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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
This sparkling collection of letters between Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg offers enthusiasts an intimate glimpse of the poets' shared vision of creativity, spiritualism, and their work, as well as literary and sexual adventures from across the globe. In vivid prose that makes the infamous Yage Letters (between Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs) seem juvenile, these legendary Americans reveal a stunning amount, sharing both innermost doubts and grand career aspirations. Ginsberg's voice often feels more authentic, with a natural story-teller's zeal for conveying the racy details of his personal life; he also exposes the paranoia and crushing self-doubt that forever plagued him. Snyder, while earthy and open, often veers towards metaphysical subjects and writes more cautiously, as if aware of his legacy even in these pre-fame days. Though it's a small miracle so many letters survived the writers' extensive travel, gaps in the chronology may frustrate some readers. Still, the decades-spanning dialogue never fails to entertain or offer deeper insight into the artists' process. ("No wire or pill will ever put a poet out of work," Snyder insists.) Filled with the sort of high-minded yearning for knowledge that Ginsberg and Snyder are known for, this volume presents a thrilling opportunity to eavesdrop on two of the most intriguing American poets-and personalities-of the 20th Century.
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