Collected Poems, 1947-1997

Overview

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...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"I'm happy, Kerouac, your madman Allen's / finally made it." When hipster Allen Ginsberg wrote about a newfound love in 1955, he could have scarcely imagined the world renown that would follow shortly. (Years later, he would be astonished when a Budapest audience repeated lines from his "Howl" aloud -- in English.) Collected Poems: 1947-1997 gathers together a full half century of Ginsberg's "reality sandwiches," 1,216 pages that reconfirm our sense that there is no one alive like him.
Publishers Weekly
Counterculture icon, beat apostle, Buddhist chanter, heir to William Blake, unapologetic explorer of intoxicating substances, world traveler, political protest leader, celebrant of gay sex, chronicler of New Jersey Jewish heritage and of Lower East Side post-hippie bohemians, Ginsberg (1926-1997) became by the midpoint of his career the most famous American poet of his era. At first hardworking and tormented, later on a spontaneous, welcoming mentor, the writer who in Howl (1956) "saw the best minds of my generation starving hysterical naked," and who mourned his psychotic mother in the wrenching title poem of Kaddish (1960) kept creating entertaining (if not quite so innovative) poems, for almost three decades after he rose to fame. This first complete collection of Ginsberg's work reproduces his 1980 Collected Poems including all the extensive notes: here are "Howl" and "Kaddish" and the great anti-Vietnam War poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra"; here too are the poems about Prague and Cornwall, Benares and Shanghai and the Australian outback, the songs and chants in quatrains (with sheet music) and the unashamed odes to beautiful young men. This complete edition adds White Shroud (1986), Cosmopolitan Greetings (1994) and the aptly titled Death and Fame: Last Poems (2000). A hefty, vivid and important tome, it should remind us just how much Ginsberg accomplished. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

All the energy of the icon-shattering Howl is found in this thoroughgoing collection of Ginsberg's work-a half-century of ground-breaking poetry in one hefty tome measuring over 1000 pages. (LJ9/15/06)


—Barbara Hoffert
Library Journal
Though his literary career spanned a half-century, Ginsberg remained contemporary throughout. As iconic a cultural presence as James Dean or Bob Dylan, he attracted friends and fans among successive generations of disaffected youth through his robust, rebellious spirit and oppositional politics. As the flagship beat poet, he reintroduced a Whitmanic energy that continues to flourish wherever poetry slams are held. This huge, single-volume testimony to his prodigious output reprints the complete text of 1984's Collected Poems 1947-1980, along with the collections that followed White Shroud, Cosmopolitan Greetings, and Death and Fame, including the original book attributes of each collection. A poet of extremes at times too trusting of his instincts, Ginsberg could be playful, angry, strident, obscene, graceful, and hilarious in the space of a page, and by now his readers know they are likely to encounter as many embarrassing poems as enlightening ones. Still, this compendium provides the most complete edition of Ginsberg available. Recommended for libraries lacking the original volumes. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/06.] Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141190181
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 7/28/2010

Meet the Author

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, was awarded the medal of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French minister of culture, won the National Book Award for The Fall of America, and was a cofounder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute, the first accredited Buddhist college in the Western world.

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Read an Excerpt

Collected Poems 1947-1997

In Society

I walked into the cocktail party
room and found three or four queers
talking together in queertalk.
I tried to be friendly but heard
myself talking to one in hiptalk.
"I'm glad to see you," he said, and
looked away. "Hmn," I mused. The room
was small and had a double-decker
bed in it, and cooking apparatus:
icebox, cabinet, toasters, stove;
the hosts seemed to live with room
enough only for cooking and sleeping.
My remark on this score was understood
but not appreciated. I was
offered refreshments, which I accepted.
I ate a sandwich of pure meat; an
enormous sandwich of human flesh,
I noticed, while I was chewing on it,
it also included a dirty asshole.

More company came, including a
fluffy female who looked like
a princess. She glared at me and
said immediately: "I don't like you,"
turned her head away, and refused
to be introduced. I said, "What!"
in outrage. "Why you shit-faced fool!"
This got everybody's attention.
"Why you narcissistic bitch! How
can you decide when you don't even
know me," I continued in a violent
and messianic voice, inspired at
last, dominating the whole room

Dream New York–Denver, Spring 1947

Collected Poems 1947-1997. Copyright © by Allen Ginsberg. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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