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Selected Poems, 1947-1995

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  621 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Chosen by Ginsberg himself from nearly fifty years of experimental, groundbreaking verse, this selection, in his words, ‘summarizes what I deem most honest, most penetrant of my writing’, and includes lesser known and later works which go beyond his iconic Beat Generation image. Presented chronologically, and ranging from early works such as ‘Paterson’ (1949) to selections ...more
Paperback, 444 pages
Published March 29th 2001 by Penguin Modern Classics (first published 1996)
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Penguin Modern Classics
131st out of 287 books — 266 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,099)
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henry
Jun 20, 2007 henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
laugh if you want, but this was my bible for many years, and is probably the reason i'm not plowing a tobacco field right now. still carry it with me almost everywhere i go for more than a day or two b/c i just can't imagine being without it.
Cherchirish
Nov 30, 2015 Cherchirish is currently reading it
Libro aún no terminado

/////////////////

NOTAS DE USO PERSONAL

Hablaré de los poemas más sobresalientes de esta compilación:

I EMPTY MIRROR: GATES OF WRATH (1947-1952)

–In Society: el perfecto poema para abrir. Ginsberg contextualiza su carácter contestatario de juventud, narrando la forma en la que estalla contra la invitada a una fiesta "beat" que no quiere saludarlo.

–The Shrouded Stranger: maravilloso poema, repleto de imágenes potentes "I hide and wait like a naked child / Under the bridge my hea
...more
Ian
Aug 02, 2008 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I bought this edition on the day that he died. I was studying abroad in England and was devastated when I got the news. He is not one of my favorite poets, but Ginsberg was instrumental in the lives of some of my favorite authors and musicians. This is a good collection for the beginner.
Tessa De Guzman
Not for the faint of heart: lots of drug use, violence, homoerotic references. You will, however, be transported back to that age--- and if that's a high you're interested in, then it's TOTALLY worth the crash.
Abby
Dec 07, 2010 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Bought it after a friend gave me a mix cd with, among other things, Ginsburg reading "America" set on top of a Tom Waits instrumental. So many more in here that I am just now discovering.
brendan
Nov 02, 2008 brendan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
i read HOWL

loved it

there are so many reasons that ginsberg is so incredibly well respected, but the epitome would be the work itself

i make a promise with myself to read more
Syd
Jan 14, 2008 Syd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
It was amazing to me how relevant his older poetry is today, especially his poems about Vietnam. One of my favorite poems is "Birdbrain!" If only he could have witnessed this presidency.
Todd
I got this edition at The City Lights Bookstore. Love it even when I'm wondering, seriously?
Neven
Jul 02, 2008 Neven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ginsberg can be terribly entertaining and powerful. He can also be trite and plain unlikable.
Nickdepenpan123
Nov 15, 2015 Nickdepenpan123 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review focuses more on the author I guess, but perhaps that's inevitable since most of Ginsberg's work is intensely personal.

A cynic with a 21th century perspective can find so much to dislike in Allen Ginsberg. Yes, he was ahead of his time, and his open-minded values anticipated the hippie world and liberal social attitudes since then. But similarly, many of the ills of the hippie/post-hippie/post-modern world have an antecedent in Allen Ginsberg and his fellow beats.

For example, you get
...more
Edward
Jan 05, 2015 Edward rated it liked it
Acknowledgements
Apologia of Selection


I. Empty Mirror: Gates of Wrath (1947-1952)
--In Society
--The Bricklayer's Lunch Hour
--The Trembling of the Veil
--A Western Ballad
--Pull My Daisy
--The Shrouded Stranger
--Fyodor
--Metaphysics
--Paterson
--The Archetype Poem
--Marijuana Notation
--A Crazy Spiritual

II. The Green Automobile (1953-1954)
--The Green Automobile
--Green Valentine Blues
--Siesta in Xbalba (selections)
--Song
--In back of the real
--On Burroughs' Work
--Love Poem on Theme by Whitman

III. Howl, Befor
...more
Garth Mailman
May 20, 2014 Garth Mailman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you’ve heard Howl, the long-form poem that made him famous you get the idea. Kaddish assigned to Naomi Ginsberg, his mad Mother, seems only appropriate in its convoluted wanderings to the madcap woman to whom it is dedicated. ECT, Insulin Shock Treatment, and Lobotomies were all performed in her day. Passing an electric current via electrodes through the brain to cause an epileptic like seizure seems barbaric but is still done in modified form today because as a last ditch solution for extrem ...more
Nick Black
Jun 20, 2008 Nick Black rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
America you don're really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader's Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen
...more
Reid
Howl is good, not great, as a poem. (Part one is pretty great, but the rest loses steam.) As a countercultural force, yeah, Howl was great, and still has some of the same power. Kaddish made me cry for my momma, too, but most of these poems, personally selected through almost his entire career, aren't very good, in my opinion. Many are political, but mostly in a very direct obvious way, and others were so autobiographical as to become almost meaningless in large part, and some were just silly. T ...more
Shannon
Read #1
Started on August 18, 2014
Finished on September 9, 2014
3.5 stars
Daphne
Jan 26, 2015 Daphne rated it did not like it
Shelves: beat
Didn't get past page 70.
I don't know if Ginsberg is overrated or if I just don't understand his work.
John Kerridge
When I was trying to act young and cool this book was essential reading - now it holds memories of what a pretentious prat I could be. Still some brilliant pieces in here though, but not his best work. The dark sexuality and violence of this selection becomes boring as you get older.
Shawn Sorensen
Ambitiously intellectual, unafraid poetry. Written in a certain time frame and location (New York), but I won't hold that against Ginsberg. What else was he going to write about? Stream of consciousness writing from someone hungry for knowledge.
Carolyn Oliveira
Mar 02, 2010 Carolyn Oliveira rated it it was ok
I thought the last few poems in the book were the more interesting ones. I can't honestly say I enjoyed this, though. They say Ginsberg should be performed, not simply read, but I'm not convinced I'm missing out on much.
Julene
Sep 13, 2009 Julene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is a comprehensive book of Allen's poetry. A must for anyone who wants to read his work. It stands a reference book next to his book of interviews on my shelf.
Proletariate Marx
Feb 26, 2011 Proletariate Marx rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
'I'm with you in Rockland
where there are twenty-five-thousand mad com-
rades all together singing the final stanzas of
the Internationale"
Gem Mahadeo
Apr 02, 2015 Gem Mahadeo rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2015
3.5 - the early to mid-career stuff is easily 4/5 but it was hard to maintain enthusiasm after that
Lauren Bellon
Aug 18, 2009 Lauren Bellon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Supermarket in California is perhaps my favorite poem. I love Allen Ginsberg.
Stinky
Aug 22, 2008 Stinky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pick this one, a great anthology of a really interesting author.
Vija
Jan 08, 2010 Vija rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish the douche that borrowed this book would give it back
John
Nov 25, 2010 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ginsberg will make you laugh, cry and arch an eyebrow.
Lady Dixie
One of America's great Beat poets.
Ruth
Feb 08, 2009 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure this the best of Ginsberg
William Young
Sep 12, 2011 William Young rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This guy completely sucks.
Brian
Sep 13, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life-changing.
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Irwin Allen Ginsberg was the son of Louis and Naomi Ginsberg, two Jewish members of the New York literary counter-culture of the 1920s. Ginsberg was raised among several progressive political perspectives. A supporter of the Communist party, Ginsberg's mother was a nudist whose mental health was a concern throughout the poet's childhood. According to biographer Barry Miles, "Naomi's illness gave A ...more
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“...all movement stops and I walk in the timeless sadness of existence,
tenderness flowing thru the buildings,
my fingertips touching reality's face,
my own face streaked with tears in the mirror
of some window - at dusk -
where I have no desire -
for bonbons - or to own the dresses or Japanese
lampshades of intellection -”
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