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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars and the beat goes on... and the beat goes on...
There are several books out there filled with Ginsbergs ponderings (I've looked at most of them)... so why pick this one? For one... this collection spans 48 years of A. Ginsberg's work. Highlighting poetry that the author selected personally. Sure here you will find the ever famous "Howl", "Sunflower Sutra" and "America" as well as,...
Published on December 12, 1999 by J. Koscher

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3.0 out of 5 stars Requires a certain intestinal fortitude
If you’ve heard Howl, the long-form poem that made him famous you get the idea. Kaddish assigned to Naomi Ginsberg, his mad Mother, seems only appropriate in its convoluted wanderings to the madcap woman to whom it is dedicated. ECT, Insulin Shock Treatment, and Lobotomies were all performed in her day. Passing an electric current via electrodes through the brain to...
Published 1 month ago by Garth R. Mailman


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars and the beat goes on... and the beat goes on..., December 12, 1999
There are several books out there filled with Ginsbergs ponderings (I've looked at most of them)... so why pick this one? For one... this collection spans 48 years of A. Ginsberg's work. Highlighting poetry that the author selected personally. Sure here you will find the ever famous "Howl", "Sunflower Sutra" and "America" as well as, "Elegy for Neal Cassady" which was written by Ginsberg shortly after hearing of his long time friend's death. However, where many of these sort of books highlight one particular phase the author has gone through (like a gallery showing of only Picasso's blue phase) this tome lets the reader experience the entire Ginsberg. I highly suggest this book for anyone who is interested in getting to know Ginsberg and in experiencing his greatness which spanned over 48 years (longer then his friend Kerouac was on the planet).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allen, we miss you, June 28, 2001
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Regardless of your feelings about his political and religious beliefs, can you deny that Allen Ginsburg was one of the most honest of all American Men of Letters? If only all men and women were able to confront themselves as honestly and as purely as Allen did our culture would extend to much greater heights. Enjoy these poems and find within them a man who spent his entire life describing his pains and his ecstasies, and by extension the pains and pleasures of America in the late 20th Century.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation, May 17, 2002
It is daunting to undertake the review of a book of Allen Ginsberg's poems. If fact, it is impossible. The extent of his talent, his willingness to experiment, the number of broad themes that run through his work, defy any four-paragraph explication. This collection of poems, selected and edited by Ginsberg himself is really the poet's last oversight of his own life. In four hundred pages covering nearly fifty years we are given not a collection of poetry, but an interior autobiography.
Ginsberg died in 1997, of the complications of Hepatitis C, the same year I discovered that I was suffering from the same disease. His death was untimely, not in the sense that he died too young, but because his creativity, the unique vision that allowed him to be critical, sarcastic, caring and brutally honest had not yet exhausted itself. 'Selected Poems' captures his many facets, from the anger of 'Howl' to the whimsy of 'The Ballad of the Skeletons.' One of my favorites is the simply early 'Song' that opens with "The weight of the world is love." This is the poem that circulated the Internet when he died.
Ginsberg is often perceived as a political or social poet, voicing first the concerns of the Beats and then the Anti-War movement. He is always questioning the motivation of those in authority, and those that were not as well. This collection also explores his open homosexuality and his long spiritual quest. Ginsberg's poetry is himself. For all his technical brilliance, what we remember in the reading is the intensity of his presence in his poems. Filled with knowledge, Ginsberg was not the kind to resort to academicism.
'Selected Poems' is a lean presentation. A short preface by Ginsberg leads off; followed by poems in order by appearance, arranged by the volumes they appeared in. A section at the end contains fragmentary notes and comments by the poet on the individual poems. Yet I am happy that I have this volume of his work rather than something more complete. For this is the work that Ginsberg, in retrospect, felt was important, and I think you will agree. As the poet said, "I didn't come here to solve anything. I came here to sing and for you to sing with me."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American original, August 17, 2004
By 
Mary E. Sibley (Medina, Ohio, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Ginsberg writes in the forward he has consulted fellow verse men. The collection encompasses the entire career. Son of a poet, he is an accomplished writer of poetry early in his career as evidenced by "The Shrouded Stranger". Ginsberg used craft to control emotion and outrage and harness his imagination in, for instance, "Siesta in Xbalba". He was very concerned to assist the reader by placing words on the page carefully.

HOWL is dedicated to Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Neal Cassady. Ginsberg's images have seeped into our language. It is no surprise to run into sutra, neon-lit, angel, holy, visions, omens, hallucinations. His great predecessor Walt Whitman is cited.

Surely one of the century's greatest poems is Ginsberg's poem to his mother, KADDISH. The mother, Naomi, his father, Louis, his brother, Eugene, his home, Paterson, are all featured in the work. Ginsberg wrote in remembrance of Frank O'Hara, chatty prophet and poet of building glass. The Cedar Bar is empty without him it is asserted.

The Bob Dylan influenced "September in Jessore Road" is topical and one of the poems provided with musical accompaniment. In 'Ego Confession" Ginsberg wants to be known as the most brilliant man in America. Certainly he was a titan. The "Plutonian Ode" mockingly lists places corrupted by radioactivity. In the end the poet chimes that he dreamed a dream of homeless places.

The poem GREEN AUTOMOBILE is addressed to Neal Cassady and it is emblematic of the whole collection. Notes in the back contain pictures of friends and notable subjects. A touching picture of Allen, Louis and Naomi at the 1940 World's Fair is included.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 years & 800 pages shorter than Collected Poems, April 10, 2010
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taogoat (the mothership) - See all my reviews
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Don't let the cheesy cover bug you.

Selected Poems contains the vast majority of all the Ginsberg you'll ever want. You got classics like Pull My Daisy, Howl, America, Kaddish, This Form of Life Needs Sex, Wales Visitation, Elegy for Neal Cassady, Cosmopolitan Greetings, etc.

However, you are still missing numerous gems that you'll only find in the Collected Poems or original City Lights books. Some poems I would have included: Laughing Gas, Lysergic Acid, Mescaline, Holy Ghost on the Nod Over the Body of Bliss, Flash Back, Ode to Failure, and Spot Anger. And Memory Gardens (elegy for Kerouac) is abridged for some reason, even though it's not a long poem. And only 3 poems from his final book Death & Fame are included.

For those that don't want to lug around the massive 1200-page Collected Poems, this is a great collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Holds Barred, No Subject Untouched., September 20, 2002
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K. Bentley "amateur critic" (Stratford, CT United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ginsberg is my favorite poet of all time. From government issues, to insanity, to sexual exploration pieces, to requiems for lost friends, this man has done it all. No collection of poetry has been topped by this one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Requires a certain intestinal fortitude, May 20, 2014
By 
Garth R. Mailman (Oakville, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If you’ve heard Howl, the long-form poem that made him famous you get the idea. Kaddish assigned to Naomi Ginsberg, his mad Mother, seems only appropriate in its convoluted wanderings to the madcap woman to whom it is dedicated. ECT, Insulin Shock Treatment, and Lobotomies were all performed in her day. Passing an electric current via electrodes through the brain to cause an epileptic like seizure seems barbaric but is still done in modified form today because as a last ditch solution for extreme depression it works. Decreasing the brain’s higher functions via lobotomy is no longer practiced nor is inducing insulin coma, a procedure also used on Mrs Ginsberg. The fact that his mother was severely paranoid would seem to have had a lasting effect on Allen. I can’t imagine what it was like to have a person you loved react in this way. More than a few of these poems give one the impression that the writer was high on one mind-altering drug or another. Attempting to make sense or dissect many of these wandering lines would tend to render the reader more than a little mad as well.

To say that Ginsberg is a dirty old man begs the question. Many of these poems are homoerotic in the extreme. A couple decades ago I decided I wanted to learn about the beat poets. Having read most of them I’m no closer to a definition of what that is. Most seem to have been gay and were active in the Vietnam War era inveighing against that involvement. There’s an environmental component but most seem to be more consumers than protectionist. In the second half of this collection the poems start having a rhyme scheme and are set to music which is supplied.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Ginsberg, here he is in all of his candor., January 7, 2014
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This review is from: Selected Poems 1947-1995 (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
If you want to get an introduction to Ginsberg or just want a book with some wonderfully selected Ginsberg poems this is for you. It is paperback and has held up well over the years.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an eccletic set of stuff, August 18, 2003
By 
William D. Tompkins (New York, New York USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Selected Poems 1947-1995 (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
its tough to review this book as the work is so diverse but i was overall disappointed by the work. ive always felt the ginsberg was more of a personality than a poet. bukowski is a poet--ginsberg sometimes has some clever moments
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a big dissapointment, July 2, 2001
finally able to get around to reading ginsberg, i was quickly let down. i am a huge fan of the beats. kerouac is one of my favorite writers, burroughs isn't far behind, i believe a lot of what they believe, i love to read about their lives, corso and snyder are poets i like, so i expected to be blown away by ginsberg. he is one of the three leaders of the movement. but his poetry continually let me down. don't get me wrong, he has some wonderful works (howl, kaddish, and a few others), but as a whole, his work is highly dissapointing. i almost wonder if he received his reputation because of friendship with kerouac and cassady or if it all rests on howl. i think he was more a personality than a poet. but i do think this book should be read by anyone serious about poetry, literature, or the beats. he is still an essential poet.
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Selected Poems 1947-1995 (Perennial Classics)
Selected Poems 1947-1995 (Perennial Classics) by Allen Ginsberg (Paperback - April 3, 2001)
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