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March 01, 1985 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-03-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

18

Friday, March 1, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

CUSTOM
FRAMING

j7EWELRY
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Since 1950

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LAWRENCE M. ALLAN

est

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Poetic Waves

Continued from preceding page

he adds, "Like the rabbi was
supposed to be."
Ginsberg also sees "lots of
parallels between the Zen
stories of crazy wisdom and
the stories of the Chasidic rab-
bis — the paradoxical ele-
ments and the human inter-
est, as well as the earthiness of
the questions and answers."
He believes that the form of
intersection between Buddh-
ism and Judaism lies in the
Zohar. "The chapter on the be-
ginning is not dissimilar to the
Buddhist interpretation of the
beginning — the point beyond
which there is no discussion.
"The notion of not concep-
tualizing the Creator in the
form and not making an image
of the Creator, leaving that
open in a conceptual kind of
structure, is also a covenant of
Buddhism," adds Ginsberg.
However Ginsberg still
maintains active contact with
Judaism. May 19-21 will find
him at the Reconstructionist
Rabbinical College in Wyn-
cote, Pennsylvania (near
Philadelphia) where he will
participate in a program with
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kriemer,
director of the Kaplan Insti-
tute for Adult Jewish Studies.
Interestingly enough,
Ginsberg revealed that
Chasidic scholar and
philosopher Martin Buber and
Japanese Buddhist scholar
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki "had
an understanding relative to
one another." Ginsberg be-
came aware of this when "I vis-
ited Buber (who died in 1965)
in Jerusalem to talk about
LSD and my own mystical re-
velations. I asked if he ever
had any visions, and he re-
plied, 'Yes, when I was very
young.' He was in bed and had
some sensation of somebody
coming in the window. But
then he said, 'Remember
young man, our business is in
the human world, not in the
non-human, and later on,
many years from now, you'll
remember what I said.' "
Obviously, Ginsberg did.
But he also recalls that Buber
apparently was not familiar
with his work. "He was very
funny," says Ginsberg. "After
I explained who I was and that
I was well known in America
as a poet, he said, 'Oh! Maybe,
but I haven't heard of it. And if
you were really well known, I
would have known. I would
have heard of it.' "
While in Jerusalem,
Ginsberg spent an afternoon
at the home of Kabbala
scholar Gershom Scholem.
Years later, "Just before he
died, I spent another afternoon

.

with him on a rainy day in
Paris in a cafe consulting him
to get the names of the seven
archons of aeons succeeding
Sophia in the Barbelo-Gnostic
religion, for my 1978 poem
Plutonian Ode. I had missed
the names of the aeons, which
is a relatively esoteric matter,
in Hans Jonas' Gnostic Reli-
gion. But Scholem was able to
work them out for me, writing
them on a napkin. I always
went to the experts."
Allen Ginsberg and his
father Louis were very close.
Allen and his then-lover,
Peter Orlovsky, took care of
the elder Ginsberg for the last
year of his life. Orlovsky had
worked as a male nurse and
his training helped ease Louis'
pain. Allen says his father
blessed him on his deathbed

He believes "that
element in American
Judaism —
Commentary,
Podhoretz,
Wattenberg, all those
conservatives — have
a very bad influence
on rich world Jewry."

N

several weeks before he died.
"He said I was a good son," re-
calls Allen, "and I told him,
`I'm glad I was born. Don't feel
guilty.' I had to leave to go
somewhere to teach and the
doctor said he would last a few
months, and that it was safe
for me to leave. But he died
two weeks after I left."
Ginsberg flew back home for
the funeral and wrote a series
of poems for his father called
Don't Grow Old, much as he
had written Kaddish for his
mother almost 20 years before.
Near the Scrap Yard my
Father'll be Buried
Near Newark Airport
my father'll be
Under a Winston
Cigarette sign
buried .. .
in B'nai Israel Cemetery
behind a green painted
iron fence . . .
between Elizabeth and
Newark, next to Aunt
Rose
Gaidemack, near Uncle
Harry Meltzer
one grave over from
Abe's wife Anna my
father'll be buried.
The poems are "more or less
based on the form and style of
another great Jewish poet,
,1 Chdrles Reznikoff, whose

(

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