Letters of Allen Ginsberg & Gary Snyder, NY Times Review. “America’s most famous living poet” goes from “Madness to Gladness.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jan 13, 2009
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The Beat Generation—bookended by the looks and style and All-Americansim of the 50s and the counter-culture sex drugs jazz and rebellion of the late 60s—defined Beat as both beat down and a state of holy beatitude—a beautiful almost Catholic black-and-white dark sadness. But Ginsberg, along with Japhy Ryder (Gary Snyder) outgrew his fellow Beats and left behind mere brilliant unhappy emotionalism and angry, righteous political activism…

Within a quarter-century, however, Ginsberg had become America’s most famous living poet, attracting a congregation in which common readers mingled with political activists, students of oriental philosophy and a variety of social casualties. Words­worth’s famous pronouncement — “We poets in our youth begin in gladness; / But thereof comes in the end despondency and madness” — appears to have been put into reverse by Ginsberg. The open homosexual and Blake-inspired visionary took every opportunity to demonstrate that candor triumphed over shame — by taking off his clothes at a poetry reading, for example. Madness to gladness was his determined course. If the world seemed reluctant to follow, the solution was obvious: change the world…

…for the rest of the NY Times review, click here.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


One Response to “Letters of Allen Ginsberg & Gary Snyder, NY Times Review. “America’s most famous living poet” goes from “Madness to Gladness.””

  1. […] Gary Snyder was a Pulitzer Prize winning poet who was immersed in Buddhism and Zen. He was perhaps the most grounded yet ethereal of the Beats, finding his escape less through intoxicants but through much of his time spent alone and secluded in nature. […]