Personally selected by Allen Ginsberg, Selected Poems 1947-1995
is the definitive collection of the best works of one of the most influential and revolutionary poets of the twentieth century.
Allen Ginsberg, famous for helping catalyze the Beat Generation, wrote poetry for over fifty years. His innovative verse and provocative attitudes of spiritual, political, and sexual liberation inspired countless poets and musicians, visual and performance artists worldwide, and helped shape several generations' views of the world.
Selected Poems 1947-1995 commemorated Ginsberg's brilliant career as one of America's most distinguished poets. Here are well-known masterpieces such as the lyric "Howl" and the narrative "Kaddish"--classic works of American literature--as well as more recent gems, the long dream poem "White Shroud," the visionary "After Lalon," and the political rock lyric "The Ballad of the Skeletons," a song he recorded in 1996 with a stellar band that included Philip Glass, Lenny Kaye, and Paul McCartney.
Allen Ginsberg made his mark, along with Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder and others, in the Beat movement, a poetry of social protest that refused perceived elitist boundaries. Tortured by the paranoia and mental illness of his immigrant mother, and by his own homosexuality in a society that was homophobic, Ginsberg's early work was as much a measure of his self-loathing as his detestation of social hypocrisy and injustice. His poems reached depths of humiliation and shame that presaged a mental breakdown, followed by recovery with the help of Buddhist philosophy. His best poetry rises above both personal despair and political propagandizing with satiric comedy, and cheerful self-parody, and is most readily appreciated when read aloud. This volume includes sixty pages of songs, some written in collaboration with Bob Dylan, which are not included in his Collected Poems 1947-1980.