I had just heard about Ginsberg and read about him in Kerouac's books, often as 'Irwin Garden', and was fascinated by this modern-day bard, who was also a close friend of Bob Dylan's. Well, I must admit - my initial thoughts were upon reading that...."this is not poetry." But I had been brought up with very conventional notions of what poetry is and what a poem can be. When I heard Ginsberg read his own poems or when I read them out aloud, there was a certain roll and rhythm to them, of course atypical of traditional poetry, but with an unmistakably catchy beat. Ginsberg was the PR man of the Beat Movement and if it wasn't for him, Kerouac's MS and Burroughs' MS may have never seen the light of day and the world would have been robbed of two incredibly important writers. He would put up with Kerouac's bitchin' and moaning' and heckling him about his Jewish faith and heritage until one day Ginsberg finally realised that Kerouac was just playing with him, testing out his sense of humour, so he returned with a "oh go fuck your mother" which shut Kerouac up pretty damn smart, as he loved his mother more than anybody in the world. He comes across as extremely well-read and learned, too, and.....for the most part, sympathetic (an important part of the Beat ethos) but more on that later. Then when I think about his sexually graphic language in his poems and how he would sometimes strip naked before an audience, I thought what an incredibly brave man - to be open about your homosexuality, especially at THAT time in American history was incredibly brave, bordering on foolish, if not downright stupid. More people should embrace that spirit through life in my opinion and that's one of Ginsberg's most admirable qualities along with his untiring efforts to help his friends with money, heart-to-heart talks or helping them get published. But Ira Cohen was an unbelievably talented poet - one of the best of his time in my opinion and Ginsberg refused to help him, when he needed it and did not allow Gregory Corso to even meet with him (something I heard from a reliable source). Gregory Corso, another brilliant and close friend of Ginsberg's once said that Allen was nice but he was a "tyrant". Finally, the thing that makes me the maddest is how he betrayed Jan Kerouac, Jack Kerouac's only daughter, in her legal fight to save her father's work from all the greedy bidding and selling of his manuscripts and other ephemera and regalia by the Sampas family (who it turned out forged a fake will and claimed it was written in Gabrielle's, Kerouac's mother's, hand) and instead have it placed into a major library, where it could be studied and read by fans and scholars alike. I would classify the poems in this book (a very large, heavy and important volume of work) very loosely and broadly into three categories - 1) brilliant, iconoclastic poems; 2) interesting poems which give you an insight into his mind at the time and what he was preoccupied with but are not extremely well crafted; and 3) pretty shit/instantly forgettable poems. I would say that about 50% of the poems fall into category 2 (not bad but not great poems), 25% fall into category 1 (these are the ones I will keep with me and re-read; and 3) 25% fall into category 3 (these I will just forget ever existed until proven wrong that they have something worthwhile to share with other people other than Ginsberg himself). So, in closing, I would like to share with you the poems I really loved from this volume - the poems which belong to Category 1 - which I will write down and keep somewhere important for they deserved to be read and re-read. Wichita Vortex Sutra (p. The best poem Ginsberg ever wrote in my opinion. 665) - another amazing poem in which Ginsberg attempts to write in the style of William Blake. 738) Finally, the notes section at the back of the book was of immense help in decoding the sometimes obscure or esoteric allusions in Ginsberg's work. Was it worth spending 9 years of my life slowing reading this book?
A note that was left on my car that reads, "Hey baby, I think you're really cute.
When hes not writing about big cocks and homosexual exploits while stoned out of his mind, Allen Ginsbergs surreal poetry is as enchanting as magical cake. My top Ginsberg beats: Psalm II Hymn After Dead Souls Siesta In Xbalba Howl Sunflower Sutra Europe!
Eager to follow a childhood hero who had received a scholarship to Columbia University, Ginsberg made a vow that if he got into the school he would devote his life to helping the working class, a cause he took seriously over the course of the next several years. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac, all of whom later became leading figures of the Beat movement. The group led Ginsberg to a "New Vision," which he defined in his journal: "Since art is merely and ultimately self-expressive, we conclude that the fullest art, the most individual, uninfluenced, unrepressed, uninhibited expression of art is true expression and the true art." Around this time, Ginsberg also had what he referred to as his "Blake vision," an auditory hallucination of William Blake reading his poems "Ah Sunflower," "The Sick Rose," and "Little Girl Lost." Ginsberg noted the occurrence several times as a pivotal moment for him in his comprehension of the universe, affecting fundamental beliefs about his life and his work. The event has been hailed as the birth of the Beat Generation, in no small part because it was also the first public reading of Ginsberg's "Howl," a poem which garnered world-wide attention for him and the poets he associated with.