This is a letter and poem I sent to Allen Ginsberg in  the summer of 1976 at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado when I found out he was teaching there. He sent me back my poem/letter with some comments he’d written on it.

I doubt I would still have the poem if he hadn’t sent my handwritten letter back to me, like he did. It shows how thoughtful and engaged he was; it speaks volumes about what a seriously astute/studious type of writer/poet/teacher that he was.  Not only did he take the time to answer my letter – as a matter of course, he included my own original writing, which puts everything in context; and for which I am extremely grateful.

On the back of my letter-poem were some comments written by someone named “Bodine”(?)

Notes about poem: Chris was a young student & housemate of mine at the time, who’d obviously made a strong/good impression on me. He was also a fan of the Beat writers.

The line “Cute junkie nitwit and sit on my face” was a direct cop from something I’d read in Rolling Stone Magazine. It was a short piece that gave humorous “nicknames” to musicians and/or other people. James Taylor was the nitwit and Carly Simon was the face-sitter.

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Dear Mr. Ginsberg,

Here is a poem that I would truly like your opinion of. I wrote it myself, and if I can get any encouragement from you, I will perhaps write more. I am also sending a copy to The Cottonwood Review here in town, and Rolling Stone Magazine.

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For Chris

Hair of the dog and bite of the cat

Squeal on the rat and sit on his hat

Eye of the newt and next to the kin

Favorite things and original sin

Armeggadon [sic] too, you’ll find it there

Dreams disappearing – right into the air

Cute junkie nitwit and sit on my face

Dogs yelping, cats yowling, on into space

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Comments written by Ginsgerg on the letter:

[written very big:]    Ah

[and:]  Read Whitman? Good old Walt?

And Gregory Corso? (Gasoline and Happy Birthday of Death)

– Kerouac liked Thomas Wolfe “You Can’t Go Home Again”

OK – Allen Ginsberg

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Comments written on back by “Bodine”:

Joe

You ever read Rimbaud?

yr pome reminds me of witches song

in MACBETH!

Don’t let the witches in the local learnery screw up Shakespeare for you.

En Avant,

ROUTE!

A fellow fellow

Bodine

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