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The Beat Manifesto,
This review is from: A Coney Island of the Mind: Poems (Paperback)
Let me start off by saying that, in the run of things, this type poetry is not my favorite. I'm more of a formalist myself, but I couldn't help but be impressed by much of this collection, which, along with Ginsberg's HOWL, kicked off the Beat Movement in American poetry in the 1950's.
This is largely a verbal collage, a compendium of memories, impressions, chants, lists, and lyric fragments. The influence of Whitman is apparent in the freeform meditations on the human body and the populist tone of much of the book. This is a cry for people to throw off the constraints of materialism and return to a simpler way of living. It exalts the earth over industry, art over commerce, individualism over uniformity. In other places the shadows of Eliot and Yeats can be seen; indeed in a couple of poems Ferlinghetti freely borrows from those masters - see "The Junkman'Obbligato", for instance, which echoes Eliot's "The Waste Land" with the repeated refrain "Hurry please it's time."
The book is divided into three sections. There is the title section then a series of seven pieces (including "Junkman") originally written for musical accompaniment and finally some selections from Ferlinghetti's first book PICTURES OF THE GONE WORLD.
Not for all tastes but seminal nevertheless and eye-opening as well.