Biography & True Story Books:

Iron Curtain Journals

January-May 1965



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Iron Curtain Journals by Allen Ginsberg
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The first of three in a series of Ginsberg\u2019s unpublished travel journals A travel guide through one of the best minds of the Beat Generation-distinctly not destroyed by madness-Allen Ginsberg\u2019s journals are more tour de force than simple diaries, charting his poetry, political antics, and high-profile encounters behind the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War. Between jotting first drafts of well-known poems and composing others not seen until now, Ginsberg manages to get himself deported from Cuba-to, of all places, Prague, where he also eventually finds himself unwelcome. Meanwhile, in characteristically colorful fashion, he details his provocations and pranks, his encounters with other poets, curious citizens, and celebrities, and his pointed, often moving observations as he makes his way to Russia (land of his heritage), to Poland and the Warsaw Ghetto, and to Auschwitz. Running foul of the Czech government when he circles back to Prague, he is warned to keep a low profile but is instead crowned the King of May by students who ceremoniously parade him through the city in a flatbed truck. Ginsberg is beaten in the streets, arrested, and deported once again, this time to swinging England, where he arrives just in time to help stage a massive international poetry reading at the Royal Albert Hall.Ginsberg wrote of these experiences as only he could, summoning a time, a political and poetic landscape at once familiar and foreign, and a singular poet who in these pages-whether detailing his travels, describing his meetings with Russian poets, annotating his dreams, or giving graphic accounts of his sexual adventures-speaks with electrifying intelligence and insight across the years and the vagaries of culture.

Author Biography

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was born in Newark, New Jersey. As a student at Columbia College in the 1940s, he began close friendships with William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac, and he later became associated with the Beat movement and the San Francisco Renaissance in the 1950s. After jobs as a laborer, sailor, and market researcher, he published his first volume of poetry, Howl and Other Poems, in 1956. "Howl" defeated censorship trials to become one of the most widely read poems of the century. Michael Schumacher is author of Dharma Lion, the acclaimed biography of Allen Ginsberg, and editor of First Thought: Conversations with Allen Ginsberg (both from Minnesota), as well as editor of The Essential Ginsberg.
Release date NZ
November 6th, 2018
Edited by Michael Schumacher
Country of Publication
United States
University of Minnesota Press
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