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1. Collected Poems 1947-1997
2. Howl and Other Poems (City Lights
3. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg:
4. Collected Poems 1947-1980
5. I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat
6. Beat Memories: The Photographs
7. The Letters of Allen Ginsberg
8. Selected Poems 1947-1995 (Perennial
9. The Fall of America: Poems of
10. Indian Journals
11. The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice:
12. Howl: Original Draft Facsimile,
13. Allen Ginsberg Photographs
14. Death & Fame: Last Poems 1993-1997
15. Howl: A Graphic Novel
16. Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews,
17. To Eberhart from Ginsberg : a
18. Dharma Lion: A Critical Biography
19. Illuminated Poems
20. Reality Sandwiches: 1953-1960

1. Collected Poems 1947-1997
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 1216 Pages (2007-10-01)
list price: US$25.99 -- used & new: US$16.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061139750
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Here, for the first time, is a volume that gathers the published verse of Allen Ginsberg in its entirety, a half century of brilliant work from one of America's great poets. The chief figure among the Beats, Ginsberg changed the course of American poetry, liberating it from closed academic forms with the creation of open, vocal, spontaneous, and energetic postmodern verse in the tradition of Walt Whitman, Guillaume Apollinaire, Hart Crane, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams. Ginsberg's classics Howl, Reality Sandwiches, Kaddish, Planet News, and The Fall of America led American (and international) poetry toward uncensored vernacular, explicit candor, the ecstatic, the rhapsodic, and the sincere—all leavened by an attractive and pervasive streak of common sense. Ginsberg's raw tones and attitudes of spiritual liberation also helped catalyze a psychological revolution that has become a permanent part of our cultural heritage, profoundly influencing not only poetry and popular song and speech, but also our view of the world.

The uninterrupted energy of Ginsberg's remarkable career is clearly revealed in this collection. Seen in order of composition, the poems reflect on one another; they are not only works but also a work. Included here are all the poems from the earlier volume Collected Poems 1947-1980, and from Ginsberg's subsequent and final three books of new poetry: White Shroud, Cosmopolitan Greetings, and Death & Fame. Enriching this book are illustrations by Ginsberg's artist friends; unusual and illuminating notes to the poems, inimitably prepared by the poet himself; extensive indexes; as well as prefaces and various other materials that accompanied the original publications.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Navigation and Layout (Kindle Edition)
Got my Kindle edition of this book this morning. They went all out to make the navigation and layout conform to the printed edition.

I already had the printed edition, but wanted it for my Kindle. It took them a while to get it ready, but they did a beautiful job. The table of contents links to every single poem. (Some e-books don't bother with this.) The layout follows the printed edition line by line, including indentations.

It's a very beautiful book in both the printed and Kindle editions.

4-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Great Book. See also George and Condi: The Last Decayed: A Collection of Poems from the Last Decade Beaver Tales and a Canada Goosing: Poems Illustrating a Uniquely Canadian Perspective (See ArtisanPacificPublishing Website).

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Value. Offers Everything Incl. little known poems.
If you just want the poems of Allen Ginsberg, this is all that you need. Absolutely everything (Except for readings, photography and such). If you're considering getting a complete works, you probably don't need a lot of convincing with regards to the merits of Ginberg's poetry. However, I will say that though I am not crazy about a few of the minor poems that he published in his later books, he always stepped it up when it came to the big stuff. And in case you've just read one of the million or so copies out there of Howl, Ginsberg didn't shock the world and make of his life time to smoke weed and watch cartoons. Kaddish blew my mind, and the subtleties of Plutonian Ode come to me all the time when I'm daydreaming. I must admit, I love the pocket poets additions, and have most of Ginsberg's stuff that was printed in those. Then I bought this. Truth is, by the time you've bought two of those you've paid for a little over the price of this. Those little books are nice though and they are what I use. Really doesn't matter all that much how a person reads the poetry I figure & so I will mostly emphasize that all of the books Ginsberg published with City Lights are worth having (the majority of this book). There are at least two poems of Ginsberg that are of the magnitude of Howl (& given the all-encompassing (and not-so-compressed) nature of The Fall of America I would make it 3) & they were written by a more mature poet.

5-0 out of 5 stars Allen Ginsberg was a genius...
This book contains almost all of Ginsberg's poetry. If you are one of those people that must have all of his poems, a great purchase would be The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice. It is his journals and early poems from 1937-1952. You will have every poem that he wrote and his journal. Also, you can buy his book of letters too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deep, Thought Provoking, and Real
Allen Ginsberg's work is powerful. I highly recommend this book! Although not always as cheerful as you may wish him to be, Ginsberg brings the reality of life to these poems. ... Read more

2. Howl and Other Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 57 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872860175
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
poetry, Pocket Poets classic Amazon.com Review
The epigraph for Howl is from Walt Whitman:"Unscrew the locks from the doors!/Unscrew the doors themselves fromtheir jambs!" Announcing his intentions with this ringing motto, AllenGinsberg published a volume of poetry which broke so many social taboos thatcopies were impounded as obscene, and the publisher, poet LawrenceFerlinghetti, was arrested. The court case that followed found for Ginsbergand his publisher, and the publicity made both the poet and the book famous.Ginsberg went on from this beginning to become a cultural icon of sixtiesradicalism. This works seminal place in the culture is indicated in Czeslaw Milosz's poetictribute to Ginsberg: "Your blasphemous howl still resounds in a neondesert where the human tribe wanders, sentenced to unreality". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (80)

5-0 out of 5 stars Remastered into Studio Quality
Most recordings of Ginsberg I've heard were taken, as is, from small recorders in a crowded room. This one has been remastered so that you hear Ginsberg loud and clear. You hear what he really sounded like. This is a great help in understanding his work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ginsberg's Triumph
Allen Ginsberg is considered one of the great poets of our time, and almost without exception is considered the best poet of the Beat Generation.Both of these statements are true, in my opinion.The only beat poet who comes close is Gregory Corso, though they were poets with completely different styles, making them difficult to compare.Howl is extremely poetic and artistic, but in a way that envelops and expresses thoughts at a basic human level.The style is raw, loud, cacephonic, even vulgar in a good way because it is real.As you read Howl, you see and feel the joy, pain, and anger of humans living in the modern world, as they struggle through the crowd and the buildings and the machinery that make a this world operate.Howl is real, human, raw, and any number of other adjectives that are not necessary, because the message comes through with a serious reading of the poem.The rest of the poems are equally great, but the book is defined by its namesake poem.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good!
Loved it! See also George and Condi: The Last Decayed: A Collection of Poems from the Last Decade Beaver Tales and a Canada Goosing: Poems Illustrating a Uniquely Canadian Perspective (See ArtisanPacificPublishing Website).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Seminal Poem of the 20th Century
In my mind, this is the best poem written in the 20th century, with T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" bringing up a close second. With Howl, Ginsberg totally reinvented the way poetry was written, and you can clearly see this influence in the slam poets of today. Howl is both raw and reserved, for while it punches you in the face with graphic detail it holds back key emotional points that leave one questioning. This is a very emotional poem, but these emotional points that I speak of are left vague for a very important reason: so that every single reader draws their own conclusions and so the reader is forced to bring more of themselves into the poem. Like "The Wasteland", Howl is not a poem you can easily read in emotional detachment; for, if you do, you miss the key elements of the poem. But, if you are searching for a poem that will first drag you to the lowest of the low and then, gradually, slowly but surely, bring you back up to where you can finally see daylight again, this is the poem for you. It is a sad poem, but it is also a poem that has the ability to take a sufficiently imaginative person from the depths of suicidal depression (which I know) and bring them back to where they are able to function as some kind of human being again.

In short, this poem gets a bad rap, but it is essentially optimistic, although it starts off from a pessimistic viewpoint. If you look, the beauty is there; but if you approach it with preconceived judgments, you will most certainly not see the poem's bright side.

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting to analyze, but in my opinion, not too good poetry.
I got this little book because it kept being mentioned on several sources I was reading on Queer studies (more of a personal interest, as my professional research is not in this field) as one of the most influential gay male poems in the 20th century. I read it twice, the second time forcing myself to make sure I was actually feeling this way about the book: Honestly, how can you call this good poetry?

It has some good things: It is not apologetic at all because of the expression of gay love, what was probably quite a bold move for an artist in the American 1950s, and in some ways it does critic the conformist feeling of the era. So, I do understand that, if this was the first main stream poetry book to have been published with this message, that it is considered relevant, not necessarily for its quality, but for its boldness, and plainly for being the first.

On the other hand, there is no rhythm, no rhyme, it feels more like reading prose than poetry. Maybe it's because I was born on a completely different historical moment, but this book does not really evoke any meaningful feelings in me. ... Read more

3. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters
by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg
Hardcover: 528 Pages (2010-07-08)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$20.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670021946
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The first collection of letters between the two leading figures of the Beat movement

Writers and cultural icons Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg are the most celebrated names of the Beat Generation, linked together not only by their shared artistic sensibility but also by a deep and abiding friend­ship, one that colored their lives and greatly influenced their writing. Editors Bill Morgan and David Stanford shed new light on this intimate and influential friendship in this fascinating exchange of letters between Kerouac and Ginsberg, two thirds of which have never been published before. Commencing in 1944 while Ginsberg was a student at Columbia University and continuing until shortly before Kerouac's death in 1969, the two hundred letters included in this book provide astonishing insight into their lives and their writing. While not always in agreement, Ginsberg and Kerouac inspired each other spiritually and creatively, and their letters became a vital workshop for their art. Vivid, engaging, and enthralling, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters provides an unparalleled portrait of the two men who led the cultural and artistic movement that defined their generation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Epistolary Heaven!
I also absolutely love this amazing collection and wish I had an exceptional soul mate to collaborate with and share my innermost thoughts with like these two had in one another.There are so many ideas, delightful stories from places like bughouses, creative mini poems, literary references, truth, and glimpses into their lives and souls...I am having fun exploring their references each morning after a night of pure pleasure in the company of this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Used book for new
I believe the new book I ordered was replaced with a 'gently used' version.The book had a bent cover and had a stain on the top of the pages.I don't call that NEW.Was disappointed in the seller.

5-0 out of 5 stars Food for my soul
Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters is a collection for fans who are well versed in Beat literature and all it's peripheral characters as there's very little biographical data given.I'm that fan.I never get enough of Jack and Allen, and this inside peak into their intimate relationship, which they both hoped would someday be published, was food for my soul.It was more than an intellectual relationship; it was more than two writers sustaining each other through all the long years of not getting published.It was soulful, spiritual twining.Jack was not always nice to Allen.At times he was down-right mean, and then there was this on Jan. 13, 1950:

"What is the mystery of the world?Nobody knows they're angels."

Followed a few days later by:
"Jesus, Allen, life ain't worth a candle, we all know it, and almost everything is wrong, but there's nothing we can do about it, and living is heaven."

"If we were not haunted by the mystery of the world, we wouldn't realize nothing."

The letters are full of "I love you, Allen," "I love you, Jack," especially towards the end, when Jack was caught in the downward spiral of alcoholism that eventually led to his death at age 47.

I felt every word.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Love This Book
I respectfully disagree with the "greenhornet" review, which complains that Kerouac letters from this collection also appear in the Ann Charters collection.What "greenhornet" fails to take into consideration is the fact that Ginsberg's letters TO Kerouac are not included in the Charters collection, so you get no sense of the "back and forth" flow of the correspondence between these two literary giants and therefore miss (at least) half the story.This collection, however, shows how Jack and Allen's relationship changed over the years.I must say that I absolutely love this book.Check out this ecstatic Buddhist advice from Kerouac: (p. 308)."The mind has its own intrinsic brightness but it's only revealable when you stop thinking and let the body melt away.The longer you hold this position of cessation in light, the greater everything (which is Nothing) gets, the diamond sound gets louder...the transcendental sensation of being able to see through the world like glass, clearer...all your senses become purified and your mind returns to its primal, unborn, original state of perfectionDon't you remember before you were born?"
Hooooo weeeee now, that's some cool advice Jack is giving Allen.Because Kerouac and Ginsberg are my two favorite authors, I've actually replaced (on my bookshelf) the Charter books with this collection.

1-0 out of 5 stars Beware
Kerouac fans beware! This book is advertised as "Two thirds which have never been published before" and they must be Ginsbergs because out of the entire book, from 1957 on, practically all of these letters can be found in Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969 edited by Ann Charters. Only SIX are new! Charters is a much better work, and it was published ELEVEN years ago. I don't know how many are from the 1940-1956 era because I presently don't have my copy with me, but these letters all seem familiar. I see this as just a waste of money... Buy Jack's two volumes of Letters and don't waste your money on this like I did. Hopefully Ann Charters will edit some more of Jack's letters because there's still a lot left to be read. ... Read more

4. Collected Poems 1947-1980
by Allen Ginsberg
 Paperback: 864 Pages (1988-05-18)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060914947
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Gathered here for the first time is the verse of three decades of one of America's greatest poets. Collected Poems 1947-1980 includes all writings in the groundbreaking paperback volumes published by City Lights Books, the contents of many rare pamphlets issued by small presses, and, finally, some notable texts hitherto unpublished—one, "Many Loves," withheld "for reasons of prudence and modesty," is an erotic rhapsody dating from the historic "San Francisco Renaissance" era.

Allen Ginsberg is, of course, a chief figure in the group of writers (among them Kerouac, Corso, Ferlinghetti, Creeley, Duncan, snyder, and O'Hara) who, in the Bay Area and in New York in the 1950s, began to change the course of American poetry, liberating it from closed academic forms by the creation of open, vocal, spontaneous, and energetic postmodern verse in the tradition of Whitman, Apollinaire, Hart, Crance, Pound, and William Carlos Williams. Within a decade, Ginsberg's classics "Howl," "Kaddish," and "The Change" would become central in leading American (and international) poetry toward uncensored vernacular, raw candor, the ecstatic, the rhapsodic, and the sincere—al leavened, in Ginsberg's work, by an attractive and pervasive streak of common sense.

These raw tones and attitudes of spiritual liberation helped catalyze a psychological revolution that has become a permanent part of our cultural heritage, profoundly influencing not only poetry and popular song and speech but also a generation's view of the world. Even the literary establishment, hostile at first toward the revolutionary new spirit, has recognized Allen Ginsberg's achievement by honoring him with a National Book Award and membership in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

The uninterrupted energy of Ginsberg's remarkable career—embodying political activism as well as Buddhist spiritual practice—is clearly revealed in this volume. Seen in the order of composition, the poems reflect on one another; they are not only works but also a work. Here are the familiar anthology staples "Sunflower Sutra" and "To Aunt Rose"; the great antiwar poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra"; "Wales Visitation" (an extraordinary nature ode inspired by psychedelic experiments); the much-translated elegy "September on Jessore Road" and the meditative fantasy "Mind Breaths," followed by the haunting "Father Death Blues" and a later heroic, full-voiced "Plutonian Ode," addressed to "you, Congress and American people." Among the recent poems are the delicate familiar anecdotes in "Don't Grow Old"; "Birdbrain!," a savage political burlesque; and the new-wave lyric "Capitol Air."

Adding to the splendid richness of this book are illustrations by Ginsberg's artist friends; unusual and illuminating notes to the poems, inimitably prepared by the author; extensive indexes; and prefaces and other materials that accompanied the original publications.

Amazon.com Review
Tortured by the paranoia and mental illness of his immigrant mother,and by his own homosexuality in a society that was homophobic, AllenGinsberg's early work was as much a measure of his self-loathing as hisdetestation of social hypocrisy and injustice. His poems reached depths ofhumiliation and shame that presaged a mental breakdown, followed by recoverywith the help of Buddhist philosophy. Ginsberg's political commitment wasfired by his involvement with Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder and othersin the Beat movement, a poetry of social protest that refused perceivedelitist boundaries. Despite a tendency toward propaganda, Ginsberg's bestpoetry is infused with satiric comedy and cheerful self-parody, and is mostreadily appreciated when read aloud. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars A vast and great compendium of Ginsberg's writing
This might be the first life-changing book I encountered (Warhol, Borges and Nabokov would come later) - I actually (astonishingly, in retrospect) stumbled across both Ginsberg - this collection - and Ferlinghetti in the library of a North Carolina high school in 1986.I kept this book checked out for most of the school year, gradually committing vast chunks of it to memory.

Ginsberg was raw, real, more than willing to be a mess in life and in literature, which is exceptionally humanizing, and the poems are, and always will be this vast something from the depths of the collective American unconscious - "Howl" and "Kaddish" most famously, but in less well-known, but no less wonderful pieces like "Wichita Vortex Sutra" as well.

Fans of Ginsberg (or of the beat movement in general) will already know much of this, but this collection is much more than that - some of the most vital American writing of the 20th century.

-David Alston

5-0 out of 5 stars this is actualy a review of the book, not ginsberg
pros: This compilation is amazing. It covers almost all of his work, includes artwork found in the compilations, and has an awsome refrence section that explains era specific phrases/notes about the poems and an alphabetical directory of proper names.

Con: Its not a very preaty book tho, and is quite intimidating to hold in the hand at times if you wanted to read to people or something.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ginsy's Big Red Book
I just finished reading Ginsberg's complete poems, 1947-1997 -- Collected Poems, White Shroud, Cosmopolitan Greetings, and Death and Fame -- fifty years and over a thousand pages of poetry. My overall impression is that he was probably the kindest, most moral member of the beat generation. When the other beats were penniless & borrowing money, Ginsberg was the one they borrowed money from. Corso would steal Ginsberg's manuscripts and sell them to used book dealers to score heroin, and each time Ginsberg would walk down to the book dealer and buy back his priceless words. Where Kerouac preached his own version of buddhism and gave it up a few years later for catholic alcoholism, Ginsberg remained a dedicated student of buddhist compassion to the end of his days.

And that's what shines thru in many of these poems -- compassion, attention to the present, and the courage to be so honest about his life and his feelings. Many of these poems are raw, experimental, informal, and spontaneous, almost like journal entries. This book contains numerous classics -- Pull My Daisy (written with Kerouac & Cassady in 1949), Howl, America, Kaddish, Mescaline, Lysergic Acid, Wichita Vortex Sutra, Wales Visitation, Elegy for Neal Cassady, Memory Gardens (elegy for Jack Kerouac), and Ode to Failure, among others.

Some of the most common themes are world travel, nature, daily events, progressive politics, the US invasion of Vietnam, the peace movement, road trips, drug use, the beats, gay sex, hinduism, buddhism, death, and love. In other words, Ginsberg wrote about his life. He talks about his friends dying, his father dying, his mother's insanity and death, his loves, his joys, and whatever is pressing and interesting to him at the moment. Some of the poems are better than others, but I can't imagine there's a more honest poet out there.

Casual readers of the beats will likely want to skip around and read a poem here, a poem there, just checking out the highlights. But even for casual readers, there's no sense in buying Ginsberg's small City Lights books -- just buy this big red book so you can have it all. And don't stop here. Ginsberg's later books -- White Shroud, Cosmopolitan Greetings, and Death and Fame -- prove that Ginsy just got better with age, confronting man's inevitable decline into disease and death.

1-0 out of 5 stars Allan Disgustingberg
This just in:William S. Burroughs was the only beat writer with any talent at all and, ironically, if you were to ask your average college type for the names of beat writers Burroughs wouldn't even come to their pot-headed mind.Allan Disgustingberg, alias Allan No-talent, was a very successful literary fraud.He was even able to blindside Burroughs, who was a literary genius, into thinking he was a real hairway to steven, er, stairway to heaven.And this is most astonishing since, if you've ever seen a picture of Allan Disgustingberg, you know that he was about as sexy as my uncle Abe.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Electric Wave In An Ocean Of Complacency.
Hello, Good Lookers.

This collection of Allen Ginsberg's poetry is indeed quite electric.He was the art-form's left to the complacent's right.His writing is at times grudgingly painful, and at others, descriptively beautiful.He was a soul with a connection to his art.

Ginsberg set the course of change for a whole movement (Beat) as well as for an entire society.He was a voice when many had none.He took chances, and paid for them.In this book one can truly see him bearing his soul, his humanity.

His writing is so profound at times, that the beauty lies, not in the words, but in the life and lifestyle he led.Ginsberg was so proficient at transcending the human condition and finding something almost prophetic about it, that his poetry is a must-read for any serious student of poetry.

While some may be turned-off by Ginsberg's stuff, his art lies, again, not so much in the words, but, in himself; for Ginsberg was the art-form, and he lived a life to prove it!

Thanks for thaking the time to read my review.

Rock On, Kids,
Dr. Of Style ... Read more

5. I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg
by Bill Morgan
Paperback: 720 Pages (2007-09-25)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$6.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 014311249X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In the first biography of Ginsberg since his death in 1997 and the only one to cover the entire span of his life, Ginsberg's archivist Bill Morgan draws on his deep knowledge of Ginsberg's largely unpublished private journals to give readers an unparalleled and finely detailed portrait of one of America's most famous poets. Morgan sheds new light on some of the pivotal aspects of Ginsberg's life, including the poet's associations with other members of the Beat Generation, his complex relationship with his lifelong partner, Peter Orlovsky, his involvement with Tibetan Buddhism, and above all his genius for living. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Accurate
Very straightforward biography. Based more on Ginsberg's own journals than on secondhand sources.

Bill Morgan felt that the journal entries written while the events were unfolding would give a more accurate account of those events than would hindsight accounts. He did use other sources as well to counterbalance the subjective bias that we all have.

The narrative flows very well. Morgan is not a bad writer himself.

I rarely trust biographers, but I trust Bill Morgan. His relentless reliance on good sources makes him a very good biographer.

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential social biography of Ginsberg and his times
Reading "I Celebrate Myself" provides a skeleton key to Ginsberg's public obsessions, as well as his private life, as if there were whole new aspects to discover. What was there more to know about the poet whose lifelong ambitions were to find love and acceptance, as well as understanding, from his family, acquaintances, and even from total strangers?

Much, apparently. Not unlike that other obsessive diarist and collector, Andy Warhol, Ginsberg noted everything that happened and wrote it all down, from the William Blake-inspired epiphanies to the failed sexual encounters, and eventually hired assistants who had the task of sorting it all out.

It's a biography not for the squeamish or the faint-of-heart. "I Celebrate Myself" (Morgan's title, taken from Walt Whitman, is not without a little Ginsberg-style self-promotion) is a rollercoaster ride through much of the twentieth century, most of it in a society of underground circles and outside the pale of contemporary considerations.

Early on, however, there are Ginsberg's early, earnest struggles to find a place in 1940s post-war America: the bright student (a genius!) involves himself in a round of well-intentioned jobs, enrollment at Columbia, letters of introduction to literary journals, trying to scale the walls of society in very acceptable ways. He entered Columbia, originally, in hopes of becoming a lawyer.

He tries drugs with a scientific experimenter's zeal, writes unsatisfactory poetry in pale imitation of his literary models, falls in and out of love trying to make up his mind who -- or what -- he really wants.

But poetry becomes the hinge that opens the door. When Ginsberg finally realizes what it is he needs to say, he finds a path of expression so direct it shocked his family, his friends, and an American public unprepared for him (and which still hasn't fully recovered from the shock, generally, fifty years later after the publication of "Howl"). Years of doubting his own abilities as a poet found Ginsberg was ready to scale the walls of social and literary convention with a force that surprised everyone.

This is a social biography, rather than an explanation of Ginsberg's work -- Morgan assumes, rightly, that the poems speak for themselves. Whatever the reader thinks of Ginsberg, the Beats and their work, this is essential reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life Of Allen Ginsberg
After reading "Dharma Lion" an also biobook about Allen Ginsberg which I loaned from a library,
I bought this incredible work
In my opinion everybody should read it, it gives a very importanted view of the American culture & history
and for my part Allen Ginsberg was and still is a very important milestone in human history
give this great man a statue

5-0 out of 5 stars perfect book title
Really good biography, hard to put down, would highly recommend. A couple of thoughts on finishing (first I would like to mention almost didn't get this book because of the Amazon description, it gave me an idea of a book of charts, it is not. The chapters are headed up by years - 1966, 1967 etc. and is a normal biography) is that condensing the book to a few chapters after 1970 would have avoided a lot of repetition. In his later years it's mostly about traveling and giving readings and Peter's crazy antics and boys. (After reading yet another lament by Allen about growing old by himself I couldn't help thinking a problem could be that he only seemed to be attracted to heterosexual male teenagers that inevitable left him for girlfriends.)

Two other biography's I recently finished was the very good Literary Outlaw about Burroughs the work of art Memory Babe about Kerouac, and while I am hooked on their books and think that they are our most important and influential post WW2 writers, they are still, even with fame, to borrow a title from Kerouac, the subterraneans. A fascinating cast of drug addicts, alcoholics, murderers (Carr and Burroughs), criminals, thieves, bisexuals, homosexuals, a few heterosexuals, and some truly, clinically insane people.

- also, Ginsberg would be pleased to know that there is something to shock nearly everyone in the book. I for one did not feel comfortable with the seduction by Ginsberg of hundreds? of boys while he was an unpaid teacher at the Narobi? institute. I guess because this was atantric institution it was accepted since teacher/student flings seemed to be going on with not just Allen (in the book a scandal is reported when the then leader of the college was found to be having numerous affairs with students even though he knew he was HIV positive.) Also Allen's unwavering support of NAMBA, yuck

5-0 out of 5 stars A Life to Celebrate
There are now many biographies of Allen Ginsberg.Shumacher's Dharma Lion stands out as a particular favorite, and the book-length poem by Ed Sanders is not to be overlooked.Most take a bird's-eye view of this poet and his life.Because of his long personal relationship with Ginsberg as his archivist and bibliographer, Morgan stood closer to his subject, both personally and through his access to the prolific journals Ginsberg diligently kept from the age of eleven to the end of his life, than any previous biographer has, or any future biographer is likely to.

The result is a biography whose intimacy and authority are unparalleled.For or some at least, this will be a decidedly mixed blessing.Those with a strong aversion to sexual revelation and description will be distracted if not put off, for Ginsberg was possessed of a ruthless, at times self-defeating, candor in all matters sexual, as readers familiar with his poetry will know.But, as Morgan shows, he was equally candid in all other areas of his life and feeling.

He was also deeply flawed, persistently naive and hopeful about the numerous lifelong friends he made in his days at Columbia and shortly thereafter: Kerouac, a drunk Republican mama's-boy and anti-semite, whose friendship Ginsberg treasured and whose work he championed to long after Kerouac's death; Huncke, who mooched and stole from him repeatedly; Burroughs, who, for a time lusted after him, but at others was inaccessible and gratuitously mean to Ginsberg's life partner, Peter Orlovsky; Cassady, an insatiable womanizer and artful dodger, or worse; Corso, who embarrassed and abused him often; and Orlovsky himself, heterosexual, chronically unstable and addicted to alcohol and amphetamines, and not infrequently interpersonally and physically destructive.To all of these, and to scores if not hundreds of others, Ginsberg's loyalty, generosity, and his efforts to support them financially and promote their work and enhance their lives never wavered.In his close personal relationships, Ginsberg could be, and often was, a fool, but he was not a fair-weather friend.Among the flaws that Morgan addresses and clarifies was Ginsberg's peculiar and persistent blind spot for women, their strengths, virtues, and talents.Even those close to him, not rarely in love with him, could in important ways escape his notice.

In fairly documenting his flaws, however, Morgan's treatment does not throw Ginsberg's virtues into shadow.His intense interest in all things human, his passionate commitment to free speech and unfettered thought and social justice and, some will be surprised, his patriotism, all come through.But what comes through most powerfully is the loving pains he took to care for others, more often than not one-at-a-time.Undivided attention, a meal, a place to stay, the reading of a poet's work brought to him for comment, his personal responses to virtually all the letters sent to him, from friend and stranger alike; Ginsberg cared and gave.

Until the last very few years of his life, and despite the popularity of his books, readings, and recordings, Ginsberg was chronically close to poverty, on many occasions simply broke, and sometimes temporarily stranded.Even when his income was nominally adequate, he bought his clothing in second-hand stores, rescued his friends again and again and again, and made up the difference.As he supported his friends, sometimes over many years, he supported numerous younger poets and writers, as well as working tirelessly to benefit the many causes, programs, and institutions he cared about; he gave and gave and gave.

In the end, Morgan's biography, its chapters proceeding year by year, covers the life of a great poet who was not less a man of truly heroic love and candor, a flawed human being who can stand as a model and a beacon for that which is most tender and dear in each of us. ... Read more

6. Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg
by Sarah Greenough
Hardcover: 144 Pages (2010-05-20)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$30.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3791350528
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This intimate family album is a
revealing photographic look at the
Beat Generation as chronicled by
the movement s great poet Allen
Ginsberg. Allen Ginsberg began photographing in the late 1940s when he
purchased a small, second-hand Kodak camera. For the next
fifteen years he took photographs of himself, his friends, and
lovers, including the writers and poets Jack Kerouac, William
Burroughs, and Gregory Corso as well as Beat personality Neal
Cassady. He abandoned photography in 1963 and took it up
again in the 1980s, when he was encouraged by photographers
Berenice Abbott and Robert Frank to reprint his earlier work
and make new portraits; these included more images of
longtime friends as well other acquaintances such as painters
Larry Rivers and Francesco Clemente and musician Bob Dylan.
Ginsberg's photographs form a compelling portrait of the Beat
and counterculture generation from the 1950s to the 1990s. Far
more than historical documents, his photographs and the
extensive inscriptions he added to them years later preserve
what he referred to as "the sacredness of the moment," the
often joyous communion of friends and the poignancy of
looking back to intensely felt times. More than seventy prints
are brilliantly reproduced in this book and accompanied by
Sarah Greenough's essay on Ginsberg's photography in relation
to his poetry and other photographers of the time, a
chronology of his photographic activity, and selections from
interviews with Ginsberg between 1958 and 1996. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Get Ginsberg's Book Instead
This book was put together after Ginsberg's death and is from limited sources. It was assembled after the collection had already been divided up. (As it says in the book itself.)

It is like an abbreviated version of "Allen Ginsberg Photographs" by Allen Ginsberg. (Also available from Amazon.)

I have them both, and I strongly recommend that you skip this one and get Ginsberg's own book, taken from his full collection. It's much bigger and is what Ginsberg wanted us to see. His project, not someone else's. Anyone who tells you the new bookhas a greater variety has not even seen the 1991 book.

The new book is not bad. It's simply overshadowed by Ginsberg's original. The new book's introduction is by Sarah Greenough, expert on photography. While the introduction to Ginsberg's original is by Gregory Corso.

It's too early to bury the Beats in academia. As long as original versions are available, let's buy them.

5-0 out of 5 stars allen ginsberg, through his photographs and comments, brings out the very humanity of the subjects--especially of himself.
I was almost giddy with pleasure and surprise--just looking at the cover, front and back, sideways and upside down, and then began flipping the pages from back to front, stopping to read Ginsberg's words--not always easy, but worth the realness of his script--stopping only when the photo leaped at me--most did leap, but I didn't want to linger too long at this kind of "first look, best look," I was too excited, and when I touched, gently--but, My God!, firmly!--the front cover, I raised my head, dropped the book, and bellowed to Ginsberg, "You did it! You did it! You son-of-a-bitch, you did it," and sat down, the book cradled on my lap, and slowly, slowly, started at the beginning, while tears of memory rolled easily down my face.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ginsberg and His Leica Rangefinder
I sat in the front row, center, at a Bob Dylan concert in 1993. I looked to my right to find that I was sitting next to Allen Ginsberg. Though photography at a Dylan concert is a taboo (even more strictly enforced than audio recording), Ginsberg spent a good portion of the concert clicking away with his Leica camera (nothing but the best!). At the end of the last encore, Dylan strode up to the edge of the stage, crouched down to his knees, and, just a few feet apart, silently stared into Ginsberg's eyes for several minutes. Then Dylan scurried off the stage without exchanging a word with his good friend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg
We were fortunate enough to have stumbled upon Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg at the National Gallery of Art when we recently visited DC.

The exhibit encompasses 79 beautiful photographs captured by Ginsberg from the 1950s to the 1990s. It is clear to see his artistry was not limited to the written and spoken word. I was enthralled by the images and especially liked his handwritten comments in the borders of the prints.

The images include note-worthies Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, as well as self-portraits of Ginsberg himself. Not only historical in nature because of the subject matter but totally fascinating by virtue of his photographic skill.

I was delighted to see the book, "Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg" for sale in the museum gift shop. The book does not disappoint!

5-0 out of 5 stars not to be missed
the reproduction of the Cezanne painting that turned Allen Ginsberg on as a kid is worth the whole book (the 3D effect is palpable but Ginzy's comments are divine).
No surprises in the photos except for the most recent one of Lucien Carr - unrecognizable!
A great trip. ... Read more

7. The Letters of Allen Ginsberg
by Allen Ginsberg
Hardcover: 468 Pages (2008-09-02)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003R4ZC1S
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) was one of twentieth-century literature’s most prolific letter-writers. This definitive volume showcases his correspondence with some of the most original and interesting artists of his time, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Neal Cassady, Lionel Trilling, Charles Olson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Whalen, Peter Orlovsky, Philip Glass, Arthur Miller, Ken Kesey, and hundreds of others.

Through his letter writing, Ginsberg coordinated the efforts of his literary circle and kept everyone informed about what everyone else was doing. He also preached the gospel of the Beat movement by addressing political and social issues in countless letters to publishers, editors, and the news media, devising an entirely new way to educate readers and disseminate information. Drawing from numerous sources, this collection is both a riveting life in letters and an intimate guide to understanding an entire creative generation.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Insight of Allen Ginsberg
Is the art of letter writing obsolete?Has the computer overtaken this longstanding form of communication that gives all writers their emotional and comfortable voice?

I read THE LETTERS OF ALLEN GINSBERG, edited by Bill Morgan, which proves the case for the importance and collection of such discourse, letter writing.Morgan has again compiled a masterpiece of Ginsberg's work to equal his brilliant biography, I CELEBRATE MYSELF: THE SOMEWHAT PRIVATE LIFE OF ALLEN GINSBERG with his latest collection of 165 letters selected from more than 3700 letters in a"greatest hits album" as Bill Morgan calls it.Morgan has selected correspondence of Ginsberg with such notables as : Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Lionel Trilling, Arthur Miller, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and many more on a huge variety of political and social issues.

I found every letter in the book very interesting.One that intrigued me was the correspondence on 10/04/1962 between Ginsberg and Bertrand Russell, the Nobel Prize Lauereate who stated that nuclear destruction of the planet was inevitable. Ginsberg became very concerned and replied in a letter about the end of existence. He said in one point of his letter, " All I know is, I've lived in the midst of apparent wordly events and apparent transcendental insights, and it all adds up to I don't know what. I hardly trust any appearance anymore, statistical or intuitive. I'd rather drift and see. "

I think Ginsberg's philosophy was just that, a drifting observation of the world events around him. He truly was a literary genius of the twentieth century, and I congratulate Bill Morgan for another masterwork on Allen Ginsberg. If ten stars were available to obtain for a superb collection of letters, this book would easily meet that expectation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very personal look at Allen Ginsberg!
A wonderful and insightful collection of letters that have been saved like the historic documents they really are. This collection of words from one of the great beat poets, Allen Ginsberg, was a delightful and intellectual discovery.I will have to admit to being a huge fan of the poets of that era; they expressed freedom not just with their words but with their lives. His words give the reader a better look at his naked soul. The letters show his emotional and spiritual evolution; and at times, the negative dark side that was also a part of Gingsberg. I felt it was astatement of who he was at those particular periods of his life.

This book is truly amazing for having preserved and recovered such an array of personal letters to so many famous and powerful souls. The creative circle that surrounded Gingsberg is impressive. His communications with them are insightful and sometimes whimsical or angry or funny but always entertaining and interesting!

This is a treasure chest of golden prose and the thoughtsof the beat generation. It covers a long period of Gingsberg's adult life. Through his correspondenceyou can witness how he engaged every kind of issue from sex, and politics to religion and personal relationships. This is the kind of book that says more than any biography ever could have. We see and feel life and the world through the eyes of this most noble and free thinking poet; one that we will perhaps, never see the likes of again in our lifetimes!

I fully recommend this book to all lovers of poetry, the beat movement, history or those who love great prose. It is well worth your time! Definitely a FIVE STAR BOOK! ... Read more

8. Selected Poems 1947-1995 (Perennial Classics)
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 480 Pages (2001-04-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060933763
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Assembled by Allen Ginsberg, Selected Poems 1947-1995 is the definitive collection of the best works of one of the most influential and revolutionary poets of the twentieth century.

Allen Ginsberg, famous for helping catalyze the Beat Generation, wrote poetry for more than fifty years. His innovative verse and provocative attitudes of spiritual, political, and sexual liberation inspired countless poets, musicians, and visual and performance artists worldwide, and helped shape several generations' views of the world.

Selected Poems 1947-1995 commemorates Ginsberg's brilliant career as one of America's most distinguished poets. Here are well-known masterpieces such as the lyric "Howl" and the narrative "Kaddish" -- classic works of American literature -- as well as more recent gems, including the long dream poem "White Shroud," the visionary "After Lalon," and the political rock lyric "The Ballad of the Skeletons," a song he recorded in 1996 with a stellar band that included Philip Glass, Lenny Kaye, and Paul McCartney.Amazon.com Review
Allen Ginsberg made his mark, along with Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder and others,in the Beat movement, a poetry of social protest that refused perceivedelitist boundaries. Tortured by the paranoia and mental illness of hisimmigrant mother, and by his own homosexuality in a society that washomophobic, Ginsberg's early work was as much a measure of his self-loathingas his detestation of social hypocrisy and injustice. His poems reacheddepths of humiliation and shame that presaged a mental breakdown, followed byrecovery with the help of Buddhist philosophy. His best poetry rises aboveboth personal despair and political propagandizing with satiric comedy, andcheerful self-parody, and is most readily appreciated when read aloud. Thisvolume includes sixty pages of songs, some written in collaboration with Bob Dylan, which are notincluded in his Collected Poems1947-1980. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars 2 years & 800 pages shorter than Collected Poems
Don't let the cheesy cover bug you.

Selected Poems contains the vast majority of all the Ginsberg you'll ever want. You got classics like Pull My Daisy, Howl, America, Kaddish, This Form of Life Needs Sex, Wales Visitation, Elegy for Neal Cassady, Cosmopolitan Greetings, etc.

However, you are still missing numerous gems that you'll only find in the Collected Poems or original City Lights books. Some poems I would have included: Laughing Gas, Lysergic Acid, Mescaline, Holy Ghost on the Nod Over the Body of Bliss,Flash Back, Ode to Failure, and Spot Anger. And Memory Gardens (elegy for Kerouac) is abridged for some reason, even though it's not a long poem. And only 3 poems from his final book Death & Fame are included.

For those that don't want to lug around the massive 1200-page Collected Poems, this is a great collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars American original
Ginsberg writes in the forward he has consulted fellow verse men.The collection encompasses the entire career.Son of a poet, he is an accomplished writer of poetry early in his career as evidenced by "The Shrouded Stranger".Ginsberg used craft to control emotion and outrage and harness his imagination in, for instance, "Siesta in Xbalba".He was very concerned to assist the reader by placing words on the page carefully.

HOWL is dedicated to Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Neal Cassady.Ginsberg's images have seeped into our language.It is no surprise to run into sutra, neon-lit, angel, holy, visions, omens, hallucinations.His great predecessor Walt Whitman is cited.

Surely one of the century's greatest poems is Ginsberg's poem to his mother, KADDISH.The mother, Naomi, his father, Louis, his brother, Eugene, his home, Paterson, are all featured in the work.Ginsberg wrote in remembrance of Frank O'Hara, chatty prophet and poet of building glass.The Cedar Bar is empty without him it is asserted.

The Bob Dylan influenced "September in Jessore Road" is topical and one of the poems provided with musical accompaniment.In 'Ego Confession" Ginsberg wants to be known as the most brilliant man in America.Certainly he was a titan.The "Plutonian Ode" mockingly lists places corrupted by radioactivity.In the end the poet chimes that he dreamed a dream of homeless places.

The poem GREEN AUTOMOBILE is addressed to Neal Cassady and it is emblematic of the whole collection.Notes in the back contain pictures of friends and notable subjects.A touching picture of Allen, Louis and Naomi at the 1940 World's Fair is included.

3-0 out of 5 stars an eccletic set of stuff
its tough to review this book as the work is so diverse but i was overall disappointed by the work. ive always felt the ginsberg was more of a personality than a poet. bukowski is a poet--ginsberg sometimes has some clever moments

5-0 out of 5 stars No Holds Barred, No Subject Untouched.
Ginsberg is my favorite poet of all time. From government issues, to insanity, to sexual exploration pieces, to requiems for lost friends, this man has done it all. No collection of poetry has been topped by this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation
It is daunting to undertake the review of a book of Allen Ginsberg's poems.If fact, it is impossible.The extent of his talent, his willingness to experiment, the number of broad themes that run through his work, defy any four-paragraph explication.This collection of poems, selected and edited by Ginsberg himself is really the poet's last oversight of his own life.In four hundred pages covering nearly fifty years we are given not a collection of poetry, but an interior autobiography.

Ginsberg died in 1997, of the complications of Hepatitis C, the same year I discovered that I was suffering from the same disease.His death was untimely, not in the sense that he died too young, but because his creativity, the unique vision that allowed him to be critical, sarcastic, caring and brutally honest had not yet exhausted itself.'Selected Poems' captures his many facets, from the anger of 'Howl' to the whimsy of 'The Ballad of the Skeletons.'One of my favorites is the simply early 'Song' that opens with "The weight of the world is love."This is the poem that circulated the Internet when he died.

Ginsberg is often perceived as a political or social poet, voicing first the concerns of the Beats and then the Anti-War movement.He is always questioning the motivation of those in authority, and those that were not as well.This collection also explores his open homosexuality and his long spiritual quest.Ginsberg's poetry is himself.For all his technical brilliance, what we remember in the reading is the intensity of his presence in his poems.Filled with knowledge, Ginsberg was not the kind to resort to academicism.

'Selected Poems' is a lean presentation.A short preface by Ginsberg leads off; followed by poems in order by appearance, arranged by the volumes they appeared in.A section at the end contains fragmentary notes and comments by the poet on the individual poems.Yet I am happy that I have this volume of his work rather than something more complete.For this is the work that Ginsberg, in retrospect, felt was important, and I think you will agree.As the poet said, "I didn't come here to solve anything.I came here to sing and for you to sing with me." ... Read more

9. The Fall of America: Poems of These States 1965-1971 (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 188 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$4.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872860639
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
poetry, fat Pocket Poets series volume ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars same old logorhea
i read this collection on a roadtrip from seattle to chicago in '04 or '05. this put me in a bad funk. america is beautiful, if only we give it a chance.this is like an adolescent's raving; HOWL remains to be ginsberg's best collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars whitman was alive in the vietnam era
ginsberg takes kerouac's spontaneous bop-prosody and whitman's america and makes one of the classic books of poetry of the 20th century. whitman's spirit is breathed through these poems. as whitman's poems defined the civil war era, ginsbergs poems in this volume define the vietnam era. the sad thing is though the names have changed the song remains the same.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ginsberg's peakskill
Allen Ginsberg peaks with this volume of wonderful, meditative poetry.Although many would claim he hit his prime early, circa Howl, The Fall of America, though not as stylistically dynamic as Howl or Kaddish, is more meditative, maturely political, and tender.Many of the poems in this volume are diaphonous reflections on Ginsberg's American travels, presumably without Kerouac(don't get too excited, hipsters).His poetic stylings seem to be dream woven, with a touch of substance induced mania and distinctly Ginsbergian patriotism thrown in for good measure.The themes of his poems range widely from a picnic with Einstein at Princeton to a shadowy image of Richard Nixon peering eerily into the righteous protest of a diverse group of anti-Vietnam activists, Ginsberg, of course, included.Whereas Howl and Kaddish are more anthology worthy poems, in contrast to most of the poems in this volume, The Fall of America is a richly spirited glimpse of America from a modern Whitman, a true American, Allen Ginsberg.Aum.Aum.Aum.shanti shanti shanti...

5-0 out of 5 stars We have entered The Fall of America
Well, you probabably knew it already. This is the first Allen Ginsberg book I have ever read. Asymetric beauty, astonishing aesthetics andoriginal symbolism and metaphors meet personnal reflexions of the fall ofthe modern and capitalist America. You can really feel the beat, the musicof this poetry. Allen Ginsberg sings as he travels through countrylandscapes and encounters, through smokestacks and cities.The vision of asensitive man, looking at what this country is falling into and what itshows to him. A deep emotional book testifiyng a falling empire through themind of a literary genius. A must. You'll never feel the same.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ginsberg's soul on Paper
Allen Ginsberg brings his magic of the english word to the pages of fall of america, with his assaults of verbatim consciousness.A must read for any stream of consciousness poet. ... Read more

10. Indian Journals
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 210 Pages (1996-08-13)
list price: US$11.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802134750
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The leading poet of the Beat generation and late twentieth-century American letters, a spokesman for the anti-war generation, an icon of the counterculture, Allen Ginsberg led a movement that profoundly altered the American literary and cultural landscapes. Indian Journals collects Ginsberg's writing from a 1962-63 stay in India, offering a wonderfully eclectic, visionary, and, at times, intensely private account of his time there. Photos. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and paranoiac at the same time
Beautiful and paranoiac in the same time this epic journey of Allen Ginsberg w/ Peter Orlowsky in India shows written bits as diary writing, journals, magnificent poems along the way with wonderful photographs inserted. This books is a collage of ideas, sentiments, emotions captured by Allen's ink along his trip throught Calcutta, beautiful instants, praise for the police state, words that fall on the text, announced with a cold voice. This book begin as a diary and classic Allen Ginsberg poems comes at some moments, lenghty experimental poetry classic from the Beat instant. A really nice book with nice paper and typographs.

5-0 out of 5 stars A travel diary from India
This collection of diary entries, pieces of poems, personal reflections, and other notations written by Allen Ginsberg (poet + prophet) reveals a lot not only about Ginsberg, but about India itself.The conditions on thestreets of Calcutta, Bombay, and other Indian cities are presented in starkclarity; many of the images he invokes are startling (like the burningghats, or burial mounds), and sometimes even disturbing, but they arealways described in a way that is at once personal and human.Ginsbergfrequently writes about different Hindu gods and goddesses, reflecting hisdeep interest in and knowledge of Indian culture. There are a series ofphotographs that compliment the written words very well;as opposed to theoriginal printing of this book, there are several new photographs included. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Allen Ginsberg, theBeats, Poetry, India, or the human spirit and it's compassionate nature.... ... Read more

11. The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems: 1937-1952
by Allen Ginsberg, Juanita Lieberman-Plimpton, Bill Morgan
Paperback: 544 Pages (2008-02-05)
list price: US$17.50 -- used & new: US$0.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306815621
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The earliest journals and poems of legendary Beat Generation avatar and poet extraordinaire Allen Ginsberg--including rare photographs and over 50 previously unpublished poems.

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) kept a journal his entire life, beginning at the age of eleven. In these first journals the most important and formative years of the poet's storied life are captured, his inner thoughts detailed in what the San Francisco Chronicle calls a "vivid first-person account...Ginsberg's unmistakable voice coming into its own for the first time."

Ginsberg's journals--so candid he insisted they be published only after his death--document his complex, fascinating relationships with such figures of Beat lore as Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, and reveal a growing self-awareness about himself, his sexuality, and his identity as a poet. Illustrated with never-before-seen photos and bolstered by an appendix of his earliest poems, The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice is a major literary event. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius at Work
Fascinating glimpse into the unfolding of Ginsberg's creative mind. This is a collection of Ginsberg's own journal writings and early poems. It is not yet another commentary from some academic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent item and service
This item was received as advertised and by the date promised.I would do business with this seller anytime!

5-0 out of 5 stars What a Diary!
I wish I could have written like that when I was 11.I wish I could write like that now.Fascinating on many levels, from the literary to the prurient.

My copy is bound starting with the last page of the index, page five hundred and something, going backward.I tried to find some clue if that was the way it was intended, or if my copy is a rare (e-bay worthy) fluke.So far, I have found no answer within the book itself, although I am not by any means finished.Does anyone know?Is that the zen like pranksterish way its supposed to be, or did someone at DaCapo screw up?

NOTE:After much painstaking research, I have been able to discover that MY copy of the book was bound on the wrong side, and that ALL the OTHERS are bound the right way.So I'm going to shrink wrap it and sell it on e-bay in 50 years for millions of yuan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential keys for a through, in-depth understanding of his writings.
The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems 1937-1952 is edited by Bill Morgan and Juanita Lieberman-Plimpton and offers a rare view of the poet during his formative years rather than the more commonly covered later life works. As such, this will serve as a fitting and important introduction for both college-level and casual Ginsberg enthusiasts, surveying the contents of candid journals allowed to see publication only after his death, and including conversations with Jack Kerouac and other notable contemporaries. In packing in elements of his personal life and family relationships, succeeds in displaying many hitherto-unrevealed aspects of Ginsberg's life and personality - essential keys for a through, in-depth understanding of his writings.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch

5-0 out of 5 stars Insight Into a Poets Mind
Ginsberg was perhaps the defining person of the Beat Generation. Technically I suppose that to be a true member of the beat generation club you had to be a personal friend of Ginsberg (although he never claimed to be the leader). It's also possible that being friends of some other members of the cordon of friends around him might count as well. Or, who knows, perhaps it could be anyone who shares the philosophy.

Anyway, this book might be called the early years of a Beat Generation Poet. It consists of journal entries from his early years, along with about 100 poems, some 65 of which have never been published. The entries are varied in subject, they reflect his thinking at the time. They are also a look inside a persons head that we don't often get to see. They describe the time he spent in psychiatric hospitals, his earliest homosexual feelings, the mental illness of his mother, and the early seeking of a religious home.

This is not a biography, it is the writings of the man himself, intended for publication only after his death. ... Read more

12. Howl: Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript, and Variant Versions, Fully Annotated by Author, with Contemporaneous Correspondence, Account of First Public ... Pres (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 208 Pages (2006-10-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$9.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061137456
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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First published in 1956, Allen Ginsberg's Howl is a prophetic masterpiece&#8212an epic raging against dehumanizing society that overcame censorship trials and obscenity charges to become one of the most widely read poems of the century. This annotated version of Ginsberg's classic is the poet's own re-creation of the revolutionary work's composition process&#8212as well as a treasure trove of anecdotes, an intimate look at the poet's writing techniques, and a veritable social history of the 1950s.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Watch "Howl" Come to Life
You might think this book is obsessive dissection of the poem for unrepentant academic buffoons. But the book shows just how inspired Ginsberg was when he wrote "Howl". With each draft, the poem takes on more energy. The truths hit harder. The level of Ginsberg's craft goes higher. I loved following along as the poem evolved to its final version.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Influential and Important American Classic
Allen Ginsberg's Howl has long been one of my favorite poems. I like and admire the poem for various reasons; most of these reasons are related either to the particulars of the poem or to its technical aspects. As a poem, I find it to be a watershed work, both for the extent of its influence and its immense historical importance; therefore, I hope to be able to use it as a standard for my own writing and as a source of perpetual inspiration.

Reading and re-reading Howl is, for me, an enjoyable experience. For a first-time reader, the depth and sophistication of its imagery can seem staggering and even intimidating, but subsequent reads reveal something new each time. Unlike many poems, great or otherwise, Howl rewards re-reading. Much of the poem's complexity and appeal derive from its series of vivid, phantasmagoric portraits, or "chains of flashing images" as described in the Bob Dylan phrase that Ginsberg himself likes to quote. These images are described well and fully; they succeed in conjuring up particularly keen visions in the reader's mind. As Carl Solomon, Ginsberg's primary inspiration for the poem says, Ginsberg possesses a "great skill in describing the maze of thoughts of upset people and conveying them to the reader." By any account, the poem's vivid imagery is one of the keys to its phenomenal success and its immense power. In my own writing, I tend sometimes to veer too closely toward abstract composition without any grounding in concrete imagery; constantly referring back to Howl will, hopefully, steer me away from this tendency.

To me, one of the most noteworthy aspects of Howl is its mesmerizing use of the particular. Readers who are largely ignorant of Ginsberg's life, as I was when I first read the poem, will likely read all of the incidents catalogued in the first part of the poem as fictional creations of the author. However, as Ginsberg reveals in the "Author's Annotations" section of this edition, nearly all of the events depicted in Part I of the poem are based on real occurrences. Even the events that seem the most unlikely have their roots in reality; for example, one of Ginsberg's friends actually "walked all night with their shoes full of blood" (4), while another really "jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge... and walked away unknown and forgotten" (5). That these and many of the other events described in Part I actually happened is a definite surprise to me. Such surprise, no doubt, arises because of the manner in which Ginsberg relates the events in his poem - i.e., surrealistically - and also because it seems to have been written in a very spontaneous fashion, as will be mentioned later. Knowing the history behind the lines in the poem reveals to one how beautifully and successfully Ginsberg shows the beauty of the particular; he manages to take events that he knows of, some of them quite personal, and turn them into something universal. On the surface, such disparate and seemingly unrelated vignettes would appear to have little or no relevance to anyone other than Ginsberg and the others involved in them, but the poet admirably shows that this is far from being true. As hinted at in the Carl Solomon quote above, this is the true genius of Ginsberg's art. The thought of even attempting such a thing probably does not occur to many, and it certainly does not occur to me. In most of my writing, I typically do not even consider using particular events from my own life because they do not seem universally applicable; however, after reading Howl, I find this to be a false assumption. For me, then, Ginsberg's enlightening use of the particular can serve as a fountainhead of inspiration.

The famous long lines of Howl comprise, for me, another of the poem's attractive elements. I have always been partial to long lines in the poetry that I choose to read; I also tend to employ them in my own compositions. Ginsberg's lengthy lines, in particular, are flexible and graceful, as they serve several functions. First of all, they contribute greatly to Howl's sense of pacing; this becomes especially clear when one hears the poem read aloud. Secondly, they allow the poem to flow very smoothly; indeed, when read, the poem almost seems to take on a distinctive rhythm of its own. Few poets, of course, favor the long line; between Whitman and Ginsberg, precious few used it to their advantage. Ginsberg, on the other hand, not only uses the long line, but also is famous for doing so; his skillful deployment of the long line in Howl clearly demonstrates the technique's poetical vitality. Ginsberg has said that the whole of Howl was an experiment to see what can be done with the long line (163); in that case, it is most assuredly a successful experiment. Howl provides constant encouragement - and justification - for my own use of the long line when I sometimes have doubts about its usefulness.

I also admire Ginsberg's deft hand with tropes. In Howl, his use of the trope of anaphora stands out especially. All four parts of the poem have a word or phrase that starts out most of the lines - "who" in Part I, "Moloch!" in Part II, "I'm with you in Rockland" in Part III, and "Holy!" in the Footnote. The constant reiteration of these words and phrases is important to the pacing of the poem; they lend it a breakneck speed and a sense of cadence that is nearly hypnotic. As many fans of Howl well know, the poem truly comes alive only when one hears it read; these anaphoric phrases are one of the main reasons for this. Ginsberg also manages to come up with, through word association, several memorable phrases that seem contradictory or oxymoronic; the most famous of these, of course, is his "hydrogen jukebox" (3). I try to be aware of the tropes available to me when I write and to make good use of them; Howl remains a goldmine of inspiration.

When applying the poetics of Ginsberg, as displayed in Howl, to my own writing, probably the most important factor is Ginsberg's constant revision. The version of Howl that I read contains facsimiles of many early drafts of the poem, complete with Ginsberg's changes. The amount of changes that Ginsberg made in his poem from the first draft to the final one is staggering. I was very surprised by them, as I am sure other also are. The reason for this being that Howl appears to have been written in a very spontaneous manner, much like Kerouac's work. What looks like an astounding display of spontaneity in Howl is actually carefully controlled art. To be sure, the early versions of Howl are, in their basic essence, quite similar to the finished product; the power and beauty of the poem are already present in them. However, through his various changes and alterations, Ginsberg ended up with a poem superior to the one with which he started. The finished version is cleaner, more succinct, flows better, and reads better than the earlier versions. In short, Ginsberg, much to this writer's surprise, shows himself to be a meticulous but successful reviser. I hope to apply this fact to my own writing, because revision is one of my weak points. After scouring the various versions of Howl, though, I at least know that successful revision is possible; hopefully, I will be able to learn more about this delicate art from studying Ginsberg.

Many people view Howl as essentially a poem of protest, but Ginsberg himself has said that it is not meant to be viewed in this light alone. Armed with all the candor of truth, he declares of his poem that, "To call it a work of nihilistic rebellion would be to mistake it completely. Its force comes from positive `religious' belief and experience." What the poet says is true; Howl is not a hopeless, nihilistic lament. Instead, it is a hopeful (and very spiritual, in the non-traditional sense) howl from the wasteland of contemporary culture and society; it is the voice of one man who insists upon holding up a lucid torch of compassion and reason in a world full of oppressive darkness. One of Ginsberg's intentions with Howl was to, if possible, save the best minds of the next generation from being "destroyed by madness" (3). Still, the poem does contain protest elements, and these I particularly admire. Part I of the poem chronicles the unfortunate experiences of many of Ginsberg's hapless contemporaries; it shows the apathetic extremes that are possible when the world is a mere hollow shell that serves only to bring on malaise. It also reflects the fact that there has been more than one "Lost Generation." The inherent, even if implicit, protest in Part I against the mindlessness of the mainstream world is very powerful and piercing. Similarly, the second part of the poem attacks the source of many of the evils in society, the military-industrial complex. Ginsberg compares the problem identified by Eisenhower to Moloch, the fire god of the Canaanites; the former sends young, idealistic kids off to their deaths in pointless wars, whereas worship of the latter involved sacrificing children by fire. The protest elements of Howl, then, are incredibly powerful and striking, even if they are not essential to the poem's core sentiment. I frequently make use of protest methods in my own work, and successful examples such as Howl are a never-ending inspiration to me.

Lastly, I look upon Howl with admiration because of its sheer daring. The poem was, of course, highly controversial upon release; it even provoked a legal trial after having been dubbed obscene by legal authorities (Ginsberg 169). I can scarcely imagine the reactions of some of the more conservative readers of the 1950's to the poem; after all, this was the decade of utopian suburbia and Leave It To Beaver. Some lines seem daring even now, as the fact that I cannot even quote them under Amazon rules attests. I admire Ginsberg's resolve - whether it was bravery, mere bravado, or whatever else - to publish and distribute his poem in the midst of such raving censorship and extreme prejudice. These things, of course, are still occurring, but the fact that Howl was published in the 1950's make the event even more noteworthy. With the publication of Howl, Ginsberg boldly announced himself to the world as an atheistic, homosexual Jewish Communist. Ginsberg's determination to stand behind the work he had written, no matter what the consequences, was an awe-inspiring decision that can only elicit feelings of admiration and inspiration from me.

5-0 out of 5 stars VERY VERY VERY detailed, but you don't need a master's degree to understand it...
(This is a review for the critique of the book "Howl: Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript, and Variant Versions, Fully Annotated by Author, with Contemporaneous Correspondence, Account of First Public...etc.", not about the book itself.)

This book, at a whopping 208 pages, portrays the author, Allen Ginsberg in a cultural and artistic flux as both poet and as creator who's process is also in flux as well. It is also not for the feint of heart except for those who are true fans of the 4 page typewritten epic poem, Allen's first real foray at attempting what can only now be called true free-form poetry from 1956.

The poem itself is full of life and is a ripped-open from the heart (and even his soul) portrayal of his own life - his view of his life from a mirror. This book breaks it down by the process - from the original version, the crossed-out parts, the revisions, the copies of different versions to friends, letters corresponding back and forth about it's impact and other ephemera concerning it.

It's a lot to take in. Everyone chimes in - Neal Cassidy, ex-lovers, Ferlinghetti, publishers, and writings and thoughts by Ginsberg himself, who contributed unlimited access to his own personal papers among other scraps of paper - sadly, Allen never saw this publication as he died right before it was published.

This is the final 'version' of sorts, to explain the obscure references, to make sense of some of the passages he was thinking about when he typed it up over 50 years ago.

However, on a personal level as a poet (as I have written several chapbooks of poetry and many pieces of fiction myself), this is a bit overwhelming. You really really need to be a true scholar of fiction and affecianado of poetry to truly understand the depth and level of commitment he made when he wrote this.

This was a new way of writing poetry - this was a style never really seen, as it was written with such honesty and it surely shows.

To read this book, to go over the several dozen revisions, to read every bit of notes written and typed and edited and scratched out - well, I gave it my best shot.

The book is broken down into sections - the many drafts, the annotations, the many appendixes and correspondences to Kerouac, Carl Solomon, Ezra Pound, accounts of the first reading, the legal battles, and finally tons and tons of pictures and facsimiles of the original poem, the edits, a picture of the actual room he wrote it in, pictures of friends and lovers and friends, and so much much more. It's just too much here to list, but it will be worth it for you to open it up and see for yourself!

If and when you read this tome, you will get the very essence of Allen's spirit, his soul, his thinking process, and finally you could really be able be not only a reader but be part of something that only came along once in a lifetime, and this groundbreaking piece of writing has finally been given the proper dissection with the respect it deserves.

Now I know I may have written some special things, but nothing can come close to a poem that was written before my birth, has affected First Amendment law so much, brought together a special kind of writing community and changed forever the way we all approach literature.

This book is a statement of fact about how it was thought out, how it was born, and how it lives through those who may yet read it and see for themselves that it is as important as some who may revere the Liberty Bell, the Constitution and even the American flag itself.

We have one man to thank, not only for writing it, but for having the kind of support and friendship of so many others whose voices were only heard from the sidelines - until now.

To own this is to own a piece of Americana itself - do yourself a favor, pick it up, read it, and place it proudly on your shelf.

Thanks for reading - please check out my other weird critiques here on Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential for Ginsberg Fans and Spontaneous Writers Afraid of Revision
Considering Ginsberg embraced Kerouac's "First thought, best thought," motto, Howl's 50th anniversary edition, which includes many photocopied pages of handwritten and typed revisions, proves Ginsberg did plenty of revisiting and change to those first thoughts. Choosing better, more musical adjectives, adding to and shaping his images to enhance the mental scenery, and the great big cross-outs in pencil, turn this long, occasionally tough read into something wondrous.

Anyone who hasn't read Howl might not get the beauty of this book. Howl, (at first impression, anyway) appears to be a spontaneous effusion of cadence, gibberish, sexual references and glamorized psychosis. It is funny, frank and unashamed, and in those Eisenhower American-era days, what Ginsberg did was a brave and scary thing. He and his publisher, the poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (who owned City Lights Books) certainly had their work cut out defending it.

Beyond its great literary status, "Howl" is a political milestone, being initially banned and labeled "obscene" for what by today's standards is laughably mild. This version of Howl is dedicated to Ferlinghetti, who along with the American Civil Liberties Union, championed the poem with First Amendment Protections. As we all know, Howl won its censorship trial to became one of the best and most widely read poems of modern time.

The 50th Anniversary Edition has some interesting 1950s black and white photos of Ginsberg, Kerouac, Neal Cassady and friends; photos of Ginsberg's room, photographed in Summer 1955, where Howl was created; a reader's guide and notes by Ginsberg; and perhaps most interesting, a `reintroduction to Carl Solomon' (for whom Howl was written), and a statement and writings by the real Carl Solomon, who had the uncomfortable burden of becoming an unlikely celebrity for having known Ginsberg during shared time in a mental institution. Of great interest are pages written by Carl Goy, a mental patient who underwent some of the shock treatments Ginsberg and Solomon were subjected to. He's a fascinating, if unreliable, narrator and it is certainly food for thought. Also of interest are the pages of correspondence from poets, peers, family and publishers about the book. In some of these letters, he covers imagery and technique, in others he battles angry feelings and upset. It's a great journey through the artistic, spiritual, mental, emotional and political publishing process, on top of everything else.Finally, there are several pages of `Model Texts: Inspirations Precursor to Howl' where Ginsberg pays homage to those that planted the seeds of this work: Christopher Smart, Shelley, Artaud, a tip of the hat to Bob Dylan, his friend William Carlos Williams, and others.

It's a wonderful book--sort of a `box set' for Ginsberg fans--and it's praise for best thought, whether or not it's the first.
... Read more

13. Allen Ginsberg Photographs
by Allen Ginsberg
Hardcover: 132 Pages (1991-05)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$37.94
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Asin: 0942642422
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ginsberg's Own Collection
There is a newer book of Ginsberg's photos, which I also have, but it was put together after Ginsberg's death and after the collection had already been divided up. So the newer book is from limited sources.

This book is from Ginsberg's own collection, before his death, and it has a wider range of photographs. It's also much bigger than the newer book. The photographs are huge, and you can more easily read Ginsberg's inscriptions on the bottom of each photo.

This book is Ginsberg's project, not someone else's. It's what he wanted us to see. And of course, he had the whole collection. I very highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars if you get it, you'll get it
first off, these are two excellent essays concerning photography, one by gregory corso and one by ginsberg himself, and these writings are almost worth the price of the book itself (which you should consider buying used, it can be found even in the used section of amazon for cheap - and they are limited printings from what i understand). as for the photos, this is like van gogh's 'bedroom in arles'. there is a sense of history in these pictures, and as ginsberg says, he knew. here is kerouac, burroughs, cassady, allen, and on top of that, this was early post-world war 2 america. you can see it in the people, the apartments, the streets - i could go on and on, but a truly valuable book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank God He Always Carried That Camera...
What a delicious treat. Allen Ginsberg took it upon himself to be the Beat historian, which has in turn given the world this treasure in hardback. His scrawling notations serve as stream-of-consciousness captions. His early pics of Corso eating grapes and huddling for warmth at the Beat Hotel in Paris are simply beautiful. Much silliness is supplied here as well. And who looks better in black and white than Jack Kerouac? This is not only a great coffee table book, but a must for any fan of the Beat Generation.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok...
It was a nice gift...all the pictures were black and white, mostly of his family and friends. Good for a Ginsberg fanatic.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Texture Of Literary History
From the close up photo of aging King Junkie Burroughs to the bathroom snap of naked, youthful Ginsberg and Corso, this massive collection of black and whites, circa Beat Generation, is quite amazing. Each photo is captioned in Ginsberg's own hand and his descriptions/musings tell the story of the Horsemen ofApocalyptic Literature as they roamed through their own private world. I highly recommend this photo essay to fans of that special genre of writing and living. ... Read more

14. Death & Fame: Last Poems 1993-1997
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 144 Pages (2000-03-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$6.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060930837
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Allen Ginsberg was one of the bravest and most admired poets of this century. Famous for energizing the Beat Generation literary movement upon his historic encounter with Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs in mid-century New York City, Ginsberg influenced several generations of writers, musicians, and poets. When he died on April 5, 1997, we lost one of the greatest figures of twentieth-century American literary and cultural history. This singular volume of final poems commemorated the anniversary of Ginsberg's death, and includes the verses he wrote in the years shortly before he died. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars GINSBERG
Ginsberg happens to be the father of the beat generation, a generation that many dismiss. Ginsberg comes to understand death in the pages of political tongue lashing's and calling them out like a showdown at the "OK". Buy this book and understand a dying man's dream of innocent fame.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book
I recommend this title to anyone who enjoys good poetry. There is something extremely "real" about Ginsberg, always has been, and he shows that realness in these last few poems before he died. "Things I Will Not Do," which was the last poem he wrote before dying, brings a tear to my eye almost every time I think about it. We could all hope to approach our ends with the kind of dignity that Ginsberg seems to have.

3-0 out of 5 stars More Notes Than Poems
When one first approaches this book, one can't help but be drawn in by Ginsberg's knowing smile.His life experiences, loves, and tragedies can all be summed up within this book.However, the many monumental poems inthis book("Things I Will Not Do", etc.) are spaced apart withlymerics, catchy tunes, and mostly toilet humor.When both reading aboutGinsberg, and reviewing his earlier work, a person feels a sense of awe andwonder.A person begins to look upon the world with new eyes.However, Ifelt a little let down after reading this one.I just felt most of thepoems to be far too juvenile, and this really detracts from the over allconcept, and sentimentality of the book.I'd really consider this a"half-n'-half" book.Half was good, and half was not.If anyoneis looking into this book for a first look into Ginsberg, I strongly adviseyou read his earlier stuff first.

3-0 out of 5 stars two cents
Well, this is definitely not Ginsberg's best work, there is no question about that.I am a great admirer of his poetry, but even before this I felt his best work was done years ago with only scattered gems in the lateryears.I bought this book solely because i wanted the first edition of hislast collection of poems.I would like to comment on the Kirkus reviewthat appears here .... to say that the Beat writers, Ginsberg inparticular, are a "sociological phenomenon (not an artistic one) thatloses its bite out of its historical context" is outrageous.Perhapsthe person that wrote those words never read "Kaddish" ... it ispersonal, beautiful, and timeless, as are a great number of his poems.Hislast collection may be weak but let us not trivialize the rest of his greatcareer.Buy the first edition hardcover of this book even if you will notread it ... years from now when Ginsberg is recognized as one of thiscentury's greatest poets your heirs will have a nice first edition of hislast work.

3-0 out of 5 stars a sad ending to a great poet
I thought long and hard about what to say about this final collection of Ginsberg's. As a poet, he was one of the best, and it is out of sentiment and respect that made me want to like his final poems. But in reality, theydo not stand up to his former work. I almost find it hard to believe thatthis is the same man who wrote Howl, Kaddish, and others. It wasinteresting to see what Ginsberg's state of mind was at the end. It wouldappear that it was mostly scatological thoughts and political ravings. Notthat I mind those types of poems, if they are well written. But still, itis a collection that I would recommend for your personal library, if onlybecause it is Ginsberg's last. Though there were some good poems andinteresting thoughts in this collection. We will miss Ginsberg. ... Read more

15. Howl: A Graphic Novel
by Allen Ginsberg, Eric Drooker
Paperback: 224 Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$10.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0062015176
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
First published in 1956, Allen Ginsberg's Howl is a propheticmasterpiece--an epicraging against dehumanizing society that overcame censorship trials and obscenitycharges to become one of the most widely read poems of the century. 

Now a major motion picture, starring James Franco, Howl was directed by two-timeAcademy Award-winners Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, who hired Eric Drooker toanimate the poem. Howl: A Graphic Novel visualizes the poem--stanza by stanza--with animation artDrooker designed for the film. 
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars The Art Is Not A Good Match for The Poem
I was very intrigued by the idea of creating a graphic novel of this poem.I still am; however I don't believe that this artist's style is a good match for this powerful poem.
The art is quite reminiscent of recent children's animation-- "Polar Bear Express" art and Howl are a very bad mix.Howl needs art that is explosive, colorful and frenetic. I know that this artist has worked on other Allen Ginsberg poems- I have never seen them and they could be great. Given the choice of reading this version of Howl or the City Lights pamphlet version- I would read the pamphlet in a heartbeat. ... Read more

16. Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews, 1958-1996
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 624 Pages (2002-04-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060930829
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From his conversation with the conservative William F. Buckley on PBS to his testimony at the Chicago Seven trial to his passionate riffs on Cezanne, Blake, Whitman, and Pound, the interviews collected in Spontaneous Mind, chronologically arranged and in some cases previously unpublished, were conducted throughout Allen Ginsberg's long career. From the late 1950s to the mid-1990s, Ginsberg speaks frankly about his life, his work, and major events, allowing us to hear once again the impassioned voice of one of the most influential literary and cultural figures of our time.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A life changing read
Incredible chronicle of Ginsberg's own evolution and that of the writers and friends close to him. Ginsberg's words are always expertly chosen, his insights both revolutionary and compassionate. Introductions and footnotes are helpful and interesting and overall the reader can tell the familiarity, knowledge and care taken to select and compile these interviews on the part of the editor. A life changing read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lucid View of the Beatnik Bard
"Spontaneous mind," a collection of interviews, is an uncensored perspective of Allen Ginsberg's life, work and the events of his time. The poet felt the interview was an art form, an opportunity to discuss and teach about writing, music, spirituality and whatever topic may surface. Although some celebrities may shun the interview, Ginsberg clearly held a passion for the medium which is quite palpable throughout this collection. In fact, Ginsberg does not flinch at any of the questions, but instead attacks them with fervor and honesty.

The editor, David Carter, includes several vigorous and worthy spars. A conservative William Buckley begets a heated discussion about America in 1968 concerning drugs, censorship and the Vietnam War. A stoic Christian confronts the Buddhist devotee with God's Word. Ginsberg patiently reaches for truth and understanding with compassion in every interview. He is generous with his thoughts but at times the interviews are long-winded. This is the inherent danger of being spontaneous, the cliche of beatniks being free-spirits who spout non-sequiturs off the top of their heads seems eerily true at times. However, the text is a lucid portal for the reader to glimpse the beatnik world through the eyes of one of its gods. Ginsberg's history is an indelible part of beatnik culture. William Blake, Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac and numerous other notable influences are also discussed.

Bohdan Kot

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this read this read this.
Brilliant, transformative and mind expanding like Allen himself.The freedom he sought and found and shared is here.A most generous heart.I also recommend Beat Writers at Work, especially for the chapter on a semester in one of Ginsberg's classes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perceptions of The Moment into Poetry
This book is loaded with information and after almost 600 pages later; here I am with an overview. Most of the books I read tend to be around 200 to 300 pages, so this book is like two or three books put together, consisting of different interviews from the 1950's to the 1990's and a very mixed bag, packed with intriguing thoughts of poetry, prosody, prose, Ginsberg and the Beatific scene that emerged from the late 1940's that subsequently influenced the psychedelic generation of the 60's.

There is some real insightful information on poetry here, very educational and foundational to the beatnik poetic movement, and poetry in general. Ginsberg relates his influential poets that inspired him, molding his thought processes and way of life. From Ezra Pounds, Walt Whitman, the painter Cézanne, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, Rimbaud and from 1948 a mystical experience with the words of William Blake, whose voice appeared to him after masturbating and subsequently experiencing some other mystical visions and awareness. Blake, although not a living person from our time era, became Ginsberg's guru upon the advise of an Indian teacher. In some cases of poetry and linguistic teaching of stanzas and crescendos, I was reminded of Peter Eckermann's, Conversations of Goethe and their discussions.

There are great explanations of the spontaneous style of poetry, the Buddhist flashes of thoughts that come from the spaces between thoughts, that spring up in the perception of the moment, the present flash to be written down in that precise way, the style of momentary thought speech converted into writing and there you have Kerouac and Ginsberg and Burroughs, except with Burroughs it is with flashes of mental pictures converted into words. This is not the conventional style of sitting down and organizing formal structures, nor a laid out novel or rhyming poetry, no, it is spontaneous and attempts to capture the sudden flash of idea - "first thought, best thought" as Ginsberg's later teacher the Tibetan Buddhist Lama, Chogyam Trungpa shared with him, or visa versa, and it was Trungpa's school that also endorsed the Kerouac School for Disembodied Poets. Even Shakespeare was the spontaneous poet, "every third thought will be my grave," unlike the mechanical, arid, conformity of what was taught in the Universities when Ginsberg attended in the 40's. So I say to this, hey, I guess Kerouac wasn't a babbling, rambling madman, but instead he was actual, solid, writing real bits of consciousness, at least according to Ginsberg. His words were like the jazz, the bebop of bits of everyday sudden speech, spontaneous.

Also are some great stories of the crew: Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, Cassidy, Snyder, and Orlovsky. Some of this gets rather explicit. Ginsberg was gay and I don't think that should be censored from this amazon review. In this book he is explicit in describing the love acts of himself and Kerouac, Orlovsky, Cassidy and others, including his acknowledgment of Walt Whitman homosexuality. Interestingly, in one interview, Ginsberg relates the highest love as a nonsexual male relationship - this sounds like Socrates at the Symposium.

There are also interviews relating to the Chicago Seven and it's political opposition to the conformity of the masculine police state mentality. Great thoughts on censorship, sacredness, hippie flower power, LSD, Yage, peyote, prosody, Bob Dylan, the Teton Mountains, Buddhist conceptions, the Cabala's ultimate science of ZimZum, detachment, karma, Ezra Pound, Dionysian orgies, the Berkley Renaissance, explicit sex (censorship), belly breathing, anger control, Visions of Cody, Hinduism and Woodsworth.

Of course there's a lot said of Ginsberg's poems such as Howl, Kaddish, Wichita Vortex Sutra, Fall of America and their influences and styles. There are also scores of book references that would take years to read, but nevertheless, great leads to book buying and increasing comprehension and insight into poetry, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Snyder, McClure, Corso, Ferlinghetti, Snyder, Burroughs, and the beatnik frame of no-mind.

This book teaches a lot and I am impressed at the amount of insight Ginsberg had, intellectually, emotionally, and poetically and if I can use the word "spiritually."

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally, a Ginsberg book to really connect with
Here is where Ginsberg's brilliance is perhaps best shown. In conversation, he revealed his passion and sharpness for all topics. His "poems" should probably not be called poems, but instead exercises in poetic freedom, which is ultimately a futile task, especially when approached for the mere sake of asserting more freedom. One is baffled at the mere badness of his poems, which are not in the Whitmanian vane at all, but in the vane of bloated mounds of words. Nonetheless, Ginsberg, the "excitable visionary Jewish Budhist," is beautifully and swiftly rendered in these interviews. ... Read more

17. To Eberhart from Ginsberg : a letter about Howl, 1956 : an explanation by Allen Ginsberg of his publication Howl and Richard Eberhart's New York times ... poets and relief etchings by Jerome Kaplan
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 45 Pages (1976-01-01)

Isbn: 0915778084
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18. Dharma Lion: A Critical Biography of Allen Ginsberg
by Michael Schumacher
Paperback: 769 Pages (1994-12)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$39.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312112637
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A sweeping biography of one of the most controversial figures in American literature. Shumacher has spent eight years researching and writing this dramatic biography, with Ginsberg's full cooperation and with access to all his journals andpapers, as well as interviews with Ginsberg's friends and enemies. This is the most complete protrait to date on this influential writer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book
If one ever needed a history of the early Beats, this is it.It's more than a biography of Allen Ginsberg, as exceptional as that aspect of the book is, but using Mr. Ginsberg, the author, Michael Schumacher, presents the Beat movement in all its glory and pathos.One sees that the personae are more than names, Creative Writing exemplars, but are souls in search of their shore.
Aside from Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs, and Cassady, the "secondary" characters, like Gregory Corso and Carolyn Cassady, likewise are seen to be extraordinary in their own right, and even a spear carrier, like Dusty Moreland, is given a luminosity that takes one's breath away.
I think it's a bit clear that I was entirely captivated - transported? - by this book.I can't recommend it highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars A substantive bio on one of America's great poets
It's been several years since I read "Dharma Lion". However, it remains for me as one of the finest and most focused journeys into the mind, soul, art and life of a truly great poet and an amazing individual. The life and times and creative genius of Allen Ginsberg will inspire many people for different reasons. First, as a poet, he blew the lid off traditional poetry in the same way Picasso turned art into an intellectual and psychological study of man and the world he has created. Ginsberg was a liberating force for all those who felt "stuck" and "frustrated" by the American "ideal" dream. Second, as one of the beat writers and the ultimate "Bohemian" in his thinking and lifestyle, Ginsberg is fascinating to read about. His travels, both inner and global, take the reader behind, beneath and beyond their wildest imagination. As I read about his adventures, I wondered how he had the energy and money to maintain his incredible journey. Third, his openness and frankness as a gay man was truly heoric and remarkable for his time. Ginsberg, like Walt Whitman, understood the beauty of the mind and the body, and celebrated himself and life through his poetry and how he lived. He fully embraced himself and life in a way that will always leave those who haven't the depth and breadth of a Ginsberg, cold and turned off to this poetic and primal celebration of the Self. Michael Schumacher not only wrote a biography about a literary giant, but filled every inch with the insights and brilliance of Ginsberg and his times. I like a slow read, one that I can savour and think about, put down and pick up again, and then continue the read with more interest and perceptiveness, not only for the subject matter but about life and myself as well. "Dharma Lion" is a biography I'll surely go back to one of these days and enjoy as much, if not more, than I did on the first read. I've recommended this book to many of my friends and I strongly recommend it to you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Vast in scope; minute in detail
Vast in scope; minute in detail I read this bio immediately after reading Michael Schumacher's bio of Phil Ochs. The Phil Ochs bio was lean and mean and riveting. Michael Schumacher took another route with this book, and made it long and detailed. It's often boring, but you really get immersed in the subject. Allen Ginsberg was a role model for me as a gay man, and as a person who has been fearlessly open about who he is. I admire him more after reading this book. An abridgement might be desirable for the general reader. There are just too many exerpts from journals. The author cuts out after 1980. I would go back to 1970 as the cutoff date. The early years, the ones that made Ginsberg famous, are the fascinating ones. The years after Chicago demonstration seem repetitious. ... Read more

19. Illuminated Poems
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 144 Pages (2006-09-11)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1560259345
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Marking the fiftieth anniversary of "Howl," Illuminated Poems celebrates the collaboration of two visionaries of different generations: Allen Ginsberg, the quintessential Beat and America's best-known poet, and Eric Drooker, the New Yorker cover artist whose provocative, apocalyptic images add a new dimension and urgency to Ginsberg's poems. Illuminated Poems contains two works only available in this volume, an introduction by Ginsberg, and thirty-four poems from 1948 through the present day, including the poem "Howl" in its entirety. Perhaps the single poem that captures the anguish and aspirations of the Beat Generation, "Howl" was originally published fifty years ago and is one of the most widely read poems of the twentieth century.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars no need for drugs.just look at the pictures.
i don't care for ginsberg, but drooker's work is mindblowing.
no need for drugs.just look at the pictures.

4-0 out of 5 stars Killer Kinetics in Audio-visual
Adaptation is an art form often attempted but rarely perfected, mastered only through a certain mysterious symbiosis, a careful translation of creation to creation. More than a simple carbon-copy insta-fax, true adaptation is about instilling the tangible soul of a original into thehumunculus of another medium. With the difficulty and unfathomable intimacy involved in such a process, it makes perfect sense to approach Illuminated Poems with a sense of foreboding, of tangible fear that somehow the rhythmic be-bopping beat poems of the great Ginsberg will somehow find themselves impossibly pacified, sterilized, and castrated. One look at the languid lyricism contained in both the words and images of this volume proves those reservations as gloriously unfounded. A sensuous synthesis dances from page to page as Eric Drooker and Allen Ginsberg trade messages across mediums, words swirling into pictures and back again, a heavenly tide of contemporary Blake that comprehends chaos in retrospect. The triumphs and consequences of free love, psychedelic drugs and bohemian lifedeath are laid bare in lyrics, their essences captured in captivating canvases of brilliant madness. And at the center of it all, 'Howl' uncut and complete, the single shouting synapse of a generation, screaming a semi-nostalgic SOS. A must-buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A treasure
A great introduction to the poems of Allen Ginsberg.The illustrations are bold and arresting.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars a beautiful book
This a beautiful book, that not only shares ginsbergs work but works with the images created by eric drooker to communicate the poems and songs vividly, providing candy for the eyes and mind. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys ginsberg, no ginsberg collection is complete without it , in my opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars illustrated poems
an excellent illustrated book of gonsberg's poems ... Read more

20. Reality Sandwiches: 1953-1960 (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)
by Allen Ginsberg
Paperback: 98 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$4.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872860213
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
poetry in Pocket Poets series ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reality Sandwiches, a beat generations must
In Allen Ginsberg's book "Reality Sandwiches" Allen takes you into his world of poetry when the beat generation was at it's peak.Ginsberg is one of the all time greatest poets of all time and this shine's clear in Reality Sandwiches.It's a must read if you love or admire, or are curious about the culture of the beat generation. ... Read more

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