Monday, June 30, 2014

The Source's Exclusive Interview With Saul Williams

The Source was very privileged to have the opportunity to speak with Musician, Actor, Poet,  Saul Williams, who plays the lead role of “John” in the newly opened Broadway musical “Holler If Ya Hear Me” (read our review here) ; inspired by and centered around the life and music of the late Tupac Shakur.Sitting outside of his favorite local coffee shop in Harlem, New York (the same place Shakur was born) Williams spoke PASSIONATELY about the process of taking the role, what Tupac meant to him an so much more.
It may be a bit of a long read but we implore you to really listen to this incredible human beings words, as he reflects on someone who meant so much to so many

The full interview can be found here.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Metaphysical Insomnia Jazz/Mumonkan xxix. - Philip Whalen

(L-R: Lew Welch, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen. 1963)

So this poem is floating around in dabs on the internet but I feel like it doesn't have the reach that it deserves. So to all 7 of you reading this, I hope you enjoy this poem! It is found in Overtime, Selected Poems by Philip Whalen.

Metaphysical Insomnia Jazz
Mumonkan xxix.

Course I could go to sleep right here
With all the lights on & the radio going

(April is behind the refrigerator)

Far from the wicked city
    Far from the virtuous town
     I met my fragile Kitty
    In her greeny silken gown

fairly near the summit of Nanga Parbat & back again, the wind
flapping the prayer-flags


Hypnotized by the windshield swipes, Mt. Harold Wood:
"Back & forth; back & forth."

                    We walked beside the moony lake
Eating dried apricots
                              Lemons bananas & bright wedding cake
& benefits forgot
& now I'm in my bed alone
Wide awake as any stone

Friday, June 27, 2014

Where do our thoughts come from?

This isn't exactly a meditation. Although I'm tagging it as "Meditation," because this is something to *think* about. Or something to be aware of. A worthwhile exercise I have found is to just sit and be with your thoughts. Bring awareness to your constant chattering mind. Just notice it. Are there any patterns? Are there any reoccurring themes?

We find the body difficult to speak - Jack Spicer

We find the body difficult to speak,
The face too hard to hear through,
We find that eyes in kissing stammer
And that having groins
Babble like idiots.
Sex is an ache of mouth. The
Squeak our bodies make
When they rub mouths against each other
Trying to talk.
Like silent little children we embrace,
Aching together.
And love is emptiness of ear. As cure
We put a face against our ear
And listen to it as we would a shell,
Soothed by its roar.
We find the body difficult, and speak
Across its wall like strangers

- Jack Spicer

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Vince Staples Interviewed By Jesse Thorn

Excellent, informative interview with Long Beach, California rising star Vince Staples. 21 minutes. The best part of this interview is the conclusion, where Thorn asks Staples about why he writes what he writes and raps about. "Are you proud of what you've done?"

To view Vince Staples' music video for "Nate," via YouTube, click here. To listen to "Versace Rap," also via YouTube, click here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Billy Collins, The Art of Poetry No. 83

The Paris Review interviewed Billy Collins for their Fall 2001 issue shortly after he had been awarded U.S. Poet Laurete. 

The big news, of course, is that Billy Collins has been appointed the new poet laureate by the Library of Congress, now the newest of a distinguished list that among others includes Robert Penn Warren, Joseph Brodsky, Robert Pinsky, and most recently, Stanley Kunitz.

Collins’s credentials, despite starting a career as a poet at the late age of forty, are impressive indeed. His various wonderfully named collections of poetry includeVideo PoemsPokerfaceQuestions About AngelsThe Art of DrowningThe Apple That Astonished ParisTaking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes and Picnic, Lightning.Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems will be published this fall. His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. A well-known voice on National Public Radio, his public readings, perhaps better described as performances, are invariably put on before packed audiences.

His work is identified largely by its humor, which he speaks of as being “a door into the serious”—a comment echoed by John Updike’s sentiment: “Billy Collins writes lovely poems . . . limpid, gently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.”

Collins lives in Somers, New York, a few miles from Katonah, which is about an hour’s ride on the commuter train from Grand Central Station. The Katonah station is unique in that it is set in the middle of town, so that one steps out of the train just a yard or so from the main street and the arts and crafts shops that line the far side. Collins’s home, a few miles away, is a renovated farmhouse that dates back to the 1860s. His wife, Diane, was away at work (she is an architect), but on hand was the family dog, Jeannine, a mixed breed collie named after a song popularized by Cannonball Adderly. Collins often breaks away from work to play Adderly-mode jazz on a piano in the living room.

Jeannine made it clear she wanted to be taken outside for exercise—which entailed running down a steep slope of lawn to retrieve a frazzled-looking frisbee, so indented with teeth marks as to resemble (as Collins put it) “the end of a worried writer’s pencil.” Jeannine finally seemed wearied enough to allow Collins to invite his guest back in the house for the interview.

In manner, Billy Collins is very much like what one would expect from reading his poems—quick to add a touch of humor to whatever he has to say, however serious the topic, but leaving no doubt that he is a very dedicated practitioner of his art. He teaches at Lehman College of the City University of New York; one envies his students for their chance to study comparative literature from such a source. And yet there is nothing of the formal Ivory Tower mien about Collins: he is, for example, a passionate golfer, and what time he can take off from the lecture circuit (he is in considerable demand, giving over forty readings a year) and his teaching duties at Lehman, he spends touring the historic golf courses of the country with his golfing friend and literary agent, Chris Calhoun. Perhaps his informal side is best reflected by his given name: he was christened William after his father, thus Willy for a while, and then Billy, which he has kept as his nom de plume as much in reaction to the pretentiousness of those writers who use their initials, or one initial and a given name, as in W. James Collins, or whatever.

The interview took place in the small comfortable study of his home—shelves of books, a pair of paintings, one an abstract by Dan Christensen, the other a 1930s subway scene by George Tooker.

To read the full interview, click here. To listen to Billy Collins read two poems, via Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy, click here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Danez Smith - Dear White America

Danez Smith, Rustbelt individual and team champion, performing his poem at 2014 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Birthday 2pac

Happy birthday to Tupac Shakur who would have been 43 years old today. Here he is on Yo! MTV Raps in 1993.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Beats, The Bomb and The 1950's

Poet and author Robert Briggs speaks about witnessing the atomic bomb explode and it's subsequent effect on America and the world at large. Although his bit about the Beats is brief, this is still a valuable video to see.

I'll Remember You, Love, In My Prayers By Unknown Author

Here's another poem from that old book I had mentioned earlier. This one struck me because of the love and devotion in it. The voice is very strong here. Apparently there is also a song by Alison Krauss & Union Station that used much of this poem as the basis for their song of the same title. The song is pretty cool but I dig the poem a lot more. If anybody knows who actually wrote this poem, please let me know.

I'll Remember You, Love, In My Prayers

When the curtains of night are pinned back by the stars,
And the beautiful moon leaps the skies,
And the dewdrops of heaven are kissing the rose,
It is then that my memory flies
As if on the wings of some beautiful dove
In haste with the message it bears
To bring you a kiss of affection and say:
I'll remember you, love, in my prayers.


Go where you will, on land or on sea,
I'll share all your sorrows and cares;
And at night, when I kneel by my bedside to pray
I'll remember you, love, in my prayers.

I have loved you too fondly to ever forget
The love you have spoken to me;
ANd the kiss of affection still warm on my lips
When you told me how true you would be.
I know not if fortune be fickle or friend,
Or if time on your memory wears;
I know that I love you wherever you roam,
And remember you, love, in my prayers.

When angels in heaven are guarding the good,
As God has ordained them to do,
In answer to prayers I have offered to Him,
I know there is one watching you.
And may its bright spirit be with you through life
To guide you up heaven's bright stairs,
And meet with the one who has loved you so true
And remembered you, love, in her prayers.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Miraculous Divinity

Miraculous Divinity
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive." —Dalai Lama
Today our meditation focuses on seeing with eyes of love. While each of us appears to be a separate individual, we are all inextricably connected at the soul level. We are all expressions of the infinite field of pure potentiality, also known as spirit, God, the universe, source, or whatever name most resonates with you. When we relate to each other from the level of ego or personality, it is easy to get caught up in the struggle for control and approval and the need to be right. But when we relate to each other from the soul level, we experience the expansion of love, joy, compassion, and harmony.
Our centering thought for today is:
I see through the eyes of my soul.
Today send everyone you encounter a silent blessing. You may want to silently repeat the greeting of namasté: the spirit in me honors the spirit in you. Consider dedicating today to living the true spirit of namasté—giving yourself permission to internally bow to each and every person that crosses your path as you witness, honor and acknowledge the divine spirit that they are.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hafiz - My Teacher Once Told Me A Story

My Teacher Once Told Me A Story

My teacher once told me a story of a great saint,
a Perfect One, who wanted to travel around
his part of the world before he died and talk about
some spiritual matters to those who would come
to listen.

And when his men and he reached a certain
country he said to some of his companions,

"Sensuality is in fine shape here, maybe even
too fine shape, but my basic concern is that we
fit in well and that we get a few to listen to my
words which will plant seeds here for generations.
So I want you to employ twelve of the most beautiful
erotic dancers who can travel with us for the next
month as we tour this land."

So the dancers were employed, and from town to
town and city to city the great Master traveled.
The dancers would begin the show as it were, and
once a nice crowd had gathered the saint would
speak for just a few minutes, then let the performers
resume their art.

My own Master then stopped the story, looked at
me in a very sweet and somewhat amused way,
then said,

"Hafiz, don't forget the dancers in your poems."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Allen Ginsberg Reading Howl

Happy Birthday to Allen Ginsberg! Plenty of cool things available at The Allen Ginsberg Project. Here is a quite popular recording of the poet reading arguably his most famous work, Howl. Allen would have been 88 today.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sonia Sanchez : In Conversation With Envision Peace Museum

Sonia Sanchez talks about one of her (and mine) favorite subjects: peace! She also addresses some of her teaching techniques, making peace profitable and gun violence in Philadelphia.

Dean Lilleyman - Moon Burns Like Sun

A small story, a short film shot after waking from a 2am dream, the moon like a sun through my window.

For more, visit Dean Lilleyman's website, here.