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Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays 1952-1995 Paperback – March 20, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"I got so mad I cut my beard and mailed it in an envelope to the district attorney." Sometimes lovely, sometimes slapdash, and sure to appeal to his broad contingent of fans, this sprawling compilation of 154 "essays" (many run only a page or so) memorializes Ginsberg's stances, opinions, reactions, experiences and proclamations. Gathering reams of fugitive prose from magazines and anthologies, and excluding prose found in Ginsberg's books of poems, this is more an omnium-gatherum than a best-of, inviting readers to sort through and make their own lists. Ginsberg (1926-1997) had begun to organize what would become this book when he died; editor Morgan, who took over the process, divides the work by theme into eight sections. "Politics and Prophecies" fittingly opens the collection, giving full vent to Ginsberg's Blakean visions of '60s, '70s and '80s America: these essays both epitomize their times and retain the most interest for most readers now. Other segments address "Drug Culture," "Mindfulness and Spirituality," "Censorship and Sex Laws," "Autobiographical Fragments," Ginsberg's own "Literary Technique" and appreciations of other writers, from Blake and Whitman to Auden and Andy Warhol. Ginsberg's best poems look casual, but the rereader of "Howl" or "Kaddish" may discover complexity, tragedy and form curled up inside their excitable wildness: this is also true sometimes, but hardly always, for these prose pieces. Yet even at their most fragmentary and notational, these paragraphs, essays, lists, declarations and blurbs recall Ginsberg's other virtues: a welcoming energy, an ecstatic drive, a belief in the eternal value of saying, as soon as possible, just what he thought. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A comprehensive, well-organized collection of uneven prose by the late Beat Poet (Journals Mid-Fifties, 1995; Death and Fame, 1999). The essays, articles, and letters here were first printed in magazines like Evergreen Review, Rolling Stone, small presses, religiously affiliated publications or (a score) nowhere at all. Many blurbs and puff pieces of unknowns collected in the Writers section here should not have been reprinted either. But essays on Ginsbergs intellectual love, Walt Whitman, and one of his physical loves, Peter Orlovsky, add much to the literary and biographical worth of the anthology. In the seven other sections, at least two or three works are essential for the Ginsberg freak or anyone researching pre-revolution Amerika of 30 to 50 years ago. In Politics and Prophecies, Ginsberg takes on Vietnam, nukes, Un-American Activities, and most government agencies. He supports the Hells Angels and has the chutzpah to write that to be a junky in America is like having been a Jew in Nazi Germany. And this isn't even in the section devoted to Drug Culture, where, testifying at a Senate hearing, he compares mind- expanding LSD to the ritual taking of peyote. In Mindfulness and Spirituality, the bard lectures in Emersons old pulpit and intones mantras over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Ginsberg outted homosexuality itself, but few will defend the pro-pederasty defense of NAMBLA which appears in the Censorship and Sex Laws section. Admirers of Kerouac, Burroughs, and Blake will most appreciate Literary Technique and the Beat Generation and the following section, especially the essays on the making of Howl and Kaddish. Finally, in Further Applications, Ginsberg proclaims that with John Lennon and Bob Dylan we see that poetry has returned through music back to the human body. Except for historians and fans of the Beats, nothing to howl about. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060930810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060930813
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,296,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Allen Ginsberg was born in 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, a son of Naomi Ginsberg and lyric poet Louis Ginsberg. In 1956 he published his signal poem, Howl, one of the most widely read and translated poems of the century. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, awarded the medal of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French minister of culture in 1993, and co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute, the first accredited Buddhist college in the Western world, Allen Ginsberg died on April 5, 1997.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "lescaret" on April 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The totality of this book results in a Ginsberg manifesto, delivered in his own unique prose style, and bursting forth with great honesty and impassioned integrity. Invaluable as a document of the times (roughly late 40s thru early 90s), as a sourcebook for things Beat, as a reference source to Ginsbergian Mind Speak, this book is a major addition to Ginsberg's published work. My only criticism is that it is presented topically, not chronologically as nearly all Ginsberg's published work is, but that is a minor point. This book stands with his best and is certainly his most important publication since 'The Fall of America' in 1972, maybe even since 'Kaddish' in the very early 60s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Salvador on December 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative, an extensive book on all things Ginsberg. His thoughts on society, drugs, and other authors. It was a pleasure to read.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John A. Gregorio VINE VOICE on March 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, this is a peak into the mind of Ginsberg. It may be more of a peak into his persona at the time the work was written, whether poet,bluesman, hippie,scholar, political activist etc. What makes it worthwhile are little nuggets found throughout the work which probably were unnoticed by most of us when originally published. I do wish this book had a complete table of contents (pagination) rather than just page numbers listed for the major sections. But, maybe it nudges us to search "on our own."
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