Author(s): Steve Finbow
In this new critical biography of Allen Ginsberg, Steve Finbow re-examines the life, poetry and politics of this crucial poet and activist, and discusses his position in American letters and culture. The book moves from the influences of childhood - his poet father and schizophrenic mother - to his meeting with Kerouac and Burroughs in the New York of the late 1940s and the birth of the Beat Generation. From his obsessive need to travel to his experiments in writing, sexuality and altered states of consciousness, we follow Ginsberg to Mexico and his interest in pre-Columbian art and religion; to India and his experiences of Hinduism and Buddhism, and to America and the hippy and punk movements of the 1960s and '70s, witnessing his slow absorption into American academia while remaining an iconoclast and champion of the disenfranchised. Against the background of his life, we read about Ginsberg's poetry, music and media activities, as well as his relationships with Peter Orlovsky, Kerouac, Burroughs and other leading figures of twentieth-century literature, art, filmmaking and politics.
Written in a style that approximates Ginsberg's energy and enthusiasm, Allen Ginsberg bulges with information, opinion and insight. A former editor and researcher for Ginsberg, Steve Finbow's approach is both personal and critical, having witnessed the poet's personality and working methods first-hand. The book will appeal to the many fans and critics of Ginsberg's work and students of modern poetry and the Beat Generation, as well as scholars and new readers of this vital cultural figure.
Steve Finbow is Extraordinary Senior Lecturer at North-West University, South Africa. He is author of the novels Balzac of the Badlands (2009) and Nothing Matters (2012), and the short-story collection Tougher Than Anything in the Animal Kingdom (2011).