Book Group, Books

Book 25.5: Collected Poems 1947-1997 – Allen Ginsberg

So I read portions of this a few months ago for book group, but nowhere near enough for it to count as having read the entire book, thus the 25.5. I’m not actually counting this book, but writing a brief review because I loved one of the poems so much. We read probably 20 or so poems from the book (so not even half), but I feel I can count it as a half because we had a good discussion about them.

Of course we read Howl which was interesting enough, but there were some references that were just over my head. That’s one of the good things about the book group we’re evenly divided generational and one of the guys heard Ginsberg speak back in the 60s and another always has the best stories from the time the author’s were writing and really puts things into perspective.

The poem I enjoyed the most that was Wales Visitation. It’s funny because apparently he wrote it after having been on a LSD trip. I’m not sure if that says something about how my mind works or about what type of poetry I like, but regardless I liked it the best. There was something about its layout on the page and the flow of the words you could just see the rolling hills of Wales and feel the history imbibed in the words and the flow. To be honest he could have written the poem about the Welsh flag waiving in the wind because it’s pretty much the same description, the greens and white and red and the rippling waves/hills and the dragon’s presence. Who knows.

I think the one thing I took away from the poems we read was that Ginsberg was a bit of a pervert (or well at least not a prude). Some of his poems were shocking in their sexuality and their roughness (not quite brutality), but if you want to know what I’m talking about read Please Master. It’s probably not all that bad, but it completely threw me off-balance when I read it.


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