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The Letters of Allen Ginsberg

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  135 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
The best of poet Allen GinsbergOCOs correspondence with friends like Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, edited by the authorOCOs longtime literary archivist."
ebook, 493 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Da Capo Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Robert Hobkirk
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of letters written to other beat writers, like Kerouac, publishers and so on. Interesting that people would save old letters, especially when they were written when no one had celebrity. A lot of work collecting and formatting them for publication.

Most everyone in the letters are dead, so they could be published without threat of libel, which makes for some juicy reading and interesting information that I never heard before. For instance, Ginsberg was facing jail time for l
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading these letters solidifies the admiration I've developed for Ginsberg over the years. It also reminded me of the loss of a great tradition--written correspondence--or maybe it will be a transformation to another way of documenting our relationships to people and the world. There is so much in these letters that may or may not have been expressed if he were only keeping a blog or sending emails. Another thing that I learned from this volume was that I had summarily dismissed Ezra Pound beca ...more
Dane Cobain
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Allen Ginsberg and beat writers in general, but this book was a little heavy even for me – as with most collections of letters, it’s better suited to scholars and researchers, who can dip in and out to source references for their essays. Reading it from cover to cover took a lot of time, and I’ll confess that I had to do it over the course of a year, reading only one or two letters at a time.

Ginsberg and his pals often wrote in a sort of code, a bizarre dial
James Murphy
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admire Allen Ginsberg and his poetry. I consider him one of the most influential poets of the 20th century as well as a poet to simply enjoy for his written word. So I'd keenly anticipated reading his letters. I wasn't disappointed. Their insight into the biographical details, of course, is intriguing. But in addition, though I'd already suspected this to be true, these letters to friends, peers, lovers, and colleagues show a wide breadth of literary knowledge and an ability to transmit it in ...more
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat-lit
Great collection of letters. Earlier ones bring you back to a time when Ginsberg and his friends were struggling writers, trying to become published and known. These letters take you through the creation of great works like "Howl" and "Kaddish," as well as his correspondences with Kerouac and Burroughs with their works, and all the writers he helped get published; especially the City Lights Pocket Poets series where he wrote back and forth to Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
From the first letter in there
Kris Underwood
I couldn't get through this book. It is very rare that I put a book down without finishing it. The letters were interesting to read, just to get a glimpse into Ginsberg's life and the inner workings of his rambling mind. I found much humor throughout but also a lot of self-inflicted pathos which made the it really hard to read. Kind of-Okay, that's enough of that. I'd be more interested in reading about the women of the Beat Generation-the spouses, muses, poets. That book by Brenda Knight come t ...more
Holly Foley (Procida)
I really had no idea how absolutely brilliant Allen Ginsberg was. I saw his beatnik writing as loosely flowing, when in fact the structure he explains and worked on was exhaustive.. who knew he tried so hard and made it look so easy. His letters were witty, funny, sometimes sincere to his allies and friends, but mostly sarcastic to his critics. I am always searching for more biographical information about people who were adults when I was a child. I really wanted to know more about the world tha ...more
Nov 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My published, online review of The Letters of Allen Ginsberg can be found here.

Let me know what you think.

obszerny (836 stron) wybór listów; zainteresowały mnie te, w których poznaje się Ginsberga-człowieka, - poetę, - zaangażowanego politycznie; warto zwrócić uwagę na list do dyrektora CIA z prośbą o dotację na poezję w skromnej kwocie 10 mln dolarów, majstersztyk :)
James Carmichael
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letters
Allen Ginsberg was a thoughtful, reflective, and prolific letter-writer who led a fascinating life. Even if you're not particularly interested in the Beats or his poetry, these are a good read -- both as pieces of prose in themselves, and as historical artifacts of a moment in American time.
Jack C. Buck
I'll stick to Allen's poetry. I was sadly disappointed by this book. I had such high hopes; I ended up finding myself disliking Allen through his letter correspondence by way of his extreme ego and pretentious east coast "hey-look-at-me" pompousness.
Mark Feltskog
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating epistolary history of The Beats by one of its most interesting and sympathetic figures.
Aisha Sed
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the way he writes, I like the way he uses the right words for a specific sentence. I really enjoyed reading this collection it was kind of amazing!
Feb 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit long, but worth poking through to find the good stuff; among it, Ginsberg's chastising letter to Time Magazine and correspondence around the time he was writing "Howl."
Very interesting to learn about the writer side of the "beat" group. I enjoyed reading this book.
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If only for his description of Howl..this is a good read.
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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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“I shudder, I see the love, I’m doomed, my heart melts again — can’t stand not to be in love, can’t stand not to be melting with real tenderness, childlike need sweetnesses, that’s what’s wrong with me.” 8 likes
“I am miserable now—not feeling unhappiness, just lack of life coming to me and coming out of me—resignation to getting nothing and seeking nothing, staying behind shell. The glare of unknown love, human, unhad by me,—the tenderness I never had. I don’t want to be just a nothing, a sick blank, withdrawal into myself forever. I just want something, beside the emptiness I’ve carried around in me all my life.” 4 likes
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