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Selected Poems: 1947-1995

by Allen Ginsberg
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Penguin Classics
  • Publishing date: 29/03/2001
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780141184760
  • ISBN: 0141184760

Synopsis

Allen Ginsberg made his mark, along with Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder and others, in the Beat movement, a poetry of social protest that refused perceived elitist boundaries. Tortured by the paranoia and mental illness of his immigrant mother, and by his own homosexuality in a society that was homophobic, Ginsberg's early work was as much a measure of his self-loathing as his detestation of social hypocrisy and injustice. His poems reached depths of humiliation and shame that presaged a mental breakdown, followed by recovery with the help of Buddhist philosophy. His best poetry rises above both personal despair and political propagandizing with satiric comedy, and cheerful self-parody, and is most readily appreciated when read aloud. This volume includes sixty pages of songs, some written in collaboration with Bob Dylan, which are not included in his Collected Poems 1947-1980.

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  • 2 years & 800 pages shorter than Collected Poems
    From Amazon

    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.

  • American original
    From Amazon

    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.

  • an eccletic set of stuff
    From Amazon

    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

  • No Holds Barred, No Subject Untouched.
    From Amazon

    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.

  • I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation
    From Amazon

    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."

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