Conversations with Allen Ginsberg
236 pages, 6 x 9
Paperback
Release Date:27 Jun 2019
ISBN:9781496823519
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Release Date:27 Jun 2019
ISBN:9781496823502
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Conversations with Allen Ginsberg

University Press of Mississippi

Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) was one of the most famous American poets of the twentieth century. Yet, his career is distinguished by not only his strong contributions to literature but also social justice. Conversations with Allen Ginsberg collects interviews from 1962 to 1997 that chart Ginsberg’s intellectual, spiritual, and political evolution.
Ginsberg’s mother, Naomi, was afflicted by mental illness, and Ginsberg’s childhood was marked by his difficult relationship with her; however, he also gained from her a sense of the necessity to fight against social injustice that would mark his political commitments. While a student at Columbia University, Ginsberg would meet Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Gregory Corso, and the Beat Generation was born. Ginsberg researched deeply the social issues he cared about, and this becomes clear with each interview. Ginsberg discusses all manner of topics including censorship laws, the legalization of marijuana, and gay rights. A particularly interesting aspect of the book is the inclusion of interviews that explore Ginsberg’s interests in Buddhist philosophy and his intensive reading in a variety of spiritual traditions.
Conversations with Allen Ginsberg also explores the poet’s relationship with Bob Dylan and the Beatles, and the final interviews concentrate on his various musical projects involving the adapting of poems by William Blake as well as settings of his own poetry. This is an essential collection for all those interested in Beat literature and twentieth-century American culture.

David Stephen Calonne is senior lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University. He is author of several works, including R. Crumb: Literature, Autobiography, and the Quest for Self; William Saroyan: My Real Work Is Being; The Spiritual Imagination of the Beats; Diane di Prima: Visionary Poetics and the Hidden Religions; and biographies of Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller. Calonne is also editor of five volumes of uncollected Bukowski stories and essays as well as Conversations with Gary Snyder, published by University Press of Mississippi.
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