Allen Ginsberg’s reading list for his “Literary History of the Beats” class

“Argh, you’re all amateurs in a professional universe!” roared Allen Ginsberg to a young class of aspiring poets in 1977 at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Their offense? Most of the students had failed to register for meditation instruction. The story comes to us from Steve Silberman, who was then a 19-year-old student in that classroom and a recipient of Ginsberg’s genius that summer.

Only three years earlier, in 1974, Ginsberg and poet Anne Waldman launched the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa Institute (now Naropa University), in Boulder, Colorado.

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