A Prelude to a Criticism

So I have something coming up on Monday. It’s a bit different from the usual fare around here, though I hope still relevant. As a cryptic introduction, I thought I’d quote a few reviews of Allen Ginsberg’s book, Mind Breaths from the site GoodReads. None of these will be featured or even quoted in Monday’s piece, but still, reading them might prove interesting:

First let’s hear from Ben:

One poem that really struck me in this collection is “Yes And It’s Hopeless,” in which Ginsberg reflects on many of the problems in the world we live in (published in 1978, with poems written between 1972 and 1977) — wars, drug problems, assassinations, etc. — with a sense of despair

Next is Sundry:

Um. I dunno. I had a hard time focusing on these poems. None of them really engaged me. Sadly, many seem very dated because of hot-topic references. I suppose they are historically relevant. I’ve never read Howl. Maybe I should have started there.

Joey concludes the trio:

This is my first Ginsberg collection, and I’m not sure how many more I’m going to try. While the percussion and the music of some of the poems were fun and exhilarating, I found most of the book to be boring and tedious. Not all of it is Ginsberg’s fault. The book only covers the mid-1970s, and I wasn’t yet born, let alone sophisticated enough to understand world events via poems. I’m sure they would’ve hit me harder as a contemporary.

Think on those, and if you haven’t read any Ginsberg, maybe try a poem or two today before tomorrow’s piece.


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