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Leaving the town, we were caught in a rainstorm and took a bus to Bath. Then, hitchhiking toward London, we were unsuccessful until Ginsberg tried using Buddhist hand signals instead of thumbing; half a minute later a car stopped. Riding through Somerset he talked about notation, the mode he says he learned from Kerouac and has used in composing his enormous journals; he read from an account he’d made of a recent meeting with the poets Yevtushenko and Voznesensky in Moscow, and then, looking up at a knot in a withered oak by the road, said, “The tree has cancer of the breast … that’s what I mean …”
Two weeks later he was in Cambridge for a reading and I asked him to submit to this interview. He was still busy with Blake, roaming and musing around the university and countryside in his spare moments; it took two days to get him to sit still long enough to turn on the tape recorder. He spoke slowly and thoughtfully, tiring after two hours. We stopped for a meal when guests came—when Ginsberg learned one of them was a biochemist he questioned him about viruses and DNA for an hour—then we returned to record the other half of the tape.