Friday, January 30, 2009

Reading Ginsberg's Letters

The Letters of Allen Ginsberg
Da Capo Press, 2008

I was never quite interested in Ginsberg and the Beat poets. Or, I should say, I was once interested in that era and its poets and poetry, but the poetry has not held my interest over the years. It's not something I revisit again and again. Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, Ginsberg himself, Burroughs-I've read all their work at some point, but it never fully grabbed me the way Plath and Sexton have; Yeats, Kevin Young, A.E. Stallings, Rilke, Roethke, to name a few more.
I'd be more interested in reading about the women of the Beat Generation-the spouses, muses, poets. That book by Brenda Knight come to mind-Women Of the Beat Generation-, but it barely even cracks the surface of that subject. It offers enough information, though, to make you look a bit harder for these women elsewhere.

Overall, though, 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 alot of self-inflicted pathos which made the pages turn a bit faster.

However, he certainly holds his place in literary history, there's no question about that.

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