Naropa Archive Presents 5,000 Hours of Audio Recordings of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg & Other Beat Writers

Image via Chris­ti­aan Ton­nis

Schools like Har­vard, Oxford, and the Sor­bonne sure­ly have qual­i­ties to rec­om­mend them, but to my mind, noth­ing would feel quite as cool as say­ing your degree comes from the Jack Ker­ouac School of Dis­em­bod­ied Poet­ics. If you aspire to say it your­self, you’ll have to apply to Naropa Uni­ver­si­ty, which Tibetan Bud­dhist teacher (and, inci­den­tal­ly, Oxford schol­ar) Chö­gyam Trung­pa estab­lished in Boul­der, Col­orado in 1974. This rare, accred­it­ed, “Bud­dhist-inspired” Amer­i­can school has many unusu­al qual­i­ties, as you’d expect, but, as many of us remem­ber from our teenage years, your choice of uni­ver­si­ty has as much to do with who has passed through its halls before as what you think you’ll find when you pass through them. Naropa, besides nam­ing a school after the late Ker­ouac has host­ed the likes of Allen Gins­berg, Anne Wald­man, William S. Bur­roughs, Gre­go­ry Cor­so, Philip Whalen, and Lawrence Fer­linghet­ti.

But you don’t actu­al­ly have to attend Naropa to par­take of its Beat lega­cy. At the Naropa Poet­ics Audio Archives, freely brows­able at the Inter­net Archive, you can hear over 5000 hours of read­ings, lec­tures, per­for­mances, sem­i­nars, pan­els, and work­shops record­ed at the school and fea­tur­ing the afore­men­tioned lumi­nar­ies and many oth­ers. “The Beat writ­ers had inter­vened on the cul­ture,” says Wald­man in an inter­view about her book Beats at Naropa. “It wasn’t just a mat­ter of sim­ply offer­ing the usu­al kind of writ­ing work­shops, but read­ing and think­ing lec­tures, pan­els, pre­sen­ta­tions as well. The Beat writ­ers have been excep­tion­al as polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al activists, inves­tiga­tive work­ers, trans­la­tors, Bud­dhists, envi­ron­men­tal activists, fem­i­nists, seers. There’s so much leg­endary his­to­ry here.” Empha­sis — I repeat, 5000 hours — on so much.

To help you dive into this leg­endary his­to­ry, we’ve round­ed up today some pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured high­lights from Naropa. Begin here, and if you keep going, you’ll dis­cov­er vari­eties of Beat expe­ri­ence even we’ve nev­er had — and maybe you’ll even con­sid­er putting in a Ker­ouac School appli­ca­tion, and doing some cul­tur­al inter­ven­tion of your own.

Enter the Naropa Audio Archive here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Allen Gins­berg Reads His Famous­ly Cen­sored Beat Poem, Howl (1959)

Take First-Class Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es Any­where with Free Oxford Pod­casts

Sci­ence & Cook­ing: Har­vard Profs Meet World-Class Chefs in Unique Online Course

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.