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on November 18, 2006
I just finished reading Ginsberg's collected poems, 1947-1997 -- fifty years and over a thousand pages of poetry. My overall impression is that he was probably the kindest, most moral member of the beat generation. When the other beats were penniless & borrowing money, Ginsberg was the one they borrowed money from. Corso would steal Ginsberg's manuscripts and sell them to used book dealers to score heroin, and each time Ginsberg would walk down to the book dealer and buy back his priceless words. Where Kerouac preached his own version of buddhism and gave it up a few years later for alcoholic catholicism, Ginsberg remained a dedicated student of buddhist compassion to the end of his days.

And that's what shines thru in many of these poems -- compassion, attention to the present, and the courage to be so honest about his life and his feelings. Many of these poems are raw, experimental, informal, and spontaneous, almost like journal entries. He wrote numerous classics -- Pull My Daisy (written with Kerouac & Cassady in 1949), Howl, America, Kaddish, Mescaline, Lysergic Acid, Wichita Vortex Sutra, Wales Visitation, Elegy for Neal Cassady, and Memory Gardens (elegy for Jack Kerouac), among others.

Some of the most common themes are world travel, nature, daily events, progressive politics, the US invasion of Vietnam, the peace movement, road trips, drug use, the beats, gay sex, hinduism, buddhism, death, and love. In other words, Ginsberg wrote about his life. He talks about his friends dying, his father dying, his mother's insanity and death, his loves, his joys, and whatever is pressing and interesting to him at the moment. Some of the poems are better than others, but I can't imagine there's a more honest poet out there.

Casual readers of the beats will likely want to skip around and read a poem here, a poem there, just checking out the highlights. But even for casual readers, there's no sense in just buying a smaller collection -- just buy this big book so you can have it all.

If you want a smaller collection, you can't go wrong with Howl,Kaddish, and/or Selected Poems.
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VINE VOICEon November 21, 2006
Americans who can't name five poets will name Allen Ginsberg. In this case, that is good since he was one of America's Greatest Poets. This book attest to this.

I write this review to show disappointment in the publisher who continues to publish the collected works on the cheapest paper next to newsprint.

For the next edition, I would like to see, at least in limited edition, a volume printed on quality paper which could last more than a few years before turning yellow.

Ginsbergs deserves better treatment.
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on November 17, 2008
This book contains almost all of Ginsberg's poetry. If you are one of those people that must have all of his poems, a great purchase would be The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice. It is his journals and early poems from 1937-1952. You will have every poem that he wrote and his journal. Also, you can buy his book of letters too.
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on May 8, 2016
Ginsberg hallows the new Holy, that Numinous Experience far from the bowed heads and folded hands of false piety. He straddled both the Beat and Hippie Generations with a raw feed that will bear hearing and heeding far beyond this Now when we are None for Crutches, Creeds, and when we seek answers that our paternalistic and chauvinist last century would shut out, that which has become the gay new mainstream. As one who would write poetics of the new raw feed, Ginsberg has emboldened me to be honest to the point of disdain for what before I was (straight and ....phobic) to this my honest moment (trans-fem and happily so!) Read this collection of Psalms as the Newing Testament of a New New wHOLLY Bible!
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on March 8, 2015
Fantastic collection in an inexpensive e-book form. Ginsberg (and beat poetry) is certainly not everyone's idea of great writing. But the man had style and spoke well to those of us of a certain time and frame of mind. He's worth a read even if the material may have faded a bit and is not as "shocking" today as when first published. My favorite, "Wichita Vortex Sutra", has stood the test of time and is as powerful as ever.
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on December 12, 2012
Its an amazing book and huge too. Most of Allens work is here. I have the kindle edition as well because I loved my paperback one so much I wanted to carry it around and read Allens poems whenever I felt like it.
I fell in love with Allens poetry about a year ago and have been listening to his poems in audio like crazy, but this book is so delightful I have been reading it rather than listening to more audios, as my time is a bit short these days. I cant say how much I love it. I would marry this book if it asked me! I dont think any poetry loving person with a sense of fun would ever regret buying this book. Get it! And bring more wonder into your life.
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on August 5, 2012
*________________________________________________________*
OH THIS WORD RIDE-SO LIKE A RIPTIDE-LEAVING NO PLACE TO HIDE
*________________________________________________________*

All I can say is WOW! If ever there WERE a person who

could be called as THAT kind of "spewer out of words" kind of person,

the sort who lets his words flow, just letting it all hang out, no holds barred, throwing

all sense of caution into the wind, kind of person, well, THAT kind of person is

the only one who would-- strike that--COULD have written "The Howl." Now THAT'S a

TRUE RANT, albeit, a rhythmic, alarmingly poetical and ultimately coming to make

some kind of sense, when finally driving point his home, well, THIS person could

only be that pure genius, gut cut wide open "spewer of words", Allen Ginsberg.

So now, let me cry, oh my my, what a word ride. And so worth the trip.

If you love words--he sure let's 'em rip.

What we have here, after his earlier youthful, word seeking,

linquistic exploring, errrr, self-experimentation, before that magical high note of clarity

hit as voice and pen fused as one (take note of the high magical clarity) so birthing a

True Wordsmith, who in turn broke all the barriers down.

He RANTED those walls down.

He HOWLED 'em down.

That's who Allen Ginsberg is. No holds barred. So unconventional.

A poet. The essence of unconventional poeticism.
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on November 2, 2014
Just fantastic. The book is thick. At least 1000 pages. Their is so much content. It gives you a raw and real view in the life of the beat poet. All the way up until his death, his poems document his life in vivid detail. There are illustrations in the anthology that pertain to Ginsberg's life. Although it is paperback, the book doesn't feel at all cheap and the paper its printed on is high quality. if you are a fan of Ginsberg or the beat generation of poetry this book is a must have. Worth every cent.
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on May 1, 2012
This is a very substantial publication, which covers Allen Ginsberg's life work in poetry, from the late forties, to the poems he wrote on his deathbed. It includes his classics, Howl, Footnote to Howl, Kaddish, America, Hum Bom, and all his other poems, collected over a fifty year period. This book is available as an e-book, but I bought it used through Amazon.com for cheaper than the price of the e-book and it arrived in great condition. I find it more fun to read his poetry if you have recordings of Ginsberg himself reading the poems. He recites his own poetry in a special way, the way it is meant to be read and heard. This is a complete collection from one of the (if not THE) greatest of the poets of the Beat generation, which included Jack Kerouac, and WIlliam S. Burroughs, among others.
Five out of five stars for this complete, definitive publication of Ginsberg's poetic lifelong work.
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on December 6, 2013
y daughter shops on amazon a lot and most times orders books that interest her. This was one of them, and even though she doesn't like reading much, this captured her attention. Great delivery, and great price.
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