Rain Taxi: Revisiting Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg’s impact upon the literary as well as cultural climate of the United States during the tumultuous latter half of the twentieth century cannot be overstated.

First Thought (Michael Schumacher)All the interviews in First Thought are previously uncollected. The collection is genuinely worthwhile in its own right; rather than merely reiterating similar information there’s both a cohesiveness here and an easy accessibility that the bulkier Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews 1958-1996 (2002) lacks. There are also true rarities, such as Michael Reck’s 1968 “A Conversation between Ezra Pound and Allen Ginsberg.” This recounts Ginsberg’s visit to the reticent master poet shrouded within his self-imposed silence, which Ginsberg infamously managed to pull him out of long enough to receive Pound’s self-condemnation of his spouting “that stupid, suburban prejudice of ant-Semitism.” There is also an amusing joint-interview by Stephen M.H. Braitman between Ginsberg and his father Louis, an accomplished poet given to quaint rhyming verse. The father-son exchange is full of jollity. There is Louis taking delight in his dated, off-color, sexist one-liners (“Poets are born, not paid. But a lady poet can be made.”), as the two poets verbally spar off and talk over one another, leaving a desperate Allen repeatedly pleading with his father, “I want to answer his question.”

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Published in: Rain Taxi
By: Patrick James Dunagan