, Karma Samten.

She left her new converts with texts of prayers and rituals in English that she had translated herself from the Tibetan. this in itself was an innovative step forward in the bringing of Buddhism to the West, as for many years after the Tibetan diaspora newly engaged Buddhists were obliged to read prayers and chants in the original, without knowing what they were reading and saying.

Over the ensuing years she remained in constant contact with them through her usual stream of letters, guiding their newly formed centers in precise detail: suggesting candidates for the roles of president, secretary, or treasurer according to each person's personality and ability, which she had witnessed and assessed. As with her own children, she was liberal with advice: "youth are the breath of any new movement, but we need the older students to give stability, those who have seen something of the sorrows of the world. they have more staying power and more understanding of continuity, which is important." Multitasking, also as usual, she set up journals, sent articles, and tried tirelessly (in vain) to get visas for eminent lamas such as Ayang Rinpoche to visit the centers to inspire them anew. When that did not work, she encouraged her students to come to India so that they could experience for themselves what it was like to be in the presence of the freshly emerged meditation masters from Tibet, and get their blessing that way.

Personally on several occasions Freda tried to return to South Africa herself, battling for months to get another visa, but to no avail. The authorities would not let her in.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie



"I am doing things that are worthwhile for other people."

On a New Moon Sunday just before 7.p.m. on the 3rd August, 1997, Rosemary Vosse passed away peacefully at her home ‘Watersedge" Malton Road, Wynberg, Cape Town.

The third daughter of the Marchese Antinori, an old Umbrian noble family, with its original seat in Perugia, Italy, Rosemary is survived by her two elder sisters, Erica and Peggy, and her nephews, nieces and extended family in Turin, Milan, Pisa, Britain, Canada and elsewhere..

Rosemary was born on 17th September, 1913 at Riccione, Italy on the Adriatic. After the death of her mother in 1922, Rosemary and her sisters went to live with her paternal Aunt Nora Antinori in Perugia, who had a great influence on Rosemary's life, and inspired her altruistic work at an early age.

She studied Art in Perugia and Turin, German in Vienna in 1938.

In 1939 she moved to South Africa which became her adopted country for the rest of her life. In 1944 she married Bertus Vosse, (Picchio, as he was known to the Italian family). Their only child, Wilfred, died at an early age.

Rosemary was known to her many Tibetan friends as Karma Dolma Chuzom, a name which was given to her by H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. To many of us, she was simply known as Dolma, ‘Mother.’

Over the years, Rosemary was a great inspiration to many through her selfless service to Humankind. She was deeply involved in Theosophy, with her late husband - and was a President of the Cape Town Lodge.

Inspired by an article which appeared in The Middle Way, the Journal of The Buddhist Society in London, Rosemary founded The Tibetan Friendship Group in the late 1950’s and edited its Newsletter - The Tibetan Friendship Group Newsletter, for many years, which then changed into The Bodhisattva Path, and eventually transformed into eighteen issues of MAITRI under the Editorship of Karma Samten (Andre de Wet), AND Sheila Fugard.
Later, Rosemary produced and edited ‘Koeksister’ and eventually ‘Co-Exister’ for many years.

Deep friendships with the Tibetan Community in exile, were cemented through her various journeys to India, where she and her husband were received in audience by many of the great Rinpoches. In 1974/5, Rosemary and Karma Samten joined the Entourage of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje, and in 1976 she once again toured the world, to join Sister Palmo in California, with Sheila Fugard, and Karma Samten, for extended Teachings and diplomatic work on behalf of the Tibetan Refugees.

Rosemary was certainly avante garde in spreading awareness in Cape Town of more a ecological lifestyle, "voluntary simplicity" as she used to call it, and a vegetarian diet.Through her extensive sprouting operations, money was generated exclusively for Tibetan Refugees in exile, countless people were introduced to the precious Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, and many life long friendships were formed. Rosemary invited the Ven. Gelongma Karma Khechog Palmo (Mrs Freda Bedi) to Cape Town in 1972 - and through this visit - The Karma Rigdol Centres of Tibetan Buddhism were formed under the Direction of H.H. the 16th Karmapa - and the first South African President, the late Dr. Ernst Landsberg.

Rosemary was also an active member of many social organisations, and maintained wide international links with enlightened groups
. She was a tireless campaigner for a more noble way of life - and manifested a simplicity of living. She personally ‘adopted’ the Venerable Ato Rinpoche, and assisted in his education through his early years in the West. During the last years of her life, she was deeply grateful to have received Akong Rinpoche, and Ato Ripoche in her home, and to have attended the talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Cape Town in 1996. She was also a Member of the Mountain Club of South Africa, and the National Council of Women.

The National Council of Women of the United States (NCW/US) is the oldest [1] nonsectarian organization of women in America. Officially founded in 1888,[2] the NCW/US is an accredited non-governmental organization (NGO) with the Department of Public Information (UN/DPI)[1] and in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).[3]

-- The National Council of Women of the United States, by Wikipedia

The International Council of Women (ICW) is a women's organization working across national boundaries for the common cause of advocating human rights for women. In March and April 1888, women leaders came together in Washington D.C. with 80 speakers and 49 delegates representing 53 women's organizations from 9 countries: Canada, the United States, Ireland, India, United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, France and Norway. Women from professional organizations, trade unions, arts groups and benevolent societies participate. National councils are affiliated to the ICW and thus make themselves heard at the international level. The ICW enjoys consultative status with the United Nations and its Permanent Representatives to ECOSOC, ILO, FAO, WHO, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNCTAD, and UNIDO.

-- International Council of Women, by Wikipedia

She will be sadly missed by her huge international family. But her example remains a living memory for us all.

Samten de Wet. Turin, 2nd November, 1997.

"There is no more valuable thing possessed by any individual than an exalted ideal towards which he continually aspires, and after which he moulds his thoughts and feelings, and forms, as best he may, his life."

-- H.P. Blavatsky. Practical Occultism, p. 87.

"Thou shalt not separate thy being from BEING and the rest, but merge the Ocean in the drop, the drop within the Ocean.

So shalt thou be in full accord with all that lives, bear love to all men as though they were thy brother-pupils, disciples of One Teacher, the sons of one sweet mother."

-- "The Voice of the Silence"

Rosemary wrote:

From another dear "sister" away in the Eastern Transvaal, we received this prayer originally spoken by one of the North American Indians in Canada. "For me it embodies much of what is ultimately important to our spiritual lives," she says.


Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,
whose breath gives life to the world -
hear me!
I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.
May I ever walk in beauty.
May my eyes ever hold the red and purple sunset,
May my ears sharp to hear your voice,
May my hands respect the things You have made,
Make me wise, so that I may learn the lessons You
have taught your children,
the secrets You have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Make me strong, not to be superior to my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
Make me ever ready to come to You with straight eyes
so that when life fades as the fading sunset
my soul can come to You without shame.


-were among the words that Mother, who died when we were children, taught us to address at bedtime to "God, my father in Heaven."

For how long we continued repeating those words during later years nobody remembers, in any case, after some time things tend to lose their potency, becoming automatic repetitions - not so?

But it’s interesting to remember that prayer a whole lifetime later, with gratitude to the woman who brought us into the world and who is described on her faraway tombstone as "A faithful wife and a devoted mother."

Kindness, gentleness and obedience are qualities we can all do with in greater abundance - the last being, in our adulthood, the attitude described by one of our very good friends as a type of listening to the voice of our intimate conscience.

Through our involvement with the Tibetan Friendship Group, we have been very happy to learn that H.H. the Dalai Lama has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. "My true religion is kindness", is a phrase attributed to him.



Rosemary had the great fortune, to die peacefully in her own bed. These short pieces, edited from past issues of the Co-Exister, begin with a beautiful 'Morning Piece' - in which Rosemary demonstrates that the blankets on her bed, were woven with the relationships of those whom she loved.

Dear Friends,


- on a Sunday, there are several extra jobs to do. Like changing the sheets on the bed. Which means that the top one goes to the bottom and the clean one comes on top. That's what we always did at home.....

There's a variety of sheets here: this morning the clean one was one of the two Pauline kindly gave me when Erika was coming from Germany. The material is very nice, but they were a little short, so Hennie kindly added on a strip at the bottom, which makes all the difference. Hennie, as you may guess from her name, comes from Holland.

Today's pillowcase is the one Monique gave me, with flowers all over it on a pale blue background. Monique, incidentally was born in New Zealand.

After these comes the blanket we bought in Connaught Circle, New Delhi in 1965. It's surprisingly long and entitled "Beauty's Chancellor".

The next blanket is a very special one received from the Ven. Chogay Trichen Rinpoche of Lumbini, the place where the Buddha was born in Nepal, just over the border from India. It was in 1978 that Acharya Pema Wosel accompanied me on that trip from Varanasi by bus - a whole long day till we reached the tiny hamlet near the border post, where we had to find a place to sleep in the darkness - no electric lights..... Pema Wosel assured me in his deep voice that he would find something for "Mother", and disappeared, leaving her on the bench at the little tea booth among the buzzing mosquitoes.

The next morning meant a long ride together on a bicycle-rickshaw over the most potholed road anyone has ever seen. By the time they got to Lumbini, your editor was beginning to feel queasy, and after the usual hefty meal Tibetans expect you to eat, the feeling got worse - till she had to decamp hastily and bring it up again.....horrors.

Anyway, in the end our good Rinpoche made her a present in recognition of the help received from the Tibetan Friendship Group, of the woven Nepali blanket off his own bed - a short one because the high teachers apparently never lie down.

The final item to go on the bed is the light yellow nylon quilt that our dear friend Gita brought along many years ago. She was of Polish origin.

How could one not sleep peacefully on this incredible international concoction of a bed at "Watersedge"?

But one can still be restless occasionally, even when remembering all the good things one has received from kind friends. It's simply the way of life, never to be entirely satisfied. Our Buddhist friends call it "dukka", often translated as "suffering", but generally explained as "dissatisfaction".

So every morning we repeat the words:

"Let me be led from darkness to light,
From the unreal to the real,
From death to immortality,
From chaos to beauty."
Love to all from


Though Rosemary was a deeply committed Theosophist, this is not the time nor the occasion to air the Theosophical Teachings. They can be consulted in great detail and width in 'The Secret Doctrine' and 'Isis Unveiled' written by H.P. Blavatsky, a Teacher much beloved by Rosemary. Instead, during the last few years of her life - Rosemary was deeply inspired by the Life and Works of Peace Pilgrim - and she constantly quoted and used the writings of Peace Pilgrim in her publications. At that stage we may not have taken much notice, as the copies of 'Co-Exister' eventually, got buried beneath the piles of newspapers in the kitchen. But now that Rosemary has left us for Other Shores, we feel that this brief Summary of the Teachings of Peace Pilgrim, seems to encapsulate perfectly the many concerns and moral obligations that Rosemary demonstrated in her practical life.



1. Assume right attitudes towards life.

Stop being an escapist or a surface-liver as these attitudes can only cause disharmony in your life. Face life squarely and get down below the froth on its surface to discover its verities and realities. Solve the problems that life sets before you, and you will find that solving them contributes to your inner growth. Helping to solve collective problems contributes also to your growth, and these problems should never be avoided.

2. Live good beliefs.

The laws governing human contact apply as rigidly as the laws of gravity. Obedience to these laws pushes us towards harmony; disobedience pushes us towards disharmony. Since many of these laws are already common belief, you can begin by putting into practice all the good things you believe. No life can be in harmony unless belief and practice are in harmony.

3. Find your place in the Life Pattern.

You have a part in the scheme of things. What that part is you can only know from within yourself. You can seek it in receptive silence. You can begin to live in accordance with it by doing all the good things you are motivated toward and giving these things priority in your life over all the superficial things that customarily occupy human lives.

4. Simplify life to bring inner and outer well-being into harmony.

Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. Many lives are cluttered not only with unnecessary possessions but also with meaningless activities. Cluttered lives are out-of-harmony lives and require simplification. Wants and needs can become the same in a human life and, when this is accomplished, there will be a sense of harmony between inner and outer well-being. Such harmony is needful not only in the individual life but in the collective life too.


1. Purification of the body temple.

Are you free from all bad habits? In your diet do you stress the vital foods - the fruits, whole grains, vegetables and nuts? Do you get to bed early and get enough sleep? Do you get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and contact with nature? If you can answer "Yes" to all of these questions, you have gone a long way toward purification of the bodily temple.

2. Purification of the thoughts.

It is not enough to do right things and say right things. You must also think right things. Positive thoughts can be powerful influences for good. Negative thoughts can make you physically ill. Be sure there is no unpeaceful situation between yourself and any other human being, for only when you have ceased to harbour unkind thoughts can you attain inner harmony.

3. Purification of the desires.

Since you are here to get yourself into harmony with the laws that govern human conduct and with your part in the scheme of things, your desires should be focused in this direction.

4. Purification of motives.

Obviously your motive should never be greed or self-seeking, or the wish for self-glorification. You shouldn't even have the selfish motive of attaining inner peace for yourself. To be of service to your fellow humans must be your motive before your life can come into harmony.


1. Relinquishment of self-will

You have, or it's as though you have, two selves; the lower self that usually governs you selfishly, and the higher self which stands ready to use you gloriously. You must subordinate the lower self by refraining from doing the not-good things you are motivated toward, not suppressing them but transforming them so that the higher self can take over your life.

2. Relinquishment of the feeling of separateness.

All of us, all over the world, are cells in the body of humanity. You are not separate from your fellow humans, and you cannot find harmony for yourself alone. You can only find harmony when you realise the oneness of all and work for the good of all.

3. Relinquishment of attachments.

Only when you have relinquished all attachments can you be really free. Material things are here for use, and anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you. You can only live in harmony with your fellow human beings if you have no feeling that you possess them, and therefore do not try to run their lives.

4. Relinquishment of all negative feelings.

Work on Relinquishing negative feelings. If you live in the present moment, which is really the only moment you have to live, you will be less apt to worry. If you realise that those who do mean things are psychologically ill, your feelings of anger will turn to feelings of pity. If you recognise that all of your inner hurts are caused by your own wrong actions or your own wrong reactions or your own wrong inaction, then you will stop hurting yourself.


It is many years since childhood days when we first saw a picture of (the) Potala (Palace) of Lhasa, that incredible building rising out of a hill as if it were a part of it. Little did we dream then, way back in Italy, that life would get us involved with Tibet and all that has come out of it.

The experience of meeting some of the high entities from that region and learning about their inspiring teachings, has surely been the most rewarding thing in this long life. As it gradually draws toward its close, we feel confident that, seeing that life is an ongoing process of alternating activity and rest, we shall return to the earthly scene in due course, to carry on the big work of encouraging our flagging brethren.

In this Year of Tibet, we remember the words coming from those high places addressed to the ones embarking upon the path of life:-

"To live to benefit mankind is the first step".

-- Rosemary

N.B. "We", of course, is that delightful editorial plural in which some of us are privileged to indulge.

NOTE: This small Memorial Page was, prepared by the Family Faraggiana of Turin, Italy, and edited by Samten de Wet. If you know of friends of Rosemary who have not received a copy and would like to - please send the names and addresses to:

Erica Faraggiana, Strada S. Margherita, 158, Turin 10131, Italy. Fax: (0939) 011. 812.1226


Samten de Wet, P.O.Box 15438, Vlaeberg, Cape Town 8018. Email:

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:14 am

Bruce Ginsberg
Dec 11, 2016



Bruce Ginsberg

On the Road with Zen and Tea.

Bruce Ginsberg is a South African farmer’s son and a Zen practitioner for 50 years who has immersed himself in Asian cultures and made a life journey through tea. He was Chairman of the Buddhist Society Trust from 1991-2012 and served on the United Nations Association Religious Advisory Committee alongside imams, rabbis, Hindu priests, and Christian bishops and academics in the interfaith field. He runs Dragonfly Tea, a family-owned, British tea company with a hundred year heritage of making artisanal teas.

Early Samovar

The samovar was a Russian invention of the mid-18th century and widely used to boil water for tea.

Q. You are the grandson of a tea planter?

In the 19th Century my grandfather lived in Moscow, where he completed his schooling. Tea is very central to Russian life and he lived there with a maternal uncle who worked in the tea trade. He went to South Africa in 1903 and is known as the founder of Rooibos tea.

Q. Chinese tea was very popular in Europe. What part did South Africa play in the tea trade?

The Cape was the stopping off place of the tea ships from the East. Their ballast was porcelain, and above that was tea. The Portuguese were the first to encounter and introduce tea to Europe in the early 17th century. Tea was in Holland from about the 1640s and by 1662 Samuel Pepys is mentioning drinking fine tea in his diaries. The craze quickly spread and tea became an expensive, fashionable, drawing room drink, as it was in China.

The Cederberg mountains and nature reserve are located near Clanwilliam, approximately 300 km north of Cape Town, South Africa.

Q. How did your grandfather become involved with Rooibos tea in South Africa?

Rooibos is a wild legume. The tea drinking culture was spread to all the Dutch and French frontier farmers at the Cape. Tea was mixed with local herbs to make it go further, as it was expensive. As a result, a number of Cape Bush Teas made from local plants came into use. Rooibos (redbush) was on the fringe at that stage and not so well known. The main one in use amongst rural farmers was Cyclopia (honeybush). In 1907, as a result of the Anglo Boer War and bad feeling, the British organised a very big Exhibition of South African country products in London, opened by the Prince of Wales. This spurred an interest in all these teas and raised their profile. My grandfather was the first to put Rooibos into packets, making a consistent quality tea, and he carried out experiments using old Chinese tea curing techniques on this wild Cape plant. Later, in the 1920s, a shortage of wild teas, which grew only in the Cederberg coastal ranges inland from the South Atlantic coast, led to Benjamin Ginsberg driving a project to get Rooibos, which has a difficult seed to propagate, into cultivation. As a result Rooibos became a new 20th century agricultural crop that is now crucial to the rural economy of this marginal area on the edge of the desert.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a Russian pioneer in the Cedarberg region of the Cape, South Africa, perfected the curing of Rooibos ("Red Bush") tea.

Traditionally the local people would climb the mountains and cut the fine needle-like leaves from wild rooibos plants (Aspalathus Linearis). They then rolled the bunches of leaves into hessian bags and brought them down the steep slopes on the backs of donkeys. The leaves were then chopped with axes and bruised with hammers, before being left to dry in the sun.

In 1904, Benjamin Ginsberg, riding in the remote mountains, became fascinated with this wild tea. He ran a wide variety of experiments at Rondegat Farm, finally perfecting the curing of rooibos. He simulated the traditional Chinese methods of making very fine Keemun, by fermenting the tea in barrels, covered in wet, hessian sacking that replicate the effects of bamboo baskets. His first packing machine is pictured on the left.

Benjamin Ginsberg also enthused the local GP, Dr. le Fras Nortier, who then began to experiment to find a way to propagate the seeds. He found that the only way was to replicate the action of mountain fires that crack open the very hard seed shells.

Benjamin's son, Henry Charles, built on this pioneering work, becoming the first to seed large, dedicated plantations of rooibos and encouraging other farmers to follow. He also created national demand for rooibos in South Africa, stressing its healthy properties, including naturally caffeine free and rich in minerals. He was followed by his son, Bruce, who introduced rooibos to the UK and further afield.

-- Benjamin Ginsberg (businessman), by Wikipedia

Bruce Ginsberg making Rooibos tea. Making Rooibos tea in South Africa, 1973. At the end of the curing process the oxidising heaps of tea begin to give off heat and a sweet smell, which attracts bees. The leaves have changed from Green to the desired characteristic Reddish colour. At this stage the heaps are thrown open and the tea spread across concrete courts, where it is allowed to dry in the sun, a completely natural artisan process based on famous Chinese teamaking techniques like that used in making the revered Keemun.

Q. How is Rooibos cured?

Like a Chinese Oolong tea. All teas are cured, whereas a herb is just dried, and Rooibos is cured. It is high in anti-oxidants and is a mild anti-spasmodic that can be given to little children and babies with feeding problems, and it relaxes you at night.

rooibos tea leaves. Rooibos tea, also known as redbush tea, is made from the South African shrub Aspalathus linearis which grows only in the Cederberg Mountains.

Q. Who built up the business of Rooibos tea?

My father became an obsessive farmer, and by 1950 was growing half of the Rooibos tea cultivated in South Africa. He was the one who really placed it on the market. He was also the largest wine grape farmer in South Africa and laid out a model estate. I ran those farms for him for 6 years after he had a heart attack. He sold his farms in 1991.

Q. You introduced Rooibos tea to England?

I came to live in London in 1976 where I introduced Rooibos tea. In South Africa it was a poor man’s tea, but in the UK we developed a marketing proposition that it was actually a very special rare tea and now it is popular all round the world. The Germans are the biggest drinkers, and it is very popular in America and China.

The Dharma Bums, a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The basis for the novel’s semi-fictional accounts are events occurring years after the events of On the Road.

Q. In 1967 you became a student of Zen Buddhism?

I was working as a journalist and I went to Tokyo for a job interview with a Japanese English newspaper, but my real interest was to get a closer understanding of Zen. Zen was the avant garde flavour of the decade in the 50s and 60s, with the American Beats, Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums”, abstract expressionists, John Cage. We were all fascinated by Zen.

With a Chinese Zen master. A young Bruce Ginsberg sitting with a Chinese Zen master.

And, like tea, Zen was from China?

Zen was originally Chinese, but maintained in purity in Japan. Zen was brought to China from South India in the 5th century by a man called Bodhidharma.

Q. You studied Zen in Japan?

I was living as a layman in a famous Zen monastery, Daitokuji, which is where the Japanese tea ceremony was developed 500 years ago. It is famous for its gardens, poets and painters, and every autumn 10,000 tea ceremony teachers come to Daitokuji to pay tribute to the founders of the tea ceremony. I began to get a sense of the way tea was celebrated, and it deepened my interest in the culture of tea.

With the famous Korean Zen Master Kyong Bong. Bruce with one of the most eminent Korean Son (Zen) masters, Venerable Kyong Bong, in the South Korean mountains. September 1967.

Q. What is the culture of tea that you discovered?

Fine tea needs to be drunk very slowly close to nature. Tea was spread from China by Buddhist monasteries. It doesn’t only have caffeine, it has theanine, which is a relaxant. So you have a simultaneous relaxed alertness, as meditation does. It became a practice for the warrior classes who brought Zen to Japan in 11th and 12th century.

Q. Is tea connoisseurship like that of wine?

It’s like wines on a much deeper scale. It’s possible that wine connoisseurship developed from tea connoisseurship.

Inspecting tea used for making Black tea on a British tea estate in Kenya.

Q. What interests you so much about tea?

Tea culture is my interest. The experience of boundlessness that comes when you hold a cup of tea. I see myself as a beginner, with a beginner’s mind, fascinated by everything. Each moment is a heaven in itself if you know how to step into it. You are bringing everything into attention and noticing. I am an explorer in the classic world of tea.

Q. Is there a great variety of tea cultivation in China?

Every mountain range across China has its own techniques in curing tea. Until the 1870s a trained British tea taster had to understand 8,000 teas. Part of the connoisseurship is the shape and beauty of the leaf, and the quality of the water is also very important. I have seen the Japanese Emperor’s tea maker take 6 hours rolling tea by hand, until it is so altered that you can eat it as a delicacy.

Bruce rolling the highest quality green Gyokuro tea in Japan, near Uji, overseen by the Emperor’s tea maker and assistant. The process takes 6 hours.

Q. Why have you followed this path of Zen and tea?

I have been on a path to deepen my experience of everything, to understand the moment before you think when the brain has already made the decision for nine tenths of all the things we do. We have an existence which doesn’t need thinking when we hand ourselves over to the moment.

Q. Is it like a religion for you?

It is a religious feeling. We need to explore the aesthetics of the moment of drinking and tasting in full awareness and emotion structured into an art form. The art of drinking a cup of teas is artistic as a ritual and when you leave the tea room you need to feel a part of everything. James Joyce called it the aesthetic arrest. When you get absorbed into the moment, totally absorbed, you feel free and totally alive. What follows the freedom is the creative flow through us.

Q. Chinese tea once enjoyed great popularity in England, but now this has changed?

The British have lost their knowledge on tea, and from the 1880s more tea was coming from India than China. Many houses don’t even have teapots any more, but people keep drinking it because the physical effect is such that we like that mood sensation which has a very subtle effect. In the 18th century more than half the tea drunk in England was green tea, and we moved to poor quality Indian tea. A tea called Eastern Beauty was a favourite of Queen Victoria; a fine Oolong, slightly fermented tea, just turning to brown from green. By the 19th century the Chinese produced black teas for the English market, but real tea shouldn’t have any bitterness to it.

Inspecting tea gardens in the Wuyi mountains of Nanping, China.

Q. Tea also comes from India?

Indian tea like India is a British creation. A representative of the Chelsea Physic Garden went to China in 1849/50 and smuggled plants out to the British who put them into India and Ceylon. Up until recently the Chinese wouldn’t drink such teas. Real tea goes back 1500 years.

Q. And now coffee is the dominant global drink?

Coffee is now the fashion icon because we need to develop the style which people have forgotten in tea. Tea has a quietness, stillness and repose, whereas coffee is a buzz.

With a tea picker in the Zhejiang mountains, near Mount Lu.

Q. You also love gardens. What is it about gardens that interests you?

I am intrigued by how we cut off a piece of space and do something to it. Colour touches the heart and flowers have an emotional effect on us. Gardens are artificial, but there is a structure between nature and man. I also have a topiary box plant (buxus) nursery, because a garden is a culture, a space that as you walk through it either speeds you up or slows you down, without realising it. It is very important for me to be near nature.

Q. Is this possible today?

It’s absolutely critical. Drinking tea you need calmness and relaxation, so anything that requires this needs a centre of gravity within ourselves. In the Renaissance world we measured the world with our bodies, and this comes from being in balance, a sense of poignancy. If you want to feel alive you need these small ceremonial moments of poise.

West Lake, Hangzhou. West Lake is a freshwater lake in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in eastern China. It is divided into five sections by three causeways. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial islands within the lake.

Q. What tea do you drink yourself?

I vary, but at the moment I usually start the day with a 2nd flush Darjeeling, without milk and sugar, and will add water to the pot several times. In China, with fine teas the third or fourth cup will be praised more than the first. Sometimes during the day I drink a Chinese Oolong, half black, half slightly scented with orange blossom, or a particularly fine handmade green Dragonswell tea, Lung Jing, grown in the hills around the magical West Lake in Hangzhou. Hangzhou was the ancient Song dynasty capital in Zhejiang province where Marco Polo stayed. It is a place where great poets have lived and painted. There is a beautiful causeway made up of numerous bowed bridges across the lake, and the light comes so beautifully, with endless reflections. It has touched people for a long time. Zen came to Japan from there and the Zen monasteries in the area were famous for their simplicity, their formal strictness and tidiness, and the playfulness of the practitioners with their high cultural emphasis on creativity. Gondolas ply between several small islands, where there are famous teahouses. At night I drink Rooibos in particular, as it is wonderful for sleep.

Tasting teas of different types in a rural tea factory in China, sampling in small cups typical of the type used in the gongfu tea ceremony style in Fujian province.

Q. What are you looking for?

I am not looking for anything, other than to enjoy the moment. It’s about the quality of how each of us experience the world that we are part of, to allow these moments where we rise to the occasion. I am a tea enthusiast, and have travelled all over China. Tea is involved with nature, with gardens.

Q. Are you a Buddhist?

Others would describe me as a Zen Buddhist, but I don’t know if we need these names any more. We are travellers.


Q. Do you consider yourself a South African?

I feel very tender towards South Africa, which has 8,000 species of plants, wonderful mountains and is where two oceans meet. I try to go back every year, but no longer have a farm there. It’s a place of the heart where I have known intimacy with everything around me. My first fears and exultations were experienced there as a boy who clambered over rocks.

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:48 am

Part 1 of 2

Allen Ginsberg
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/7/19



Freda was now free to concentrate on reestablishing the Young Lamas Home School in Dalhousie. With the Dalai Lama's permission, she put her spiritual son, Chogyam Trungpa, in charge of Spiritual Studies, and when he left, another eminent tulku, Ato Rinpoche (Dilgo Khyentse's nephew), took over. The school had about thirty pupils at any one time.

Freda, who was utterly nonsectarian in all religious paths, encouraged her pupils to stay true to their respective traditions, but she did want to introduce them to the formal studies of Geography, History, and the English language, through which, she envisioned, they would transmit the Buddha's message to the outside world. Certainly most of the young tulkus were not particularly interested in taking on such foreign subjects, and they approached their lessons in a somewhat desultory fashion. But Freda persisted.

In Dalhousie a colorful band of Westerners also encountered Freda (including the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg) as they made their way to the Young Lamas Home School to volunteer their services....

Following one Tara initiation she gave in America, Freda revealed that the Karmapa had told her she was named after an eighth-century nun in India, a Sister Palmo, who was associated with Tara and who was bestowed with exceptional caring skills. Freda had translated a text about this original Sister Palmo, which she now made available. One of the attendees read it out as a tribute to Freda:

"One should imagine the form of a woman with yellow robe who lived in a hermitage, following the path of the yogi, dwelling in a forest, living a life of seclusion and meditation. Gelongma Palmo showed herself in her outer form as the bikshuni -- a fully ordained nun with an ushnisha mound on her head, like the Buddha. In her inner form she manifested as Tara, green in color, removing obstacles and hindrances (to enlightenment). Thinking of Gelongma Palmo in this form, we should recollect the very beautiful initiation of the Green Mother, which we experienced this morning."

The references and allusions were obvious. Freda clearly identified with the eight-century nun, and she wanted others to see her that way as well.

On her last trip to the United States, exhausted, she managed to find time for a solitary two-week meditation retreat at Mount Shasta. Eyewitnesses reported that she emerged quite radiant. The retreat coincided with her tenth anniversary as a nun, after which she was regaled with a large party, complete with cake, candles, and musicians. Allen Ginsberg and Lama Karma Thinley were among the guests.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

On our way back to Tail [July, 1970] we stopped off in New York for the weekend. Rinpoche gave several public talks, one entitled “Meditation in Action” and another called “Tibetan Alchemy.” It was now early July, and his seminars at Tail of the Tiger were due to start in another week. Even now, a mere two months after arriving in the United States, everywhere Rinpoche went he attracted new students. When we came back through New York, there were many more people around all the time. An important and absolutely chance meeting was running into the poet Allen Ginsberg. Allen was with his father, who was quite old and in poor health, and they were trying to hail a taxicab, the same cab we thought we were hailing. We were with someone, perhaps Richard Arthure, who introduced us to Allen. When he learned who Rinpoche was, Allen held his hands in anjali (hands at the heart in a gesture of respect or reverence), bowed, and said “OM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM,” which is the mantra of Padmasambhava, the syllables that invoke the essence of his energy. We all decided to share the cab. After dropping of Allen’s father, we went to Allen’s place, where he and Rinpoche talked for hours about poetry, Buddhism, politics, sex – everything. They wrote poetry together that night, and it was the beginning of a deep dharmic and poetic friendship. Later, when they knew each other better, Allen asked Rinpoche what he thought of being greeted by Padmasambhava’s mantra. Rinpoche told him that at the time he had wondered whether Allen understood what he was saying.

Rinpoche had started writing poetry in English while he was in England. He had studied English poetry at Oxford, and his early poems tended to be more formal, with allusions to Christian themes and Greek mythology as well as to Buddhist deities. He also had encountered Japanese haiku in India, which had given him a different idea, a sense of how one might compose poetry that was a more direct reflection of the mind. This was similar to the training he had received from his guru in Tibet in composing dohas, or spontaneous songs of spiritual realization. Allen introduced Rinpoche to the possibility of even greater freedom of expression and a kind of poetry that was as fresh, wild, and evocative as our experience of America. It was the first chapter in a long and important association with American poets and poetics, which had its intense ups and downs.

Interestingly enough, this was not the first time that Rinpoche and Allen had met. After Rinpoche’s death, while going through photographs from a visit to India in the early sixties, Allen saw a picture of himself taken at the Young Lamas Home School in Dalhousie. A young monk was showing him around. He looked closely at the photograph and realized that it was Rinpoche who had taken him on that tour, ten years before they met in New York. Neither one of them realized this when they ran across each other in America.....

When [Rinpoche] met somebody, he instantly connected with them, and he never forgot a face. This I think was because he wasn't just superficially getting to know people, but instantaneously he could see into the deepest parts of a person.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Caroloyn Rose Gimian

Allen Ginsberg
Ginsberg in 1979
Born Irwin Allen Ginsberg
June 3, 1926
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Died April 5, 1997 (aged 70)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation Writer, poet
Education Columbia University (B.A.)
Literary movement Beat literature, hippie
Confessional poetry
Notable awards National Book Award (1974)
Robert Frost Medal (1986)
Partner Peter Orlovsky (1954–1997; Ginsberg's death)

Irwin Allen Ginsberg (/ˈɡɪnzbɜːrɡ/; June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet, philosopher and writer. He is considered to be one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation during the 1950s and the counterculture that soon followed. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression and was known as embodying various aspects of this counterculture, such as his views on drugs, hostility to bureaucracy and openness to Eastern religions.[1] He was one of many influential American writers of his time known as the Beat Generation, which included famous writers such as Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

Ginsberg is best known for his poem "Howl", in which he denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States.[2][3][4] In 1956, "Howl" was seized by San Francisco police and US Customs.[1] In 1957, it attracted widespread publicity when it became the subject of an obscenity trial, as it described heterosexual and homosexual sex[5] at a time when sodomy laws made homosexual acts a crime in every U.S. state. "Howl" reflected Ginsberg's own bisexuality and his relationships with a number of men, including Peter Orlovsky, his lifelong partner.[6] Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that "Howl" was not obscene, adding, "Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms?"[7]

Ginsberg was a practicing Buddhist who studied Eastern religious disciplines extensively. He lived modestly, buying his clothing in second-hand stores and residing in downscale apartments in New York's East Village.[8] One of his most influential teachers was the Tibetan Buddhist Chögyam Trungpa, the founder of the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.[9] At Trungpa's urging, Ginsberg and poet Anne Waldman started The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics there in 1974.[10]

Ginsberg took part in decades of non-violent political protest against everything from the Vietnam War to the War on Drugs.[11] His poem "September on Jessore Road", calling attention to the plight of Bangladeshi refugees, exemplifies what the literary critic Helen Vendler described as Ginsberg's tireless persistence in protesting against "imperial politics, and persecution of the powerless."[12]

His collection The Fall of America shared the annual U.S. National Book Award for Poetry in 1974.[13] In 1979 he received the National Arts Club gold medal and was inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.[14] Ginsberg was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1995 for his book Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986–1992.[15]


Early life and family

Ginsberg was born into a Jewish[16] family in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in nearby Paterson.[17]

As a young teenager, Ginsberg began to write letters to The New York Times about political issues, such as World War II and workers' rights.[18] While in high school, Ginsberg began reading Walt Whitman, inspired by his teacher's passionate reading.[19]

In 1943, Ginsberg graduated from Eastside High School and briefly attended Montclair State College before entering Columbia University on a scholarship from the Young Men's Hebrew Association of Paterson.[20] In 1945, he joined the Merchant Marine to earn money to continue his education at Columbia.[21] While at Columbia, Ginsberg contributed to the Columbia Review literary journal, the Jester humor magazine, won the Woodberry Poetry Prize, served as president of the Philolexian Society (literary and debate group), and joined Boar's Head Society (poetry society).[19][22] Ginsberg has stated that he considered his required freshman seminar in Great Books, taught by Lionel Trilling, to be his favorite Columbia course.[23]

According to The Poetry Foundation, Ginsberg spent several months in a mental institution after he pleaded insanity during a hearing. He was allegedly being prosecuted for harboring stolen goods in his dorm room. It was noted that the stolen property was not his, but belonged to an acquaintance.[24]

Relationship with his parents

Ginsberg referred to his parents, in a 1985 interview, as "old-fashioned delicatessen philosophers".[17] His father, Louis Ginsberg, was a published poet and a high school teacher.[20][25] Ginsberg's mother, Naomi Livergant Ginsberg, was affected by a psychological illness that was never properly diagnosed.[26] She was also an active member of the Communist Party and took Ginsberg and his brother Eugene to party meetings. Ginsberg later said that his mother "made up bedtime stories that all went something like: 'The good king rode forth from his castle, saw the suffering workers and healed them.'"[18] Of his father Ginsberg said "My father would go around the house either reciting Emily Dickinson and Longfellow under his breath or attacking T. S. Eliot for ruining poetry with his 'obscurantism.' I grew suspicious of both sides."[17]

Naomi Ginsberg's mental illness often manifested as paranoid delusions. She would claim, for example, that the president had implanted listening devices in their home and that her mother-in-law was trying to kill her.[27][28] Her suspicion of those around her caused Naomi to draw closer to young Allen, "her little pet", as Bill Morgan says in his biography of Ginsberg, titled, I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg.[29] She also tried to kill herself by slitting her wrists and was soon taken to Greystone, a mental hospital; she would spend much of Ginsberg's youth in mental hospitals.[30][31] His experiences with his mother and her mental illness were a major inspiration for his two major works, "Howl" and his long autobiographical poem "Kaddish for Naomi Ginsberg (1894–1956)".[32]

When he was in junior high school, he accompanied his mother by bus to her therapist. The trip deeply disturbed Ginsberg – he mentioned it and other moments from his childhood in "Kaddish".[26] His experiences with his mother's mental illness and her institutionalization are also frequently referred to in "Howl".
For example, "Pilgrim State, Rockland, and Grey Stone's foetid halls" is a reference to institutions frequented by his mother and Carl Solomon, ostensibly the subject of the poem: Pilgrim State Hospital and Rockland State Hospital in New York and Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.[31][33][34] This is followed soon by the line "with mother finally ******." Ginsberg later admitted the deletion was the expletive "fucked."[35] He also says of Solomon in section three, "I'm with you in Rockland where you imitate the shade of my mother," once again showing the association between Solomon and his mother.[36]

Ginsberg received a letter from his mother after her death responding to a copy of "Howl" he had sent her. It admonished Ginsberg to be good and stay away from drugs; she says, "The key is in the window, the key is in the sunlight at the window – I have the key – Get married Allen don't take drugs – the key is in the bars, in the sunlight in the window".[37] In a letter she wrote to Ginsberg's brother Eugene, she said, "God's informers come to my bed, and God himself I saw in the sky. The sunshine showed too, a key on the side of the window for me to get out. The yellow of the sunshine, also showed the key on the side of the window."[38] These letters and the absence of a facility to recite kaddish inspired Ginsberg to write "Kaddish", which makes references to many details from Naomi's life, Ginsberg's experiences with her, and the letter, including the lines "the key is in the light" and "the key is in the window".[39]

New York Beats

In Ginsberg's freshman year at Columbia he met fellow undergraduate Lucien Carr, who introduced him to a number of future Beat writers, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and John Clellon Holmes. They bonded, because they saw in one another an excitement about the potential of American youth, a potential that existed outside the strict conformist confines of post–World War II, McCarthy-era America.[40] Ginsberg and Carr talked excitedly about a "New Vision" (a phrase adapted from Yeats' "A Vision"), for literature and America. Carr also introduced Ginsberg to Neal Cassady, for whom Ginsberg had a long infatuation.[41] In the first chapter of his 1957 novel On the Road Kerouac described the meeting between Ginsberg and Cassady.[26] Kerouac saw them as the dark (Ginsberg) and light (Cassady) side of their "New Vision", a perception stemming partly from Ginsberg's association with communism, of which Kerouac had become increasingly distrustful. Though Ginsberg was never a member of the Communist Party, Kerouac named him "Carlo Marx" in On the Road. This was a source of strain in their relationship.[19]

Also, in New York, Ginsberg met Gregory Corso in the Pony Stable Bar. Corso, recently released from prison, was supported by the Pony Stable patrons and was writing poetry there the night of their meeting. Ginsberg claims he was immediately attracted to Corso, who was straight, but understanding of homosexuality after three years in prison. Ginsberg was even more struck by reading Corso's poems, realizing Corso was "spiritually gifted." Ginsberg introduced Corso to the rest of his inner circle. In their first meeting at the Pony Stable, Corso showed Ginsberg a poem about a woman who lived across the street from him and sunbathed naked in the window. Amazingly, the woman happened to be Ginsberg's girlfriend that he was living with during one of his forays into heterosexuality. Ginsberg took Corso over to their apartment. There the woman proposed sex with Corso, who was still very young and fled in fear. Ginsberg introduced Corso to Kerouac and Burroughs and they began to travel together. Ginsberg and Corso remained lifelong friends and collaborators.[19]

Shortly after this period in Ginsberg's life, he became romantically involved with Elise Nada Cowen after meeting her through Alex Greer, a philosophy professor at Barnard College whom she had dated for a while during the burgeoning Beat generation's period of development. As a Barnard student, Elise Cowen extensively read the poetry of Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, when she met Joyce Johnson and Leo Skir, among other Beat players. As Cowen had felt a strong attraction to darker poetry most of the time, Beat poetry seemed to provide an allure to what suggests a shadowy side of her persona. While at Barnard, Cowen earned the nickname "Beat Alice" as she had joined a small group of anti-establishment artists and visionaries known to outsiders as beatniks, and one of her first acquaintances at the college was the beat poet Joyce Johnson who later portrayed Cowen in her books, including "Minor Characters" and Come and Join the Dance, which expressed the two women's experiences in the Barnard and Columbia Beat community. Through his association with Elise Cowen, Ginsberg discovered that they shared a mutual friend, Carl Solomon, to whom he later dedicated his most famous poem "Howl". This poem is considered an autobiography of Ginsberg up to 1955, and a brief history of the Beat Generation through its references to his relationship to other Beat artists of that time.

"Blake vision"

In 1948 in an apartment in Harlem, Ginsberg had an auditory hallucination while reading the poetry of William Blake (later referred to as his "Blake vision"). At first, Ginsberg claimed to have heard the voice of God but later interpreted the voice as that of Blake himself reading Ah! Sun-flower, The Sick Rose, and Little Girl Lost, also described by Ginsberg as "voice of the ancient of days." The experience lasted several days. Ginsberg believed that he had witnessed the interconnectedness of the universe. He looked at latticework on the fire escape and realized some hand had crafted that; he then looked at the sky and intuited that some hand had crafted that also, or rather, that the sky was the hand that crafted itself. He explained that this hallucination was not inspired by drug use but said he sought to recapture that feeling later with various drugs.[19] Ginsberg stated: "living blue hand itself. Or that God was in front of my eyes - existence itself was God," and "And it was a sudden awakening into a totally deeper real universe than I'd been existing in." [42]

San Francisco Renaissance

Ginsberg moved to San Francisco during the 1950s. Before Howl and Other Poems was published in 1956 by City Lights Bookshop, he worked as a market researcher.[43]

In 1954, in San Francisco, Ginsberg met Peter Orlovsky (1933–2010), with whom he fell in love and who remained his lifelong partner.[19] Selections from their correspondence have been published.[44]

Also in San Francisco, Ginsberg met members of the San Francisco Renaissance (James Broughton, Robert Duncan, Madeline Gleason and Kenneth Rexroth) and other poets who would later be associated with the Beat Generation in a broader sense. Ginsberg's mentor William Carlos Williams wrote an introductory letter to San Francisco Renaissance figurehead Kenneth Rexroth, who then introduced Ginsberg into the San Francisco poetry scene. There, Ginsberg also met three budding poets and Zen enthusiasts who had become friends at Reed College: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Lew Welch. In 1959, along with poets John Kelly, Bob Kaufman, A. D. Winans, and William Margolis, Ginsberg was one of the founders of the Beatitude poetry magazine.

Wally Hedrick — a painter and co-founder of the Six Gallery — approached Ginsberg in mid-1955 and asked him to organize a poetry reading at the Six Gallery. At first, Ginsberg refused, but once he had written a rough draft of "Howl", he changed his "fucking mind", as he put it.[40] Ginsberg advertised the event as "Six Poets at the Six Gallery". One of the most important events in Beat mythos, known simply as "The Six Gallery reading" took place on October 7, 1955.[45] The event, in essence, brought together the East and West Coast factions of the Beat Generation. Of more personal significance to Ginsberg, the reading that night included the first public presentation of "Howl", a poem that brought worldwide fame to Ginsberg and to many of the poets associated with him. An account of that night can be found in Kerouac's novel The Dharma Bums, describing how change was collected from audience members to buy jugs of wine, and Ginsberg reading passionately, drunken, with arms outstretched.

Ginsberg's principal work, "Howl", is well known for its opening line: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked ..." "Howl" was considered scandalous at the time of its publication, because of the rawness of its language. Shortly after its 1956 publication by San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore, it was banned for obscenity. The ban became a cause célèbre among defenders of the First Amendment, and was later lifted, after Judge Clayton W. Horn declared the poem to possess redeeming artistic value.[19] Ginsberg and Shig Murao, the City Lights manager who was jailed for selling "Howl," became lifelong friends.[46]

Biographical references in "Howl"

Ginsberg claimed at one point that all of his work was an extended biography (like Kerouac's Duluoz Legend). "Howl" is not only a biography of Ginsberg's experiences before 1955, but also a history of the Beat Generation. Ginsberg also later claimed that at the core of "Howl" were his unresolved emotions about his schizophrenic mother. Though "Kaddish" deals more explicitly with his mother, "Howl" in many ways is driven by the same emotions. "Howl" chronicles the development of many important friendships throughout Ginsberg's life. He begins the poem with "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness", which sets the stage for Ginsberg to describe Cassady and Solomon, immortalizing them into American literature.[40] This madness was the "angry fix" that society needed to function — madness was its disease. In the poem, Ginsberg focused on "Carl Solomon! I'm with you in Rockland", and, thus, turned Solomon into an archetypal figure searching for freedom from his "straightjacket". Though references in most of his poetry reveal much about his biography, his relationship to other members of the Beat Generation, and his own political views, "Howl", his most famous poem, is still perhaps the best place to start.[citation needed]

To Paris and the "Beat Hotel", Tangier and India

In 1957, Ginsberg surprised the literary world by abandoning San Francisco. After a spell in Morocco, he and Peter Orlovsky joined Gregory Corso in Paris. Corso introduced them to a shabby lodging house above a bar at 9 rue Gît-le-Coeur that was to become known as the Beat Hotel. They were soon joined by Burroughs and others. It was a productive, creative time for all of them. There, Ginsberg began his epic poem "Kaddish", Corso composed Bomb and Marriage, and Burroughs (with help from Ginsberg and Corso) put together Naked Lunch from previous writings. This period was documented by the photographer Harold Chapman, who moved in at about the same time, and took pictures constantly of the residents of the "hotel" until it closed in 1963. During 1962–1963, Ginsberg and Orlovsky travelled extensively across India, living half a year at a time in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Benares (Varanasi). Also during this time, he formed friendships with some of the prominent young Bengali poets of the time including Shakti Chattopadhyay and Sunil Gangopadhyay. Ginsberg had several political connections in India; most notably Pupul Jayakar who helped him extend his stay in India when the authorities were eager to expel him.

England and the International Poetry Incarnation

In May 1965, Ginsberg arrived in London, and offered to read anywhere for free.[47] Shortly after his arrival, he gave a reading at Better Books, which was described by Jeff Nuttall as "the first healing wind on a very parched collective mind".[47] Tom McGrath wrote: "This could well turn out to have been a very significant moment in the history of England — or at least in the history of English Poetry".[48]

Soon after the bookshop reading, plans were hatched for the International Poetry Incarnation,[48] which was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London on June 11, 1965. The event attracted an audience of 7,000, who heard readings and live and tape performances by a wide variety of figures, including Ginsberg, Adrian Mitchell, Alexander Trocchi, Harry Fainlight, Anselm Hollo, Christopher Logue, George MacBeth, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael Horovitz, Simon Vinkenoog, Spike Hawkins and Tom McGrath. The event was organized by Ginsberg's friend, the filmmaker Barbara Rubin.[49][50]

Peter Whitehead documented the event on film and released it as Wholly Communion. A book featuring images from the film and some of the poems that were performed was also published under the same title by Lorrimer in the UK and Grove Press in US.

Continuing literary activity

Ginsberg with his partner, poet Peter Orlovsky. Photo taken in 1978

Though the term "Beat" is most accurately applied to Ginsberg and his closest friends (Corso, Orlovsky, Kerouac, Burroughs, etc.), the term "Beat Generation" has become associated with many of the other poets Ginsberg met and became friends with in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A key feature of this term seems to be a friendship with Ginsberg. Friendship with Kerouac or Burroughs might also apply, but both writers later strove to disassociate themselves from the name "Beat Generation." Part of their dissatisfaction with the term came from the mistaken identification of Ginsberg as the leader. Ginsberg never claimed to be the leader of a movement. He claimed that many of the writers with whom he had become friends in this period shared many of the same intentions and themes. Some of these friends include: David Amram, Bob Kaufman; Diane di Prima; Jim Cohn; poets associated with the Black Mountain College such as Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov; poets associated with the New York School such as Frank O'Hara and Kenneth Koch. LeRoi Jones before he became Amiri Baraka, who, after reading "Howl", wrote a letter to Ginsberg on a sheet of toilet paper. Through a party organized by Amiri Baraka, Ginsberg was introduced to Langston Hughes while Ornette Coleman played saxophone.[51]

Portrait with Bob Dylan, taken in 1975

Later in his life, Ginsberg formed a bridge between the beat movement of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s, befriending, among others, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, and Bob Dylan. Ginsberg gave his last public reading at Booksmith, a bookstore in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, a few months before his death.[52] In 1993, Ginsberg visited the University of Maine at Orono to pay homage to the 90-year-old great Carl Rakosi.[53]

Buddhism and Krishnaism

See also: A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Mantra-Rock Dance

In 1950, Kerouac began studying Buddhism[54] and shared what he learned from Dwight Goddard's Buddhist Bible with Ginsberg.[54] Ginsberg first heard about the Four Noble Truths and such sutras as the Diamond Sutra at this time.[54]

Ginsberg's spiritual journey began early on with his spontaneous visions, and continued with an early trip to India with Gary Snyder.[54] Snyder had previously spent time in Kyoto to study at the First Zen Institute at Daitoku-ji Monastery.[54] At one point, Snyder chanted the Prajnaparamita, which in Ginsberg's words "blew my mind."[54] His interest piqued, Ginsberg traveled to meet the Dalai Lama as well as the Karmapa at Rumtek Monastery.[54] Continuing on his journey, Ginsberg met Dudjom Rinpoche in Kalimpong, who taught him: "If you see something horrible, don't cling to it, and if you see something beautiful, don't cling to it."[54]

After returning to the United States, a chance encounter on a New York City street with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (they both tried to catch the same cab),[55] a Kagyu and Nyingma Tibetan Buddhist master, led to Trungpa becoming his friend and lifelong teacher.[54] Ginsberg helped Trungpa and New York poet Anne Waldman in founding the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.[56]

Ginsberg was also involved with Krishnaism. He had started incorporating chanting the Hare Krishna mantra into his religious practice in the mid-1960s. After learning that A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement in the Western world had rented a store front in New York, he befriended him, visiting him often and suggesting publishers for his books, and a fruitful relationship began. This relationship is documented by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami in his biographical account Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta. Ginsberg donated money, materials, and his reputation to help the Swami establish the first temple, and toured with him to promote his cause.[57]

Allen Ginsberg's greeting A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at San Francisco International Airport. January 17, 1967

Despite disagreeing with many of Bhaktivedanta Swami's required prohibitions, Ginsberg often sang the Hare Krishna mantra publicly as part of his philosophy[58] and declared that it brought a state of ecstasy.[59] He was glad that Bhaktivedanta Swami, an authentic swami from India, was now trying to spread the chanting in America. Along with other counterculture ideologists like Timothy Leary, Gary Snyder, and Alan Watts, Ginsberg hoped to incorporate Bhaktivedanta Swami and his chanting into the hippie movement, and agreed to take part in the Mantra-Rock Dance concert and to introduce the swami to the Haight-Ashbury hippie community.[58][60][nb 1]

On January 17, 1967, Ginsberg helped plan and organize a reception for Bhaktivedanta Swami at San Francisco International Airport, where fifty to a hundred hippies greeted the Swami, chanting Hare Krishna in the airport lounge with flowers in hands.[61][nb 2] To further support and promote Bhaktivendata Swami's message and chanting in San Francisco, Allen Ginsberg agreed to attend the Mantra-Rock Dance, a musical event 1967 held at the Avalon Ballroom by the San Francisco Hare Krishna temple. It featured some leading rock bands of the time: Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, and Moby Grape, who performed there along with the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami and donated proceeds to the Krishna temple. Ginsberg introduced Bhaktivedanta Swami to some three thousand hippies in the audience and led the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra.[62][63][64]

The Mantra-Rock Dance promotional poster featuring Allen Ginsberg along with leading rock bands.

Music and chanting were both important parts of Ginsberg's live delivery during poetry readings.[65] He often accompanied himself on a harmonium, and was often accompanied by a guitarist. It is believed that the Hindi and Buddhist poet Nagarjuna had introduced Ginsberg to the harmonium in Banaras. According to Malay Roy Choudhury, Ginsberg refined his practice while learning from his relatives, including his cousin Savitri Banerjee.[66] When Ginsberg asked if he could sing a song in praise of Lord Krishna on William F. Buckley, Jr.'s TV show Firing Line on September 3, 1968, Buckley acceded and the poet chanted slowly as he played dolefully on a harmonium. According to Richard Brookhiser, an associate of Buckley's, the host commented that it was "the most unharried Krishna I've ever heard."[67]

At the 1967 Human Be-In in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and the 1970 Black Panther rally at Yale campus Allen chanted "Om" repeatedly over a sound system for hours on end.[68]

Ginsberg further brought mantras into the world of rock and roll when he recited the Heart Sutra in the song "Ghetto Defendant". The song appears on the 1982 album Combat Rock by British first wave punk band The Clash.

Ginsberg came in touch with the Hungryalist poets of Bengal, especially Malay Roy Choudhury, who introduced Ginsberg to the three fishes with one head of Indian emperor Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar. The three fishes symbolised coexistence of all thought, philosophy and religion.[69]

In spite of Ginsberg's attraction to Eastern religions, the journalist Jane Kramer argues that he, like Whitman, adhered to an "American brand of mysticism" that was "rooted in humanism and in a romantic and visionary ideal of harmony among men."[70]

Illness and death

In 1960, he was treated for a tropical disease, and it is speculated that he contracted hepatitis from an unsterilized needle administered by a doctor, which played a role in his death 37 years later.[71] Ginsberg was a lifelong smoker, and though he tried to quit for health and religious reasons, his busy schedule in later life made it difficult, and he always returned to smoking.

In the 1970s, Ginsberg suffered two minor strokes which were first diagnosed as Bell's palsy, which gave him significant paralysis and stroke-like drooping of the muscles in one side of his face.

Later in life, he also suffered constant minor ailments such as high blood pressure. Many of these symptoms were related to stress, but he never slowed down his schedule.[72]

Allen Ginsberg, 1979

Ginsberg won a 1974 National Book Award for The Fall of America (split with Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck).[13] In 1986, Ginsberg was awarded the Golden Wreath by the Struga Poetry Evenings International Festival in Macedonia, the second American poet to be so awarded since W.H. Auden. At Struga, he met with the other Golden Wreath winners Bulat Okudzhava and Andrei Voznesensky. In 1993, the French Minister of Culture made him a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Ginsberg continued to help his friends as much as he could, going so far as to give money to Herbert Huncke out of his own pocket, and housing a broke and drug addicted Harry Smith.

With the exception of a special guest appearance at the NYU Poetry Slam on February 20, 1997, Ginsberg gave what is thought to be his last reading at The Booksmith in San Francisco on December 16, 1996.

After returning home from the hospital for the last time, where he had been unsuccessfully treated for congestive heart failure, Ginsberg continued making phone calls to say goodbye to nearly everyone in his addressbook. Some of the phone calls, including one with Johnny Depp, were sad and interrupted by crying, and others were joyous and optimistic.[73] Ginsberg continued to write through his final illness, with his last poem, "Things I'll Not Do (Nostalgias)", written on March 30.[74]

He died surrounded by family and friends in his East Village loft in New York City, succumbing to liver cancer via complications of hepatitis. He was 70 years old.[20]

Gregory Corso, Roy Lichtenstein, Patti Smith and others came by to pay their respects.[75]

One third of Ginsberg's ashes were buried in his family plot in Gomel Chesed Cemetery in Newark, NJ.[76][77] He was survived by Orlovsky.

Shambala Mountain Center, path to Ginsberg and Orlovsky burial place

When Orlovsky died, as per Ginsberg's wishes, another third of his ashes were buried alongside Orlovsky at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado. The remaining third of the ashes are buried at Jewel Heart, Gelek Rimpoche's sangha, in India.

In 1998, various writers, including Catfish McDaris read at a gathering at Ginsberg's farm to honor Allen and the beatniks.[78]

Social and political activism

Free speech

Ginsberg's willingness to talk about taboo subjects made him a controversial figure during the conservative 1950s, and a significant figure in the 1960s. In the mid-1950s, no reputable publishing company would even consider publishing "Howl". At the time, such "sex talk" employed in "Howl" was considered by some to be vulgar or even a form of pornography, and could be prosecuted under law.[40] Ginsberg used phrases such as "cocksucker", "fucked in the ass", and "cunt" as part of the poem's depiction of different aspects of American culture. Numerous books that discussed sex were banned at the time, including Lady Chatterley's Lover.[40] The sex that Ginsberg described did not portray the sex between heterosexual married couples, or even longtime lovers. Instead, Ginsberg portrayed casual sex.[40] For example, in "Howl", Ginsberg praises the man "who sweetened the snatches of a million girls". Ginsberg used gritty descriptions and explicit sexual language, pointing out the man "who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup." In his poetry, Ginsberg also discussed the then-taboo topic of homosexuality. The explicit sexual language that filled "Howl" eventually led to an important trial on First Amendment issues. Ginsberg's publisher was brought up on charges for publishing pornography, and the outcome led to a judge going on record dismissing charges, because the poem carried "redeeming social importance",[79] thus setting an important legal precedent. Ginsberg continued to broach controversial subjects throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. From 1970–1996, Ginsberg had a long-term affiliation with PEN American Center with efforts to defend free expression. When explaining how he approached controversial topics, he often pointed to Herbert Huncke: he said that when he first got to know Huncke in the 1940s, Ginsberg saw that he was sick from his heroin addiction, but at the time heroin was a taboo subject and Huncke was left with nowhere to go for help.[80]

Role in Vietnam War protests

Protesting at the 1972 Republican National Convention

Ginsberg was a signer of the anti-war manifesto "A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority," circulated among draft resistors in 1967 by members of the radical intellectual collective RESIST. Other signers and RESIST members included Mitchell Goodman, Henry Braun, Denise Levertov, Noam Chomsky, William Sloane Coffin, Dwight Macdonald, Robert Lowell, and Norman Mailer.[81][82] In 1968, Ginsberg signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War,[83] and later became a sponsor of the War Tax Resistance project, which practiced and advocated tax resistance as a form of anti-war protest.[84]

He was present the night of the Tompkins Square Park riot in 1988 and provided an eyewitness account to The New York Times.[85]

Bangladeshi war victims

Allen Ginsberg called attention to the suffering of victims during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. He wrote his legendary 152-line poem, September on Jessore Road, after visiting refugee camps and witnessing the plight of millions fleeing the violence.

Millions of daughters walk in the mud
Millions of children wash in the flood
A Million girls vomit & groan
Millions of families hopeless alone[86]

Ginsberg's poem also serves as an indictment of the United States:

Where are the helicopters of U.S. AID?
Smuggling dope in Bangkok's green shade.
Where is America's Air Force of Light?
Bombing North Laos all day and all night?

Out of the poem, he made a song that was performed by Bob Dylan, other musicians and Ginsberg himself.[87]

The last few lines of the poem read:

Millions of babies in pain
Millions of mothers in rain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of children nowhere to go[88]

Relationship to communism

Ginsberg talked openly about his connections with communism and his admiration for past communist heroes and the labor movement at a time when the Red Scare and McCarthyism were still raging. He admired Fidel Castro and many other quasi-Marxist figures from the 20th century.[89][90] In "America" (1956), Ginsberg writes: "America, I used to be a communist when I was a kid I'm not sorry". Biographer Jonah Raskin has claimed that, despite his often stark opposition to communist orthodoxy, Ginsberg held "his own idiosyncratic version of communism".[91] On the other hand, when Donald Manes, a New York City politician, publicly accused Ginsberg of being a member of the Communist Party, Ginsberg objected: "I am not, as a matter of fact, a member of the Communist party, nor am I dedicated to the overthrow of the U.S. government or any government by violence .. I must say that I see little difference between the armed and violent governments both Communist and Capitalist that I have observed".[92]

Ginsberg travelled to several communist countries to promote free speech. He claimed that communist countries, such as China, welcomed him, because they thought he was an enemy of capitalism, but often turned against him when they saw him as a troublemaker. For example, in 1965 Ginsberg was deported from Cuba for publicly protesting the persecution of homosexuals and referring to Che Guevara as "cute".[93] The Cubans sent him to Czechoslovakia, where one week after being named the Král majálesu ("King of May",[94] a students' festivity, celebrating spring and student life), Ginsberg was arrested for alleged drug use and public drunkenness, and the security agency StB confiscated several of his writings, which they considered to be lewd and morally dangerous. Ginsberg was then deported from Czechoslovakia on May 7, 1965[93][95] by order of the StB.[96] Václav Havel points to Ginsberg as an important inspiration.[97]

Gay rights

One contribution that is often considered his most significant and most controversial was his openness about homosexuality. Ginsberg was an early proponent of freedom for gay people. In 1943, he discovered within himself "mountains of homosexuality." He expressed this desire openly and graphically in his poetry.[98] He also struck a note for gay marriage by listing Peter Orlovsky, his lifelong companion, as his spouse in his Who's Who entry. Subsequent gay writers saw his frank talk about homosexuality as an opening to speak more openly and honestly about something often before only hinted at or spoken of in metaphor.[80]

In writing about sexuality in graphic detail and in his frequent use of language seen as indecent, he challenged — and ultimately changed — obscenity laws. He was a staunch supporter of others whose expression challenged obscenity laws (William S. Burroughs and Lenny Bruce, for example).

Association with NAMBLA

Ginsberg was a supporter and member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), a pedophilia and pederasty advocacy organization in the United States that works to abolish age of consent laws and legalize sexual relations between adults and children,[99] saying that "Attacks on NAMBLA stink of politics, witchhunting for profit, humorlessness, vanity, anger and ignorance ... I'm a member of NAMBLA, because I love boys too — everybody does, who has a little humanity."[100] In "Thoughts on NAMBLA", a 1994 essay published in the collection Deliberate Prose, Ginsberg stated, "NAMBLA's a forum for reform of those laws on youthful sexuality which members deem oppressive, a discussion society not a sex club. I joined NAMBLA in defense of free speech."[101] In 1994, Ginsberg appeared in a documentary on NAMBLA called Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys (playing on the gay male slang term "Chickenhawk"), in which he read a "graphic ode to youth".[99] In her 2001 book, Heartbreak, Andrea Dworkin described her sense of her fellow writer's position (they shared a godchild):

One the day of the bar mitzvah [in 1982], newspapers reported in huge headlines that the Supreme Court had ruled child pornography illegal. I was thrilled. I knew Allen would not be. I did think he was a civil libertarian. But, in fact, he was a pedophile. He did not belong to the North American Man/Boy Love Association out of some mad, abstract conviction that its voice had to be heard. He meant it. I take this from what Allen said directly to me, not from some inference I made. He was exceptionally aggressive about his right to fuck children and his constant pursuit of underage boys.[102]
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Part 2 of 2

Demystification of drugs

Ginsberg talked often about drug use. He organized the New York City chapter of LeMar (Legalize Marijuana).[103] Throughout the 1960s he took an active role in the demystification of LSD, and, with Timothy Leary, worked to promote its common use. He remained for many decades an advocate of marijuana legalization, and, at the same time, warned his audiences against the hazards of tobacco in his Put Down Your Cigarette Rag (Don't Smoke): "Don't Smoke Don't Smoke Nicotine Nicotine No / No don't smoke the official Dope Smoke Dope Dope."[104]

CIA drug trafficking

Ginsberg worked closely with Alfred W. McCoy on the latter's book The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, which claimed that the CIA was knowingly involved in the production of heroin in the Golden Triangle of Burma, Thailand, and Laos.[105] In addition to working with McCoy, Ginsberg personally confronted Richard Helms, the director of the CIA in the 1970s, about the matter, but Helms denied that the CIA had anything to do with selling illegal drugs.[106] Allen wrote many essays and articles, researching and compiling evidence of the CIA's alleged involvement in drug trafficking, but it would take 10 years, and the publication of McCoy's book in 1972, before anyone took him seriously. In 1978 Ginsberg received a note from the chief editor of The New York Times, apologizing for not taking his allegations seriously so many years previous.[107] The political subject is dealt with in his song/poem "CIA Dope calypso". The United States Department of State responded to McCoy's initial allegations stating that they were "unable to find any evidence to substantiate them, much less proof."[108] Subsequent investigations by the Inspector General of the CIA,[109] United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs,[110] and United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a.k.a. the Church Committee,[111] also found the charges to be unsubstantiated.


Most of Ginsberg's very early poetry was written in formal rhyme and meter like that of his father, and of his idol William Blake. His admiration for the writing of Jack Kerouac inspired him to take poetry more seriously. In 1955, upon the advice of a psychiatrist, Ginsberg dropped out of the working world to devote his entire life to poetry.[citation needed] Soon after, he wrote "Howl", the poem that brought him and his Beat Generation contemporaries to national attention and allowed him to live as a professional poet for the rest of his life. Later in life, Ginsberg entered academia, teaching poetry as Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College from 1986 until his death.[112]

Inspiration from friends

Ginsberg claimed throughout his life that his biggest inspiration was Kerouac's concept of "spontaneous prose". He believed literature should come from the soul without conscious restrictions. Ginsberg was much more prone to revise than Kerouac. For example, when Kerouac saw the first draft of "Howl" he disliked the fact that Ginsberg had made editorial changes in pencil (transposing "negro" and "angry" in the first line, for example). Kerouac only wrote out his concepts of Spontaneous Prose at Ginsberg's insistence because Ginsberg wanted to learn how to apply the technique to his poetry.[19]

The inspiration for "Howl" was Ginsberg's friend, Carl Solomon, and "Howl" is dedicated to him. Solomon was a Dada and Surrealism enthusiast (he introduced Ginsberg to Artaud) who suffered bouts of clinical depression. Solomon wanted to commit suicide, but he thought a form of suicide appropriate to dadaism would be to go to a mental institution and demand a lobotomy. The institution refused, giving him many forms of therapy, including electroshock therapy. Much of the final section of the first part of "Howl" is a description of this.

Ginsberg used Solomon as an example of all those ground down by the machine of "Moloch". Moloch, to whom the second section is addressed, is a Levantine god to whom children were sacrificed. Ginsberg may have gotten the name from the Kenneth Rexroth poem "Thou Shalt Not Kill", a poem about the death of one of Ginsberg's heroes, Dylan Thomas. Moloch is mentioned a few times in the Torah and references to Ginsberg's Jewish background are frequent in his work. Ginsberg said the image of Moloch was inspired by peyote visions he had of the Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco which appeared to him as a skull; he took it as a symbol of the city (not specifically San Francisco, but all cities). Ginsberg later acknowledged in various publications and interviews that behind the visions of the Francis Drake Hotel were memories of the Moloch of Fritz Lang's film Metropolis (1927) and of the woodcut novels of Lynd Ward.[113] Moloch has subsequently been interpreted as any system of control, including the conformist society of post-World War II America, focused on material gain, which Ginsberg frequently blamed for the destruction of all those outside of societal norms.[19]

He also made sure to emphasize that Moloch is a part of humanity in multiple aspects, in that the decision to defy socially created systems of control — and therefore go against Moloch — is a form of self-destruction. Many of the characters Ginsberg references in "Howl", such as Neal Cassady and Herbert Huncke, destroyed themselves through excessive substance abuse or a generally wild lifestyle. The personal aspects of "Howl" are perhaps as important as the political aspects. Carl Solomon, the prime example of a "best mind" destroyed by defying society, is associated with Ginsberg's schizophrenic mother: the line "with mother finally fucked" comes after a long section about Carl Solomon, and in Part III, Ginsberg says: "I'm with you in Rockland where you imitate the shade of my mother." Ginsberg later admitted that the drive to write "Howl" was fueled by sympathy for his ailing mother, an issue which he was not yet ready to deal with directly. He dealt with it directly with 1959's "Kaddish",[19] which had its first public reading at a Catholic Worker Friday Night meeting, possibly due to its associations with Thomas Merton.[114]

Inspiration from mentors and idols

Ginsberg's poetry was strongly influenced by Modernism (most importantly the American style of Modernism pioneered by William Carlos Williams), Romanticism (specifically William Blake and John Keats), the beat and cadence of jazz (specifically that of bop musicians such as Charlie Parker), and his Kagyu Buddhist practice and Jewish background. He considered himself to have inherited the visionary poetic mantle handed down from the English poet and artist William Blake, the American poet Walt Whitman and the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. The power of Ginsberg's verse, its searching, probing focus, its long and lilting lines, as well as its New World exuberance, all echo the continuity of inspiration that he claimed.[19][80][97]

He corresponded with William Carlos Williams, who was then in the middle of writing his epic poem Paterson about the industrial city near his home. After attending a reading by Williams, Ginsberg sent the older poet several of his poems and wrote an introductory letter. Most of these early poems were rhymed and metered and included archaic pronouns like "thee." Williams disliked the poems and told Ginsberg, "In this mode perfection is basic, and these poems are not perfect."[19][80][97]

Though he disliked these early poems, Williams loved the exuberance in Ginsberg's letter. He included the letter in a later part of Paterson. He encouraged Ginsberg not to emulate the old masters, but to speak with his own voice and the voice of the common American. From Williams, Ginsberg learned to focus on strong visual images, in line with Williams' own motto "No ideas but in things." Studying Williams' style led to a tremendous shift from the early formalist work to a loose, colloquial free verse style. Early breakthrough poems include Bricklayer's Lunch Hour and Dream Record.[19][97]

Carl Solomon introduced Ginsberg to the work of Antonin Artaud (To Have Done with the Judgement of God and Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society), and Jean Genet (Our Lady of the Flowers). Philip Lamantia introduced him to other Surrealists and Surrealism continued to be an influence (for example, sections of "Kaddish" were inspired by André Breton's Free Union). Ginsberg claimed that the anaphoric repetition of "Howl" and other poems was inspired by Christopher Smart in such poems as Jubilate Agno. Ginsberg also claimed other more traditional influences, such as: Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edgar Allan Poe, and Emily Dickinson.[19][80]

Ginsberg also made an intense study of haiku and the paintings of Paul Cézanne, from which he adapted a concept important to his work, which he called the Eyeball Kick. He noticed in viewing Cézanne's paintings that when the eye moved from one color to a contrasting color, the eye would spasm, or "kick." Likewise, he discovered that the contrast of two seeming opposites was a common feature in haiku. Ginsberg used this technique in his poetry, putting together two starkly dissimilar images: something weak with something strong, an artifact of high culture with an artifact of low culture, something holy with something unholy. The example Ginsberg most often used was "hydrogen jukebox" (which later became the title of a song cycle composed by Philip Glass with lyrics drawn from Ginsberg's poems). Another example is Ginsberg's observation on Bob Dylan during Dylan's hectic and intense 1966 electric-guitar tour, fuelled by a cocktail of amphetamines,[115] opiates,[116] alcohol,[117] and psychedelics,[118] as a Dexedrine Clown. The phrases "eyeball kick" and "hydrogen jukebox" both show up in "Howl", as well as a direct quote from Cézanne: "Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus".[80]

Inspiration from music

Allen Ginsberg also found inspiration in music. He frequently included music in his poetry, invariably composing his tunes on an old Indian harmonium, which he often played during his readings.[119] He wrote and recorded music to accompany William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. He also recorded a handful of other albums. To create music for Howl and Wichita Vortex Sutra he worked with the minimalist composer, Philip Glass.

Ginsberg worked with, drew inspiration from, and inspired artists such as Bob Dylan, The Clash, Patti Smith, Phil Ochs, and The Fugs.[43] He worked with Dylan on various projects and maintained a friendship with him over many years.[120]

In 1996, he also recorded a song co-written with Paul McCartney and Philip Glass, "The Ballad of the Skeletons",[121] which reached number 8 on the Triple J Hottest 100 for that year.

Style and technique

From the study of his idols and mentors and the inspiration of his friends — not to mention his own experiments — Ginsberg developed an individualistic style that's easily identified as Ginsbergian.[122] Ginsberg stated that Whitman's long line was a dynamic technique few other poets had ventured to develop further, and Whitman is also often compared to Ginsberg because their poetry sexualized aspects of the male form.[19][80][97]

Many of Ginsberg's early long line experiments contain some sort of anaphora, repetition of a "fixed base" (for example "who" in "Howl", "America" in America) and this has become a recognizable feature of Ginsberg's style.[citation needed] He said later this was a crutch because he lacked confidence; he did not yet trust "free flight".[citation needed] In the 1960s, after employing it in some sections of "Kaddish" ("caw" for example) he, for the most part, abandoned the anaphoric form.[80][97]

Several of his earlier experiments with methods for formatting poems as a whole became regular aspects of his style in later poems. In the original draft of "Howl", each line is in a "stepped triadic" format reminiscent of William Carlos Williams.[citation needed] However, he abandoned the "stepped triadic" when he developed his long line although the stepped lines showed up later, most significantly in the travelogues of The Fall of America.[citation needed] "Howl" and "Kaddish", arguably his two most important poems, are both organized as an inverted pyramid, with larger sections leading to smaller sections. In America, he also experimented with a mix of longer and shorter lines.[80][97]

In "Howl" and in his other poetry, Ginsberg drew inspiration from the epic, free verse style of the 19th-century American poet Walt Whitman.[123] Both wrote passionately about the promise (and betrayal) of American democracy, the central importance of erotic experience, and the spiritual quest for the truth of everyday existence. J. D. McClatchy, editor of the Yale Review, called Ginsberg "the best-known American poet of his generation, as much a social force as a literary phenomenon." McClatchy added that Ginsberg, like Whitman, "was a bard in the old manner — outsized, darkly prophetic, part exuberance, part prayer, part rant. His work is finally a history of our era's psyche, with all its contradictory urges." McClatchy's barbed eulogies define the essential difference between Ginsberg ("a beat poet whose writing was ... journalism raised by combining the recycling genius with a generous mimic-empathy, to strike audience-accessible chords; always lyrical and sometimes truly poetic") and Kerouac ("a poet of singular brilliance, the brightest luminary of a 'beat generation' he came to symbolise in popular culture ... [though] in reality he far surpassed his contemporaries ... Kerouac is an originating genius, exploring then answering - like Rimbaud a century earlier, by necessity more than by choice - the demands of authentic self-expression as applied to the evolving quicksilver mind of America's only literary virtuoso ..."):[17]


• Howl and Other Poems (1956) ISBN 978-0-87286-017-9
• Kaddish and Other Poems (1961) ISBN 978-0-87286-019-3
• Empty Mirror: Early Poems (1961) ISBN 978-0-87091-030-2
• Reality Sandwiches (1963) ISBN 978-0-87286-021-6
• The Yage Letters (1963) — with William S. Burroughs
• Planet News (1968) ISBN 978-0-87286-020-9
• Indian Journals (1970) ISBN 0-8021-3475-0
• First Blues: Rags, Ballads & Harmonium Songs 1971 - 1974 (1975), ISBN 0-916190-05-6
• The Gates of Wrath: Rhymed Poems 1948–1951 (1972) ISBN 978-0-912516-01-1
• The Fall of America: Poems of These States (1973) ISBN 978-0-87286-063-6
• Iron Horse (1973)
• Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness by Allen Ginsberg (1974), edited by Gordon Ball ISBN 0-07-023285-7
• Sad Dust Glories: poems during work summer in woods (1975)
• Mind Breaths (1978) ISBN 978-0-87286-092-6
• Plutonian Ode: Poems 1977–1980 (1981) ISBN 978-0-87286-125-1
• Collected Poems 1947–1980 (1984) ISBN 978-0-06-015341-0. Republished with later material added as Collected Poems 1947-1997, New York, Harper Collins, 2006
• White Shroud Poems: 1980–1985 (1986) ISBN 978-0-06-091429-5
• Cosmopolitan Greetings Poems: 1986–1993 (1994)
• Howl Annotated (1995)
• Illuminated Poems (1996)
• Selected Poems: 1947–1995 (1996)
• Death and Fame: Poems 1993–1997 (1999)
• Deliberate Prose 1952–1995 (2000)
• Howl & Other Poems 50th Anniversary Edition (2006) ISBN 978-0-06-113745-7
• The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems 1937-1952 (Da Capo Press, 2006)
• The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder (Counterpoint, 2009)
• I Greet You At The Beginning of a Great Career: The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955-1997 (City Lights, 2015)
• "The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beats" (Grove Press, 2017)

See also

• The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg (film)
• Category:Works by Allen Ginsberg
• Allen Ginsberg Live in London
• Hungry generation
• Howl (2010 film)
• Central Park Be-In
• Trevor Carolan
• Counterculture of the 1960s
• Burroughs: the Movie by Howard Brookner
• List of peace activists
• Kill Your Darlings
• Jewish Buddhist


1. (from the "Houseboat Summit" panel discussion, Sausalito CA. February 1967)(Cohen 1991, p. 182):
Ginsberg: So what do you think of Swami Bhaktivedanta pleading for the acceptance of Krishna in every direction?
Snyder: Why, it's a lovely positive thing to say Krishna. It's a beautiful mythology and it's a beautiful practice.
Leary: Should be encouraged.
Ginsberg: He feels it's the one uniting thing. He feels a monopolistic unitary thing about it.
Watts: I'll tell you why I think he feels it. The mantras, the images of Krishna have in this culture no foul association ... [W]hen somebody comes in from the Orient with a new religion which hasn't got any of [horrible] associations in our minds, all the words are new, all the rites are new, and yet, somehow it has feeling in it, and we can get with that, you see, and we can dig that!
2. Addressing speculations that he was Allen Ginsberg's guru, Bhaktivedanta Swami answered a direct question in a public program, "Are you Allen Ginsberg's guru?" by saying, "I am nobody's guru. I am everybody's servant. Actually I am not even a servant; a servant of God is no ordinary thing." (Greene 2007, p. 85; Goswami 2011, pp. 196–7)


1. "Ginsberg, Allen (1926-1997)". Archived from the original on March 13, 2007. Retrieved 9 August2015.
2. Ginsberg, Allen (2000), Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays 1952–1995. Foreword by Edward Sanders. New York: Harper Collins, pp. xx–xxi.
3. de Grazia, Edward. (1992) Girls Lean Back Everywhere: The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius. New York: Random House, pp. 330–31.
4. About Allen Ginsberg. December 29, 2002
5. Ginsberg, Allen "Howl" pp. 13–15.
6. Kramer, Jane (1968), Allen Ginsberg in America. New York: Random House, pp. 43–46, on Ginsberg's first meeting with Orlovsky and the conditions of their marriage. Also see, Miles, pp. 178–79, on Ginsberg's description of sex with Orlovsky as "one of the first times that I felt open with a boy."
7. de Grazia, Edward. (1992) Girls Lean Back Everywhere: The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius. New York: Random House, p. 338.
8. "Allen Ginsberg Project — Bio". Retrieved February 18, 2013.
9. Miles, pp. 440–44.
10. Miles, pp. 454–55.
11. Ginsberg, Allen Deliberate Prose, the foreword by Edward Sanders, p. xxi.
12. Vendler, Helen (January 13, 1986) "Books: A Lifelong Poem Including History", The New Yorker, p. 81.
13. In 1993, Ginsberg visited the University of Maine at Orono for a conference, to pay homage to the 90 year old great Carl Rakosi and to read poems as well. "National Book Awards — 1974". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
(With acceptance speech by Ginsberg and essay by John Murillo from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)
14. Miles, p. 484.
15. "The Pulitzer Prizes | Poetry". Retrieved October 31, 2010.
16. Pacernick, Gary. "Allen Ginsberg: An interview by Gary Pacernick" (February 10, 1996), The American Poetry Review, Jul/Aug 1997. "Yeah, I am a Jewish poet. I'm Jewish."
17. Hampton, Willborn (April 6, 1997). "Allen Ginsberg, Master Poet Of Beat Generation, Dies at 70". New York Times.
18. Jones, Bonesy. "Biographical Notes on Allen Ginsberg". Biography Project. Archived from the original on October 23, 2005. Retrieved October 20, 2005.
19. Miles
20. Hampton, Wilborn (April 6, 1997). "Allen Ginsberg, Master Poet Of Beat Generation, Dies at 70". New York Times. Archived from the original on March 11, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2008. Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3, 1926, in Newark and grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, the second son of Louis Ginsberg, a schoolteacher and sometime poet, and the former Naomi Levy, a Russian emigree and fervent Marxist.
21. Ginsberg, Allen (2008) The Letters of Allen Ginsberg. Philadelphia, Da Capo Press, p. 6.
22. "History". Columbia Review. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
23. Charters, Ann (July 2000) "Ginsberg's Life." American National Biography Online. American Council of Learned Societies.
24. Allen Ginsberg." Allen Ginsberg Biography. Poetry Foundation, 2014. Web. November 6, 2014.
25. Ginsberg, Louis (1992), Collected Poems. Introduction by Eugene Brooks and an Afterword by Allen Ginsberg. Edited by Michael Fournier. Orono, Maine: Northern Lights
26. Charters, Ann. "Allen Ginsberg's Life". Modern American Poetry website. Retrieved October 20, 2005.
27. Miles, p. 26.
28. Hyde, Lewis and Ginsberg, Allen (1984) On the poetry of Allen Ginsberg. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-06353-7, ISBN 978-0-472-06353-6. p. 421.
29. Morgan, p. 18.
30. Dittman, Michael J. (2007) Masterpieces of Beat literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33283-5. pp. 57–58.
31. Morgan, p. 13.
32. Breslin, James (2003) "Allen Ginsberg: The Origins of Howland Kaddish." in Poetry Criticism. David M. Galens (ed.). Vol. 47. Detroit: Gale.
33. Ginsberg, Allen (1995). Howl: Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript & Variant Versions, Fully Annotated by Author, with Contemporaneous Correspondence, Account of First Public Reading, Legal Skirmishes, Precursor Texts & Bibliography.Barry Miles (Ed.). Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-092611-2. p. 132.
34. Theado, Matt (2003) The Beats: A Literary Reference. Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-1099-3. p. 53.
35. Original Draft p. 131.
36. Raskin, Jonah (2004). American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24015-4. pp. 156–157.
37. Hyde, Lewis and Ginsberg, Allen (1984) On the poetry of Allen Ginsberg. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-06353-7, ISBN 978-0-472-06353-6. pp. 426–427.
38. Morgan, pp. 219–220.
39. Ginsberg, Allen (1961) Kaddish and Other Poems. Volume 2, Issue 14 of The Pocket Poets series. City Lights Books.
40. Raskin, Jonah. American Scream:Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" and the Making of the Beat Generation. California: University of California Press (2004).
41. Barry Gifford, ed., As Ever: The Collected Correspondence of Allen Ginsberg & Neal Cassady.
42. Ginsberg, Allen (1984). "A Blake Experience". In Hyde, Lewis. On the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg (2002 ed.). United States: The University of Michigan Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-472-09353-3.
43. Schumacher, Michael (January 27, 2002). "Allen Ginsberg Project".
44. Straight Hearts' Delight: Love Poems and Selected Letters, by Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, edited by Winston Leyland. Gay Sunshine Press, 1980, ISBN 0917342658
45. Siegel, Robert. "Birth of the Beat Generation: 50 Years ofHowl". Archived from the original on October 17, 2006. Retrieved October 2, 2006.
46. Ball, Gordon, "'Howl' and Other Victories: A friend remembers City Lights' Shig Murao," San Francisco Chronicle, 11/28/99.
47. Fountain, N: Underground: the London alternative press, 1966–1974 page 16. Taylor & Francis, 1988 ISBN 0-415-00728-3
49. Hale, Peter. "Barbara Rubin (1945–1980)". The Allen Ginsberg Project.
50. Osterweil, Ara (2010). "Queer Coupling, or The Stain of the Bearded Woman" (PDF). Wayne State University Press.
51. Harrison, K. C. (2014). "LeRoi Jones's Radio and the Literary "Break" from Ellison to Burroughs". African American Review. 47 (2/3): 357–374. JSTOR 24589759.
52. Bill Morgan: The Letters of Allen Ginsberg. Video at October 23, 2008
53. PERLOFF, MARJORIE (2013). "Allen Ginsberg". Poetry. 202 (4): 351–353. JSTOR 23561794.
54. Ginsberg, Allen (April 3, 2015). "The Vomit of a Mad Tyger". Lion's Roar. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
55. Fields, Rick (1992). How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America. Shambhala Publications. p. 311. ISBN 978-0-87773-631-8.
56. "The Beats and Travel" by David S. Wills[dead link]
57. Wills, D. (2007). Wills, D., ed. "Buddhism and the Beats". Beatdom. 1. Dundee: Mauling Press. pp. 9–13. Archived from the original on May 1, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
58. Brooks 1992, pp. 78–9
59. Szatmary 1996, p. 149
60. Ginsberg & Morgan 1986, p. 36
61. Muster 1997, p. 25
62. Bromley & Shinn 1989, p. 106
63. Chryssides & Wilkins 2006, p. 213
64. Joplin 1992, p. 182[citation not found]
65. Chowka, Peter Barry, "This is Allen Ginsberg?" (Interview), New Age Journal, April 1976. "I had known Swami Bhaktivedanta and was somewhat guided by him ... spiritual friend. I practiced the Hare Krishna chant, practiced it with him, sometimes in mass auditoriums and parks in the Lower East Side of New York. Actually, I'd been chanting it since '63, after coming back from India. I began chanting it, in Vancouver at a great poetry conference, for the first time in '63, with Duncan and Olson and everybody around, and then continued. When Bhaktivedanta arrived on the Lower East Side in '66 it was reinforcement for me, like 'the reinforcements had arrived' from India."
66. Klausner, Linda T. (April 22, 2011) "American Beat Yogi: An Exploration of the Hindu and Indian Cultural Themes in Allen Ginsberg", Masters Thesis: Literature, Culture, and MediaLund University
67. Konigsberg, Eric (February 29, 2008) "Buckley's Urbane Debating Club: Firing Line Set a Standard For Political Discourse on TV", The New York Times, Metro Section, p. B1.
68. Morgan, p. 468.
70. Kramer, Jane (1968), Allen Ginsberg in America. New York: Random House, p. xvii.
71. Morgan, p. 312
72. Morgan
73. Morgan, p. 649.
74. Ginsberg, Allen Collected Poems 1947–1997, pp. 1160–61.
75. Morgan, p. 651.
76. Strauss, Robert (March 28, 2004). "Sometimes the Grave Is a Fine and Public Place". The New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2007. New Jersey is, indeed, a home of poets. Walt Whitman's tomb is nestled in a wooded grove in the Harleigh Cemetery in Camden. Joyce Kilmer is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in New Brunswick, not far from the New Jersey Turnpike rest stop named in his honor. Allen Ginsberg may not yet have a rest stop, but the Beat Generation author of "Howl" is resting at B'Nai Israel Cemetery in Newark.
77. Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 17603-17604). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
78. "'Poet and author Catfish McDaris says stories from his experiences from the poetry and music world' by Michalis Limnios, March 1, 2013, Blues GR: Keep the Blues Alive".
79. Morgan, Bill (ed.) (2006) "Howl" on Trial: The Battle for Free Expression. California: City of Lights.
80. Ginsberg, Allen. Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays 1952–1995. Harper Perennial, 2001. ISBN 0-06-093081-0
81. Barsky, Robert F. (1998) "Marching with the Armies of the Night" Archived January 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine in Noam Chomsky: a life of dissent. 1st ed. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press
82. Mitford, Jessica (1969) The Trial of Dr. Spock, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Michael Ferber, Mitchell Goodman, and Marcus Raskin. [1st ed.]. New York, Knopf. p. 255.
83. "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest", New York Post. January 30, 1968
84. "A Call to War Tax Resistance" The Cycle 14 May 1970, p. 7
85. Purdham, Todd (August 14, 1988) "Melee in Tompkins Sq. Park: Violence and Its Provocation". The New York Times, Section 1; Part 1, Page 1, Column 4; Metropolitan Desk.
86. "Jessore Road, West Bengal, India". Retrieved 17 February 2013.
87. "September on Jessore Road, sung by Allen Ginsberg;". Archived from the original on March 27, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
88. "September on Jessore Road, by Allen Ginsberg". Retrieved August 26, 2012.
89. Schumacher, Michael, ed. (2002). Family Business: Selected Letters Between a Father and Son. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58234-216-0.
90. "ALLEN GINSBERG (8/11/96)". April 26, 1965. Archived from the original on November 9, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
91. Raskin, 170.
92. Ginsberg, Allen (2008) The Letters of Allen Ginsberg. Philadelphia, Da Capo Press, p. 359. For context, see also Morgan, pp. 474–75.
93. Allen Ginsberg's Life.
94. Ginsberg, Allan (2001) Selected Poems 1947–1995, "Kral Majales", Harper Collins Publishers, p. 147
95. Yanosik, Joseph (March 1996) The Plastic People of the Universe.
96. Vodrážka, Karel; Andrew Lass (1998). "Final Report on the Activities of the American Poet Allen Ginsberg and His Deportation from Czechoslovakia". The Massachusetts Review. 39 (2): 187–196.
97. David Carter, ed. (2002). Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews 1958–1996. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-093082-0.
98. "LGBT History: Not Just West Village Bars". Retrieved 2017-09-11.
99. Jacobs, Andrea (2002), "Allen Ginsberg's advocacy of pedophilia debated in community", Intermountain Jewish News
100. Allen Ginsberg, North American Man/Boy Love Association's Website
101. Allen Ginsberg. "Thoughts on NAMBLA". Ipce. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
102. Dworkin 2001, p. 43.
103. Fisher, Marc (February 22, 2014). Marijuana's rising acceptance comes after many failures. Is it now legalization's time? The Washington Post. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
104. ^ Palmer, Alex (2010-10-27). Literary Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Literature. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. ISBN 9781616080952.
105. "Heroin, U.S. tie probed". Boca Raton News. 17 (218). Boca Raton, Florida. UPI. October 1, 1972. p. 9B. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
106. Ginsberg, Allen, and Hyde, Lewis. On the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1984. Print.
107. Morgan, pp. 470–477.
108. "Heroin Charges Aired". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. XLVII (131). Daytona Beach Florida. AP. June 3, 1972. p. 6. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
109. Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (April 26, 1976). Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. Book 1. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 227–228. hdl:2027/mdp.39015070725273.
110. United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs (January 11, 1973). The U.S. Heroin Problem and Southeast Asia: Report of a Staff Survey Team of the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 10, 30, 61. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
111. Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities 1976, pp. 205, 227.
112. Lawlor, William. Beat culture : lifestyles, icons, and impact. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2005. Print.
113. Ginsberg, Allen (1986) Howl: Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript & Variant Versions, Barry Miles (ed.). New York: Harper. pp. 139–140. Ward also illustrated a later broadside version of "Howl", which can be seen in the cited pages.
114. Cornell, Tom. "Catholic Worker Pacifism: An Eyewitness to History". Catholic Worker Homepage. Archived from the original on March 17, 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
115. "A lot of nerve". The Guardian. London. December 30, 1999. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
116. "The Ten Most Incomprehensible Bob Dylan Interviews of All Time — Vulture". October 4, 2007. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
117. Plotz, David (March 8, 1998). "Bob Dylan — By David Plotz — Slate Magazine". Retrieved October 31,2010.
118. O'Hagan, Sean (March 25, 2001). "Well, how does it feel?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
119. "First Blues: Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs | Smithsonian Folkways". Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
120. Wills, D., in Beatdom #1 (2007), "Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan"
121. "Ballad of the Skeletons - Allen Ginsberg - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
122. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on March 28, 2012. Retrieved 2011-10-10. TV interview 1982 Hedwig Gorski and Robert Creeley discuss Beats in the context of performance poetry. Special Robert Creeley issue, Turkey.
123. Ginsberg, Allen Deliberate Prose, pp. 285–331.


• The Allen Ginsberg Papers, 1937–1994 (1,330 linear ft.) are housed in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at Stanford University Libraries
• Rath, Akshaya (2016). "Allen Ginsberg in India: Life and Narrative". Scripta Humana. 7 (1): 137–150.

Further reading

• Bullough, Vern L. "Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context." Harrington Park Press, 2002. pp 304–311.
• Charters, Ann (ed.). The Portable Beat Reader. Penguin Books. New York. 1992. ISBN 0-670-83885-3 (hc); ISBN 0-14-015102-8 (pbk)
• Clark, Thomas. "Allen Ginsberg." Writers at Work — The Paris Review Interviews. 3.1 (1968) pp. 279–320.
• Collins, Ronald & Skover, David. Mania: The Story of the Outraged & Outrageous Lives that Launched a Cultural Revolution (Top-Five books, March 2013)
• Gifford, Barry (ed.). As Ever: The Collected Letters of Allen Ginsberg & Neal Cassady. Berkeley: Creative Arts Books (1977).
• Ginsberg, Allen. Travels with Ginsberg: A Postcard Book. San Francisco: City Lights (2002). ISBN 978-0-87286-397-2
• Hrebeniak, Michael. Action Writing: Jack Kerouac's Wild Form, Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2006.
• Kashner, Sam, When I Was Cool, My Life at the Jack Kerouac School, New York: HarperCollins Perennial, 2005. ISBN 0-06-000566-1
• Podhoretz, Norman. "At War with Allen Ginsberg", in Ex-Friends (Free Press, 1999), 22–56. ISBN 0-684-85594-1.
• McBride, Dick: Cometh With Clouds (Memory: Allen Ginsberg) Cherry Valley Editions, 1982 ISBN 0-916156-51-6
• Miles, Barry (2001). Ginsberg: A Biography. London: Virgin Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7535-0486-4.
• Morgan, Bill (2007). I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-311249-5.
• Morgan, Bill (ed.), I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career: The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955-1997. San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 2015.
• Goswami, Satsvarupa dasa (2002). Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol 1–2 (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. pp. vol.1 1133 pages vol.2 1191 pages. ISBN 978-0-89213-357-4.
• Bromley, David G.; Shinn, Larry D. (1989). Krishna consciousness in the West. Bucknell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8387-5144-2.
• Chryssides, George D.; Wilkins, Margaret Z. (2006). A reader in new religious movements. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-6168-1.
• Chryssides, George D. (2001). Exploring New Religions. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-5959-6.
• Goswami, Satsvarupa dasa (2002). Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol 1–2 (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. ISBN 978-0-89213-357-4.
• Goswami, Mukunda (2011). Miracle on Second Avenue. Torchlight Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9817273-4-9.
• Ginsberg, Allen; Morgan, Bill (1986). "Kanreki: a tribute to Allen Ginsberg, Part 2". University of California.
• Cohen, Allen (1991). Allen Cohen, ed. The San Francisco Oracle. The psychedelic newspaper of the Haight-Ashbury (1966–1968). Facsimile edition (1st ed.). Regent Press. ISBN 978-0-916147-11-2.
• Greene, Joshua M. (2007). Here somes the Sun: The spiritual and musical journey of George Harrison (reprint ed.). John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-12780-3.
• Ellwood, Robert S.; Partin, Harry Baxter (1988). Religious and spiritual groups in modern America. University of Wisconsin (2nd ed.). Madison: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-773045-2.
• Muster, Nori Jean (1997). Betrayal of the spirit: my life behind the headlines of the Hare Krishna movement (reprint ed.). University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-06566-8.
• Brooks, Charles R. (1992). The Hare Krishnas in India (reprint ed.). Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-81-208-0939-0.
• Szatmary, David P. (1996). Rockin' in time: a social history of rock-and-roll. Indiana University (3rd, illustrated ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-440678-7.
• Schumacher, Michael (ed.). Family Business: Selected Letters Between a Father and Son. Bloomsbury (2002), paperback, 448 pages, ISBN 1-58234-216-4
• Schumacher, Michael. Dharma Lion: A Biography of Allen Ginsberg. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.
• Trigilio, Tony. Allen Ginsberg's Buddhist Poetics. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-8093-2755-4
• Trigilio, Tony. "Strange Prophecies Anew": Rereading Apocalypse in Blake, H.D., and Ginsberg. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8386-3854-6.
• Tytell, John. Naked Angels: Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1976. ISBN 1-56663-683-3
• Warner, Simon (ed.). Howl for Now: A 50th anniversary celebration of Allen Ginsberg's epic protest poem. West Yorkshire, UK: Route (2005), paperback, 144 pages, ISBN 1-901927-25-3
• Warner, Simon. "Raising the Consciousness? Re-visiting Allen Ginsberg's 1965 trip to Liverpool", chapter in Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant Garde, edited by Christoph Grunenberg and Robert Knifton. Liverpool & Chicago: Liverpool University Press & Chicago University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84631-081-2 (pbk); ISBN 1-84631-081-4 (hc)
• Young, Allen Gay Sunshine interview with Allen Ginsberg. Grey Fox Press, 1974. ISBN 0-912516-05-4

External links

• The Allen Ginsberg Trust
• Works by or about Allen Ginsberg in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
• Allen Ginsberg at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
• Thomas Clark (Spring 1966). "Allen Ginsberg, The Art of Poetry No. 8". The Paris Review.
• Case Histories: Allen Ginsberg at honoring Ginsberg's work, from PEN American Center
• Allen Ginsberg on With audio clips, poems, and related essays, from the Academy of American Poets
• Audio recordings of Allen Ginsberg, from the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard University
• Audio recordings of Allen Ginsberg, from Maryland Institute College of Art's Decker Library, Internet Archive
• "After 50 Years, Ginsberg's Howl Still Resonates" NPR October 27, 2006
• Allen Ginsberg photographs with hand-written captions at LensCulture
• Autobiographical Article in Shambhala Sun Magazine
• Modern American Poetry, interview
• Allen Ginsberg at Find a Grave
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:57 pm

Alfred Richard Orage
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/7/19



Orage was born on January 22, 1873, in Yorkshire, England. His father died when he was one year old and his mother was forced to support the family by taking in washing. A wealthy local patron sent Orage to a teacher's college, leading him to become a schoolmaster in Leeds. Here Orage joined various intellectual and socialist groups. Orage moved to London in 1906, where he became active in the socialist Fabian Society. Orage sought to convince his fellow Fabians to pay greater attention to aesthetic concerns and, with help from friends, purchased The New Age periodical, turning it into a leading journal of eclectic literary style and economic beliefs. As editor he published work by such leading figures as George Bernard Shaw and Ezra Pound. Orage also published specifically socialist journalism, particularly expositions of the theory of social credit, which demanded government programs to increase workers' purchasing power so that they might be less dependent on their own labor. Orage also published essays on mysticism and his own spiritual leanings influenced much of his work. He resigned as editor in 1922 to become a disciple of the mystic Georgy Gurdjieff in France and New York. He returned to England and in 1932 founded another journal, The New English Weekly, which he ran much as he had The New Age until his death on November 5, 1934.

-- Alfred Richard Orage 1873-1934, by

Alfred R. Orage
Born 22 January 1873
Dacre, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died 6 November 1934 (aged 61)
London, England
Nationality English
Occupation teacher, lecturer, writer, editor, publisher
Known for Editor of The New Age
Spouse(s) Jean Walker (first spouse maiden name), Jessie Richards Dwight (second and last spouse maiden name)
Children Richard and Ann
Parent(s) William Orage, Sarah Anne McGuire (mother's maiden name)
Relatives David, Marcus, Linnet, Carolyn, Piers, Toby and Peregrine (grandchildren)

Alfred Richard Orage (22 January 1873 – 6 November 1934) was a British intellectual, now best known for editing the magazine The New Age. While he was working as a schoolteacher in Leeds he pursued various interests, including Plato, the Independent Labour Party and theosophy. In 1900 he met Holbrook Jackson and three years later they co-founded the Leeds Arts Club, which became a centre of modernist culture in Britain. In 1905 Orage resigned his teaching position and moved to London. There, in 1907, he bought and began editing the weekly The New Age, at first with Holbrook Jackson, and became an influential figure in socialist politics and modernist culture, especially at the height of the magazine's fame before the First World War.[1]

In 1924 Orage sold The New Age and went to France to work with George Gurdjieff, the spiritual teacher whom P. D. Ouspensky had recommended to him. After spending some time on preliminary training in the Gurdjieff System Orage was sent to America by Gurdjieff himself to raise funds and lecture on the new system of self-development, which emphasised the harmonious work of intellectual, emotional and moving functions. Orage also worked with Gurdjieff in translating the first version of Gurdjieff's All and Everything as well as Meetings with Remarkable Men from Russian to English, but neither book was ever published in their lifetimes.

In 1927 Orage's first wife, Jean, granted him a divorce and in September he married Jessie Richards Dwight (1901–1985), the co-owner of the Sunwise Turn bookshop where Orage first lectured on the Gurdjieff System. Orage and Jessie had two children, Richard and Ann. While they were in New York Orage and Jessie often catered to celebrities such as Paul Robeson, fresh from his London tour. In 1930 Orage returned to England and in 1931 he began publishing the New English Weekly. He remained in London until his death on 6 November 1934.[2]

Early life

James Alfred Orage was born in Dacre, near Harrogate in the West Riding of Yorkshire, into a Nonconformist family. He was generally known as Dickie, and he eventually dropped the name James and adopted the middle name Richard.

In 1894 he became a schoolteacher in an elementary school in Leeds and helped to found the Leeds branch of the Independent Labour Party (ILP). He wrote a weekly literary column for the ILP's paper, the Labour Leader, from 1895 to 1897. He brought a philosophical outlook to the paper, including in particular the thought of Plato and Edward Carpenter. Orage devoted seven years of study to Plato, from 1893 to 1900. He also devoted seven years of his life to the study of Nietzsche's philosophy, from 1900 to 1907, and from 1907 to 1914 he was a student of the Mahabharata.[3]

By the late 1890s Orage was disillusioned with conventional socialism and turned for a while to theosophy. In 1900 he met Holbrook Jackson in a Leeds bookshop and lent him a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita. In return Jackson lent him Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which led Orage to study Nietzsche's work in depth. In 1903 Orage, Jackson and the architect Arthur J. Penty helped to found the Leeds Arts Club with the intention of promoting the work of radical thinkers including G. B. Shaw, whom Orage had met in 1898, Henrik Ibsen and Nietzsche. During this period Orage returned to socialist platforms, but by 1906 he was determined to combine Carpenter's socialism with Nietzsche's thought and theosophy.

In 1906 Beatrice Hastings, whose real name was Emily Alice Haigh and who hailed from Port Elizabeth, became a regular contributor to the New Age. By 1907 she and Orage had developed an intimate relationship. As Beatrice Hastings herself later put it, ″Aphrodite amused herself at our expense.″[4] Orage's involvement with Beatrice Hastings was too much for Orage's wife Jean, who had shared his theosophical and aesthetic interests until then. She went to live with Holbrook Jackson and spent the rest of her life as a skilled craftswoman in the tradition of William Morris.

Orage explored his new ideas in several books. He saw Nietzsche's Übermensch as a metaphor for the "higher state of consciousness" sought by mystics and attempted to define a route to this higher state, insisting that it must involve a rejection of civilisation and conventional morality. He moved through a celebration of Dionysus to declare that he was in favour, not of an ordered socialism, but of an anarchic movement.[5]

In 1906 and 1907 Orage published three books: Consciousness: Animal, Human and Superhuman, based on his experience with theosophy; Friedrich Nietzsche: The Dionysian Spirit of the Age; and Nietzsche in Outline and Aphorism. Orage's rational critique of theosophy evoked an editorial rebuttal from The Theosophical Review and in 1907 he terminated his association with the Theosophical Society. The two books on Nietzsche were the first systematic introductions to Nietzschean thought to be published in Britain.[6]

Editor in London

In 1906 Orage resigned his teaching post and moved to London, following Arthur Penty, another friend from the Leeds Art Club. In London Orage attempted to form a league for the restoration of the guild system, in the spirit of the decentralised socialism of William Morris. The failure of this project spurred him to buy the weekly magazine The New Age in 1907, in partnership with Holbrook Jackson and with the support of George Bernard Shaw. Orage transformed the magazine to fit with his conception of a forum for politics, literature and the arts. Although many contributors were Fabians, he distanced himself from their politics to some extent and sought to have the magazine represent a wide range of political views. He used the magazine to launch attacks on parliamentary politics and argued the need for utopianism. He also attacked the trade union leadership, while offering some support to syndicalism, and tried to combine syndicalism with his ideal of a revived guild system. Combining these two ideas resulted in Guild socialism, the political philosophy Orage began to argue for from about 1910, though the specific term "guild socialism" seems not to have been mentioned in print until Bertrand Russell referred to it in his book Political Ideals (1917).[7]

Between 1908 and 1914 The New Age was the premier little magazine in Britain. It was instrumental in pioneering the British avant-garde, from vorticism to imagism, and its contributors included T.E. Hulme, Wyndham Lewis, Katherine Mansfield, Ezra Pound and Herbert Read. Orage's success as an editor was connected with his talent as a conversationalist and a ″bringer together″ of people. The modernists of London had been scattered between 1905 and 1910, but largely thanks to Orage a sense of a modernist ″movement″ was created from 1910 onwards.[8]

Orage's politics

Orage declared himself a socialist and followed Georges Sorel in arguing that trade unions should pursue an increasingly aggressive policy on wage deals and working conditions. He approved of the increasing militancy of the unions in the era before the First World War and seems to have shared Sorel's belief in the necessity of a union-led General Strike leading to a revolutionary situation.[9] However, for Orage economic power precedes political power, and political reform was useless without economic reform.[10]

In the early issues of The New Age Orage supported the women's suffrage movement, but he became increasingly hostile to it as the Women's Social and Political Union became more prominent and more militant. Pro-suffragette articles were not published after 1910, but heated debate on this subject took place in the correspondence columns.

During the First World War Orage defended what he saw as the interests of the working class. On 6 August 1914 he wrote in Notes of the Week in The New Age: ″We believe that England is necessary to Socialism, as Socialism is necessary to the world.″ On 14 November 1918 Orage wrote of the coming peace settlement (embodies in the Treaty of Versailles): "The next world war, if unhappily there should be another, will in all probability be contained within the clauses and conditions attaching to the present peace settlement."

By then Orage was convinced that the hardships of the working class were the result of the monetary policies of banks and governments. If Britain could remove the pound from the gold standard during the war and re-establish the gold standard after the war, then the gold standard was not as necessary as the monetary oligarchs wanted the proletariat to believe it was. On 15 July 1920 Orage wrote: ″We should be the first to admit that the subject of Money is difficult to understand. It is 'intended' to be, by the minute oligarchy that governs the world by means of it."[11]

After the First World War Orage was influenced by C. H. Douglas and became a supporter of the social credit movement. On 2 January 1919 Orage published the first article by C. H. Douglas to appear in The New Age: ″A Mechanical View of Economics″.[12]

With Gurdjieff

Orage had met P. D. Ouspensky for the first time in 1914. Ouspensky's ideas had left a lasting impression and when he moved to London in 1921 Orage began attending his lectures on "Fragments of an Unknown Teaching", the basis of his book In Search of the Miraculous. From this time onwards Orage became less and less interested in literature and art, and instead focused most of his attention on mysticism. His correspondence with Harry Houdini on this subject moved him to explore ideas of the afterlife. He returned to the idea that there are absolute truths and concluded that they are embodied in the Mahabharata.

In February 1922 Ouspensky introduced Orage to G. I. Gurdjieff. Orage sold The New Age and moved to Paris to study at the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. In 1924 Gurdjieff appointed him to lead study groups in the United States, which he did for seven years. Soon after Gurdjieff arrived in New York from France, on 13 November 1930, he deposed Orage and disbanded his study groups, believing that Orage had been teaching them incorrectly: they had been working under the misconception that self-observation could be practised in the absence of self-remembering or in the presence of negative emotions. Members were allowed to continue their studies with Gurdjieff himself, after taking an oath not to communicate with Orage. Upon hearing that Orage had also signed the oath Gurdjieff wept. Gurdjieff had once considered Orage as a friend and brother, and thought of Jessie as a bad choice for a mate. Orage was a chain smoker and Jessie was a heavy drinker.[13] In the privately published Third Series of his writings Gurdjieff wrote of Orage and his wife Jessie: ″his romance had ended in his marrying the saleswoman of 'Sunwise Turn,' a young American pampered out of all proportion to her position...″[14]

Orage, Ouspensky and C. Daly King emphasised certain aspects of the Gurdjieff System while ignoring others. According to Gurdjieff, Orage emphasised self-observation. In Harlem, New York City, Jean Toomer, one of Orage's students at Greenwich Village used Gurdjieff's work to confront the problem of racism.[15]

The Orages sailed back to New York from England on the S.S. Washington on 29 December 1930, and arrived on Thursday 8 January 1931. The next day, while they were staying at the Irving Hotel, Orage wrote a letter to Gurdjieff unveiling a plan for the publication of All and Everything before the end of the year and promising a substantial amount of money.[16] At lunch in New York City on 21 February 1931 Achmed Abdulla, a.k.a. Nadir Kahn, told the Orages that he had met Gurdjieff in Tibet and that Gurdjieff had been known there as Lama Dordjieff, a Tsarist agent and tutor to the Dalai Lama.[17]

Last years

In London Orage became involved in politics again through the social credit movement. He returned to New York on 8 January 1931 in an attempt to meet Gurdjieff's new demands, but he told his wife that he would not be teaching the Gurdjieff System to any group past the end of the Spring. Orage was on the pier on 13 March 1931 to bid Gurdjieff farewell on his way back to France and the Orages sailed back to England on 3 July.

In April 1932 Orage founded a new journal, The New English Weekly. Dylan Thomas's first published poem, And Death Shall Have No Dominion, appeared in its issue dated 18 May 1933, but by then the magazine was not selling well and Orage was experiencing financial difficulties.

In September 1933 Jessie gave birth to a daughter, Ann. In January 1934 Senator Bronson M. Cutting presented Orage's Social Credit Plan to the United States Senate, proposing that it become one of the tools of Roosevelt's economic policy.

At the beginning of August 1934 Gurdjieff asked Orage to prepare a new edition of The Herald of Coming Good. On 20 August Orage wrote his last letter to Gurdjieff: "Dear Mr Gurdjieff, I've found very little to revise ..."[18]

Towards the end of his life Orage was attacked by severe pain below the heart. This ailment had been diagnosed a couple of years before as simply functional and he did not again seek medical advice. While he was broadcasting a speech, "Property in Plenty", once again expounding the doctrine of social credit, he experienced excruciating pain, but he continued as if nothing was happening. After leaving the studio he spent the evening with his wife and friends, and made plans to see the doctor next day, but he died in his sleep that night.[19] Orage's former students of the Gurdjieff System arranged for the enneagram to be inscribed on his tombstone.


• Friedrich Nietzsche: The Dionysian Spirit of the Age (1906)[20]
• Nietzsche in Outline and Aphorism (1907)[21]
• National Guilds: An Inquiry into the Wage System and the Way Out (1914) editor; a collection of articles from The New Age
• An Alphabet of Economics (1918)
• Readers and Writers (1917–1921) (1922) as RHC[22]
• Psychological Exercises and Essays (1930)
• The Art of Reading (1930)
• On Love: Freely Adapted form the Tibetan (Unicorn Press 1932)
• Selected Essays and Critical Writings (1935) edited by Herbert Read and Denis Saurat
• Political and Economic Writings from 'The New English Weekly', 1932-34, with a Preliminary Section from 'The New Age' 1912 (1936), edited by Montgomery Butchart, with the advice of Maurice Colbourne, T. S. Eliot, Philip Mairet, Will Dyson and others
• Essays and Aphorisms (1954)
• The Active Mind: Adventures in Awareness (1954)
• Orage as Critic (1974), edited by Wallace Martin
• Consciousness: Animal, Human and Superman (1978)
• A. R. Orage's Commentaries on Gurdjieff's "All and Everything", edited by C. S. Nott


His family name was pronounced locally as if written "Orridge" (/ˈɒrɪdʒ/).[23] The man himself preferred a French-like pronunciation: /oʊˈrɑːʒ/.[24] The British may prefer the former variant; Americans, the latter.[25]


1. Mairet, Philip (1966). A. R. Orage. University Books Inc. p. 63. No better 'argumentative' English was ever written.
2. Mairet, Philip (1966). A. R. Orage. University Books. p. 121. The man who, as Bernard Shaw said, was the most brilliant editor...
3. The Purchase of The New Age Archived 30 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine p. 17
4. Carswell, John (1978). Lives and Letters. New Directions Publishing. pp. 28–31. ISBN 0-8112-0681-5. ...his little book introducing the philosophy of Nietzsche... appeared in 1906...
5. Luckhurst, Roger (2002). The Invention of Telepathy (1870-1901). Oxford University Press. p. 257. ISBN 0-19-924962-8. ...the main problem of the mystics of all ages has been the problem of how to develop the superconsciousness, of how to become supermen.
6. Orage, A. R. (1975). Wallace Martin, ed. Orage as Critic. Routledge. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-7100-7982-6. ...Orage did not lack activities to engage his intellectual interests.
7. Ironside, Philip (1996). The Social and Political Thought of Bertrand Russell. Cambridge University Press. p. 104. ISBN 0-521-47383-7.
8. Rooms in the Darwin Hotel pp. 98-127
9. Ferrall, Charles (2001). Modernist Writing and Reactionary Politics. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-521-79345-9. Thus Orage remembered that...
10. Redman, Tim. Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism. p. 49.|
11. Redman, Tim (1991). Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 24, 33, 45–47. ISBN 0-521-37305-0.
12. Hutchinson, Frances; Burkitt, Brian (1997). The Political Economy of Social Credit and Guild Socialism. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-14709-3. Douglas's birth... and his meeting with Orage in 1918 remain the subject of mystery and speculation...
13. Gurdjieff, George (1978). Life Is Real Only Then, When I Am (2nd private ed.). New York: Triangle Editions, Inc. p. 67. LCCN 75-15225. On the first evening of my arrival in New York...
14. Gurdjieff, George (1978). Life is Real Only Then, When I Am (2nd Private ed.). New York: Triangle Editions Inc. p. 95. LCCN 75-15225. ...Mr Orage ... realising the necessity and at the same time all the difficulties of getting means on the one hand for sending money to me, and on the other hand for meeting the excessive expenditures of his new family life...
15. Woodson, Jon (1999). To Make a New Race. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 38–41. ISBN 1-57806-131-8. Jean Toomer...was encouraged by Orage to undertake groups of his own.
16. Taylor, Paul Beekman (2001). Gurdjieff and Orage. Weiser. p. 173. ISBN 1-57863-128-9. Dear and kind author of The Tales of Beelzebub...
17. Taylor, Paul Beekman (2001). Gurdjieff and Orage. Weiser. p. 178. ISBN 1-57863-128-9. On St Valentine's day ...bootleg whisky Gurdjieff had offered them in honor of the Saint of Love.
18. Taylor, Paul Beekman (2001). Gurdjieff and Orage. Weiser. pp. 179–194. ISBN 1-57863-128-9. There has been a great fight here over the question of Orage. Now I understand Orage has returned to the fold.
19. Philip Mairet A. R. Orage: A Memoir, pp. 118-120, University Books, 1966 ASIN: B000Q0VV8E; 1st ed. 1936
20. Friedrich Nietzsche, the Dionysian spirit of the age
21. Nietzche in Outline and Aphorism
22. Readers and Writers (1917-1921)
23. Curtis, Anthony (1998). Lit Ed: On Reviewing and Reviewers. Carcanet Press Limited. p. 163.
24. Carswell, John (1978). Lives and Letters: A. R. Orage, Beatrice Hastings, Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, S. S. Koteliansky: 1906-1957. New Directions Publishing. p. 16.
25. Wilhelm, J. J. (2010). Ezra Pound in London and Paris, 1908-1925. Penn State Press. p. 83.

External links

• A. R. Orage: A Memoir (1936) Philip Mairet
• Alfred Orage and the Leeds Arts Club (1893–1923) (Scolar Press 1990) Tom Steele
• Gurdjieff and Orage: Brothers in Elysium (2001) Paul Beekman Taylor,
• English 480/680: Modernism In and Beyond the "Little Magazines", Winter 2007, Professor Ann Ardis, Brown University
• "Orage and the History of the New Age Periodical," Brown University, Modernist Journals Project
• Brown University, Modernist Journals Project main index
• Encyclopædia Britannica article on Orage
• Complete archive of The New Age under Orage's editorship
• Archival Material at Leeds University Library
• C. Daly King: "The Oragean Version" (1951) A record of Orage's transmission of Gurdjieff's ideas in New York City during the 1920s
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:12 pm

Part 1 of 2

Ezra Pound
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/7/19



photograph of Ezra H. Pound. Ezra Pound photographed in 1913 by Alvin Langdon

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an expatriate American poet and critic, and a major figure in the early modernist poetry movement. His contribution to poetry began with his development of Imagism, a movement derived from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language. His works include Ripostes (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) and the unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos (1917–1969).

Pound worked in London during the early 20th century as foreign editor of several American literary magazines, and helped discover and shape the work of contemporaries such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway.[a] Angered by the carnage of World War I, Pound lost faith in Great Britain and blamed the war on usury and international capitalism. He moved to Italy in 1924 and throughout the 1930s and 1940s embraced Benito Mussolini's fascism, expressed support for Adolf Hitler, and wrote for publications owned by the British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley. During World War II, he was paid by the Italian government to make hundreds of radio broadcasts criticizing the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Jews, as a result of which he was arrested in 1945 by American forces in Italy on charges of treason. He spent months in detention in a U.S. military camp in Pisa, including three weeks in a 6-by-6-foot (1.8 by 1.8 m) outdoor steel cage, which he said triggered a mental breakdown: "when the raft broke and the waters went over me". The following year he was deemed unfit to stand trial, and incarcerated in St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years.[2]

Pound began work on sections of The Cantos while in custody in Italy. These parts were published as The Pisan Cantos (1948), for which he was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 1949 by the Library of Congress, leading to enormous controversy. Largely due to a campaign by his fellow writers, he was released from St. Elizabeths in 1958 and returned to live in Italy until his death. His political views ensure that his work remains as controversial now as it was during his lifetime; in 1933, Time magazine called him "a cat that walks by himself, tenaciously unhousebroken and very unsafe for children". Hemingway wrote: "The best of Pound's writing—and it is in the Cantos—will last as long as there is any literature."[3]

Early life (1885–1908)


See also: Homer Pound House

Thaddeus Pound, Pound's grandfather, in the late 1880s

Pound was born in a small, two-story house in Hailey, Idaho Territory, the only child of Homer Loomis Pound (1858–1942) and Isabel Weston (1860–1948). His father had worked in Hailey since 1883 as registrar of the General Land Office.[4]

Both parents' ancestors had emigrated from England in the 17th century. On his mother's side, Pound was descended from William Wadsworth (1594–1675), a Puritan who emigrated to Boston on the Lion in 1632.[5] The Wadsworths married into the Westons of New York. Harding Weston and Mary Parker were the parents of Isabel Weston, Ezra's mother.[6] Harding apparently spent most of his life without work, with his brother, Ezra Weston, and his brother's wife, Frances, looking after Mary and Isabel's needs.[7]

On his father's side, the immigrant ancestor was John Pound, a Quaker, who arrived from England around 1650. Ezra's grandfather, Thaddeus Coleman Pound (1832–1914), was a Republican Congressman from northwest Wisconsin who had made and lost a fortune in the lumber business. Thaddeus's son Homer, Pound's father, worked for Thaddeus in the lumber business until Thaddeus secured him the appointment as registrar of the Hailey land office. Homer and Isabel married the following year and Homer built a house in Hailey.[6] Isabel was unhappy in Hailey and took Ezra with her to New York in 1887, when he was 18 months old.[7] Homer followed them, and in 1889 he found a job as an assayer at the Philadelphia Mint. The family moved to Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and in 1893 bought a six-bedroom house in Wyncote.[6]


Pound, in his Cheltenham Military Academy uniform, with his mother in 1898

Pound's education began in a series of dame schools, some of them run by Quakers: Miss Elliott's school in Jenkintown in 1892, the Heathcock family's Chelten Hills School in Wyncote in 1893, and the Florence Ridpath school from 1894, also in Wyncote.[8] His first publication was on 7 November 1896 in the Jenkintown Times-Chronicle ("by E. L. Pound, Wyncote, aged 11 years"), a limerick about William Jennings Bryan, who had just lost the 1896 presidential election: "There was a young man from the West, / He did what he could for what he thought best; / But election came round, / He found himself drowned, / And the papers will tell you the rest."[9]

Between 1897 and 1900 Pound attended Cheltenham Military Academy, sometimes as a boarder, where he specialized in Latin. The boys wore Civil War-style uniforms and besides Latin were taught English, history, arithmetic, marksmanship, military drilling and the importance of submitting to authority. Pound made his first trip overseas in mid-1898 when he was 13, a three-month tour of Europe with his mother and Frances Weston (Aunt Frank), who took him to England, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.[10] After the academy he may have attended Cheltenham Township High School for one year, and in 1901, aged 15, he was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania's College of Liberal Arts.[11]

H.D., c. 1921. She followed Pound to London and became involved in developing Imagism.

Pound met Hilda Doolittle (later known as the poet H.D.) at Pennsylvania in 1901, and she became his first serious romance.[12] In 1911 she followed Pound to London and became involved in developing the Imagism movement. Between 1905 and 1907 Pound wrote a number of poems for her, 25 of which he hand-bound and called Hilda's Book,[13] and in 1908 he asked her father, the astronomy professor Charles Doolittle, for permission to marry her, but Doolittle dismissed Pound as a nomad.[14] Pound was seeing two other women at the same time—Viola Baxter and Mary Moore—later dedicating a book of poetry, Personae (1909), to the latter. He asked Moore to marry him too, but she turned him down.[15]

His parents and Frances Weston took Pound on another three-month European tour in 1902, after which he transferred, in 1903, to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, possibly because of poor grades. Signed up for the Latin–Scientific course, he studied the Provençal dialect with William Pierce Shephard and Old English with Joseph D. Ibbotson; with Shephard he read Dante and from this began the idea for a long poem in three parts—of emotion, instruction and contemplation—planting the seeds for The Cantos.[16] He wrote in 1913, in "How I Began":

I resolved that at thirty I would know more about poetry than any man living ... that I would know what was accounted poetry everywhere, what part of poetry was 'indestructible', what part could not be lost by translation and—scarcely less important—what effects were obtainable in one language only and were utterly incapable of being translated.

In this search I learned more or less of nine foreign languages, I read Oriental stuff in translations, I fought every University regulation and every professor who tried to make me learn anything except this, or who bothered me with "requirements for degrees".[17]

Pound graduated from Hamilton College with a BPhil in 1905, then studied Romance languages under Hugo A. Rennert at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), where he obtained an MA in early 1906 and registered to write a PhD thesis on the jesters in Lope de Vega's plays. A Harrison fellowship covered his tuition fees and gave him a travel grant of $500, which he used to return to Europe.[18] Pound spent three weeks in Madrid in various libraries, including one in the royal palace. There, on 31 May 1906, he happened to be standing outside when the attempted assassination of King Alfonso took place, and Pound subsequently left the country for fear he would be identified with the anarchists. After Spain he spent two weeks in Paris, attending lectures at the Sorbonne, followed by a week in London.[19]

In July he returned to the United States, where in September his first essay, "Raphaelite Latin", was published in Book News Monthly. He took courses in the English department at Penn in 1907, where he fell out with several lecturers; during lectures on Shakespeare by Felix Schelling, the department head, he would wind an enormous tin watch very slowly while Schelling spoke. His fellowship was not renewed. Schelling told him that he was wasting everyone's time, and Pound left without finishing his doctorate.[20]


In Durance
I am homesick after mine own kind,
Oh I know that there are folk about me, friendly faces,
But I am homesick after mine own kind.

— Personae (1909), written in Crawfordsville, Indiana, 1907[21]

From late 1907 Pound taught Romance languages at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, a conservative town that he called "the sixth circle of hell". The equally conservative college dismissed him after he deliberately provoked the college authorities. Smoking was forbidden, but he would smoke cigarillos in his office down the corridor from the president's. He annoyed his landlords by entertaining friends, including women, and was forced out of one house after "[t]wo stewdents found me sharing my meagre repast with the lady–gent impersonator in my privut apartments", he told a friend.[22]

He was asked to leave the college in 1908 after offering a stranded chorus girl tea and his bed for the night when she was caught in a snowstorm. When she was discovered the next morning by the landladies, Ida and Belle Hall, his insistence that he had slept on the floor was met with disbelief. Glad to be free of the place, he left for Europe soon after, sailing from New York in March 1908.[23]

London (1908–1920)

Introduction to the literary scene

Pound arrived in Gibraltar on 23 March 1908, where for a few weeks he earned $15 a day working as a guide to American tourists. By the end of April he was in Venice, living over a bakery near the San Vio bridge.[24] In July he self-published his first book of poetry, A Lume Spento (With Tapers Quenched). The London Evening Standard called it "wild and haunting stuff, absolutely poetic, original, imaginative, passionate, and spiritual".[25] The title was from the third canto of Dante's Purgatorio, which alluded to the death of Manfred, King of Sicily. The book was dedicated to his friend, the Philadelphia artist William Brooke Smith, who had recently died of tuberculosis.[26]

48 Langham Street, London W1

In August Pound moved to London, where he lived almost continuously for the next 12 years; he told his university friend William Carlos Williams: "London, deah old Lundon, is the place for poesy." English poets such as Maurice Hewlett, Rudyard Kipling and Alfred Lord Tennyson had made a particular kind of Victorian verse—stirring, pompous and propagandistic—popular with the public. According to modernist scholar James Knapp, Pound rejected the idea of poetry as "versified moral essay"; he wanted to focus on the individual experience, the concrete rather than the abstract.[27]

Arriving in the city with just ₤3, he moved into lodgings at 48 Langham Street, near Great Titchfield Street, a penny bus ride from the British Museum.[28] The house sat across an alley from the Yorkshire Grey pub, which made an appearance in the Pisan Cantos, "concerning the landlady's doings / with a lodger unnamed / az waz near Gt Titchfield St. next door to the pub".[29]

Pound persuaded the bookseller Elkin Mathews to display A Lume Spento, and by October 1908 he was being discussed by the literati. In December he published a second collection, A Quinzaine for This Yule, and after the death of a lecturer at the Regent Street Polytechnic he managed to acquire a position lecturing in the evenings, from January to February 1909, on "The Development of Literature in Southern Europe".[30] He would spend his mornings in the British Museum Reading Room, then lunch at the Vienna Café on Oxford Street.[31] Ford Madox Ford wrote:

Ezra ... would approach with the step of a dancer, making passes with a cane at an imaginary opponent. He would wear trousers made of green billiard cloth, a pink coat, a blue shirt, a tie hand-painted by a Japanese friend, an immense sombrero, a flaming beard cut to a point, and a single, large blue earring.[32]

Hemingway described Pound as "tall ... [with] a patchy red beard, fine eyes, strange haircuts and ... very shy": "But he has the temperament of a toro di lidia from the breeding establishments of Don Eduardo Miura. No one ever presents a cape, or shakes a muleta at him without getting a charge."[33]

Meeting Dorothy Shakespear, Personae

At a literary salon in January 1909, Pound met the novelist Olivia Shakespear and her daughter Dorothy, who became his wife in 1914. Through Olivia Shakespear he was introduced to her former lover W. B. Yeats, in Pound's view the greatest living poet. Pound had sent Yeats a copy of A Lume Spento the previous year, before he left for Venice, and Yeats had apparently found it charming. The men became close friends, although Yeats was older by 20 years.[34]

Pound met Dorothy Shakespear in 1909, and they were married in 1914.

Pound was also introduced to sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, painter Wyndham Lewis and to the cream of London's literary circle, including the poet T. E. Hulme. The American heiress Margaret Lanier Cravens (1881–1912) became a patron; after knowing him a short time she offered a large annual sum to allow him to focus on his work. Cravens killed herself in 1912, after the pianist Walter Rummel, long the object of her affection, married someone else. She may also have been discouraged by Pound's engagement to Dorothy.[35]

In June 1909 the Personae collection became the first of Pound's works to have any commercial success. It was favorably reviewed; one review said it was "full of human passion and natural magic".[36] Rupert Brooke was unimpressed, complaining that Pound had fallen under the influence of Walt Whitman, writing in "unmetrical sprawling lengths".[37] In September a further 27 poems appeared as Exultations.[38] Around the same time Pound moved into new rooms at Church Walk, off Kensington High Street, where he lived most of the time until 1914.[39]

In June 1910 Pound returned to the United States for eight months; his arrival coincided with the publication of his first book of literary criticism, The Spirit of Romance, based on his lecture notes at the polytechnic.[40] His essays on the United States were written during this period, compiled as Patria Mia and not published until 1950. He loved New York but felt the city was threatened by commercialism and vulgarity, and he no longer felt at home there.[41] He found the New York Public Library, then being built, especially offensive and, according to Paul L. Montgomery, visited the architects' offices almost every day to shout at them.[42]

Pound persuaded his parents to finance his passage back to Europe.[43] It was nearly 30 years before he visited the United States again. On 22 February 1911 he sailed from New York on the R.M.S. Mauretania, arriving in Southampton six days later.[44] After a few days in London he went to Paris, where he worked on a new collection of poetry, Canzoni (1911), panned by the Westminster Gazette as a "medley of pretension". When he returned to London in August 1911, A. R. Orage, editor of the socialist journal The New Age, hired him to write a weekly column, giving him a steady income.[45]


Further information: Des Imagistes

10 Church Walk, Kensington

Hilda Doolittle arrived in London from Philadelphia in May 1911 with the poet Frances Gregg and Gregg's mother; when they returned in September, Doolittle decided to stay on. Pound introduced her to his friends, including the poet Richard Aldington, whom she would marry in 1913. Before that the three of them lived in Church Walk, Kensington—Pound at no. 10, Doolittle at no. 6, and Aldington at no. 8—and worked daily in the British Museum Reading Room.[39]

At the museum Pound met regularly with the curator and poet Laurence Binyon, who introduced him to the East Asian artistic and literary concepts that inspired the imagery and technique of his later poetry. The museum's visitors' books show that Pound was often found during 1912 and 1913 in the Print Room examining Japanese ukiyo-e, some inscribed with Japanese waka verse, a genre of poetry whose economy and strict conventions likely contributed to Imagist techniques of composition.[46][47] He was working at the time on the poems that became Ripostes (1912), trying to move away from his earlier work; he wrote that the "stilted language" of Canzoni had reduced Ford Madox Ford to rolling on the floor with laughter.[48] He realized with his translation work that the problem lay not in his knowledge of the other languages, but in his use of English:

What obfuscated me was not the Italian but the crust of dead English, the sediment present in my own available vocabulary ... You can't go round this sort of thing. It takes six or eight years to get educated in one's art, and another ten to get rid of that education. Neither can anyone learn English, one can only learn a series of Englishes. Rossetti made his own language. I hadn't in 1910 made a language, I don't mean a language to use, but even a language to think in.[49]

While living at Church Walk in 1912, Pound, Aldington and Doolittle started working on ideas about language. While in the British Museum tearoom one afternoon, they decided to begin a 'movement' in poetry, called Imagism. Imagisme, Pound would write in Riposte, is "concerned solely with language and presentation".[50] The aim was clarity: a fight against abstraction, romanticism, rhetoric, inversion of word order, and over-use of adjectives. They agreed on three principles:

1. Direct treatment of the "thing" whether subjective or objective.
2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome.[51]

Superfluous words, particularly adjectives, should be avoided, as well as expressions like "dim lands of peace", which Pound thought dulled the image by mixing the abstract with the concrete. He wrote that the natural object was always the "adequate symbol". Poets should "go in fear of abstractions", and should not re-tell in mediocre verse what has already been told in good prose.[51]

In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

— Poetry (1913)

A typical example is Pound's "In a Station of the Metro" (1913), inspired by an experience on the Paris Underground, about which he wrote, "I got out of a train at, I think, La Concorde, and in the jostle I saw a beautiful face, and then, turning suddenly, another and another, and then a beautiful child's face, and then another beautiful face. All that day I tried to find words for what this made me feel." He worked on the poem for a year, reducing it to its essence in the style of a Japanese haiku.[52]

Like other modernist artists of the period, Pound was inspired by Japanese art, but the aim was to re-make—or as Pound said, "make it new"—and blend cultural styles, instead of copying directly or slavishly. He may have been inspired by a Suzuki Harunobu print he almost certainly saw in the British Library (Richard Aldington mentions the specific prints he matched to verse), and probably attempted to write haiku-like verse during this period.[47]

Ripostes and translations

Ripostes, published in October 1912, begins Pound's shift toward minimalist language. Michael Alexander describes the poems as showing a greater concentration of meaning and economy of rhythm than his earlier work.[53] It was published when Pound had just begun his move toward Imagism; his first use of the word Imagiste appears in his prefatory note to the volume.[54][55] The collection includes five poems by Hulme and a translation of the 8th-century Old English poem The Seafarer, although not a literal translation.[56] It upset scholars, as would Pound's other translations from Latin, Italian, French and Chinese, either because of errors or because he lacked familiarity with the cultural context. Alexander writes that in some circles, Pound's translations made him more unpopular than the treason charge, and the reaction to The Seafarer was a rehearsal for the negative response to Homage to Sextus Propertius in 1919.[53] His translation from the Italian of Sonnets and ballate of Guido Cavalcanti was also published in 1912.[57]

In 1913 Pound was given Ernest Fenollosa's unpublished notes, which led to Cathay (1915).

Pound was fascinated by the translations of Japanese poetry and Noh plays which he discovered in the papers of Ernest Fenollosa, an American professor who had taught in Japan. Fenollosa had studied Chinese poetry under Japanese scholars; in 1913 his widow, Mary McNeil Fenollosa, decided to give his unpublished notes to Pound after seeing his work; she was looking for someone who cared about poetry rather than philology.[58] Pound edited and published Fenellosa's The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry in 1918.[59]

The title page of the collection Cathay (1915), refers to the poet "Rihaku", the pronunciation in Japanese of the Tang dynasty Chinese poet, Li Bai, whose poems were much beloved in China and Japan for their technical mastery and much translated in the West because of their seeming simplicity. Alexander thinks this is the most attractive of Pound's work.[60] Chinese critic Wai-lim Yip writes of it: "One can easily excommunicate Pound from the Forbidden City of Chinese studies, but it seems clear that in his dealings with Cathay, even when he is given only the barest details, he is able to get into the central concerns of the original author by what we may perhaps call a kind of clairvoyance."[61]

Pound could not understand Chinese himself, yet some critics see his translations of Chinese poetry as among the best (others complain of their mistakes).[60] Cathay was the first of many translations Pound would make from the Chinese. Pound often followed the translations made by Herbert Giles in his History of Chinese Literature [62] and used Fenollosa's work as a starting point for what he called the ideogrammic method, which proceeded on Fenollosa's entirely mistaken but fruitful idea that each character represented an image or pictograph, based on sight rather than sound.[63] Robert Graves recalled "I once asked Arthur Waley how much Chinese Pound knew; Waley shook his head despondently."[64] Steven Yao, scholar of American and Asian literature, sees Cathay as a "major feat"; a work where Pound shows that translation is possible without a thorough knowledge of the source language. Yao does not view Pound's lack of Chinese as an obstacle, and states that the poet's trawl through centuries of scholarly interpretations resulted in a genuine understanding of the original poem.[65]

Marriage, Blast

W. B. Yeats invited Pound to spend the winter of 1913–1914 with him in Sussex.

In August 1912 Harriet Monroe hired Pound as a regular contributor to Poetry. He submitted his own poems, as well as poems by James Joyce, Robert Frost, D. H. Lawrence, Yeats, H.D. and Aldington, and collected material for a 64-page anthology, Des Imagistes (1914). The Imagist movement began to attract attention from critics.[66] In November 1913 Yeats, whose eyesight was failing, rented Stone Cottage in Coleman's Hatch, Sussex, and invited Pound to accompany him as his secretary. They stayed there for 10 weeks, reading and writing, walking in the woods and fencing. It was the first of three winters they spent together at Stone Cottage, including two with Dorothy after she and Pound married on 20 April 1914.[67]

The marriage had proceeded despite opposition from her parents, who worried about Pound's meager income, earned from contributions to literary magazines and probably less than £300 a year. Dorothy's annual income was £50, aided by £150 from her family. Her parents eventually consented, perhaps out of fear that she was getting older with no other suitor in sight. Pound's concession to marry in church helped convince them. Afterward he and Dorothy moved into an apartment with no bathroom at 5 Holland Place Chambers, Kensington, with the newly wed Hilda (H.D.) and Richard Aldington living next door.[68]

Pound wrote for Wyndham Lewis' literary magazine Blast, although only two issues were published. An advertisement in The Egoist promised it would cover "Cubism, Futurism, Imagisme and all Vital Forms of Modern Art". Pound took the opportunity to extend the definition of Imagisme to art, naming it Vorticism: "The image is a radiant node or cluster; it is ... a vortex, from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing."[69] Reacting to the magazine, the poet Lascelles Abercrombie called for the rejection of Imagism and a return to the traditionalism of William Wordsworth; Pound challenged him to a duel on the basis that "Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace".[70] Abercrombie suggested their choice of weapon be unsold copies of their own books.[71] The publication of Blast was celebrated at a dinner attended by New England poet Amy Lowell, then in London to meet the Imagists. But Hilda and Richard were already moving away from Pound's understanding of the movement, as he aligned more with Wyndham Lewis's ideas. When Lowell agreed to finance an anthology of Imagist poets, Pound's work was not included. Upset at Lowell, he began to call Imagisme "Amygism", and in July 1914 he declared the movement dead and asked that the group not continue to call themselves Imagists. They dissented, not believing that the movement was Pound's invention, and Lowell eventually Anglicized the term.[72]

World War I, disillusionment

Further information: Lost Generation

T.S. Eliot in 1923. Pound persuaded Poetry to publish Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".

Between 1914 and 1916 Pound assisted in the serialisation of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in The Egoist, then helped to have it published in book form. In 1915 he persuaded Poetry to publish T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". Eliot had sent "Prufrock" to almost every editor in England, but was rejected. He eventually sent it to Pound, who instantly saw it as a work of genius and submitted it to Poetry.[73] "[Eliot] has actually trained himself AND modernized himself ON HIS OWN", Pound wrote to Monroe in October 1914. "The rest of the promising young have done one or the other but never both. Most of the swine have done neither."[74]

After the publication in 1915 of Cathay, Pound mentioned he was working on a long poem, casting about for the correct form. He told a friend in August: "It is a huge, I was going to say, gamble, but shan't", and in September described it as a "cryselephantine poem of immeasurable length which will occupy me for the next four decades unless it becomes a bore". About a year later, in January 1917, he had the first three trial cantos, distilled to one, published as Canto I in Poetry.[75] He was now a regular contributor to three literary magazines. From 1917 he wrote music reviews for The New Age under the pen name William Atheling, and weekly pieces for The Egoist and The Little Review; many of the latter were directed against provincialism and ignorance. The volume of writing exhausted him. He feared he was wasting his time writing outside poetry,[76] exclaiming that he "must stop writing so much prose".[77]

Pound commissioned this sculpture from Henri Gaudier-Brzeska in 1913.

Pound was deeply affected by the war. He was devastated when Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, from whom he had commissioned a sculpture of himself two years earlier, was killed in the trenches in 1915. He published Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir the following year, in reaction to what he saw as an unnecessary loss.[78] In the autumn of 1917 his depression worsened. He blamed American provincialism for the seizure of the October issue of The Little Review. The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice applied the Comstock Laws against an article Lewis wrote, describing it as lewd and indecent. Around the same time, Hulme was killed by shell-fire in Flanders, and Yeats married Georgie Hyde-Lees.[79] In 1918, after a bout of illness which was presumably the Spanish influenza, Pound decided to stop writing for The Little Review, mostly because of the volume of work. He asked the publisher for a raise to hire 23-year-old Iseult Gonne as a typist, causing rumors that Pound was having an affair with her, but he was turned down.[77]

In 1919 he published a collection of his essays for The Little Review as Instigations, and in the March 1919 issue Poetry, he published Poems from the Propertius Series, which appeared to be a translation of the Latin Poet Sextus Propertius. When he included this in his next poetry collection in 1921, he had renamed it Homage to Sextus Propertius in response to criticism of his translation skills. "Propertius" is not a strict translation; biographer David Moody describes it as "the refraction of an ancient poet through a modern intelligence". Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry, published a letter from a professor of Latin, W. G. Hale, saying that Pound was "incredibly ignorant" of the language, and alluded to "about three-score errors" in Homage. Monroe did not publish Pound's response, which began "Cat-piss and porcupines!!" and continued, "The thing is no more a translation than my 'Altaforte' is a translation, or than Fitzgerald's Omar is a translation". Moore interpreted Pound's silence after that as his resignation as foreign editor.[80]

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

Further information: Wikisource:Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

There died a myriad
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization,

Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth's lid,

For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.

— Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, Section V (1920)

His poem Hugh Selwyn Mauberley consists of 18 short parts, and describes a poet whose life has become sterile and meaningless.[81] Published in June 1920, it marked his farewell to London. He was disgusted by the massive loss of life during the war and was unable to reconcile himself with it. Stephen J. Adams writes that, just as Eliot denied he was Prufrock, so Pound denied he was Mauberley, but the work can nevertheless be read as autobiographical. It begins with a satirical analysis of the London literary scene, before turning to social criticism, economics, and an attack on the causes of the war; here the word usury appears in his work for the first time. The critic F. R. Leavis saw the poem as Pound's major achievement.[82]

The war had shattered Pound's belief in modern western civilization. He saw the Vorticist movement as finished and doubted his own future as a poet. He had only the New Age to write for; his relationship with Poetry was finished, The Egoist was quickly running out of money because of censorship problems caused by the serialization of Joyce's Ulysses, and the funds for The Little Review had dried up. Other magazines ignored his submissions or refused to review his work. Toward the end of 1920 he and Dorothy decided their time in London was over and resolved to move to Paris.[83]

The New Age published Pound's Axiomata in January 1921, a statement of his views on consciousness and the universe: "the intimate essence of the universe is not of the same nature as our own consciousness."[84] Orage wrote in the same issue:

Mr. Pound has shaken the dust of London from his feet with not too emphatic a gesture of disgust, but, at least, without gratitude to this country. ... [He] has been an exhilarating influence for culture in England; he has left his mark upon more than one of the arts, upon literature, music, poetry and sculpture, and quite a number of men and movements owe their initiation to his self-sacrificing stimulus ... With all this, however, Mr. Pound, like so many others who have striven for advancement of intelligence and culture in England, has made more enemies than friends ... Much of the Press has been deliberately closed by cabal to him; his books have for some time been ignored or written down; and he himself has been compelled to live on much less than would support a navvy. His fate, as I have said, is not unusual ... Taken by and large, England hates men of culture until they are dead.[85]

Paris (1921–1924)

Further information: Le Testament de Villon

Pound met Olga Rudge in 1922.

The Pounds settled in Paris in January 1921, and several months later moved into an inexpensive apartment at 70 bis Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs.[86] Pound became friendly with Marcel Duchamp, Tristan Tzara, Fernand Léger and others of the Dada and Surrealist movements, as well as Basil Bunting, Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley Richardson.[87] He spent most of his time building furniture for his apartment and bookshelves for the bookstore Shakespeare and Company, and in 1921 the volume Poems 1918–1921 was published. In 1922 Eliot sent him the manuscript of The Waste Land, then arrived in Paris to edit it with Pound, who blue-inked the manuscript with comments like "make up yr. mind ..." and "georgian".[88] Eliot wrote: "I should like to think that the manuscript, with the suppressed passages, had disappeared irrecoverably; yet, on the other hand, I should wish the blue pencilling on it to be preserved as irrefutable evidence of Pound's critical genius."[42]

In 1924 Pound secured funding for Ford Madox Ford's The Transatlantic Review from American attorney John Quinn. The Review published works by Pound, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, as well as extracts from Joyce's Finnegans Wake, before the money ran out in 1925. It also published several Pound music reviews, later collected into Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony.[89]

Hemingway asked Pound to blue-ink his short stories. Although Hemingway was 14 years younger, the two forged a lifelong relationship of mutual respect and friendship, living on the same street for a time, and touring Italy together in 1923. "They liked each other personally, shared the same aesthetic aims, and admired each other's work", writes Hemingway biographer Jeffrey Meyers, with Hemingway assuming the status of pupil to Pound's teaching. Pound introduced Hemingway to Lewis, Ford, and Joyce, while Hemingway in turn tried to teach Pound to box, but as he told Sherwood Anderson, "[Ezra] habitually leads with his chin and has the general grace of a crayfish or crawfish".[87]

Pound was 36 when he met the 26-year-old American violinist Olga Rudge in Paris in late 1922, beginning a love affair that lasted 50 years. Biographer John Tytell believes Pound had always felt that his creativity and ability to seduce women were linked, something Dorothy had turned a blind eye to over the years. Shortly after arriving in Paris, he complained that he had been there for three months without having managed to find a mistress. He was introduced to Olga at a musical salon hosted by American heiress Natalie Barney in her home at 20 Rue Jacob, near the Boulevard Saint-Germain. The two moved in different social circles: Olga was the daughter of a wealthy Youngstown, Ohio, steel family, living in her mother's Parisian apartment on the Right Bank, socializing with aristocrats, while his friends were mostly impoverished writers of the Left Bank.[90] They spent the following summer in the south of France, where Pound worked with George Antheil to apply the concept of Vorticism to music, and managed to write two operas, including Le Testament de Villon. He wrote pieces for solo violin, which Olga performed.[91]

Italy (1924–1945)


The Pounds moved to Rapallo in 1924.[92]

The Pounds were unhappy in Paris; Dorothy complained about the winters and Ezra's health was poor. At one dinner, a guest randomly tried to stab him; to Pound this underlined that their time in France was over.[92] Hemingway saw how Pound "indulged in a small nervous breakdown", leading to two days in an American hospital.[93] They decided to move to a quieter place, choosing Rapallo, Italy, a town of 15,000. "Italy is my place for starting things", he told a friend.[92] During this period they lived on Dorothy's income, supplemented by dividends from stock she had invested in.[94]

Olga Rudge, pregnant with Pound's child, followed them to Italy. She had little interest in raising a child, but may have felt that having one would maintain her connection to him. In July 1925 she gave birth to their daughter, Mary. Olga placed the child with a German-speaking peasant woman whose own child had died, and who agreed to raise Mary for 200 lire a month.[95]

When Pound told Dorothy about the birth, she separated from him for much of that year and the next.[96] In December 1925, she left on an extended trip to Egypt. She was pregnant by her return in March.[97] In June she and Pound left Rapallo for Paris for the premiere of Le Testament de Villon, without mentioning the pregnancy to his friends or parents. In September, Hemingway drove Dorothy to the American Hospital of Paris for the birth of a son, Omar Pound. In a letter to his parents in October, Pound wrote, "next generation (male) arrived. Both D & it appear to be doing well".[98] Dorothy gave the baby son to her mother, Olivia, who raised him in London until he was old enough to go to boarding school. When Dorothy went to England each summer to see Omar, Pound would spend the time with Olga, whose father had bought her a house in Venice. The arrangement meant his children were raised very differently. Mary had a single pair of shoes, and books about Jesus and the saints, while Omar was raised in Kensington as an English gentleman by his sophisticated grandmother.[99]

In 1925 the literary magazine This Quarter dedicated its first issue to Pound, including tributes from Hemingway and Joyce. Pound published Cantos XVII–XIX in the winter editions. In March 1927 he launched his own literary magazine, The Exile, but only four issues were published. It did well in the first year, with contributions from Hemingway, E. E. Cummings, Basil Bunting, Yeats, William Carlos Williams and Robert McAlmon; some of the poorest work in the magazine were Pound's rambling editorials on Confucianism and or in praise of Lenin, according to biographer J. J. Wilhelm.[100] He continued to work on Fenollosa's manuscripts, and in 1928 won The Dial's poetry award for his translation of the Confucian classic Great Learning (Dà Xué, transliterated as Ta Hio).[101] That year his parents Homer and Isabel visited him in Rapallo, seeing him for the first time since 1914. By then Homer had retired, so they decided to move to Rapallo themselves. They took a small house, Villa Raggio, on a hill above the town.[102]

Pound began work on The Cantos in earnest after relocating to Italy. The poems concern good and evil, a descent into hell followed by redemption and paradise. Its hundreds of characters fall into three groupings: those who enjoy hell and stay there; those who experience a metamorphosis and want to leave; and a few who lead the rest to paradiso terrestre. Its composition was difficult and involved several false starts, and he abandoned most of his earlier drafts, beginning again in 1922.[103] The first three appear in Poetry in June–August 1917. The Malatesta Cantos appeared in The Criterion in July 1923, and two further cantos were published in The Transatlantic Review in January 1924. Pound published 90 copies in Paris in 1925 of A Draft of XVI. Cantos of Ezra Pound for the Beginning of a Poem of some Length now first made into a Book.[104]

Turn to fascism, World War II

Pound came to believe that the cause of World War I was finance capitalism, which he called "usury", that the solution lay in C. H. Douglas's idea of social credit, and that fascism was the vehicle for reform. He had met Douglas in the New Age offices and had been impressed by his ideas.[105] He gave a series of lectures on economics, and made contact with politicians in the United States to discuss education, interstate commerce and international affairs. Although Hemingway advised against it, on 30 January 1933 Pound met Benito Mussolini. Olga Rudge played for Mussolini and told him about Pound, who had earlier sent him a copy of Cantos XXX. During the meeting Pound tried to present Mussolini with a digest of his economic ideas, but Mussolini brushed them aside, though he called the Cantos "divertente" (entertaining). The meeting was recorded in Canto XLI: "'Ma questo' / said the boss, 'è divertente.'" Pound said he had "never met anyone who seemed to get my ideas so quickly as the boss".[106]

When Olivia Shakespear died in October 1938 in London, Dorothy asked Pound to organize the funeral, where he saw their 12-year-old son Omar for the first time in eight years. He visited Eliot and Wyndham Lewis, who produced a now-famous portrait of Pound reclining. In April 1939 he sailed for New York, believing he could stop America's involvement in World War II, happy to answer reporters' questions about Mussolini while he lounged on the deck of the ship in a tweed jacket. He traveled to Washington, D.C., where he met senators and congressmen. His daughter, Mary, said that he had acted out of a sense of responsibility, rather than megalomania; he was offered no encouragement, and was left feeling depressed and frustrated.[107]

In June 1939 he received an honorary doctorate from Hamilton College, and a week later returned to Italy from the States and began writing antisemitic material for Italian newspapers. He wrote to James Laughlin that Roosevelt represented Jewry, and signed the letter with "Heil Hitler". He started writing for Action, a newspaper owned by the British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley, arguing that the Third Reich was the "natural civilizer of Russia".[108] After war broke out in September that year, he began a furious letter-writing campaign to the politicians he had petitioned six months earlier, arguing that the war was the result of an international banking conspiracy and that the United States should keep out of it.[109]

Radio broadcasts

You let in the Jew and the Jew rotted your empire, and you yourselves out-jewed the Jew. Your allies in your victimized holdings are the bunyah, you stand for NOTHING but usury.

— Pound radio broadcast, 15 March 1942[110]

Tytell writes that, by the 1940s, no American or English poet had been so active politically since William Blake. Pound wrote over a thousand letters a year during the 1930s and presented his ideas in hundreds of articles, as well as in The Cantos. His greatest fear was an economic structure dependent on the armaments industry, where the profit motive would govern war and peace. He read George Santayana and The Law of Civilization and Decay by Brooks Adams, finding confirmation of the danger of the capitalist and usurer becoming dominant. He wrote in The Japan Times that "Democracy is now currently defined in Europe as a 'country run by Jews,'" and told Sir Oswald Mosley's newspaper that the English were a slave race governed since Waterloo by the Rothschilds.[109]

Pound broadcast over Rome Radio, although the Italian government was at first reluctant, concerned that he might be a double agent. He told a friend: "It took me, I think it was, two years, insistence and wrangling etc., to get hold of their microphone."[111] He recorded over a hundred broadcasts criticizing the United States, Roosevelt, Roosevelt's family and the Jews, his poetry, economics and Chinese philosophy. The first was in January 1935, and by February 1940 he was broadcasting regularly; he traveled to Rome one week a month to pre-record the 10-minute broadcasts, for which he was paid around $17, and they were broadcast every three days. The broadcasts required the Italian government's approval, although he often changed the text in the studio. Tytell wrote that Pound's voice had assumed a "rasping, buzzing quality like the sound of a hornet stuck in a jar", that throughout the "disordered rhetoric of the talks he sustained the notes of chaos, hysteria, and exacerbated outrage". The politics apart, Pound needed the money; his father's pension payments had stopped—his father died in February 1942 in Rapallo—and Pound had his mother and Dorothy to look after.[112]

The broadcasts were monitored by the United States Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service listening station at Princeton University, and in July 1943 Pound was indicted in absentia for treason. He answered the charge by writing a letter to Attorney General Francis Biddle, which Tytell describes as "long, reasoned, and temperate", defending his right to free speech.[113] He continued to broadcast and write under pseudonyms until April 1945, shortly before his arrest.[114]

Arrest for treason

Further information: Allied invasion of Italy

Taken at the Army Disciplinary Training Center

Pound spent three weeks in an outdoor steel cage in Pisa.[115]

The war years threw Pound's domestic arrangements into disarray. Olga lost possession of her house in Venice and took a small house with Mary above Rapallo at Sant' Ambrogio.[116] In 1943 Pound and Dorothy were evicted from their apartment in Rapallo. His mother's apartment was too small, and the couple moved in with Olga. Mary, then 19 and finished with convent school, was quickly sent back to Gais in Switzerland, leaving Pound, as she would later write, "pent up with two women who loved him, whom he loved, and who coldly hated each other."[117]

Pound was in Rome early in September when Italy surrendered. He borrowed a pair of hiking boots and a knapsack and left the city, having finally decided to tell Mary about his wife and son. Heading north, he spent a night in an air-raid shelter in Bologna, then took a train to Verona and walked the rest of the way; he apparently traveled over 450 miles in all. Mary almost failed to recognize him when he arrived, he was so dirty and tired. He told her everything about his other family; she later admitted she felt more pity than anger.[ b]

He returned home to Rapallo, where on 3 May 1945, four days after Mussolini was shot, armed partisans arrived at the house to find Pound alone. He stuffed a copy of Confucius and a Chinese dictionary in his pocket before he was taken to their headquarters in Chiavari. He was released shortly afterwards, then with Olga gave himself up to an American military post in the nearby town of Lavagna.[119]

Sheet of toilet paper showing start of Canto LXXXIV, c. May 1945, suggesting Pound began it in the steel cage[120]

Pound was transferred to U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps headquarters in Genoa, where he was interrogated by Frank L. Amprin, an FBI agent assigned by J. Edgar Hoover. Pound asked to send a cable to President Truman to offer to help negotiate peace with Japan. He also asked to be allowed a final broadcast, a script called "Ashes of Europe Calling", in which he recommended peace with Japan, American management of Italy, the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, and leniency toward Germany. His requests were denied and the script was forwarded to Hoover.[119]

On 8 May, the day Germany surrendered, Pound told an American reporter, Ed Johnston, that Hitler was "a Jeanne d'Arc, a saint", and that Mussolini was an "imperfect character who lost his head".[121] On 24 May he was transferred to the United States Army Disciplinary Training Center north of Pisa, where he was placed in one of the camp's "death cells", a series of six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cages lit up at night by floodlights; engineers reinforced his cage with heavier steel for fear the fascists would try to break him out.[122]

Pound spent three weeks in isolation in the heat, sleeping on the concrete, denied exercise and communication, except for conversations with the chaplain. After two and a half weeks he began to break down under the strain. Richard Sieburth wrote that Pound recorded it in Canto LXXX, where Odysseus is saved from drowning by Leucothea: "hast'ou swum in a sea of air strip / through an aeon of nothingness, / when the raft broke and the waters went over me." Medical staff moved him out of the cage the following week. On 14 and 15 June he was examined by psychiatrists, one of whom found symptoms of a mental breakdown, after which he was transferred to his own tent and allowed reading material. He began to write, drafting what became known as The Pisan Cantos.[119] The existence of a few sheets of toilet paper showing the beginning of Canto LXXIV suggests he started it while in the cage.[123]

United States (1945–1958)

St Elizabeths Hospital

Further information: Visits to St. Elizabeths

St. Elizabeths Hospital (photographed c. 1909–1932)

On 15 November 1945 Pound was transferred to the United States. An escorting officer's impression was that "he is an intellectual 'crackpot' who imagined that he could correct all the economic ills of the world and who resented the fact that ordinary mortals were not sufficiently intelligent to understand his aims and motives".[123] He was arraigned in Washington, D.C., on the 25th of that month on charges of treason. The charges included broadcasting for the enemy, attempting to persuade American citizens to undermine government support of the war, and strengthening morale in Italy against the United States.[124]

He was admitted to St. Elizabeths Hospital, and in June the following year Dorothy was declared his legal guardian. He was held for a time in the hospital's prison ward—Howard's Hall, known as the "hell-hole", a building without windows—in a room with a thick steel door and nine peepholes to allow the psychiatrists to observe him as they tried to agree on a diagnosis. Visitors were admitted for only 15 minutes at a time, while patients wandered around screaming and frothing at the mouth.[124]

Pound's lawyer, Julien Cornell, whose efforts to have him declared insane are credited with having saved him from life imprisonment, requested his release at a bail hearing in January 1947.[125] The hospital's superintendent, Winfred Overholser, agreed instead to move him to the more pleasant surroundings of Chestnut Ward, close to Overholser's private quarters, which is where he spent the next 12 years.[124] The historian Stanley Kutler was given access in the 1980s to military intelligence and other government documents about Pound, including his hospital records, and wrote that the psychiatrists believed Pound had a narcissistic personality, but they considered him sane. Kutler believes that Overholser protected Pound from the criminal justice system because he was fascinated by him.[126]

Tytell writes that Pound was in his element in Chestnut Ward. He was at last provided for, and was allowed to read, write and receive visitors, including Dorothy for several hours a day. He took over a small alcove with wicker chairs just outside his room, and turned it into his private living room, where he entertained his friends and important literary figures. He began work on his translation of Sophocles's Women of Trachis and Electra, and continued work on The Cantos. It reached the point where he refused to discuss any attempt to have him released. Olga Rudge visited him twice, once in 1952 and again in 1955, and was unable to convince him to be more assertive about his release. She wrote to a friend: "E.P. has—as he had before—bats in the belfry but it strikes me that he has fewer not more than before his incarceration."[124]

The Pisan Cantos, Bollingen Prize

is it blacker? was it blacker? Nυξ animae?
Is there a blacker or was it merely San Juan with a belly ache
writing ad posteros
in short shall we look for a deeper or is this the bottom?

— The Pisan Cantos, LXXIV/458

James Laughlin had "Cantos LXXIV–LXXXIV" ready for publication in 1946 under the title The Pisan Cantos, and gave Pound an advance copy, but he held back, waiting for an appropriate time to publish. A group of Pound's friends—Eliot, Cummings, W. H. Auden, Allen Tate, and Julien Cornell—met Laughlin to discuss how to get him released. They planned to have Pound awarded the first Bollingen Prize, a new national poetry award by the Library of Congress, with $1,000 prize money donated by the Mellon family.[127]

The awards committee consisted of 15 fellows of the Library of Congress, including several of Pound's supporters, such as Eliot, Tate, Conrad Aiken, Katherine Anne Porter and Theodore Spencer.[c] The idea was that the Justice Department would be placed in an untenable position if Pound won a major award and was not released.[127] Laughlin published The Pisan Cantos on 30 July 1948, and the following year the prize went to Pound.[d] There were two dissenting voices, Francis Biddle's wife, Katherine Garrison Chapin, and Karl Shapiro, who said that he could not vote for an antisemite because he was Jewish himself. Pound responded to the award with "No comment from the bughouse."[127]

There was uproar. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted critics who said "poetry [cannot] convert words into maggots that eat at human dignity and still be good poetry". Robert Hillyer, a Pulitzer Prize winner and president of the Poetry Society of America, attacked the committee in The Saturday Review of Literature, telling journalists that he "never saw anything to admire in Pound, not one line".[130][131][132] Congressman Jacob K. Javits demanded an investigation into the awards committee. It was the last time the prize was administered by the Library of Congress.[127]
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Views and relationships

Although Pound repudiated his antisemitism in public, he maintained his views in private. He refused to talk to psychiatrists with Jewish-sounding names, dismissed people he disliked as "Jews", and urged visitors to read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903), a forgery claiming to represent a Jewish plan for world domination.[124] He struck up a friendship with the conspiracy theorist and antisemite Eustace Mullins, believed to be associated with the Aryan League of America, and author of the 1961 biography This Difficult Individual, Ezra Pound.[133]

Even more damaging was his friendship with John Kasper, a far-right activist and Ku Klux Klan member. Kasper had come to admire Pound during literature classes at university, and after he wrote to Pound in 1950 the two had become friends. Kasper opened a bookstore in Greenwich Village in 1953 called "Make it New", reflecting his commitment to Pound's ideas; the store specialized in far-right material, including Nazi literature, and Pound's poetry and translations were displayed on the window front.[134] Kasper and another follower of Pound's, David Horton, set up a publishing imprint, Square Dollar Series, which Pound used as a vehicle for his tracts about economic reform.[135] Wilhelm writes that there were a lot of conventional people visiting Pound too, such as the classicist J.P. Sullivan and the writer Guy Davenport, but it was the association with Mullins and Kasper that stood out and delayed his release from St Elizabeths.[133][135]


Pound's friends continued to try to get him out. Shortly after Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, he told Time magazine that "this would be a good year to release poets".[136] The poet Archibald MacLeish asked Hemingway in June 1957 to write a letter on Pound's behalf. Hemingway believed Pound was unable to abstain from awkward political statements or from friendships with people like Kasper, but he signed a letter of support anyway and pledged $1,500 to be given to Pound when he was released.[137] In an interview for the Paris Review in early 1958, Hemingway said that Kasper should be jailed and Pound released.[138] Kasper was eventually jailed, for inciting a riot in connection with the Hattie Cotton School in Nashville, targeted because a black girl had registered as a student. He was also questioned relating to the bombing of the school.[139]

Several publications began campaigning for Pound's release in 1957. Le Figaro published an appeal entitled "The Lunatic at St Elizabeths". The New Republic, Esquire and The Nation followed suit; The Nation argued that Pound was a sick and vicious old man, but had rights. In 1958 MacLeish hired Thurman Arnold, a prestigious lawyer who ended up charging no fee, to file a motion to dismiss the 1945 indictment. Overholser, the hospital's superintendent, supported the application with an affidavit saying Pound was permanently and incurably insane, and that confinement served no therapeutic purpose.[140] The motion was heard on 18 April 1958 by the judge who had committed Pound to St Elizabeths. The Department of Justice did not oppose the motion, and Pound was free.[141][142]

Italy (1958–1972)

Pound arrived in Naples in July 1958, where he was photographed giving a fascist salute to the waiting press. When asked when he had been released from the mental hospital, he replied: "I never was. When I left the hospital I was still in America, and all America is an insane asylum."[143] He and Dorothy went to live with Mary at Schloss Brunnenburg, near Merano in the Province of South Tyrol, where he met his grandson, Walter, and his granddaughter, Patrizia, for the first time, then returned to Rapallo, where Olga Rudge was waiting to join them.[144]

They were accompanied by a teacher Pound had met in hospital, Marcella Spann, 40 years his junior, ostensibly acting as his secretary and collecting poems for an anthology. The four women soon fell out, vying for control over him; Canto CXIII: alluded to it: "Pride, jealousy and possessiveness / 3 pains of hell." Pound was in love with Spann, seeing in her his last chance for love and youth. He wrote about her in Canto CXIII: "The long flank, the firm breast / and to know beauty and death and despair / And to think that what has been shall be, / flowing, ever unstill." Dorothy had usually ignored his affairs, but she used her legal power over his royalties to make sure Spann was seen off, sent back to the United States.[144]

By December 1959, Pound was mired in depression. He saw his work as worthless and The Cantos botched. In a 1960 interview given in Rome to Donald Hall for Paris Review, he said: "You—find me—in fragments." Hall wrote that he seemed in an "abject despair, accidie, meaninglessness, abulia, waste". He paced up and down during the three days it took to complete the interview, never finishing a sentence, bursting with energy one minute, then suddenly sagging, and at one point seemed about to collapse. Hall said it was clear that he "doubted the value of everything he had done in his life".[145]

Those close to him thought he was suffering from dementia, and in mid-1960, Mary placed him in a clinic near Merano when his weight dropped. He picked up again, but by early 1961 he had a urinary infection. Dorothy felt unable to look after him, so he went to live with Olga in Rapallo, then Venice; Dorothy mostly stayed in London after that with Omar. Pound attended a neo-Fascist May Day parade in 1962, but his health continued to decline. The following year he told an interviewer, Grazia Levi: "I spoil everything I touch. I have always blundered ... All my life I believed I knew nothing, yes, knew nothing. And so words became devoid of meaning."[146]

William Carlos Williams died in 1963, followed by Eliot in 1965. Pound went to Eliot's funeral in London and on to Dublin to visit Yeats's widow. Two years later he went to New York where he attended the opening of an exhibition featuring his blue-inked version of Eliot's The Waste Land.[147] He went on to Hamilton College where he received a standing ovation.[148]

Pound's grave on the Isola di San Michele

Shortly before his death in 1972 it was proposed that he be awarded the Emerson-Thoreau Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, but after a storm of protest the academy's council opposed it by 13 to 9. The sociologist Daniel Bell, who was on the committee, argued that it was important to distinguish between those who explore hate and those who approve it. Two weeks before he died, Pound read for a gathering of friends at a café: "re usury/ I was out of focus, taking a symptom for a cause. / The cause is avarice."[148]

On his 87th birthday, 30 October 1972, he was too weak to leave his bedroom. The next night he was admitted to the Civil Hospital of Venice, where he died in his sleep of an intestinal blockage on 1 November, with Olga at his side. Dorothy was unable to travel to the funeral. Four gondoliers dressed in black rowed the body to the island cemetery, Isola di San Michele, where he was buried near Diaghilev and Stravinsky.[149] Dorothy died in England the following year. Olga died in 1996 and was buried next to Pound.[147]


Critics generally agree that Pound was a strong yet subtle lyricist, particularly in his early work, such as "The River Merchant's Wife".[150] According to Witmeyer a modern style is evident as early as Ripostes, and Nadel sees evidence of modernism even before he began The Cantos, writing that Pound wanted his poetry to represent an "objective presentation of material which he believed could stand on its own" without use of symbolism or romanticism.[151]

Drawing on literature from a variety of disciplines, Pound intentionally layered often confusing juxtapositions, yet led the reader to an intended conclusion, believing the "thoughtful man" would apply a sense of organization and uncover the underlying symbolism and structure.[152] Ignoring Victorian and Edwardian grammar and structure, he created a unique form of speech, employing odd and strange words, jargon, avoiding verbs, and using rhetorical devices such as parataxis.[153]

Pound's relationship to music is essential to his poetry. Although he was tone deaf and his speaking voice is described as "raucous, nasal, scratchy", Michael Ingam writes that Pound is on a short list of poets possessed of a sense of sound, an "ear" for words, imbuing his poetry with melopoeia.[154] His study of troubadour poetry—words written to be sung (motz et son)—led him to think modern poetry should be written similarly.[154] He wrote that rhythm is "the hardest quality of a man's style to counterfeit".[155] Ingham compares the form of The Cantos to a fugue; without adhering strictly to the traditions of the form, nevertheless multiple themes are explored simultaneously. He goes on to write that Pound's use of counterpoint is integral to the structure and cohesion of The Cantos, which show multi-voiced counterpoint and, with the juxtaposition of images, non-linear themes. The pieces are presented in fragments "which taken together, can be seen to unfold in time as music does".[156]

Imagism and Vorticism

Dorothy Shakespear designed the Vorticism-inspired cover art for Pound's 1915 Ripostes.

Opinion varies about the nature of Pound's writing style. Nadel writes that imagism was to change Pound's poetry.[151] Like Wyndham Lewis, Pound reacted against decorative flourishes found in Edwardian writing, saying poetry required a precise and economic use of language and that the poet should always use the "exact" word, stripping the writing down to the "barest essence".[157] According to Nadel, "Imagism evolved as a reaction against abstraction ... replacing Victorian generalities with the clarity in Japanese haiku and ancient Greek lyrics."[151] Daniel Albright writes that Pound tried to condense and eliminate "all but the hardest kernel" from a poem, such as in the two-line poem "In a Station of the Metro".[158] However, Pound learned that Imagism did not lend itself well to the writing of an epic, so he turned to the more dynamic structure of Vorticism for The Cantos.[158]


Pound's translations represent a substantial part of his work. He began his career with translations of Occitan ballads and ended with translations of Egyptian poetry. Yao says the body of translations by modernist poets in general, much of which Pound started, consists of some of the most "significant modernist achievements in English".[159] Pound was the first English language poet since John Dryden, some three centuries earlier, to give primacy to translations in English literature. The fullness of the achievement for the modernists is that they renewed interest in multiculturalism, multilingualism, and, perhaps of greater importance, they treated translations not in a strict sense of the word but instead saw a translation as the creation of an original work.[160]

Michael Alexander writes that, as a translator, Pound was a pioneer with a great gift of language and an incisive intelligence. He helped popularize major poets such as Guido Cavalcanti and Du Fu, and brought Provençal and Chinese poetry to English-speaking audiences. He revived interest in the Confucian classics and introduced the west to classical Japanese poetry and drama. He translated and championed Greek, Latin and Anglo-Saxon classics, and helped keep them alive at a time when poets no longer considered translations central to their craft.[161]

In Pound's Fenollosa translations, unlike previous American translators of Chinese poetry, which tended to work with strict metrical and stanzaic patterns, Pound created free verse translations. Whether the poems are valuable as translations continues to be a source of controversy.[162] Hugh Kenner contends that Cathay should be read primarily as a work about World War I, not as an attempt at accurately translating ancient Eastern poems. The real achievement of the book, Kenner argues, is in how it combines meditations on violence and friendship with an effort to "rethink the nature of an English poem". These ostensible translations of ancient Eastern texts, Kenner argues, are actually experiments in English poetics and compelling elegies for a warring West.[163] Pound scholar Ming Xie explains that Pound's use of language in his translation of "The Seafarer" is deliberate, in that he avoids merely "trying to assimilate the original into contemporary language".[162]

The Cantos

Further information: List of cultural references in The Cantos

And then went down to the ship,
Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and
We set up mast and sail on that swart ship,
Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also
Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward
Bore us out onward with bellying canvas,
Circe's this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.
Then sat we amidships, wind jamming the tiller,
Thus with stretched sail, we went over sea til day's end.

— Canto I (1917)

The Cantos is difficult to decipher. In the epic poem, Pound disregards literary genres, mixing satire, hymns, elegies, essays and memoirs.[164] Pound scholar Rebecca Beasley believes it amounts to a rejection of the 19th-century nationalistic approach in favor of early-20th-century comparative literature. Pound reaches across cultures and time periods, assembling and juxtaposing "themes and history" from Homer to Ovid and Dante, from Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and many others. The work presents a multitude of protagonists as "travellers between nations". The nature of The Cantos, she says, is to compare and measure among historical periods and cultures and against "a Poundian standard" of modernism.[165]

Pound layered ideas, cultures and historical periods, writing in as many as 15 different languages, using modern vernacular, Classical languages and Chinese ideograms.[166] Ira Nadel says The Cantos is an epic, that is "a poem including history", and that the "historical figures lend referentiality to the text". It functions as a contemporary memoir, in which "personal history [and] lyrical retrospection mingle"—most clearly represented in the Pisan Cantos.[164] Michael Ingham sees in The Cantos an American tradition of experimental literature, writing about it, "These works include everything but the kitchen sink, and then add the kitchen sink".[167] In the 1960s William O'Connor described The Cantos as filled with "cryptic and gnomic utterances, dirty jokes, obscenities of various sorts".[168]

Allen Tate believes the poem is not about anything and is without beginning, middle or end. He argues that Pound was incapable of sustained thought and "at the mercy of random flights of 'angelic insight,' an Icarian self-indulgence of prejudice which is not checked by a total view to which it could be subordinated".[169] This perceived lack of logical consistency or form is a common criticism of The Cantos.[170] Pound himself felt this absence of form was his great failure, and regretted that he could not "make it cohere".[171]

Literary criticism and economic theory

Pound's literary criticism and essays are, according to Massimo Bacigalupo, a "form of intellectual journal". In early works, such as The Spirit of Romance and "I Gather the Limbs of Osiris", Pound paid attention to medieval troubadour poets—Arnaut Daniel and François Villon. The former piece was to "remain one of Pound's principal sourcebooks for his poetry"; in the latter he introduces the concept of "luminous details".[172] The leitmotifs in Pound's literary criticism are recurrent patterns found in historical events, which, he believed, through the use of judicious juxtapositions illuminate truth; and in them he reveals forgotten writers and cultures.[173]

Pound wrote intensively about economic theory with the ABC of Economics and Jefferson and/or Mussolini, published in the mid-1930s right after he was introduced to Mussolini. These were followed by The Guide to Kulchur, covering 2500 years of history, which Tim Redman describes as the "most complete synthesis of Pound's political and economic thought".[174] Pound thought writing the cantos meant writing an epic about history and economics, and he wove his economic theories throughout; neither can be understood without the other.[175] In these pamphlets and in The ABC of Reading, he sought to emphasize the value of art and to "aestheticize the political", written forcefully, according to Nadel, and in a "determined voice".[176] In form his criticism and essays are direct, repetitive and reductionist, his rhetoric minimalist, filled with "strident impatience", according to Pound scholar Jason Coats, and frequently failing to make a coherent claim. He rejected traditional rhetoric and created his own, although not very successfully, in Coats's view.[177]


Critical reception

In 1922, the literary critic Edmund Wilson reviewed Pound's latest published volume of poetry, Poems 1918–21, and took the opportunity to provide an overview of his estimation of Pound as poet. In his essay on Pound, titled "Ezra Pound's Patchwork", Wilson wrote:

Ezra Pound is really at heart a very boyish fellow and an incurable provincial. It is true that he was driven to Europe by a thirst for romance and color that he could scarcely have satisfied in America, but he took to Europe the simple faith and pure enthusiasm of his native Idaho. ... His sophistication is still juvenile, his ironies are still clumsy and obvious, he ridicules Americans in Europe not very much simpler than himself ...[178]

According to Wilson, the lines in Pound's poems stood isolated, with fragmentary wording contributing to poems that "do not hang together". Citing Pound's first seven cantos, Wilson dubbed the writing "unsatisfactory". He found The Cantos disjointed and its contents reflecting a too-obvious reliance on the literary works of other authors, and an awkward use of Latin and Chinese translations as a device inserted among reminiscences of Pound's own life.[178]

The rise of New Criticism during the 1950s, in which author is separated from text, secured Pound's poetic reputation.[179] Nadel writes that the publication of T.S. Eliot's Literary Essays in 1954 "initiated the recuperation of Ezra Pound". Eliot's essays coincided with the work of Hugh Kenner, who visited Pound extensively at St. Elizabeths.[180] Kenner wrote that there was no great contemporary writer less read than Pound, adding that there is also no one to appeal more through "sheer beauty of language".[181] Along with Donald Davie, Kenner brought a new appreciation to Pound's work in the 1960s and 1970s.[182] Donald Gallup's Pound bibliography was published in 1963 and Kenner's The Pound Era in 1971.[180] In the 1970s a literary journal dedicated to Pound studies (Paideuma) was established, and Ronald Bush published the first dedicated critical study of The Cantos, to be followed by a number of research editions of The Cantos.[180]

Following Mullins' biography, described by Nadel as "partisan" and "melodramatic", was Noel Stock's factual 1970 Life of Ezra Pound, although the material included was subject to Dorothy's approval. The 1980s saw three significant biographies: John Tytell's "neutral" account in 1987, followed by Wilhelm's multi-volume biography. Humphrey Carpenter's sprawling narrative, a "complete life", built on what Stock began; unlike Stock, Carpenter had the benefit of working without intervention from Pound's relatives. In 2007 David Moody published the first of his multi-volume biography, combining narrative with literary criticism, the first work to link the two.[183]

In the 1980s Mary de Rachewiltz released the first dual-language edition of The Cantos, including "Canto LXXII" and "Canto LXXIII".[184] These cantos had originally been published in fascist magazines, and are characterized by 21st-century literary scholars as no more than war-time propaganda.[185] In 1991 a complete facsimile edition of Pound's prose and poetry was published, now considered a "fundamental research tool", according to Nadel.[184] Scholarship in the 1990s turned toward in-depth investigations of his antisemitism and Rome years. Tim Redman writes about Pound's fascism and his relationship with Mussolini, and Leon Surrette about Pound's economic theories, especially during the Italian period, investigating how Pound the poet became Pound the fascist.[186] In 1999 Surrette wrote about the state of Pound criticism, that "the effort to uncover coherence in a ... crazy quilt of verse styles, critical principles, crankish economic theories and distasteful political affiliations has made it difficult to perceive the genesis and development of any of these components". He emphasized that Pound's "economic and political opinions have not been properly dated, nor has the suddenness of his radicalization been appreciated".[187]

Nadel's 2010 Pound in Context is a contextual literary approach to Pound scholarship. Pound's life, "the social, political, historical, and literary developments of his period", is fully investigated, which, according to Nadel is "the grid for reading Pound's poetry".[188] In 2012 Matthew Feldman wrote that the more than 1,500 documents in the "Pound files" held by the FBI have been ignored by scholars, and almost certainly contain evidence that "Pound was politically cannier, was more bureaucratically involved with Italian Fascism, and was more involved with Mussolini's regime than has been posited".[189]


Pound helped advance the careers of some of the best-known modernist writers of the early 20th century. In addition to Eliot, Joyce, Lewis, Frost, Williams, Hemingway and Conrad Aiken, he befriended and helped Marianne Moore, Louis Zukofsky, Jacob Epstein, Basil Bunting, E. E. Cummings, Margaret Anderson, George Oppen and Charles Olson.[190] Hugh Witemeyer argues that the Imagist movement was the most important in 20th-century English-language poetry because it affected all the leading poets of Pound's generation and the two generations after him.[191] In 1917, Carl Sandburg wrote in Poetry: "All talk on modern poetry, by people who know, ends with dragging in Ezra Pound somewhere. He may be named only to be cursed as wanton and mocker, poseur, trifler and vagrant. Or he may be classed as filling a niche today like that of Keats in a preceding epoch. The point is, he will be mentioned."[192]

I have tried to write Paradise

Do not move
Let the wind speak.
that is paradise.
Let the Gods forgive what I
have made
Let those I love try to forgive
what I have made.

— Canto 120[193][194]

The outrage after Pound's wartime collaboration with Mussolini's regime was so deep that the imagined method of his execution dominated the discussion. Arthur Miller considered him worse than Hitler: "In his wildest moments of human vilification Hitler never approached our Ezra ... he knew all America's weaknesses and he played them as expertly as Goebbels ever did." The response went so far as to denounce all modernists as fascists, and it was only in the 1980s that critics began a re-evaluation. Macha Rosenthal wrote that it was "as if all the beautiful vitality and all the brilliant rottenness of our heritage in its luxuriant variety were both at once made manifest" in Ezra Pound.[195]

Pound's antisemitism has soured evaluation of his poetry. Pound scholar Wendy Stallard Flory writes that separating the poetry from the antisemitism is perceived as apologetic. She believes the positioning of Pound as "National Monster" and "designated fascist intellectual" made him a stand-in for the silent majority in Germany, occupied France and Belgium, as well as Britain and the United States, who, she argues, made the Holocaust possible by aiding or standing by.[196]

Later in his life, Pound analyzed what he judged to be his own failings as a writer attributable to his adherence to ideological fallacies.[197] Allen Ginsberg states that, in a private conversation in 1967, Pound told the young poet, "my poems don't make sense." He went on to say that he "was not a lunatic, but a moron", and to characterize his writing as "stupid and ignorant", "a mess". Ginsberg reassured Pound that he "had shown us the way", but Pound refused to be mollified:

'Any good I've done has been spoiled by bad intentions—the preoccupation with irrelevant and stupid things,' [he] replied. Then very slowly, with emphasis, surely conscious of Ginsberg's being Jewish: 'But the worst mistake I made was that stupid, suburban prejudice of anti-semitism.'[197][198]


• 1908 A Lume Spento. Privately printed by A. Antonini, Venice, (poems).
• 1908 A Quinzaine for This Yule. Pollock, London; and Elkin Mathews, London, (poems).
• 1909 Personae. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems).
• 1909 Exultations. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems).
• 1910 The Spirit of Romance. Dent, London, (prose).
• 1910 Provenca. Small, Maynard, Boston, (poems).
• 1911 Canzoni. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems)
• 1912 The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti Small, Maynard, Boston, (cheaper edition destroyed by fire, Swift & Co, London; translations)
• 1912 Ripostes. S. Swift, London, (poems; first announcement of Imagism)
• 1915 Cathay. Elkin Mathews, (poems; translations)
• 1916 Gaudier-Brzeska. A Memoir. John Lane, London, (prose).[199]
• 1916 Certain Noble Plays of Japan: From the Manuscripts of Ernest Fenollosa, chosen and finished by Ezra Pound, with an introduction by William Butler Yeats.
• 1916 Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound: "Noh", or, Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan. Macmillan, London,
• 1916 Lustra. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems).
• 1917 Twelve Dialogues of Fontenelle, (translations)
• 1917 Lustra Knopf, New York. (poems). With a version of the first Three Cantos(Poetry, vol. 10, nos. 3, June 1917, 4, July 1917, 5, August 1917).
• 1918: Pavannes and Divisions. Knopf, New York. prose
• 1918 Quia Pauper Amavi. Egoist Press, London. poems
• 1919 The Fourth Canto. Ovid Press, London
• 1920 Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. Ovid Press, London.
• 1920 Umbra. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems and translations)
• 1920 Instigations of Ezra Pound: Together with an Essay on the Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, by Ernest Fenollosa. Boni & Liveright, (prose).
• 1921 Poems, 1918–1921. Boni & Liveright, New York
• 1922 Remy de Gourmount: The Natural Philosophy of Love. Boni & Liveright, New York, (translation)
• 1923 Indiscretions, or, Une revue des deux mondes. Three Mountains Press, Paris.
• 1924 Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony. Paris, (essays). As: William Atheling.
• 1925 A Draft of XVI Cantos. Three Mountains Press, Paris. The first collection of The Cantos.
• 1926 Personae: The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound. Boni & Liveright, New York
• 1928 A Draft of the Cantos 17–27. John Rodker, London.
• 1928 Selected Poems, edited and with an introduction by T. S. Eliot. Faber & Gwyer, London
• 1928 Confucius: Ta Hio: The Great Learning, newly rendered into the American language. University of Washington Bookstore (Glenn Hughes), (translation)
• 1930 A Draft of XXX Cantos. Nancy Cunard's Hours Press, Paris.
• 1930 Imaginary Letters. Black Sun Press, Paris. Eight essays from the Little Review, 1917–18.
• 1931 How to Read. Harmsworth, (essays)
• 1932 Guido Cavalcanti Rime. Edizioni Marsano, Genoa, (translations)
• 1933 ABC of Economics. Faber, London, (essays)
• 1934 Eleven New Cantos: XXXI-XLI. Farrar & Rinehart, New York, (poems)
• 1934 Homage to Sextus Propertius. Faber, London (poems)
• 1934 ABC of Reading. Yale University Press, (essays)
• 1935 Alfred Venison's Poems: Social Credit Themes by the Poet of Titchfield Street. Stanley Nott, Pamphlets on the New Economics, No. 9, London, (essays)
• 1935 Jefferson and/or Mussolini. Stanley Nott, London, Liveright, 1936 (essays)
• 1935 Make It New. London, (essays)
• 1935 Social Credit. An Impact. London, (essays). Repr.: Peter Russell, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 5, London 1951.
• 1936 Ernest Fenollosa: The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry. Stanley Nott, London 1936. An Ars Poetica With Foreword and Notes by Ezra Pound.
• 1937 The Fifth Decade of Cantos. Farrar & Rinehart, New York, poems
• 1937 Polite Essays. Faber, London, (essays)
• 1937 Confucius: Digest of the Analects, edited and published by Giovanni Scheiwiller, (translations)
• 1938 Culture. New Directions. New edition: Guide to Kulchur, New Directions, 1952
• 1939 What Is Money For?. Greater Britain Publications, (essays). Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 3, Peter Russell, London
• 1940 Cantos LXII-LXXI. New Directions, New York, (John Adams Cantos 62–71).
• 1942 Carta da Visita di Ezra Pound. Edizioni di lettere d'oggi. Rome. English translation, by John Drummond: A Visiting Card, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 4, Peter Russell, London 1952, (essays).
• 1944 L'America, Roosevelt e le cause della guerra presente. Casa editrice della edizioni popolari, Venice. English translation, by John Drummond: America, Roosevelt and the Causes of the Present War, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 6, Peter Russell, London 1951
• 1944 Introduzione alla Natura Economica degli S.U.A.. Casa editrice della edizioni popolari. Venice. English translation An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States, by Carmine Amore. Repr.: Peter Russell, Money Pamphlets by Pound, London 1950 (essay)
• 1944 Orientamini. Casa editrice dalla edizioni popolari. Venice (prose)
• 1944 Oro et lavoro: alla memoria di Aurelio Baisi. Moderna, Rapallo. English translation: Gold and Work, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 2, Peter Russell, London 1952 (essays)
• 1948 If This Be Treason. Siena: privately printed for Olga Rudge by Tip Nuova (original drafts of six of Pound's Rome radio broadcasts)
• 1948 The Pisan Cantos. New Directions, (Cantos 74–84)
• 1948 The Cantos of Ezra Pound (includes The Pisan Cantos). New Directions, poems
• 1949 Elektra (started in 1949, first performed 1987), a play by Ezra Pound and Rudd Fleming
• 1950 Seventy Cantos. Faber, London.
• 1950 Patria Mia. R. F. Seymour, Chicago Reworked New Age articles, 1912, '13 (Orage)
• 1951 Confucius: The Great Digest; The Unwobbling Pivot. New Directions (translation)
• 1951 Confucius: Analects (John) Kaspar & (David) Horton, Square $ Series, New York, (translation)
• 1954 The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius. Harvard University Press (translations)
• 1954 Lavoro ed Usura. All'insegna del pesce d'oro. Milan (essays)
• 1955 Section: Rock-Drill, 85–95 de los Cantares. All'insegna del pesce d'oro, Milan, (poems)
• 1956 Sophocles: The Women of Trachis. A Version by Ezra Pound. Neville Spearman, London, (translation)
• 1957 Brancusi. Milan (essay)
• 1959 Thrones: 96–109 de los Cantares. New Directions, (poems)
• 1968 Drafts and Fragments: Cantos CX-CXVII. New Directions, (poems).[200]


1. ^ Ernest Hemingway wrote in 1925: "[W]e have Pound the major poet devoting, say, one fifth of his time to poetry. With the rest of his time he tries to advance the fortunes, both material and artistic, of his friends. He defends them when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. He loans them money. He sells their pictures. He arranges concerts for them. He writes articles about them. He introduces them to wealthy women. He gets publishers to take their books. He sits up all night with them when they claim to be dying and he witnesses their wills. He advances them hospital expenses and dissuades them from suicide. And in the end a few of them refrain from knifing him at the first opportunity."[1]
2. ^ Stock (1970): "In a letter written in October 1966 Mrs Pound recalled the period in these words: 'E.P. was in Rome when it was taken and he walked out (in a pair of Degli Uberti's heavy boots, many years later restored to owner) along the only road going north not infested by troops—spent a night in the open and with some peasants—got to a junction where there was a train going north with a herd of the dismantled Italian army ...' In an article published in 1966 his daughter said that during the long journey he slept in farms, in dormitories, and in the open, receiving food from kindly women on the way. Altogether Pound travelled more than 450 miles, arriving at Gais, his daughter said, 'one late afternoon, exhausted, his feet all blisters'."[118]
3. ^ The Associated Press reported the list of judges as Conrad Aiken, W. H. Auden, Louise Bogan, Katherine Garrison Chapin, T. S. Eliot, Paul Green, Robert Lowell, Katherine Anne Porter, Karl Shapiro, Allen Tate, Willard Thorp and Robert Penn Warren. Also on the list were Leonie Adams, the Library of Congress's poetry consultant, and Theodore Spencer, who died on 18 January 1949, just before the award was announced.[128]
4. ^ "At their [the committee's first] meeting [in November 1948], and to no one's great surprise, given [Allen] Tate's behind-the-scenes maneuverings and the intimidating presence of recent Nobel Laureate T. S. Eliot, The Pisan Cantos emerged as the major contender ..."[129]

See also

• Ezra Pound portal



1. Hemingway, "Homage to Ezra", This Quarter, 1, Spring 1925, 221–225, in Hemingway (2006), 5–6
2. The Pisan Cantos (80.665–67), Sieburth (2003), xiii
3. "Books: Unpegged Pound", Time, 20 March 1933; Hemingway (2006), 25, from The Cantos of Ezra Pound: Some Testimonies by Ernest Hemingway, Ford Madox Ford, T. S. Eliot, Hugh Walpole, Archibald McLeish, James Joyce, and Others, Farrar & Rinehart, March 1933
4. Moody (2007), 4; Ridler, Keith. "Poet's Idaho home is reborn", Associated Press, 25 May 2008; for Idaho Territory, see Wilson (2014), 14.
5. Tytell (1987), 11
6. Moody (2007), xiii–13
7. Cockram (2005), 238
8. Moody (2007), xiii
9. Rachewiltz, Moody and Moody (2011), x
10. Moody (2007), 8–9
11. Moody (2007), 14; for Cheltenham Township High School, see McDonald (2005), 91, and Stock (1970), 11
12. Nadel (2004), 18; Barnstone (1998), 202
13. Doolittle (1979), 67–68; Hilda's Book is in the Houghton Library at Harvard; see "Poems and Translations", Library of America.
14. Nadel (2004), 31
15. Tytell (1987), 24–28; for dedication of Personae, see Nadel (1999), xviii
16. Moody (2007), 18–25
17. Stock (1964), 6
18. Moody (2007), 19, 27–28
19. Moody (2007), 28–29
20. Moody (2007), 29–31
21. Stock (1970), 37.
22. Moody (2007), 58–59
23. Moody (2007), 60–62; Wilhelm (1985), 177; Carpenter (1988), 80; Nadel (2004), 30
24. Moody (2007), 62, 63; for the bakery, Tytell (1987), 35
25. Eliot (1917), 5
26. Zinnes (1980), xi; for information about Brooke Smith, see Carpenter (1988), 91, 95
27. Knapp (1979), 25–27
28. Stock (1970), 53–54
29. Wilhelm (2008), 4; Pound (2003), 80, lines 334–336; also see Campbell, James. "Home from home", The Guardian, 17 May 2008.
30. Wilhelm (2008), 5–11
31. Wilhelm (2008), 7
32. Ford 1999, 277.
33. Hemingway (2006), 6
34. Tytell (1987), 46
35. For the money from Cravens, see Moody (2007), 124–125; for the speculation that they were lovers, see Carpenter (1988), 155; Dennis (1999), 264; Pound, Omar (1988), 66
36. Moody (2007), 91; Elek, Jon. "Personae", The Literary Encyclopedia, 8 April 2004.
37. Moody (2007), 93
38. Wilson, Peter. "Exultations", The Literary Encyclopedia, 20 April 2004.
39. Moody (2007), 180
40. Stock (1970), 70, 81–89
41. Wilhelm (2008), 62–65
42. Montgomery, Paul L. "Ezra Pound: A Man of Contradictions", The New York Times, 2 November 1972
43. Tytell (1987), 59–62
44. Stock (1970), 95
45. Elek, Jon. "Canzoni", The Literary Encyclopedia, 8 March 2005. Orage was referred to in The Cantos (Possum refers to T. S. Eliot): "But the lot of 'em, / Yeats, Possum and Wyndham / had no ground beneath 'em. / Orage had." See Wilhelm (2008), 83, citing Canto 98/685.
46. Arrowsmith (2011), 103–164; also see Arrowsmith (2011), 27–42, 118, and Dennis (2000), 101
47. Arrowsmith, Rupert Richard (March 2012). "Cosmopolitanism and Modernism" (video of a lecture discussing the importance of Japanese culture to Pound's early poetry), London University School of Advanced Study.
48. Witemeyer (1961), 112.
49. Venuti (1979), 88; Knapp (1979), 54
50. Moody (2007), 180, 222
51. Pound, Ezra. "A Retrospect", in T. S. Eliot. (1968). Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. New York: New Directions Publishing (first published 1918), 3–5.
52. Witemeyer (1969), 34; for its description as theclassic Imagist poem, see Witemeyer (1999), 49
53. Alexander (1979), 62
54. Pound, Ezra, Ripostes, Stephen Swift & Co Ltd, London, 1912; Pound (1918), 4
55. For submission and publication dates, see Pound, Ezra. Poems and translations, Library of America, (2003), 1239
56. For the original text of The Seafarer, see "The Seafarer",; for Pound's interpretation, see Pound, Ezra. "The Seafarer", Representative Poetry Online, University of Toronto.
57. Sieburth (2010), xv
58. Moody (2007), 239
59. The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry: A Critical Edition (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008).
60. Alexander (1979), 95
61. Yip, Wai-lim. Ezra Pound's Cathay. Princeton University Press, 1969, cited in Alexander (1979), 99
62. Kern, Robert (1996). Orientalism, Modernism, and the American Poem. Cambridge University Press. pp. 186–189. ISBN 978-0-521-49613-1.
63. "The Fenollosa Papers" in Stock (1965), 177–179
64. Graves, from "These Be Your Gods, O Israel" (138–139)
65. Yao (2010), 36–39
66. Stock (1970), 143–147; Tytell (1987), 97
67. Moody (2007), 240; Longenbach (1988); Longenbach, James. "The Odd Couple: Pound and Yeats Together", The New York Times, 10 January 1988.
68. Moody (2007), 246–249
69. Moody (2007), 230, 256
70. Stock (1970), 159
71. Campbell, James. "Home from home", The Guardian, 17 May 2008.
72. Moody (2007), 222–225
73. Aiken (1965), 4–5
74. Mertens, Richard. "Letter by letter", University of Chicago Magazine, April 2001.
75. Moody (2007), 306–307
76. Moody (2007), 330, 334
77. Moody (2007), 342
78. Stock (1970), 174, 180–182
79. Moody (2007), 334–335
80. Kenner (1971), 286
81. Pound, Ezra. "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley", Project Gutenberg, 18 November 2007.
82. Adams (2005), 149; Leavis (1932), 134, 150.
83. Moody (2007), 394–396
84. Witemeyer (1969), 25; Orage (1921), 201
85. Orage (1921), 199–200; Stock (1970), 235; Moody (2007), 410
86. Wilhelm (2008), 287.
87. Meyers (1985), 70–74
88. Bornstein (1999), 33–34
89. Carpenter (1988), 430–431, 448
90. Tytell (1987), 180; Wilhelm (2008), 251
91. For his operas, see Kenner (1973), 390; for his pieces for violin, see Stock (1970), 252–256
92. Tytell (1987), 191–193
93. Baker (1981), 127
94. Tytell (1987), 225
95. Tytell (1987), 198
96. Wilhelm (1994), 13–15
97. Carpenter (1988), 450–451
98. Carpenter (1988), 452–453
99. For the house in Venice, see Tytell (1987), 198, and Mamoli Zorzi (2007), 15, 23; for Mary's memoir, see de Rachewiltz (1971), 1
100. Wilhelm (1994), 22–24
101. Nadel (1999), xxi–xxiii
102. Tytell (1987), 215
103. Terrell (1980), vii
104. Bush (1976), xiii–xv
105. Preda (2005), 90
106. Tytell (1987), 228–232
107. Tytell (1987), 250–253
108. Tytell (1987), 254
109. Tytell (1987), 253–265
110. "Selected World War II Broadcasts", Modern American Poetry, citing "Ezra Pound Speaking": Radio Speeches of World War II. Ed. Leonard W. Doob. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978.
111. Tytell (1987), 260
112. Tytell (1987), 264–266
113. Tytell (1987), 268–270
114. Gill (2005), 115–116
115. Sieburth (2003b), xiv
116. Gery (2010), 222
117. Tytell (1987), 262
118. Stock (1970), 401; also see Tytell (1987), 264–273
119. Sieburth (2003), ix–xiv
120. Sieburth (2003), xxxvi
121. Sieburth Stock (1970), 408; Sieburth (2003b), xi
122. Stock (1970), 408
123. Kimpel (1981), 470–474
124. Tytell (1987), 289–297, 304–305
125. For Cornell's efforts, see "Julien Cornell, 83, The Defense Lawyer In Ezra Pound Case", The New York Times, 7 December 1994.
126. Mitgang, Herbert. "Researchers dispute Ezra Pound's 'insanity'", The New York Times, 31 October 1981; also see Kutler, Stanley I. (1983). American Inquisition: Justice and Injustice in the Cold War. Hill & Wang.
127. Tytell (1987), 293, 302–303; Tytell cites MacLeish, Archibald. Riders on the Earth, Houghton Mifflin, 1978, 120; Winnick, R. H. (ed.) Letters of Archibald MacLeish, 1907 to 1982. Houghton Mifflin, 1983, and in particular a letter from MacLeish to Milton Eisenhower, which is in the Library of Congress. For more details of who supported and opposed, see McGuire (1988).
128. "Pound, in Mental Clinic, Wins Prize for Poetry Penned in Treason Cell", Associated Press, 19 February 1949.
129. Sieburth (2003), xxxviii–xxxix
130. "Canto Controversy" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 22 August 1949.
131. Hillyer, Robert. "Treason's Strange Fruit" and "Poetry's New Priesthood", in The Saturday Review of Literature, 11 and 18 June 1949.
132. McGuire, William. Poetry's Catbird Seat, Library of Congress, 1998.
133. Wilhelm (1994), 286, 306
134. Hickman (2005), 127
135. Tytell (1987), 306–308
136. Stock (1970), 437
137. Reynolds (2000), 303
138. Hemingway, Ernest. "The Art of Fiction", Paris Review, No. 21.
139. "Police Firmness in Nashville", Life magazine, 23 September 1957, 34; Tytell (1987), 308; Webb (2011), 88–89
140. Lewis, Anthony. "U.S. asked to end Pound indictment", The New York Times, 14 April 1958.
141. Tytell (1987), 325–326
142. Arnold, Thurman (1965). Fair Fights and Foul: A Dissenting Lawyer's Life (1 ed.). New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. pp. 236–242.
143. "Pound, in Italy, Gives Fascist Salute; Calls United States an 'Insane Asylum'", The New York Times, 10 July 1958.
144. Tytell (1987), 328–332; for the reference to "Canto 113", see Sieburth (2003), xl
145. Tytell (1987), 347; Hall, Donald. "Ezra Pound, The Art of Poetry No. 5", The Paris Review, 28, Summer–Fall 1962.
146. Tytell (1987), 333–336
147. Nadel (2007), 18
148. Tytell (1987), 337–339
149. Tytell (1987), 339; "Ezra Pound Dies in Venice at Age of 87", The New York Times, 2 November 1972.
150. O'Connor (1963), 7, 19
151. Nadel (1999), 1–6; Witmeyer (1999), 47
152. Coats (2009), 87–89
153. Ingham (1999), 236–237
155. Pound (1968), 103
156. Ingham (1999), 244–245
157. Oliver (2011), 87
158. Albright (1999), 60
159. Yao (2010), 34–35
160. Yao (2010), 33–36
161. Alexander (1997), 23–30
162. Xie (1999), 204–212
163. Kenner (1971), 199
164. Nadel (1999), 1–6
165. Beasley (2010), 662
166. Xie (1999), 217
167. Ingham (1999), 240
168. O'Connor (1963), 7
169. Tate (1965), 87
170. Nadel (1999), 8
171. Nicholls (1999), 144
172. Bacigalupo (1999), 188–191
173. Bacigalupo (1999), 203
174. Redman (1999), 258
175. Redman (1999), 255–260
176. Nadel (1999), 10
177. Bacigalupo (1999), 203; Coats (2009), 80, 83
178. Wilson, Edmund (2007). "Ezra Pound's Patchwork", Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s. Library of America, 44, 45; the essay was first published on 19 April 1922.
179. Beasley (2010), 651
180. Nadel (1999), 12
181. Kenner (1983), 16
182. Alexander (1997), 15–18
183. Nadel (2010b), 162–165
184. Nadel (1999), 13
185. Feldman (2012), 94
186. Coats (2009), 81
187. Surrette (1999) 13
188. Nadel (2010a), 1–6
189. Feldman (2012), 90–91
190. Bornstein (1999), 22–23
191. Witemeyer (1999), 48
192. Eliot (1917), 3
193. Canto 120, the final canto, first published in Threshold, Belfast, and in The Anonym Quarterly, New York, 1969. See Pound, Ezra. The Cantos of Ezra Pound. New Directions Books, 1983, 802
194. There is a debate about the placement of the final canto. See "Late Cantos LXXII–CXVII" Bush (1999), 132; also see Stoicheff, Peter. The Hall of Mirrors: Drafts & Fragments and the End of Ezra Pound's Cantos. University of Michigan Press, 1995, 66
195. For Arthur Miller's quote, see Torrey (1984), 200. For Rosenthal, see her A Primer of Ezra Pound. Macmillan, 1960, 2
196. Flory (1999), 285–286, 294–300
197. Carpenter (1988), 898–899
198. Kashner, Sam (2005). When I Was Cool. New York: HarperCollins Perennial. p. 86. ISBN 006000567-X. Allen explained how he tried to deal with anti-Semitic remarks. He said that he even got Ezra Pound to "take it back," to admit that it was a dumb, suburban prejudice.
199. Translated into French by Margaret Tunstill and Claude Minière Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Tristram éd., Auch, France, 1992
200. Ackroyd, Peter. (1980). Ezra Pound. Thames and Hudson Ltd., 121. For early publications, see Eliot, T. S. (1917). Ezra Pound, His Metric and Poetry. Alfred A. Knopf, 1917, 29–31


• Adams, Stephen J. (2005). "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley", in Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos and Stephen Adams (eds.). The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-30448-4
• Aiken, Conrad. (1965). "Ezra Pound: 1914" in Stock, Noel (ed.). Ezra Pound: Perspectives. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company.
• Albright. Daniel. (1999). "Early Cantos: I – XLI", in Ira Nadel (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Alexander, Michael. (1997). "Ezra Pound as Translator". Translation and Literature. Volume 6, No. 1.
• Alexander, Michael. (1979). The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-0981-9
• Arrowsmith, Rupert Richard. (2011). Modernism and the Museum: Asian, African, and Pacific Art and the London Avant-Garde. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-959369-9
• Baker, Carlos. (1981). Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917–1961. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 978-0-684-16765-7
• Bacigalupo, Massimo. (1999.) "Pound as Critic", in Ira Nadel (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Barnstone, Aliki (1998). "A Note on H.D.'s Life", in H.D. Trilogy. New York: New Directions Publishing.
• Beasley, Rebecca. (2010). "Pound's New Criticism". Textual Practice. Volume 24, No. 4.
• Bornstein, George. (1985). "Ezra Pound Among the Poets", in Ira B. Nadel (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Casillo, Robert. (1988). The Genealogy of Demons: Anti-Semitism, Fascism, and the Myths of Ezra Pound. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988.
• Carpenter, Humphrey. (1988). A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 978-0-395-41678-5
• Coats, Jason M. (2009). ""Part of the War Waste": Pound, Imagism, and Rhetorical Excess". Twentieth Century Literature, Volume 55, No. 1.
• Cockram, Patricia. (2005). "Pound, Isabel Weston", in Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos and Stephen Adams (eds). The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2005. ISBN 978-0-313-30448-4
• Dennis, Helen May. (1999). "Pound, Women and Gender". in Ira Nadel (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Dennis, Helen May. (2000). Ezra Pound and Poetic Influence. Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft, Volume 51. ISBN 978-90-420-1523-4
• Doolittle, Hilda. (1979). End to Torment. New York: New Directions Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8112-0720-1
• Eliot, T. S. (1917). Ezra Pound: His Metric and his Poetry. New York: Alfred A. Knopf
• Feldman, Matthew. (2012). "The 'Pound Case' in Historical Perspective: An Archival Overview". Journal of Modern Literature, Volume 35, No. 2.
• Ford, Ford Madox (1999). Return to Yesterday. Manchester: Carcanet Press (first published 1931). ISBN 978-1-8575-4397-1
• Flory, Wendy. (1999). "Pound and Antisemitism", in Ira Nadel (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Gery, John. (2010). "Venice". in Ira Nadel (ed). Ezra Pound in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-51507-8
• Gill, Jonathan. (2005). "Ezra Pound Speaking: Radio Speeches on World War II", in Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos and Stephen Adams (eds). The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-30448-4
• Hall, Donald. (1992). Their Ancient Glittering Eyes: Remembering Poets and More Poets. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-89919-979-5
• Haller, Evelyn. (2005). "Mosley, Sir Oswald" in Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos and Stephen Adams (eds). The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-30448-4
• Hemingway, Ernest. Bruccoli, Matthew and Baughman, Judith (eds.). (2006). "Hemingway and the Mechanism of Fame. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-599-9
• Hickman, Miranda B. (2005). The Geometry of Modernism: The Vorticist Idiom in Lewis, Pound, H.D., and Yeats. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-70943-0
• Ingham, Michael. (1999). "Pound and Music", in Ira Nadel (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Kenner, Hugh. (1983 ed.) The Poetry of Ezra Pound. Omaha, NE: University of Nebraska Press; first published 1951. ISBN 978-0-8032-7756-4
• Kenner, Hugh. (1973). The Pound Era. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-02427-4
• Kimpel, Ben D. and Eaves, Duncan. (1981). "More on Pound's Prison Experience". American Literature. Volume 53, No. 1.
• Knapp, James F. (1979). Ezra Pound. Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8057-7286-9
• Leavis, F. R. (1932). New Bearings in English Poetry. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-571-24335-8
• Longenbach, James (1988). Stone Cottage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• McGuire, William. (1988). Poetry's Catbird Seat. Washington: Library of Congress. ISBN 978-0-16-004004-7
• Mamoli Zorzi, Rosella et al. (2007). In Venice and in the Veneto with Ezra Pound. Venice: Supernova. ISBN 978-88-88548-79-1
• Meyers, Jeffrey (1985). Hemingway: A Biography. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-42126-0
• Moody, A. David (2007). Ezra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and His Work, Volume I, The Young Genius 1885–1920. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-957146-8
• Nadel, Ira. (1999). "Introduction", in Ira Nadel (ed).Introduction: Understanding Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Nadel, Ira. (2004). Ezra Pound: A Literary Life. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-58257-2
• Nadel, Ira. (2010a). "Introduction". in Ira Nadel (ed). Ezra Pound in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-51507-8
• Nadel, Ira. (2010b). "The Lives of Pound". in Ira Nadel (ed). Ezra Pound in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-51507-8
• Nicholls, Peter. (1999). "Beyond the Cantos: Ezra Pound and recent American poetry". in Ira Nadel (ed).The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• O'Connor, William Van. (1963). Ezra Pound. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
• Orage, A. R. (1921). "A. R. Orage on Pound's Departure from London". in Eric Homberger (ed.). Ezra Pound. Routledge (first published as R.H.C., "Readers and Writers", New Age, 31 January 1921, xxviii, 126–127).
• Pound, Ezra. (1926). Personæ. New York: New Directions. 1990 edition. ISBN 978-0-8112-1120-8
• Pound, Ezra. (2005 ed). The Spirit of Romance. New York: New Directions ISBN 978-0-8112-1646-3
• Pound, Ezra. (2006). "Horace" (edited by Caterina Ricciardi). Rimini (Italy): Raffaelli. ISBN 978-88-89642-78-8
• Pound, Ezra. (2006). "The Fifth Decade of Cantos " (translated into Italian by Mary de Rachewiltz). Rimini (Italy): Raffaelli. ISBN 978-88-89642-19-1
• Pound, Omar, ed., (1988). Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910–1912. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-0862-1
• Preda, Roxana. (2005), in Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos and Stephen Adams (eds). The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-30448-4
• Rachewiltz, Mary de. (1971). Discretions: A memoir by Ezra Pound's daughter. New York: New Directions.ISBN 978-0-8112-1647-0
• Rachewiltz, Mary de; Moody, A. David; and Moody, Joanna (2011). Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895–1929. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-958439-0
• Redman, Tim. (1991). Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-37305-0
• Redman, Tim. (1999). "Pound's politics and economics", in Ira Nadel (ed). Introduction: Understanding Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Reynolds, Michael (1999). Hemingway: The Final Years. New York: Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-32047-3
• Sieburth, Richard. (2003b). The Pisan Cantos. New York: New Directions. ISBN 978-0-8112-1558-9
• Sieburth, Richard. (2003a). Poems and Translation. New York: The Library of America. ISBN 978-1-931082-42-6
• Sieburth, Richard. (2010). New Selected Poems and Translation. New York: New Directions. ISBN 978-0-8112-1733-0
• Stark, Robert. (2001). "Pound Among the Nightingales – From the Troubadours to a Cantible Modernism". Journal of Modern Literature. Volume 32, No. 2.
• Stock, Noel. (1964). Poet in Exile. Manchester: University of Manchester.
• Stock, Noel. (1970). The Life of Ezra Pound. New York: Pantheon Books.
• Surrette, Leon. (1999). Pound in Purgatory: From Economic Radicalism to Anti-Semitism. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-02498-6
• Tate, Allen. (1965). "Ezra Pound and the Bollingen Prize", in Noel Stock (ed.). Ezra Pound Perspectives. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company.
• Terrell, Carroll F. (1980). A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03687-1
• Torrey, Edwin Fuller. (1984). The Roots of Treason and the Secrets of St Elizabeths, New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-064983-5
• Tytell, John. (1987). Ezra Pound: The Solitary Volcano. New York: Anchor Press. ISBN 978-0-385-19694-9
• Venuti, Lawrence. (2004). The Translation Studies Reader, London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-31919-5
• Webb, Clive. (2011). Rabble Rousers: The American Far Right in the Civil Rights Era. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
• Wilhelm, J. (1985). The American Roots of Ezra Pound. New York: Garland Publishing, 1985. ISBN 978-0-8240-7500-2
• Wilhelm, James J. (1994). Ezra Pound: The Tragic Years 1925–1972. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 978-2-7101-0827-6
• Wilhelm, James J. (2008). Ezra Pound in London and Paris, 1908–1925. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 978-0-271-02798-2
• Wilson, Peter (2014) [1997]. A Preface to Ezra Pound. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-582-25867-9
• Witemeyer, Hugh (ed). (1996). Pound/Williams: Selected letters of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. New York: New Directions. ISBN 978-0-8112-1301-1
• Witemeyer, Hugh. (1999). "Early Poetry 1908–1920", in Ira Nadel (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Witemeyer, Hugh (ed.). (1969). The Poetry of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: University of California Press.
• Yao, Steven G. (2010). "Translation", Ira B. Nadel (editor), in Ezra Pound in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-51507-8
• Xie, Ming. (1999). "Pound as Translator". in Ira Nadel (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64920-9
• Zinnes, Harriet (ed). (1980). Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts. New York: New Directions. ISBN 978-0-8112-0772-0

External links

• The Ezra Pound Society
• Ezra Pound at Curlie
• Works by Ezra Pound at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Ezra Pound at Internet Archive
• Works by Ezra Pound at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• "Ezra Pound in his Time and Beyond", University of Delaware Library.
• Ezra Pound papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
• Still photographs of Ezra Pound, Beinecke Library
• Ezra Pound collection at University of Victoria, Special Collections
• Frequently requested records: Ezra Pound, United States Department of Justice.
• Records of Ezra Pound are held by Simon Fraser University's Special Collections and Rare Books
• Ezra Pound recordings, University of Pennsylvania.
• "The Four Steps", Pound discussing bureaucracy, BBC Home Service, 21 June 1958.
• Hammer, Langdon. Lecture on Ezra Pound, Yale University, February 2007.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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The World Congress of Faiths – An Overview
by Marcus Braybrooke
July 15, 2013



Renewing his contact with the University of Oxford Buddhist Society, at 8.15 p.m. on 5th May, the Ven. Sayadaw spoke to the group on "Meditation" returning on 12th May to conduct a discussion relating thereto. At 7.30 p.m. on 8th May, he addressed the World Congress of Faiths 23 Norfolk Square, W.2, and at 7 p.m. on the following evening the Theosophical Society, Tavistock Square, W.C.2; his subjects were, respectively, "The Practical Aspect of Buddhism" and "Buddhist Psychology".

-- Tour of Ven. Sayadaw U Thittila, Aggamahapandita, to Western Europe, by


Participants at the 1933 World Fellowship of Faiths. Photo:

Studying the history of the interfaith movement, one finds an indirect link from the 1893 World Parliament of Religions to the World Congress of Faiths (WCF). In 1933 The World Fellowship of Faiths held an International Congress in Chicago. It was also called a ‘Second Parliament of Religions.’ One of those who attended was Francis Younghusband (profiled last month in TIO). Younghusband was encouraged by the organizers to arrange a second World Fellowship of Faiths’ congress in London, although Younghusband soon made clear that he was in charge of plans for what became known as the World Congress of Faiths.

Just as the then Archbishop of Canterbury refused to support the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, so in 1936 Archbishop Cosmo Lang advised King Edward VIII not to preside at the World Congress of Faiths, because Christianity was the only ‘true religion.’ Most of those who attended the Congress were scholars, such as Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Yusuf Ali, and D. T. Suzuki.
Religious leaders wanted to hold on to their followers.

Inspired by a sense of Oneness that transcends particular religions and inspires active service of others, members of WCF have continued to be gadflies urging faith communities to come together and to be more adventurous and socially concerned.

Overcoming Exclusivism

Pioneers such as Bishop Bell (a friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer), Ninian Smart, Geoffrey Parrinder, George Appleton, and John Hick, all members of the World Congress of Faiths, encouraged Christians to risk an ‘inclusive’ attitude even if ‘pluralism’ was still too dangerous. WCF members who belonged to other religions were also challenging the exclusivism of their traditions.

The resistance was now working in three fields. The Kreisau Circle was holding its endless talks to work out the millennium. The Beck group, more down to earth, was striving in some way to kill Hitler and take over power. And it was making contact with the West in order to apprise the democratic Allies of what was up and to inquire what kind of peace they would negotiate with a new anti-Nazi government. [iii] These contacts were made in Stockholm and in Switzerland.

In the Swedish capital Goerdeler often saw the bankers Marcus and Jakob Wallenberg, with whom he had long been friends and who had intimate business and personal contacts in London. At one meeting in April 1942 with Jakob Wallenberg, Goerdeler urged him to get in touch with Churchill. The conspirators wanted in advance an assurance from the Prime Minister that the Allies would make peace with Germany if they arrested Hitler and overthrew the Nazi regime. Wallenberg replied that from what he knew of the British government no such assurance was possible.

A month later two Lutheran clergymen made direct contact with the British in Stockholm. These were Dr. Hans Schoenfeld, a member of the Foreign Relations Bureau of the German Evangelical Church, and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an eminent divine and an active conspirator, who on hearing that Dr. George Bell, the Anglican Bishop of Chichester, was visiting in Stockholm hastened there to see him -- Bonhoeffer traveling incognito on forged papers provided him by Colonel Oster of the Abwehr.

Both pastors informed the bishop of the plans of the conspirators and, as had Goerdeler, inquired whether the Western Allies would make a decent peace with a non-Nazi government once Hitler had been overthrown. They asked for an answer -- by either a private message or a public announcement. To impress the bishop that the anti-Hitler conspiracy was a serious business, Bonhoeffer furnished him with a list of the names of the leaders -- an indiscretion which later was to cost him his life and to help make certain the execution of many of the others.

This was the most authoritative and up-to-date information the Allies had had on the German opposition and its plans, and Bishop Bell promptly turned it over to Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary, when he returned to London in June. But Eden, who had resigned this post in 1938 in protest against Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler, was skeptical. Similar information had been conveyed to the British government by alleged German plotters since the time of Munich and nothing had come of it. No response was made. [4]

-- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, by William L. Shirer

WCF’s first and continuing task has been to reduce the ignorance and prejudice with which people viewed other faiths. As late as the 1960s, Archbishop of Canterbury Ramsey visited a Hindu temple for the first time, and no one had advised him to take off his shoes! From the 1950s WCF campaigned for children to be taught about all religions – not just Christianity – a change that eventually happened in the eighties.

Sixty years ago WCF held perhaps the first public ‘All Faiths Service,’ when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and asked people to pray for her. Even now interfaith prayer is controversial. It is still an open question whether the Church of England will want to monopolize the next coronation.

By the seventies, immigrants in Britain wanted to find places to meet and worship. A colleague and I offered the use of our church hall to the local Sikh community, who were meeting in the back room of a pub – never thinking it would spark a debate in the national press. Even today, plans to build a mosque will anger some local residents.

As late as 1980, the Religious Affairs correspondent of the Times said that church leaders knew nothing about other faith communities, although WCF had ensured there were friendly relations between them. But by the mid-eighties change was on its way. Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs were building their own religious centers; Christians at last were acknowledging that centuries of anti-Jewish teaching had prepared the seed-bed in which Nazism could grow; the shadow cast by Barthian theology was disappearing; the Inter Faith Network for the UK was established in 1987; and the government was taking steps to counter racial prejudice.

By the nineties, the ending of the Cold War and hopes for the new Millenium created a mood of optimism. With growing trust, faith communities began to cooperate in prayer and work for peace and in defense of human rights. Indeed on January 3rd, in a moving ceremony at the Palace of Westminster, with Royalty and the Prime Minister Tony Blair present, leaders of faith communities committed themselves

To work together for the common good,
Uniting to build a better society,
Grounded in values and ideals that we share.

All too soon hopes for a new Millennium were shattered by 9/11 and other acts of violence. Interfaith activists had to struggle to prevent the ‘War against Terror’ becoming a new crusade. The dangers have led to greater support for interfaith work by many governments and by the United Nations.

Representing Yourself, not Your Faith

Because members of the World Congress of Faiths join on an individual basis, not as representatives of a religion, WCF has been able to pioneer and take risks. It has welcomed members of minority groups and seekers, as well as the major faiths. Today dialogue between those who call themselves ‘spiritual’ and committed members of a faith community is becoming more significant. Equally, all faiths in the West are increasingly challenged by more aggressive secularism – especially over traditional teaching on sexuality and gender equality.

The 2013 WCF Executive Committee

Although British based, WCF has strong links with other international interfaith organisations and took the initiative in convening meetings in 1985 and 1988 which led to them jointly observing the centenary of the 1893 Parliament as a ‘Year of Inter-religious Understanding and Co-operation.’ The journal Interreligious Insight has an international readership, and WCF has arranged interfaith tours to many countries.

Even today, when interfaith is endorsed by governments and religious leaders, WCF has still to remind people that despite the practical benefits of interfaith activity, the primary motivation is spiritual and springs from an experience of Oneness with the Source of All Life, which transcends particular religions and is the deepest wellspring of compassion and the commitment to human rights, peace building, non-violence, and reverence for all life.

This history of the World Congress of Faiths is explored in detail in Marcus Braybrooke’s Widening Vision: The World Congress of Faiths and the Growing Interfaith Movement (2013), available in print or as an e-book from or
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