Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 304


Allen Ginsberg “signing a book at Harry Smith‘s funeral with his montblanc pen”, 1991 – Photograph © Thomas Peters

Michael Schumachers collection of miscellaneous Ginsberg interviews, First Thought, as we mentioned last week, will be published very soon. Meantime, it’s worth considering Schumacher’s other titles, his masterly distillation of The Essential Ginsberg (out from Harpers in 2015), his remarkable edit of the Ginsberg father-son letters, Family Business, (2001)  and his monumental biography, Dharma Lion (1994,recently re-issued by University of Minnesota Press in an expanded edition, 2016)

A recent review of the latter  the new edition that runs to 824 pages  may be accessed – here.  As the reviewer, David Eggleton, concludes:

“Ginsberg was a multifarious figure — like Walt Whitman, he “contained multitudes” — who at his best successfully channelled a driving, twitchy energy into memorable language. His was a celebration of public joy: he answered to a need for spiritual sustenance with his own spiritual comedy. He sought, and in a way obtained, a kind of performance poetry sublime enough to change the national will and raise up the consciousness of the populace. His rich legacy remains, both in the meaning of his activism and in his verse.”

Speaking of Whitman, thrilled to be able to report (courtesy of the New York Times) another re-discovered Whitman manuscript. Grad-student Zachary Turpin is at it again (you will recall, perhaps, that last year he discovered “Manly Health and Training”, “a previously unknown 47,000 word self-help treatise that Whitman published in The New York Atlas in 1858). This time, it’s a whole novel, the 36,000 word, ” The Life And Adventures of Jack Engle” (which will be published, (re-published), on-line, on Monday, by The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review –  [update –  it’s already up!] – and in book form by the University of Iowa Press)


opening page of The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle

Here‘s a further account of its discovery, in The Guardian (Turpin describes it as “a fun, rollicking, creative. twisty, bizarre. little book”),


Walt Whitman’s handwritten notes for what became the novel, The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle – courtesy The Library of Congress

Here‘s Whitman scholar, Ed Folsom extolling the discovery.

– and the NPR report

An early review of Bill Morgan’s Best Minds book (publication date for that is the 4th of April), the reviewer rightly noting it’s “an excellent history”

and they’re stamping Allen’s words on the Wichita pavements!

More Ginsberg news next week.

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