Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)

A selective list of online literary criticism for American Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources


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introduction & biography

"Allen Ginsberg." Excerpts from important critics on the following poems: "Howl," "Love Poem on a Theme by Whitman," "Wichita Vortex Sutra," "About the Vietnam War." Includes a biography by Ann Charters. Modern American Poetry. Ed. James Sullivan.

"Allen Ginsberg." Poetry Foundation. Encyclopedia-type introduction to Ginsberg, his biography, themes, and techniques, with text for some of his most famous poems.

"Allen Ginsberg." A brief introduction to Ginsberg. Also "Life Studies: American Poetry from T. S. Eliot to Allen Ginsberg." Academy of American Poets.

"Allen Ginsberg." Poetry Archive. A UK poetry web site. Directors, Andrew Motion & Richard Carrington.

Burt, Stephen. "The Paradox of 'Howl':The anti-establishment poem's debt to the established past." Slate magazine, 19 April 2006.

"Allen Ginsberg." American Masters, Public Broadcasting Service.

Ginsberg, Allen. "Kenneth Koch and Allen Ginsberg: Popeye and William Blake Fight to the Death." An eight-minute recording of a rhyming contest between Kenneth Koch and Allen Ginsberg at St Mark's Poetry Project, 9 May 1979. Jacket 15 (Dec. 2001).

"Allen Ginsberg." A NY Times special section, includes links to old Times articles on Ginsberg and reviews.

Wisker, Alastair. "Allen Ginsberg." Literary Encyclopedia. Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd. An introduction to Ginsberg, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription [subscription service].

Brown, Tim. An assessment of Ginsberg at the end of his career. Professor's web site.


literary criticism

DuPlessis, Rachel Blau. "Manhood and its Poetic Projects: The construction of masculinity in the counter-cultural poetry of the U.S. 1950s." Jacket 31 (Oct. 2006). "In the 1950s, three poets offer three kinds of peripheral maleness all examining taboo or counter-cultural forms of masculinity in their poems." Extended discussion of Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, and Charles Olson.

Dunn, Patrick. "'What If I Sang': The Intonation of Allen Ginsburg's Performances." Style 41, 1 (Spring 2007) [questia subscription service].

Genter, Robert. "'I'm Not His Father': Lionel Trilling, Allen Ginsberg, and the Contours of Literary Modernism." College Literature 31, 2 (Spring 2004) pp 22-52 [muse, summary only].

Harris, Oliver. "Cold War Correspondents: Ginsberg, Kerouac, Cassady, and the Political Economy of Beat Letters" [Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady]. Twentieth Century Literature 46, 2 (2000) [questia subscription service].

Perloff, Marjorie. "'A Lost Batallion of Platonic Conversationalists': 'Howl' and the Language of Modernism." From The Poem that Changed America: 'Howl' Fifty Years Later. Perloff positions Ginsberg as a modernist.

Vendler, Helen. "My Fiercest Liberator: A Tribute to Allen Ginsberg." Vendler writes, "Before I say something about Allen Ginsberg's great gifts to world culture, I want to mention my own profound gratitude for his work and for the life out of which it came. I read him when I first came to Harvard, in 1957, and he became one of my liberators." Harvard Magazine 9 (1997).

- - -. "Allen Ginsberg Considers His Country and Himself." Review of The Fall of America. NY Times 15 April, 1973.


web sites, video, libraries

The Allen Ginsberg Project. The Allen Ginsberg Trust. News, excellent links including audio and video, and much more.

"Lines Drawn in the Sand: The Life and Writings of Allen Ginsberg." U. of North Carolina library. Online exhibition, based chiefly on the Ginsberg collection acquired in 2002 from Bill Morgan.

Video of Bill Morgan, speaking about Ginsberg's letters. Ginsberg's friend, editor, and biographer, Bill Morgan, reads from his recently published edition of Allen Ginsberg's letters and talks about Ginsberg. San Francisco, 23 Oct. 2008. A 45 minute program, prefaced by an ad.

Video of Bill Morgan, speaking about his recently published biography of Allen Ginsberg. Bill Morgan, reads from I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg and talks about Ginsberg. A 54 minute program, San Francisco, 14 Nov. 2006, prefaced by an ad.

"Guide to the Allen Ginsberg Papers." Online Archive of California. A detailed list of the contents of the Allen Ginsberg archive at Stanford, and a short biography of Ginsberg. The guide notes that "the correspondence is particularly rich in correspondence between Ginsberg and virtually all of the authors associated with the Beat Generation, including Allen Ansen, Gregory Corso, John Clellon Holmes, Herbert Huncke, Gary Snyder, Carl Solomon, and Philip Whalen among others. The correspondence series contains some materials from William S. Burroughs, Sr., Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, including a few sporadic letters, post-cards, and photocopies of letters, but the vast bulk of the correspondence from these authors to Allen Ginsberg was sold by Ginsberg to Columbia University in the 1970's."

"Stanford acquires archive of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg." Press release 7 Sept. 1994.

"Allen Ginsberg: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center." Details about manuscript holdings and a short biography, U ot Texas, Austin.

"Allen Ginsberg Manuscripts." Details about manuscripts at Stony Brook U libraries.


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