Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
A selective list of online literary criticism for Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources
introduction & biography
"Allen Ginsberg." Modern American Poetry. Ed. Cary Nelson. Excerpts from important critics on the following poems: "Howl," "Love Poem on a Theme by Whitman," "Wichita Vortex Sutra," "About the Vietnam War." Includes a biography by Ann Charters. [No ads].
"Allen Ginsberg." Poetry Foundation. Ed. Catherine Halley. Good, encyclopedia-type introduction to Ginsberg, his biography, themes, and techniques, with samples of his poems. [No ads].
"Queer Love Poems for Valentine's Day." Includes Ginsberg's "a little short of dying I seem." Poetry Foundation.
"Allen Ginsberg." A brief introduction to Ginsberg. Also "Life Studies: American Poetry from T. S. Eliot to Allen Ginsberg." Academy of American Poets.
"Allen Ginsberg." Poetry Archive. Directors, Andrew Motion & Richard Carrington.
"Allen Ginsberg: A Poetic Life." A former student of Ginsberg's at Naropa writes about what it was like to have him for a teacher. By Leslea Newman.
Burt, Stephen. "The Paradox of 'Howl': The anti-establishment poem's debt to the established past." Slate magazine, 19 April 2006.
Meyers, Jeffrey. "Gonzo Ginsberg And Moby Dickey: A Memoir." Virginia Quarterly Review. A short article contrasts the personal styles of Allen Ginsberg and James Dickey.
"Allen Ginsberg." American Masters, Public Broadcasting Service.
Ginsberg, Allen. "Kenneth Koch and Allen Ginsberg: Popeye and William Blake Fight to the Death." An eight-minute recording of a rhyming contest between Kenneth Koch and Allen Ginsberg at St Mark's Poetry Project, 9 May 1979. Jacket 15 (Dec. 2001).
Brown, Tim. An assessment of Ginsberg at the end of his career. Professor's web site.
"Allen Ginsberg." A NY Times special section, includes links to old Times articles on Ginsberg and reviews [registration required, and intrusive software add-ons.
Wisker, Alastair. "Allen Ginsberg." Literary Encyclopedia. Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd. An introduction to Ginsberg, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription [subscription service].
DuPlessis, Rachel Blau. "Manhood and its Poetic Projects: The construction of masculinity in the counter-cultural poetry of the U.S. 1950s." Jacket 31 (Oct. 2006). "In the 1950s, three poets offer three kinds of peripheral maleness all examining taboo or counter-cultural forms of masculinity in their poems." Extended discussion of Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, and Charles Olson.
Gyorgy, Andras. "Allen Ginsberg’s 'Howl': Fifty years later and in its own time." World Socialist Web 5 April, 2007.
Koenig, Rhoda. A review of Dharma Lion: A Critical Biography of Allen Ginsberg, by Michael Schumacher. New York Magazine 26 Oct., 1992.
Marcus, Greil. A review of The Poem that Changed America: 'Howl' Fifty Years Later ed. by Jason Shinder. NY Times 9 April, 2006.
Morgan, Bill and Nancy Peters, eds. Publisher's site for 'Howl' on Trial: The Battle for Free Expression. City Lights, 2006.
Perloff, Marjorie. "'A Lost Batallion of Platonic Conversationalists': 'Howl' and the Language of Modernism." From The Poem that Changed America: 'Howl' Fifty Years Later. Perloff positions Ginsberg as a modernist.
Poland, Tim. A review of Ginsberg: A Biography, by Barry Miles. American Literature 62 (1990).
Purdy, Gilbert Wesley. A review of 'Howl' on Trial: The Battle for Free Expression . Eclectica Jan./Feb. 2009.
Pynn, Thomas. A review of Allen Ginsberg's Buddhist Poetics, by Tony Trigilio. The Beat Review 2, 3 (Aug. 2008).
Raskin, Jonah. Publisher's page for American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' and the Making of the Beat Generation (U of Calif. P 2004). Chapter 1.
- - -. A review of The Letters of Allen Ginsberg, edited by Bill Morgan. The Beat Review 2, 4 (Sept. 2008).
- - -. A review of The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, edited by Bill Morgan. The Beat Review 3, 1 (Jan. 2009).
Sands, Mary. A review of Strange Prophecies Anew: Rethinking the Politics of Matter and Spirit in Ginsberg's 'Kaddish,' by Tony Trigilio. Jack Magazine, March 2000.
Trigilio, Tony. A review of I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg, by Bill Morgan. The Beat Review 2, 3 (Aug. 2008) [biography of Allen Ginsberg].
- - -. A review of The Emergence of Buddhist American Literature, ed. by John Whalen-Bridge and Gary Storhoff. The Beat Review 3, 3 (Nov. 2009).
Vendler, Helen. "My Fiercest Liberator: A Tribute to Allen Ginsberg." Vendler writes, "Before I say something about Allen Ginsberg's great gifts to world culture, I want to mention my own profound gratitude for his work and for the life out of which it came. I read him when I first came to Harvard, in 1957, and he became one of my liberators." Harvard Magazine 9 (1997).
- - -. "Allen Ginsberg Considers His Country and Himself." Review of The Fall of America. NY Times 15 April, 1973 [registration required].
web sites, video, libraries
The Allen Ginsberg Project. The Allen Ginsberg Trust. News, excellent links including audio and video, and much more.
"Lines Drawn in the Sand: The Life and Writings of Allen Ginsberg." U. of North Carolina library. Online exhibition, based chiefly on the Ginsberg collection acquired in 2002 from Bill Morgan.
Video of Bill Morgan, speaking about Ginsberg's letters. Ginsberg's friend, editor, and biographer, Bill Morgan, reads from his recently published edition of Allen Ginsberg's letters and talks about Ginsberg. San Francisco, 23 Oct. 2008. A 45 minute program, prefaced by an ad.
Video of Bill Morgan, speaking about his recently published biography of Allen Ginsberg. Bill Morgan, reads from I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg and talks about Ginsberg. A 54 minute program, San Francisco, 14 Nov. 2006, prefaced by an ad.
"Guide to the Allen Ginsberg Papers." Online Archive of California. A detailed list of the contents of the Allen Ginsberg archive at Stanford, and a short biography of Ginsberg. The guide notes that "the correspondence is particularly rich in correspondence between Ginsberg and virtually all of the authors associated with the Beat Generation, including Allen Ansen, Gregory Corso, John Clellon Holmes, Herbert Huncke, Gary Snyder, Carl Solomon, and Philip Whalen among others. The correspondence series contains some materials from William S. Burroughs, Sr., Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, including a few sporadic letters, post-cards, and photocopies of letters, but the vast bulk of the correspondence from these authors to Allen Ginsberg was sold by Ginsberg to Columbia University in the 1970's."
"Stanford acquires archive of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg." Press release 7 Sept. 1994.
"Allen Ginsberg: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center." Details about manuscript holdings and a short biography, U ot Texas, Austin.
"Allen Ginsberg Manuscripts." Details about manuscripts at Stony Brook U libraries.
1998-2011 by Jan Pridmore