Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
(800) 937-3880

Lot #550
Allen Ginsberg

The Beat Generation’s influential poet counsels a protege on the best uses of imagery, phrasing and getting published

This lot has closed

Estimate: $0+
Sell a Similar Item?


The Beat Generation’s influential poet counsels a protege on the best uses of imagery, phrasing and getting published

Highly influential American poet (1926–1997) whose energetic, free-associative verse made him one of the leading—and most controversial—figures of the Beat generation. His long poem Howl, published in 1956, remains a cornerstone of 20th century poetic canon. ALS signed “Allen,” 7.5 x 10.5, October 21, 1976. Ginsberg writes from Vajradhatu Seminary in Wisconsin to his protégé Jonathan Robbins. In part [his spellings and punctuation retained]: “Happy you’re learning Auto Mechanicry—apple’d Nature, & now basic robot-workings, both symbolic vocations accurate to poet’s imagine-world; good grounding for imagery … both develop fearless ennui. Fix my car!!!! when it breaks!… Your writing can’t at present make an ‘immediate stir’ except among your friends or literary sensitives & congoscenti who’ll detect traces of present genius in the phrasing, the ease & familiarity you take with the muse, your attitude I mean; a certain breath in the line that indicates mental & physical inspiration; and potentiality of yr. natural & cultivated genius being yoked to … solid matter in Future, more comprehensible to the general public…. My first suggestion was, print it neatly yourself xeroxed & I’ll help pay for it. Second suggestion circulate it to avant guard or specialized presses to have it done, especially with Stanley Gould’s drawings. I think of Black Sparrow Press in L.A., maybe Coach House Press…. Please bring this problem to Robt. Wilson at Pheonix Bookshop near Sheridan Sq., & ask his advice, say I asked you to ask him for list of specialized lavender poesy presses, & suggestions as to which might be appropriate…. In answer to yr. question, I love you & your literary image too, I’ll help all I can as is proper & appropriate without straining beyond common sense both mine & yours, to see that your writings are published. I’ve estimated above wheat their present public appeal might be; you can’t make a ‘pop’ stir with material that’s not of that nature remember to try might be to waste time & blow energy prematurely…. Peter’s [Peter Orlovsky, Ginsberg’s lover] sitting 10 hours a day, I’m doing prostrations & sitting an equal time, & we’re reading esoteric texts on development of discriminating wisdom aspect of mind….” Robbins (now known as Jakob Rabinowitz) later became a respected literary scholar. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope bearing Ginsberg’s handwritten full name and mailing address. Faint intersecting mailing folds, otherwise fine, clean condition. Interesting craft-related content from the controversial literary figure. RRAuction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #356 - Ended April 14, 2010