Death & Fame: Poems 1993-1997

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9780060192921: Death & Fame: Poems 1993-1997

Allen Ginsberg was one of the bravest and most admired poets of this century. Famous for energizing the Beat Generation literary movement upon his historic encounter with Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs in mid-century New York City, Ginsberg influenced several generations of writers, musicians, and poets. When he died on April 5, 1997, we lost one of the greatest figures of twentieth-century American literary and cultural history. This singular volume of final poems commemorated the anniversary of Ginsberg's death, and includes the verses he wrote in the years shortly before he died.

In the title poem of Death & Fame, Ginsberg ponders his life, and, in his own inimitable way, how he would like his funeral arranged and who would be there. He reflects on his life as a celebrity, contemplating past lovers, friends, and fans. In "The Ballad of the Skeletons," Ginsberg shares his always unsettling and controversial thoughts on America's political and social systems. "Things I'll Not Do (Nostalias)," the most poignant poem in the collection, was written just six days before he died. Ginsberg ruminates on the people, places, and events that held importance for him but that he will leave behind. In all of the poems, Ginsberg's signature style and unique perspective are remarkably present as we are allowed one last glimpse into the workings of his mind.

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About the Author:

Allen Ginsberg was born in 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, a son of Naomi Ginsberg and lyric poet Louis Ginsberg. In 1956 he published his signal poem, "Howl," one of the most widely read and translated poems of the century.

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, awarded the medal of Chevalier de I'Ordes des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture ion 1993, and cofounder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute, the first accredited Buddhist college in the Western world, Allen Ginsberg died in 1997.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

New Democracy Wish List

for President Clinton White House

Retro Axioms:

"Progress" ended in XX century.

Hyper-rationalism reduces natural complexity of nature through narrow
  thought abstraction; Hyper-rationalization, hyper-industri-
  alization & Hyper-technology create chaos.

U.S. command economy subsidizes fossil fuel and nuclear Energy &
  Science, Agriculture, Air & Motor Transport, Banking,
  Communications, Military Industrial Complex, licit & illicit
  psychoactive Drugs, also rules Mass Media via FCC. American
  Free Market is hi-tech myth with national socialist central-
  ized regulation implicit everywhere except small business &
  little magazines.

Muscle Power connected to appropriate hi-tech might rehabilitate
  Earth.

Lacks & Needs:

Fossil Fuels retard the planet. Detoxify America: tainted Fire
  poisons Earth, fouls Air & pollutes Water.

Emphasize prevention & alternative medicine with medical insurance
  rebates for not using Self-insured health credits: like
  mythic China, "Only pay Doctor when you are well."

Fund Ryan White Care Act, separate Church & State in Center for Dis-
  ease Control, fund bleach kits, needle exchange & plainspoken
  AIDS education, build infrastructure of decentralized com-
  munity based health care preventative medicine early inter-
  vention clinics for poverty class disease-prone high-risk
  teens women & men living with AIDS & TB inner city plagues.

Coordinate National crash program to research inexpensive anti-
  AIDS medicines.

Separate Church & State in arts, education & civil law. Restore Na-
  tional Endowment for the Arts & FCC freedom from
  Fundamentalist political intrusion.

Sexuality's loose not fixed. Legalize it.

Decriminalize addictive drug problem, doctors can cure addiction or
  provide maintenance if no cure. Reduce mass-million expense
  on narcotics-addicted political prisoners overcrowding courts
  & jails, Medicalize drug trade.

Decriminalize marijuana, its disadvantages are minor; reserve hemp
  grass as unadvertised private small cash crop for failing
  family farms, encourage hemp fabric industries.

Privatize & entrust psychedelics to medical educational priestly
  professions. End Military monopoly on LSD research and
  development.

End tobacco farming subsidies, cut use. Ex-Nicotine lobbyists working
  in Clinton's new White House can stop smoking.

Shift agricultural subsidies toward grain beans & vegetable diet. Tax
  meat as a nutritional agronomic & ecologic disaster.

With massive scale reforestation rural & in wilderness, plant also uni-
  versal urban tree rows.

Establish Civilian Conservation Corps for Urban homesteading, thin out
  corrupt local bureaucracies obstructing populist housing re-
  construction.

Encourage international trade in Eco-technology in place of enabling
  codependency on weapons trade.

Inaugurate National "Limits of Growth" Program for Population/Land
  Use/Pollution.

Jump start national state & city human and industrial waste compost &
  recycling.

Honor primary and secondary school teachers, elevate respect, reward
  educators as handsomely as Plumbers, reduce class crowding to
  human size, under 15 students; encourage national child-care
  projects.

Take back money from SLA bankruptcy profiteer goniffs.

Purge U.S. military death squad subsidies in Salvador, Guatemala, etc.
  We backed up dictators in Zaire, Somalia, Liberia, Sudan,
  Angola, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Salvador, we're responsible: admit
   it then figure ways out.

Open CIA & FBI & NSA archives on Cointelpro raids, Government drug
  dealing, Kennedy/King assassinations, Iranian Contragate,
  Panama Deception, Vatican, Hand & Lavoro Bank thuggery, etc.
  including Bush-Noriega relations and other CIA client-agent
  scandals.

Open all secret files on J. Edgar Hoover-Cardinal Spellman- Roy Cohn-
  Joe McCarthy alcoholic Closet-Queen Conspiracy with Organized
  Crime to sabotage the U.S. Labor Movement, Native African-
  American Hispanic & Gay minority leaderships; and blackmail
  U. S. Presidents Congress each other for half century.

Get Government Secret Police (DEA CIA FBI NSA etc.) off our backs by
  the next millennium.

January 17, 1993

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