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Planet News: 1961-1967 (City Lights Pocket Poets Series) Paperback – January 1, 2001
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Allen is approaching Forty as Kennedy is killed & the old, leftist folkie beat scene gets K.O.'d by the One-Two punches of The Beatles & Dylan Electrified. So, A.G. brings it all back home, "Here at the atomic crack-end of Time XX Century..."
Of the several small epics within Planet News, "Wichita Vortex Sutra" is the Ace. This long plane flight - actually one section of an infinitely long spin toward the Event Horizon - brings us face-to-face with the Vietnam Apocalypse & the growing cancer on America's soul, to be continued in the Fall of America.
But the beauty-soul of Planet News is found in the shorter poems: the lovely "Galilee Shore;" "Big Beat" & "Portland Coliseum," where The Beatles astonish him, no easy feat; The legendary "First Party at Ken Kesey's with Hell's Angels," Allen doesn't seem terribly impressed; Crowned the "Kral Majales" in the short Prague springtime; "Death News" of his friend, William Carlos Williams; Waking up the Royal Albert Hall crowd with "Who Be Kind To," can you envision Marianne Faithful? & let us not overlook "Patna-Benares Express," "I Am A Victim of the Telephone" & especially "Why is God Love, Jack?" Yes, that Jack.
At last, "The Pentagon Exorcism: "Pentagon awake from planet-sleep!" & of course it never has from that day to this. But it did rise ten feet off the ground & spin like some nauseating carnival ride. At least, that's what I heard. Beautiful thing.