Mini book review: “Collected Poems: 1947-1997,” by Allen Ginsberg

by Keena Kimmel

Some people rescue stray dogs, I rescue wayward books. You know the ones – those lonely volumes that practically whimper amidst their shelf-mates, once mighty dandelions growing through the cracks, since flung into a sea of used airport fiction. I recently rescued “Collected Poems: 1947-1997,” by Allen Ginsberg. I’m a sucker for the beats, but bookstores that stock those ol’ boys seem to be few and far between. I always look though, and sometimes I get lucky. Off by itself, like a ratty, dejected, old Siamese cat at the pound, sulked my book. Once sprung from that shelf and back at my house with his kinfolk, it sprang back to life, howling as only Ginsberg was wont to do.

The work of Ginsberg passionately reviles militarism, materialism, and sexual repression. His was a spiritual quest for truth amid the tatters of everyday existence. To delve into this anthology is to dive headfirst into 1,188 pages of roiling whys and what-ifs. That old cat left his mark on the world. The tales of battle scars chocked up along the way sit in wait, ready to spring from the page with the same exuberance as the day they were written.

Keena KimmelOwner of White Rabbit Books Curiosities

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