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.
"First thought, best thought." This was the phrase that poet Allen Ginsberg used to describe spontaneous and fearless writing, a way of telling the truth that arises from naked and authentic experience. For more than 30 years, groundbreaking teachers at Naropa University such as Ginsberg and his colleagues Anne Waldman, William S. Burroughs, and Diane di Prima have inspired emerging poets and prose writers to express themselves with unfettered honesty and immediacy. Now, with First Thought, Best Thought, the first landmark release from Naropa University's treasured audio archives, you are invited to meet and learn with these literary mentors face-to-face as they share the secrets of their craft. Selected and edited by poet and Naropa alumnus Randy Roark from thousands of hours of performance and teaching sessions, First Thought, Best Thought brings you four rare gems of inspiration and practical wisdom, including: William S. Burroughs teaching his breakthrough methods for generating fresh writingâincluding the cut-up method, chance operations, and dreamworkDiane di Prima on how to survive as an artistâpreserving your sensibility, creating a supportive artistic community, getting published, self-publishing, and much moreAllen Ginsberg exploring every stage of poetic activityâfrom inspiration, to composition, to revision, to performing your poetry in publicAnne Waldman on the elements of the poet's craftâfrom the raw material of the words themselves to the many aspects of the poem in performance
"[An] essential Beat masterpiece." --The Village Voice. Perhaps one of the last great dual correspondences of the twentieth century, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters reveals not only the process of creation of the two most celebrated members of the Beat Generation, but also the unfolding of a remarkable friendship of immense pathos and spiritual depth. Through this exhilarating exchange of letters, two-thirds of which have never been published before, Kerouac and Ginsberg emerge first and foremost as writers of artistic passion, innovation, and genius. Vivid and enthralling, the letters, which date from their first meeting in 1944 to Kerouac's untimely death in 1969, chronicle the endless struggle, anguish, and sacrifice involved in giving form to their literary visions.