Friday, December 02, 2011

Ginsberg: The Ugly Spectre of Revisionism

also published at Suffolk Punch (

The rather wonderful Allen Ginsberg blog ( reminds us that Allen's poetry has been left out of Rita Dove's Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry.

WHAT??? Who the hell is going to represent American poetry at mid-century and into the Sixties then? Robert Lowell?? Kenneth Patchen??

This doesn't warrant a polite "Boo!", Ginsberg people, it warrants a howl, if you'll pardon the pun, of objection. It's philistinism. Absolute philistinism. And an absurd attempt to rewrite history, excluding the only serious challenge to the strangulating dullness of respectable literary life in those times.

I recommend we all write emails and letters of strenuous complaint and refuse to buy any more Penguin books until they correct their ridiculous error

Well, I say the ONLY serious attempt, but I find that Kerouac's not in there either. Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti are, which is fine, but by no stretch of the imagination could it be said that they've written work of the same profound, original, epoch-making significance as Ginsberg and Kerouac. And I think they'd probably both tell you that too.

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