Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Curation #113 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder edited by Bill Morgan

Item #113 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 2009 Counterpoint first printing of The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder edited by Bill Morgan. 321 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in very good condition. The provenance? I don't remember.

Years ago, friends and family wrote each other letters to communicate. Now, it seems, that practice has been largely usurped by e-mails and texts and Tweets and Facebook messages, etc. I continue the practice with my friends Charlie and Gerry, who live at great distance, and I must say that it is quite satisfying.

To wit, Beat triumvirate member Allen Ginsberg and Kerouac muse Gary Snyder, poets both, wrote each other more than 850 letters between 1956 and 1991. Ginsberg biographer Bill Morgan has selected the most significant letters from their long friendship and collected them in this volume.

This book provides a fascinating and intimate look into the friendship and lives of two major figures in the Beat Generation story. There are 16 pages of pictures and an index. Morgan lists who was writing to whom and where they were for each letter, and provides unobtrusive explanatory footnotes when necessary. The book begins with a short preface by Morgan and a brief note from Snyder, who is still alive at this writing (Ginsberg died in 1997).

I highly recommend this book to Kerouac or Beat Generation fans. It won't disappoint.

Below is a picture of Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (7th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac by Gerald Nicosia.

Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how these guys had even the time to write these voluminous collections and create their poetry and prose at such prolific level. RM