White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985by Allen Ginsberg
Poems by a modern master. "[Ginsberg's] powerful mixture of Blake, Whitman, Pound, and Williams, to which he added his own volatile, grotesque, and tender humor, has assured him a memorable place in modern poetry." Helen Vendler See more details below
Poems by a modern master. "[Ginsberg's] powerful mixture of Blake, Whitman, Pound, and Williams, to which he added his own volatile, grotesque, and tender humor, has assured him a memorable place in modern poetry." Helen Vendler
Read an Excerpt
Balmy, hotter outside than in the living room'
Wind rustles the rattlesnake reeds.
Didja see the Perseus star shower last night?
Bright on Flatirons, sunshine gleams
on clouds, on brown shake shingles,
tree limbs rock,
So bright on the car roof, I gotta sleep'
I want that brick house on Mapleton,
it's for sale "Moore Real Estate"'
But price too high,
I'm too drowsy to go to the telephone.
Clouds float up from the end of the world'
Have we enough room for population explosion?
Call up Gary, let's find out what he thinks.
That tree stands higher than a house
like a dog with hair drooping over its mouth'
green long beanpods hang from its branches
It's a whale that big gray-bottom cloud floating
over the Flatirons, it's a mushroom, a shipcastle, a
mountain with sunshine and Coasts'
It's a pile of mist.
Look up, clouds in the sky,
suddenly their shadows fall where Mrs. Hurst
on Mapleton Street sprays her front lawn.
Midsummer, green leaves thick on maples
The front yard, white flowers'
Cause it's just so beautiful now!
How sad, to be alive watching the season at its height'
Spray the lawn, it's too hot'
Street children call, car radios play muted disco
Gray clouds umbrella brilliant sun
I used to be young once, bewildered
like that barechested little
girl across the street.
Where I sit, leg over my knee
listening to the whippoorwill call of a distant ambulance,
the thin tree's little leaves startle and jump,
raindrops fall thicker & the smell of ozone
wafts across theporch.
Everyone loves the rain, except those caught in their
birds whistle, tree leaves shake excited, electric smells
rise across the City to the watchers on the balcony'
Did the Ecologist chop his girl with an ax in Philadelphia
& hide her corpse a year in the trunk?
What does that red-haired boy half-naked on the sidewalk
with his Frisbee think of that?
Meet the Author
Allen Ginsberg was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1926, a son of Naomi and lyric poet Louis Ginsberg. As a student at Columbia College in the 1940s, he began a close friendship with William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac, and he later became associated with the Beat movement and the San Francisco Renaissance in the 1950s. After jobs as a laborer, sailor, and market researcher, Ginsberg published his first volume of poetry, Howl and Other Poems, in 1956. "Howl" defeated censorship trials to become one of the most widely read poems of the century, translated into more than twenty-two languages, from Macedonian to Chinese, a model for younger generations of poets from West to East.
Ginsberg was a member of 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, was a winner of 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. He died in New York City in 1997.
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