Bob Rosenthal in The Journal of Beat Studies

The scholarly journal of The Beat Studies Association,  the Journal of Beat Studies (edited by Ronna C Johnson and Nancy Grace) has a new issue out (the 2020 issue, Volume 8). It’s full (as with previous years) with a plethora of riches, notably a survey of the “State-of-the-Field” (of Beat scholarship), and two comprehensive essays on Joanne Kyger (Timothy Gray’s “”Take It Easier” – Joanne Kyger in Bolinas”, and Jane Falk’s “Joanne Kyger’s Poetics – Finding The Continuous Thread”), as well as reviews by John Shapcott on William Burroughs, Mary Paniccia Carden on Diane di Prima, and Tony Trigilio on Bob Rosenthal’s Straight Around Allen – On The Business of Being Allen Ginsberg

Regarding Bob’s unique hybrid memoir, Triglio writes:

“Memoir, by its nature as a genre, cannot replace critical biography for the knowledge it makes about its subject.But memoir’s intimacy, the emotional knowledge that it creates and the archival detail it provides, can be a significant component of scholarly research. Straight Around Allen offers important insight into the day-to-day particulars of the Ginsberg industry, including the extent to which commerce and poetry competed against each other for Ginsberg’s attention (despite the decidedly non-commercial, vatic lineage from which his poems emerge). Rosenthal describes Ginsberg as someone “so loved and feared that people hold their peace around him and wait for him to leave before falling apart”. What is unique and ultimately valuable about Straight Around Allen is Rosenthal’s perspective as an intimate witness to the turbulence that was the Ginsberg industry’s center of gravity”

and, elsewhere:

“One of the major strengths of this book is its suggestion, not emphasized enough Ginsberg scholarship, that Ginsberg identified almost as much with teaching as he did with writing. Straight Around Allen is filled with anecdotes in which Ginsberg runs the office as both benevolent boss and attentive pedagogue. Ginsberg’s identity reflected that of a patient teacher as much as it did, for example the canny, self-conscious media figure…Even during his final hospital stay, Ginsberg was teaching…”

Journal of Beat Studies (copies of this issue and of previous issues) can be ordered here 

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