I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg

I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg

by Bill Morgan


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In the first biography of Ginsberg since his death in 1997 and the only one to cover the entire span of his life, Ginsberg's archivist Bill Morgan draws on his deep knowledge of Ginsberg's largely unpublished private journals to give readers an unparalleled and finely detailed portrait of one of America's most famous poets. Morgan sheds new light on some of the pivotal aspects of Ginsberg's life, including the poet's associations with other members of the Beat Generation, his complex relationship with his lifelong partner, Peter Orlovsky, his involvement with Tibetan Buddhism, and above all his genius for living.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143112495
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/25/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 720
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.55(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Bill Morgan is a painter and archival consultant. He is the author of The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac’s City, The Beat Generation in SanFrancisco: A Literary Tour, and edited Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays of Allen Ginsberg 1952–1995. Also for October 2006 publication, he has edited Ginsberg’s The Book of Martrydom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems, 1937–1952, with Jaunita Lieberman-Plimpton, as well as Howl on Trial: the Battle for Free Expression.

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I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
piefuchs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Compared to many biographies I have read, I Celebrate Myself, has a rather strange structure. It literally follows Ginsberg from year to year (all chapter titles are simply years)and chronicles, with minimal commentary, what he did that year. In the side of the text are notes on what poems he wrote as the events were transpiring. The early years are in truly copious detail - the later years appear as though they were rapidly finished to meet a deadline. Somehow though - no doubt because Ginsburg's life was so inherently interesting - it works. The book is a moving, inspiring, and engrossing read. Morgan appeared to have been exposed to enough Ginsburg to see his flaws, and portrays both his character with honesty.
addict on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
t has become almost a cliché for biographers to speculate about their subjects' psychosexual oddities. But speculation is not necessary when the subject is Allen Ginsberg, because the legendary beat poet and countercultural figure proudly proclaimed his psychosexual oddities, from his youthful incestuous impulses toward his father and brother to his little-requited infatuations with beat golden boys like Neal Cassady and his later eye for young male acolytes. Indeed, Ginsberg meticulously documented all his doings and feelings, and Morgan, his archivist and bibliographer, relies on that trove. Morgan does little to shape the material; each chapter, bluntly titled with the calendar year, simply recounts 365 days' worth of parties, debauches, quarrels and breakups, drug experimentation, all-night debates about literature and philosophy, dead-end jobs, knock-about travels, psychoanalysis, ecstatic Blakean visions, depressed funks, homicides committed by friends, jazz, poetry readings and Ginsberg's contemporary ruminations on all the above. The disorganized, onrushing flow of experience is occasionally eye-glazing, and Morgan offers disappointingly little interpretation of Ginsberg's poems. But Ginsberg and his gang¿Kerouac, Burroughs, Cassady et al.¿are such vibrant, compelling characters that this mere straightforward chronicle of their lives approaches, as they intended, a fair imitation of art.
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