Selected Essays, 1952-1995Book - 2000
Allen Ginsberg's essays, collected here for the first time, were written over the course of a long, productive, and politically engaged life. With his finger ever on the pulse of America, Ginsberg was consistently outspoken and passionate about his beliefs. Whether criticizing the American government, protesting the proliferation of nuclear weapons or the waging of war in Vietnam, or denouncing the injustice of capitalists Ginsberg gave voice to a moral conscience of the nation. His views on free speech and the drug, culture, his quest for inner peace, the creation of the Beat generation, and his innovative poetics reflect the, concerns of a postwar American culture that he helped shape.
Arranged by subject, these essays offer a fascinating counterpoint to Allen Ginsberg's poems. Hey are provocative, playful, eloquent, and of the moment. In the section titled "Politics and Prophecies," Ginsberg takes on everyone from the Federal Drug Administration to the Pentagon to the Hell's Angels. Included here are his notes on how to make march/spectacle (drawn up in 1965 when a march was planned at Berkeley to support the cause of peace in Vietnam and to protest the draft), and his thoughts on how the raging issues of the day'China, Vietnam, and the 1968 Democratic National Convetion in Chicago. In another section, "Censorship and Sex Laws," Ginsberg's pieces demonstrate the strength of his belief in the right to free speech, which leads him to defend NAMBLA (North America Man Boy Love Association), comedian Lenny Bruce, and writer William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch. Ginsberg's essays on "Writers" focus on those he particularly admired, including William Blake. Walt Whitman, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and Robert Creely. Through a combination of literary criticism and personal reflection, Ginsberg illuminates the life and work of these artists. Also, profiled are such influential figures as jean Genet, W. H. Auden, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Robert Frank, and Philip Glass, artists whose work and sensibility deeply affected him.
Personal as well as political, Deliberate Prose is more than a collection of essays from one of the greatest cultural figures of our time. It is also a social history of modern America that reminds us of the events and issues that preoccupied the minds of a nation in the postwar years.