Journals Mid-Fifties, 1954-1958: Allen Ginsberg; Edited by Gordon Ball

Allen Ginsberg, Author, Gordon Ball, Editor HarperCollins Publishers $27.5 (489p) ISBN 978-0-06-016771-4
Poet Allen Ginsberg moved to San Francisco in 1954 and a year later, with his reading of Howl, helped launch a poetry renaissance. His disgust with America's mindless materialism, his quest to unite eros and mystical spirituality, his struggle to accept his homosexuality, and his attempts to reconcile the imagination with mundane reality are recurring themes in these freewheeling journal entries, which Ball--who also edited Allen Verbatim--compiled from 10 notebooks. Ginsberg's anguish over the death of his mother, Naomi, in 1956, reflected in poems and jottings, culminated in his elegy, Kaddish, early portions of which appear here. In 1957 he and his lover, Peter Orlovsky, embarked on travels through Morocco, Spain, Italy, Amsterdam, Paris. Along with exquisite impressions of North Africa, Alaska and the Arctic, this journal, studded with scores of poems, records Ginsberg's friendships with Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso and William Burroughs, his dreams, his poetic theorizing and his meditations on love, suffering and metaphysics. Illustrated. $20,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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