masthead alt text
Home / 2016 Fall Magazine / #WisdomWednesday: Celebrating Our Roots


#WisdomWednesday: Celebrating Our Roots

by Cassie Smith

wisdom wednesday
Click on the links below or on the image above to hear the audio files.

One of Naropa’s most valuable jewels is our university archive. The Naropa University Digital Archive is an ongoing project to preserve the heritage of our university by making available all institutional audio and video files created since our inception in 1974. The collection continues to grow as new recordings are added every year and include audio and video from every Naropa program.

In an effort to share the knowledge and insight of the many luminaries who have passed through Naropa’s halls during the past forty years, we started a weekly ritual we call #WisdomWednesday. Each Wednesday, we share a recording from the archives on our social media networks. Often, the recording we choose speaks to an issue that is relevant to news, social discussions, or political issues happening that week. Here are some examples:


wisdom#1It’s #WisdomWednesday and #RandomActsofKindnessDay! To celebrate, today’s recording is a 1988 dharma talk from Diane di Prima on ‘Cultivating Kindness through Meditation’! In the talk, di Prima emphasizes that the most important thing in meditation is to be kind to yourself. She explains, “you cannot get an ‘A’ in meditation.”

widsom#2It’s #WisdomWednesday! In today’s recording, Allen Ginsberg asks William S. Burroughs if cats have personas. Also, Diane di Prima talks about masks and Dionysus, Bernadette Mayer reads Emily Dickinson’s “I Am Nobody! Who Are You?”, and Jack Collom lists his own personas, including spectator, blue heron, language comedian, imitation maple syrup, shiny sphere of blue wisdom, and more!


 wisdom#3It’s #WisdomWednesday! Today’s recording is a 1996 lecture from Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman dharma poetics, including discussions of Lewis Carroll and six impossible ideas before breakfast, poetry as Siddhi, Bodhisattva vows and human compassion, poetry as sacrament, the founding of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and various anecdotes. The lecture ends with Ginsberg reciting the Prajna Paramita Sutra. 


 wisdom#4Today’s #WisdomWednesday recording is in honor and celebration of #BlackHistoryMonth. The 1984 recording is from the first half of a class by Amiri Baraka on topics including Harlem, modernism, Langston Hughes, black literature, Civil War, reconstruction, Richard Wright, Black Arts Movement, the Beat Generation, and underground ideologies.

 wisdom#5Today's #WisdomWednesday's recording is a 2014 panel on the #Anthropocene, a term that's trending this week with recent climate change discussions. In the panel, Anne Waldman, Ariana Reines, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Kevin Killian discuss the term "Anthropocene" and how poetry and humans affect the world in terms of climate change. Killian references the lyrics to David Bowie’s "Oh! You Pretty Things" as an example of environmental poetry far ahead of its time.


 wisdom#6Today’s #WisdomWednesday recording is a fifteen-year-old panel on topics of Identity, Gender, and Queer Theory. Panelists Sam Delany, Robin Blaser, Michael DuPlessis, Eileen Myles, and others discuss highly relevant issues like how we see bodies; reactions to categories; fixity; the definition of identity politics, and more!
 wisdom#7For today's #WisdomWednesday, we continue to celebrate Neal Cassidy's birthday with a recording from the 1982 Jack Kerouac Conference! In the recording, Allen Ginsberg reads a poem titled, “On Neal Casssady’s Ashes” and Lawrence Ferlinghetti reads from a then unpublished book by Jack Kerouac, Poems of All Sizes.  wisdom quote