Cosmopolitan Greetings

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The dazzling linguistic invention, the heart-cheering spiritual generosity, the seriousness of political purpose and the endearing wry self-conscious humor that marked Allen Ginsberg’s work from the publication of his landmark poem HOWL in 1956 are still present in his latest collection of poetry. Issued on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his historic meeting with Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, COSMOPOLITAN GREETINGS shows Ginsberg faithful to his visionary goals for humankind while writing from the perspective of a man who sees himself now (in “Personals Ad”) as a “Poet professor in autumn years.”

The great themes and primary concerns of Ginsberg’s life continue to form the substance of his poetic inquiry, but now, the inescapable consequences of time’s passage have added a dimension of rueful reflection to the exuberant physicality and sexual candor that have been a part of Ginsberg’s groundbreaking personal voice and style. As the shape of American literary history now clearly indicates the importance of the best writers of the Beat Generation, Ginsberg’s own reflections on his fellow artists and friends have taken on the added interest of a significant commentary by an energetic advocate for the work he supported and taught.

The deep feeling for longtime friends and the awareness of loss as his contemporaries seem to merge in his mind with prominent older historical personages has not led to a diminution...

(The entire section is 487 words.)