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Collected Poems 1947-1997

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  2,477 ratings  ·  62 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 1216 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Harper (first published January 1st 2006)
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 ·  2,477 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, 2014
Tawdry and dated, Ginsberg’s poetry distinctively belongs to and in another era: the legions of fans the poet amassed while he lived likely were more enamored with his rebel persona than the poems he wrote, which are often dreadfully dull in spite of their exhibitionism and chaotic structure. But Howl and Other Poems and The Fall of America are decent, if not great, collections.
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Some of these are wonderful. Others are atrocious. So, I can't really make up my mind on whether I want to trash it or put it on the favourites shelf...

Psalm 1

These psalms are the workings of the vision haunted mind and not that reason which never changes.
I am flesh and blood, but my mind is the focus of much lightning.
I change with the weather, with the state of my finances, with the work I do, with my company.
But truly none of these is accountable for the majestic flaws of mind
Mar 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
My brother gave me this book when I was just starting high school. I got really, really into the beat poets then, and developed an obsession that burned too brightly not to snuff itself out. But even though I try to move away from Ginsberg, he helped me discover poetry and my ideals about life in the mechanized and deadening world we've been living in since the post-war period. To dismiss him would be unfair and ridiculous. His words still haunt my mind on a regular basis. My favorite poem of hi ...more
Charles Joyce
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The collected poems of Allen Ginsberg remains to be the books of poetry I most often return to. Though his early and late writings lack the revolutionary focus and fire of Howl, though he spends (in my opinion) far too many pages carving out, in tingling detail, sexual events and fantasies, though his apparent need for acceptance and praise somtimes leak through, I am powerless to say no. This volume is absolutely encompassing; the lifetime portfolio of one of America's most well known and contr ...more
Jun 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, poetry
I am not a huge Ginsberg fan. There is frequently too much of the ego in his work for my taste and many of his earlier works are (in my opinion) more rant than stream of consciousness (as they have been described) despite my sympathy with his causes. That said, there is also no disputing his influence on the poetry scene in America.

In my opinion it is his poems of place, however, rather than the political poems that will stand the test of time. No one does creative concrete imagery better than
Super Vero
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
So far i've dug the way Ginsburg's poems that deal with events in US History are very matter of fact, sure Ginsburg has his opinions but they're written in a wry, witty way so that they do not feel self righteous or preachy to his views.
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What a great collection to have to turn to whenever you want to visit a true master!
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"...angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night..."
Mar 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Allen Ginsberg is one of my soul mates!
Jason Robinson
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant collection of poems by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, 1926-1997.
Rosa Jamali
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The most passionate poet of the twentieth century!

Allen Ginsberg
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go f*** yourself with your atom bomb.

America which has been written in the heydays of political turmoil in the US and at the brink of
Vietnam War, from the early lines of the poem you see the poet is really concerned with the political
life of his country and
Bernie Gourley
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poetry readers and Beat aficionados.
This “collection” is actually 13 collections bound together in one volume that presents much of the published poetry of the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg over the second half of the 20th century—till his death in 1997. Ginsberg is probably best known for “Howl,” which is both the name of the third collection in this book and the poem for which it was named (i.e. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,…”) However, Ginsberg’s work is extensive, and one can find many a lesser known ...more
Jacob Lopez
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you're purely interested in rhyme, meter, and neatly written quatrains, then read pre-Whitman. Poetry has long since been freed from the constraints of formal elements. Now, theorists understand that a chosen line length, changing meter (or lack of meter), and words sprawled freely across pages hold stronger emotional capacity than lines trimmed neatly like hedges.

I feel Ginsberg isn't catering to his generation of hippies alone. Part of the beat spirituality is freeing the mind from social
Zack Andresen
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Lots and lots of shitty poetry, especially in the earlier years. However when you do find a good one, it is a real gem. I would recommend reading this alongside Barry Mile's biography on Ginsberg. It really adds to the poetry to know the story behind it.
Martin Blasco
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody who is concerned
allen ginsberg, through his poetry prophesizes about his, our history, and his spirit is so alive. a master. whitman is proud.
Oct 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Its a slow read that lives beside my bed.
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who thinks poetry is essential to be cool
I'm always reading this book. Ginsberg is fabulous.
Feb 08, 2008 rated it liked it
"i am with you in rockland."
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book you ever finish.
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Should be required reading for all angst-ridden teenagers getting high on hormones and other illicit substances.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Howl is my favorite poem of all time. I even have a tattoo inspired by it. If you're not into poetry, at least read that poem. It'll change your life.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-and-poetry
From my journal:
"Just finished Collected Poems 1947-1997 by Ginsberg. Wow. The longest book I’ve ever read. The most poetry by a single author I’ve ever read. The Death and Fame poems at the end are particularly poignant, but the poems through the entire book are mostly good. Surprisingly easy to follow, but I think the 2 biographies I’ve read of him helped a lot with context. I’m really a Ginsberg fan now, perhaps even more so than Burroughs, and that is saying something. I’m glad I got to see
Jeffrey D Thomakos
For people looking for everything Ginsberg ever published, this is for you. For me, though, it was a big mistake. I just found most of his poems dated, unnecessarily graphic, or dull. I realize the purpose behind his poems, his desire to be an agent for social and political change, his revolutionary spirit, sexuality as political protest etc.

Much of his ideas, I agree with and, certainly think much of him as a man, a citizen of the world, a change-agent, and so on. But I was just disappointed t
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a lot of digest. Over 1200 pages of poetry. Some of it is classic in design and meter, and others are clearly written in the beat style. Some of the more out there poems benefit from a brevity, while others are famous for all the reasons you ingest as you move through the phases and styles Ginsberg tried on.
Robert Waterman
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I have read and reread it quite a few times. I just love his recollection of the 60's era.
Andrew Taylor
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A 5 star in a certain state of mind. A 3 everywhere else. But one should really only approach the beat writers in the correct state of mind.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Somewhere after Howl, you realize you are reading Ginsberg's honest autobiography, profundity, mundanity, squick and all.
Bob Thune
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very powerful poetry in motion
Aaron Day
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
When I watched the *No Direction Home: Bob Dylan* documentary, I encountered Ginsberg for the first time. I didn't know who he actually was until I read *On the Road*, also at Dylan's prompting in the documentary. From there, I grabbed this volume at the library and was captivated by the imagery, candor, and visceral nature of Ginsberg's poetry. After he became a Zen Buddhist, I found his writing more difficult to track with as well as with to identify.
Bianca Vanessa Gonzalez
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Truly avant-garde, Ginsberg served as a distraction from other canonized poets, with the exception of Emerson and Whitman, both who seem to be his influences. As a father of the beat generation, these poems offer a template to how it's done and why it is done. This poetry influenced and fed a culture that was shifting in tremendous ways and served a great purpose in awakening the eyes of those who succumbed to mass consumption. Not all poems in this collection are the same, which I like. I also ...more
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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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