Friday, June 3, 2011

Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926)

OK, Allen Ginsberg was a Buddhist by faith and practice. Somehow he still belongs to secular Judaism, at least considering that his poem "Kaddish" is dedicated to his mother, Naomi Ginsberg (1894—1956). Really, doesn't writing about your Jewish mother make you a hero?
" I walk toward the Lower East Side—where you walked 50 years ago, little girl—from Russia, eating the first poisonous tomatoes of America—frightened on the dock—
then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what?—toward Newark—
toward candy store, first home-made sodas of the century, hand-churned ice cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards—
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school, and learning to be mad, in a dream—what is this life?"

I heard Ginsberg read the poem once. His readings were powerful, emotional. I respect the way he used all his experiences, all his religions, in poetry.

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