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Collected poems, 1947-1980
ISBN 0060153415 / 9780060153410 / 0-06-015341-5
Publisher Harper & Row
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Tortured by the paranoia and mental illness of his immigrant mother, and by his own homosexuality in a society that was homophobic, Allen 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. Ginsberg's political commitment was fired by his involvement with Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder and others in the Beat movement, a poetry of social protest that refused perceived elitist boundaries. Despite a tendency toward propaganda, Ginsberg's best poetry is infused with satiric comedy and cheerful self-parody, and is most readily appreciated when read aloud. [via]