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Collected Poems, 1947-1980

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"Ginsberg is both tragic and dynamic, a lyrical genius, con-man extraordinaire and probably the single greatest influence on American poetical voice since Walt Whitman."--Bob Dylan "Ginsberg is both tragic and dynamic, a lyrical genius, con-man extraordinaire and probably the single greatest influence on American poetical voice since Walt Whitman."--Bob Dylan


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"Ginsberg is both tragic and dynamic, a lyrical genius, con-man extraordinaire and probably the single greatest influence on American poetical voice since Walt Whitman."--Bob Dylan "Ginsberg is both tragic and dynamic, a lyrical genius, con-man extraordinaire and probably the single greatest influence on American poetical voice since Walt Whitman."--Bob Dylan

30 review for Collected Poems, 1947-1980

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mat

    This is the dawn of a new age......in my reading life. I finally finished this f%&$in' book! I remember the moment I purchased this book - it was New Year's Eve 2007 (about to be 2008 and the GFC changed the vibe everywhere that next year I remember) in downtown Brisbane at Borders Bookstore which is long gone due to most people buying online these days. It was a really great time in my life after being burnt out and lost for the first six months of 2007, I ended up finding a new career, a new pla This is the dawn of a new age......in my reading life. I finally finished this f%&$in' book! I remember the moment I purchased this book - it was New Year's Eve 2007 (about to be 2008 and the GFC changed the vibe everywhere that next year I remember) in downtown Brisbane at Borders Bookstore which is long gone due to most people buying online these days. It was a really great time in my life after being burnt out and lost for the first six months of 2007, I ended up finding a new career, a new place to live (in the countryside of Japan) and a new lease on life having recently discovered Kerouac's exciting and exuberant prose only 2 years earlier. Sometimes you walk into a bookshop and a book just YEARNS for you to pick it up, like it is almost glowing. That's the best way I can describe it. 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. To be perfectly honest, I like Ginsberg more as an important figure in late 20th Century American popular culture history and as one of the key members if not THE MOST IMPORTANT member of the counterculture of the 50s and 60s. 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. Posthumously, he comes across as an almost mythical figure - someone who sowed the seeds and sparked the fireworks of a movement which first rocked America and then later the world. Fast forward to the 70s and here he is co-founding the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and lecturing to keen young hungry minds about the beat writers, Buddhism, meditations and other related topics. If you haven't listened to Ginsberg's lectures at Naropa, you are really missing out. He is just an amazing speaker - almost hypnotising. He is extremely articulate, precise, eloquent and insightful. 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. That's something I admire about him enormously. 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. Okay, now that I have gotten the praise out of the way (I'm trying to be completely honest about my feeling towards Ginsberg, even though I might receive hate/death mail from his most devoted fans), I would now like to move on to what I don't especially like about him. First of all, I have heard about how he treated Ira Cohen - another incredibly talented American poet. Never heard of him? No. Don't be surprised. Most people haven't. 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). Apparently he once said to Ira something to the effect of "not enough room in NYC for two bearded Jewish poets". 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. It's sad that Jan died before litigation could take place. Ginsberg had initially been kind to her and supportive of her but as soon as she brought up the lawsuit, Ginsberg quickly turned against her and sided with the already well-established Sampas estate, where, to put it bluntly, he could see all the royalty dollars collecting and starting to pile sky-high. Now to Ginsberg as a poet...... 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). Is this assessment too harsh? I can't tell. I think the reason he sometimes writes some pretty ordinary poems comes down to two factors - 1) deadlines/pressure from publishers and 2) big ego, which usually comes to anyone who becomes famous, or in his case incredibly famous. 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. I will list them in the order as they appear in the book. The Green Automobile (p. 83) Sakyamuni Coming Out from the Mountain (p.90) - one of his earliest Buddhist poems Howl (p.126) - nothing more need be said on this classic Footnote to Howl (p. 134) A Supermarket in California (p. 136) Sunflower Sutra (p. 138) Death to Van Gogh's Ear (p. 167) Europe! Europe! (p. 171) At Apollinaire's Grave (p.180) Kaddish (p. 209) - absolutely brilliant. A masterpiece. IMO the second-best thing he ever wrote. Lysergic Acid (p. 231) - Ginsberg's take on LSD Aether (p. 242) Magic Psalm (p. 255) The Reply (p. 257) The End (p. 259) Television Was Baby Crawling Toward That Deathchamber (p. 272) - Another brilliant poem but rather complex and Orwellian. Angkor Wat (p. 306) - Beautiful. Waking in New York (p. 339) - Features amazing metropolitan imagery. Kral Majales (p. 353) - about his experience being crowned the "King of May" in Prague before being kicked out of the country and having his notebooks stolen. Hiway Poesy: L.A. - Albuquerque - Texas - Wichita (p. 382) - references to other beat writers from Kansas such as McClure and Plymell. Wichita Vortex Sutra (p. 394) - a seminal poem. Iron Horse (p. 432) Wales Visitation (p. 480) - breathtakingly beautiful. The best poem Ginsberg ever wrote in my opinion. Bixby Canyon (p. 497) To Poe: Over the Planet, Air Albany-Baltimore (p. 514) Reflections in Sleepy Eye (p. 524) Memory Gardens (p. 531) - his reflections on Kerouac's sudden and early death. Friday the Thirteenth (p. 538) Ecologue (p. 542) Guru Om (p. 553) Bixby Canyon Ocean Path Word Breeze (p. 559) Contest of Bards (p. 665) - another amazing poem in which Ginsberg attempts to write in the style of William Blake. As Ginbserg himself puts it "a Blakean Punk Epic with nirvanic Rune music" "Don't Grow Old" (p. 710) Love Forgiven (p. 729) Verses Written for Student Antidraft Registration Rally (p. 730) Ode to Failure (p. 737) Birdbrain! (p. 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. I have to ask myself this? Was it worth spending 9 years of my life slowing reading this book? The answer is probably 'yes' because even though there were a lot of poems which didn't tickle my fancy particularly, the above poems show that Ginsberg, when his muse was around, (and I don't just mean Peter Orlovsky) could really pull out some magic from his bardic beard. Highly recommended to all fans of modern poetry and if you are a Ginsberg fan, then it goes without saying that you must read this! This book, once I have finished taking down all the notes, will find a happy home chez M. Whitewolf - one of the most important and relevant writers today. Perhaps some of these pages will inspire him to continue writing great poems. It deserves to be in his hands rather than to lie forgotten and dust-embedded up upon my bookshelves.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Self

    I am still re-reading and savoring the book that when found in my locker in military boot camp (1965), got me called before the base commander and almost tossed out of the service. The questions: My past use of drugs and leanings toward communism. They kept the book :-( and simply gave me a stiff warning about what was American and what was not ... :-) I still love Ginsberg - I don't know what that says about my patriotism. :-) I am still re-reading and savoring the book that when found in my locker in military boot camp (1965), got me called before the base commander and almost tossed out of the service. The questions: My past use of drugs and leanings toward communism. They kept the book :-( and simply gave me a stiff warning about what was American and what was not ... :-) I still love Ginsberg - I don't know what that says about my patriotism. :-)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Forget me not! One of the first pictures I saw of Allen Ginsberg was in this red Collected Poems; it’s 1978, and he’s meditating with his companion Peter Orlovsky on the tracks in front of an oncoming train at Rocky Flats, which made the plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons, right outside Boulder, Colorado, where I grew up and currently reside. The first poetry reading I went to was at my former high school where Allen performed; I couldn’t believe it when he opened with “Sunflower Sutra,” the Forget me not! One of the first pictures I saw of Allen Ginsberg was in this red Collected Poems; it’s 1978, and he’s meditating with his companion Peter Orlovsky on the tracks in front of an oncoming train at Rocky Flats, which made the plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons, right outside Boulder, Colorado, where I grew up and currently reside. The first poetry reading I went to was at my former high school where Allen performed; I couldn’t believe it when he opened with “Sunflower Sutra,” the poem that was making poetry feel possible: “—I rushed up enchanted—it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake—my visions...” and “Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?” That year I won the grand prize at my university for a poem I wrote in Allen’s honor, a reinterpretation of “Ode to Failure.” On the day of Allen’s death in 1997, I drew a single card from my William Blake tarot deck: The Man of Poetry. Exactly ten years after that in 2007, shortly after being hired by the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, at an impromptu reading for the tenth anniversary of Allen’s passing, I was invited with others to stand on the ledge of the Allen Ginsberg Library to read any poem of my choosing from this red Collected, which was being passed around from poet to poet. “I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.” At that moment it started to lightly rain, and as I got to the golden sunflowers—"...we’re all golden sunflowers inside...”—the sun came back out. A friend of Allen's, the one who had brought his copy of the red Collected to the reading, quietly remarked it was as though I was Allen’s granddaughter...a tender way of saying, we love him, too. That evening in my red Collected I revisited the picture of Allen Ginsberg in front of the plutonium trigger train, an act of protest 23 years after his sunflower (“To be in any form, what is that?” –Walt Whitman), writing that train from existence by daring it to remember him: “And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!”

  4. 5 out of 5

    R.

    My copy still retains two book marks, commemorating the era in which I read this... 1. A postcard from Skagit Valley Bulb Farm, with the message, "How about a balloon ride? I think it would be fun!" 2. A note that was left on my car that reads, "Hey baby, I think you're really cute. E-mail me at [email protected]____.com and we can get to know each other." The postcard was written to me by a girl who thought that Bush's "Glycerine" was beautiful poetry; and the note was a joke from my friend, Rich, who had My copy still retains two book marks, commemorating the era in which I read this... 1. A postcard from Skagit Valley Bulb Farm, with the message, "How about a balloon ride? I think it would be fun!" 2. A note that was left on my car that reads, "Hey baby, I think you're really cute. E-mail me at [email protected]____.com and we can get to know each other." The postcard was written to me by a girl who thought that Bush's "Glycerine" was beautiful poetry; and the note was a joke from my friend, Rich, who had an e-mail account named after his cat, Natasha. * David Cross is a dead-ringer for Allen: http://youtube.com/watch?v=VyWgzUGOliw

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maryem

    Makes you think about heartbroken fishman lighting a cigarette, about a multiple milion eyed monsters, about a lot of ass and cunt under the world. Makes you feel like you are Van Gogh's dead ear, what a relief. Makes you think about heartbroken fishman lighting a cigarette, about a multiple milion eyed monsters, about a lot of ass and cunt under the world. Makes you feel like you are Van Gogh's dead ear, what a relief.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jill Mackin

    Howl remains my favorite. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Richard Epstein

    Warning. This book is full of poems by Allen Ginsberg.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

    I read about 300 pages of this and stopped. As part of my Read My Own Shelves project, I have been going through and rereading books I've kept from college and then getting rid of most of them. I knew Ginsberg would not be my favorite because I didn't really like him when I read parts of this collection for an undergraduate course on Beat Poetry. But I didn't expect to truly and deeply despise this book so much. Ginsberg pretty well captures my feelings about his poetry in this untitled poem fro I read about 300 pages of this and stopped. As part of my Read My Own Shelves project, I have been going through and rereading books I've kept from college and then getting rid of most of them. I knew Ginsberg would not be my favorite because I didn't really like him when I read parts of this collection for an undergraduate course on Beat Poetry. But I didn't expect to truly and deeply despise this book so much. Ginsberg pretty well captures my feelings about his poetry in this untitled poem from 1949. "I attempted to concentrate the total sun's rays in each poem as through a glass, but such magnification did not set the page afire." Weirdly, I like his early poetry before he becomes Beat much more. The earliest stuff rhymes sometimes which he abandons almost entirely later. The early poetry also has some closely observed scenes/descriptions that are quite nice. I liked "Crash" which seems like an anthem for MCU's Fury. I also liked "At Apollinaire's Grave": "I hope some wild kidmonk lays his pamphlet on my grave for God to read me on cold winter nights in heaven." This poem is written by Ginsberg after visiting the poet's grave for inspiration and answers; he conflates himself with Apollinaire in the poem, and it's really very good. Also like these lines from "Laughing Gas": "Where've I heard that / asshole jazz before?" and "that first frog thought leaping out of the void." But on the whole, I do not like his poetry and am done with trying to make myself read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sidik Fofana

    SIX WORD REVIEW: Vietnam and Buddha, Beat and radical.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dale

    I'm biased, so take this as you will, but Ginsberg, like his idol Whitman before him, has written some of the absolutely most ambitious poetry of the 20th century. He has the ability to capture the vibe and current surging through the immediate present while simultaneously communicating elemental truths and emotions that will remain accessible and engaging to readers of any time. He is a self-absorbed actor and an objective observer; he can flip between satirical, all-knowing insider and self-de I'm biased, so take this as you will, but Ginsberg, like his idol Whitman before him, has written some of the absolutely most ambitious poetry of the 20th century. He has the ability to capture the vibe and current surging through the immediate present while simultaneously communicating elemental truths and emotions that will remain accessible and engaging to readers of any time. He is a self-absorbed actor and an objective observer; he can flip between satirical, all-knowing insider and self-deprecating humorist to bewildered and heartbroken innocent. There's "Howl" and there's "Kaddish." There's "America" and there's "To Aunt Rose." And that, I think, is the essence of his brilliance: the ability to authentically communicate the entire breadth of human emotions, in part because he's considered an outsider for multiple reasons during this period, and in part because of his incredible courage to be completely honest and completely himself. "I'm not sorry", indeed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Auton

    What is there to really say! The book is almost a complete collection of Ginsberg. You can trace his genius from a young age to an old age: it shows the development of his mind. Overall Ginsberg is possibly the greatest spiritual yet radical poet I know of. If you haven’t read Ginsberg you should hang your head in shame. Seriously, though if you haven’t read him, you should. You could possibly like myself learn about yourself and Ginsberg simultaneously.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eric Hudson

    My off the top of my dome poem/review to Allen about his book of poems Allen, I know that in between time life and space you are a genius and all So I hope you're open to this mortal's note Poems are not novels and novels are not Poems. Poems should be brief like kisses Making heads wanna feel more But still, thanks for the wild trip Its been one Bro. My off the top of my dome poem/review to Allen about his book of poems Allen, I know that in between time life and space you are a genius and all So I hope you're open to this mortal's note Poems are not novels and novels are not Poems. Poems should be brief like kisses Making heads wanna feel more But still, thanks for the wild trip Its been one Bro.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rabishu

    Prefer his very early and "Howl" period poetry to his other stuff. Has a few themes and images that he hammers to death in a way I'd be afraid to do, but he makes it work. Prefer his very early and "Howl" period poetry to his other stuff. Has a few themes and images that he hammers to death in a way I'd be afraid to do, but he makes it work.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Midkiff

    Wonderful. One of the best poets in the modern age. This is the best collection of his work I have yet to see. If anyone is beginning to get into Ginsberg, this is the book for you!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ishani

    His poems have often been considered a touch anachronistic compared to the work of some of his peers. Of the Beat Generation’s major figures, though, one could argue that they—and he—are actually the most sturdy when held up to modern scrutiny: sure, he had one eye to the romantic pastoralism of Whitman, but where Kerouac has become a signpost for fuckboi toxicity and Burroughs’ excesses appear increasingly gnarly in the rearview, Ginsberg just seems sweeter as time has worn off the shock of his His poems have often been considered a touch anachronistic compared to the work of some of his peers. Of the Beat Generation’s major figures, though, one could argue that they—and he—are actually the most sturdy when held up to modern scrutiny: sure, he had one eye to the romantic pastoralism of Whitman, but where Kerouac has become a signpost for fuckboi toxicity and Burroughs’ excesses appear increasingly gnarly in the rearview, Ginsberg just seems sweeter as time has worn off the shock of his preoccupations. Put more succinctly: Ginsberg is a queer beacon of light, however imperfect, and the layers of taboo being slowly peeled away have only made that light shine brighter.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jim McDonald

    The most important collection of Ginsberg's work and essential for an overview of his poetry. His importance for the culture of America in the Twentieth Century shines through. Early work, some almost juvenalia, is here, through the explosion of work from Howl and after, right up to more considered writing from the 1980s. He was a jewel of a man and this is a wonderful record of his contribution. The most important collection of Ginsberg's work and essential for an overview of his poetry. His importance for the culture of America in the Twentieth Century shines through. Early work, some almost juvenalia, is here, through the explosion of work from Howl and after, right up to more considered writing from the 1980s. He was a jewel of a man and this is a wonderful record of his contribution.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Rigg

    I read a volume of Gingsberg's poetry in 1991. I don't know for sure it was this one, but the publish date seems right and I remember it having a red cover, so it was probably this one. "Howl" is of course his best known poem, but "Kaddish" stood out to me, as did "Please Master." I read a volume of Gingsberg's poetry in 1991. I don't know for sure it was this one, but the publish date seems right and I remember it having a red cover, so it was probably this one. "Howl" is of course his best known poem, but "Kaddish" stood out to me, as did "Please Master."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    Living so many years after the publication of Howl it is sometimes easy to forget the colossal impact Ginsberg had on modern poetry, but this collection is a great reminder.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Hardest read of my life!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    I was first introduced to Ginsberg in Lit class in college. I was fortunate to attend one his reading before passed. To this day he remains a favorite.

  21. 5 out of 5

    J.S. Bratton

    Essential American Poetry

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Frazier

    Not sure about Ginsberg

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deborah K.

    I was really into the Beat writers at this point. It was my junior year of high school, I wore black clothes, a black beret, heavy black eyeliner, and almost-black lipstick called Vamp. I carried a notebook everywhere. This was the year that Denise, Erica and I started the Poetry Club at San Mateo High; it was the year I dropped math for good and joined the school newspaper instead; the year I learned to drive; the year of my first boyfriend; the year of Radiohead's album "The Bends"; in other w I was really into the Beat writers at this point. It was my junior year of high school, I wore black clothes, a black beret, heavy black eyeliner, and almost-black lipstick called Vamp. I carried a notebook everywhere. This was the year that Denise, Erica and I started the Poetry Club at San Mateo High; it was the year I dropped math for good and joined the school newspaper instead; the year I learned to drive; the year of my first boyfriend; the year of Radiohead's album "The Bends"; in other words, a big year. My dad gave me this collection for Christmas and it was a major influence on me. To this day, "Howl" is one of the most exhilerating things in the world.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    He signed my copy while at Village Green Bookstore on Monroe Ave. I remember the staff hurrying him along with his signing. He didn't acknowledge me much because of the hurrying, or was it the boy behind me in line was much more interesting, I am not sure. He signed his name under his printed name and dated it 5/24/96. I really like that I have this book with his signature. (The only other books that I have signed are by Lois Lowry) During his visit to Rochester at this time, I saw him speak at He signed my copy while at Village Green Bookstore on Monroe Ave. I remember the staff hurrying him along with his signing. He didn't acknowledge me much because of the hurrying, or was it the boy behind me in line was much more interesting, I am not sure. He signed his name under his printed name and dated it 5/24/96. I really like that I have this book with his signature. (The only other books that I have signed are by Lois Lowry) During his visit to Rochester at this time, I saw him speak at Nazareth College. Quite enjoyable.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Allan Cronin

    I have withstood criticism from more conservative acquaintances over my respect of much of so called "beat" literature but reading this virtually complete collection of Allen Ginsberg's poetry provides a perspective. Sure there are poems which are dated having ties to cultural trends no longer in vogue but reading this collection leaves me with a feeling of vindication for my critical eye. In the final analysis I think that history will affirm that Ginsberg produced some of the most innovative a I have withstood criticism from more conservative acquaintances over my respect of much of so called "beat" literature but reading this virtually complete collection of Allen Ginsberg's poetry provides a perspective. Sure there are poems which are dated having ties to cultural trends no longer in vogue but reading this collection leaves me with a feeling of vindication for my critical eye. In the final analysis I think that history will affirm that Ginsberg produced some of the most innovative and interesting poetical literature of the latter half of the 20th century.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Haley

    I am FINALLY finished with this monster. The worst poetry I've ever read, but I finished it. I can mark it off the list of 1001 books to read before I die. And trust me, it almost killed me to read it. His poetry is vulgar to the point of perversion, and I have a pretty perverted mind myself. Most of them just make no sense at all. I'm not a political person by any means, and so that's partially why they are over my head, and I didn't grow up in his era I guess, but I just didn't get them. I am FINALLY finished with this monster. The worst poetry I've ever read, but I finished it. I can mark it off the list of 1001 books to read before I die. And trust me, it almost killed me to read it. His poetry is vulgar to the point of perversion, and I have a pretty perverted mind myself. Most of them just make no sense at all. I'm not a political person by any means, and so that's partially why they are over my head, and I didn't grow up in his era I guess, but I just didn't get them.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Guillermo

    I read this book off an on whenever I get the urge and need to learn more about the world. I'm not sure why I love it so much, but it's there upon my shelf. Normally I don't buy collections because I like to own smaller books (and I do mean normal size, not tiny easy to read books), but for this book, I needed for a class that I took. I read this book off an on whenever I get the urge and need to learn more about the world. I'm not sure why I love it so much, but it's there upon my shelf. Normally I don't buy collections because I like to own smaller books (and I do mean normal size, not tiny easy to read books), but for this book, I needed for a class that I took.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    There's a lot of crap that pads out Ginsberg's oeuvre but the crap gives a human trajectory to the man, and as Peter Golub says, don't think of poetry like a capitalist; poetry doesn't have to do anything. Otherwise, it's nice to have America, Howl, Kaddish -- the 3 masterpieces -- in one volume. And the 2nd rate poems are nice. There's a lot of crap that pads out Ginsberg's oeuvre but the crap gives a human trajectory to the man, and as Peter Golub says, don't think of poetry like a capitalist; poetry doesn't have to do anything. Otherwise, it's nice to have America, Howl, Kaddish -- the 3 masterpieces -- in one volume. And the 2nd rate poems are nice.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    Though I did not read it all I read lots of day-to-day rambles, with occasional brightness. I guess that should be expected from a entire collection of one poet's work. I simply like more carefully self-edited and thought-restricted poetry rather than free verse/free association types. The mind throws out much incoherent, and I believe insignificant, noise that is not always fit for the page. Though I did not read it all I read lots of day-to-day rambles, with occasional brightness. I guess that should be expected from a entire collection of one poet's work. I simply like more carefully self-edited and thought-restricted poetry rather than free verse/free association types. The mind throws out much incoherent, and I believe insignificant, noise that is not always fit for the page.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Russ Jones

    I'll start off by saying that I hate abut 99.9 percent of all poetry. But not Ginsberg. I actually got to hear him read Howl, Kaddish and Wichita Vortex Sutra (the world premier) in the 60's in Moody's Skid Row Beanery in Wichita, Kansas. He was as great a reader as he was a poet. I can't recommend this collection, and any other by him, enough. I'll start off by saying that I hate abut 99.9 percent of all poetry. But not Ginsberg. I actually got to hear him read Howl, Kaddish and Wichita Vortex Sutra (the world premier) in the 60's in Moody's Skid Row Beanery in Wichita, Kansas. He was as great a reader as he was a poet. I can't recommend this collection, and any other by him, enough.

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