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The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, 1956-1991

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September 8, 2009 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 336 Pages | ISBN 9781582435336
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“To read their letters... is to overhear the evolution of a remarkable friendship and the birth of a literary flowering we know as the Beat movement.” —San Francisco Chronicle

One of the central relationships in the Beat scene was the long-lasting friendship of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. Ginsberg introduced Snyder to the East Coast Beat writers, including Jack Kerouac, while Snyder himself became the model for the serious poet that Ginsberg so wanted to become. Snyder encouraged Ginsberg to explore the beauty of the West Coast and, even more lastingly, introduced Ginsberg to Buddhism, the subject of so many long letter exchanges between them.

Beginning in 1956 and continuing through 1995, the two men exchanged more than 850 letters. Bill Morgan, Ginsberg’s biographer and an important editor of his papers, has selected the most significant correspondence from this long friendship. The letters themselves paint the biographical and poetic portraits of two of America’s most important — and most fascinating — poets.

About Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Bill Morgan

ALLEN GINSBERG was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1926, and died in New York City in 1997.

GARY SNYDER was born in San Francisco in 1930. He lives near the south fork of the Yuba River in the foothills of the Sierras.

BILL MORGAN was Allen Ginsberg’s archivist and bibliographer for twenty years before Ginsberg’s death in 1997. Since then he has written more than a dozen books about the Beat Generation, including I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg, and he is the editor of Gregory Corso’s An Accidental Autobiography and Edie Kerouac Parker’s memoir, You’ll Be Okay. He lives in New York.

Praise

“To read their letters… is to overhear the evolution of a remarkable friendship and the birth of a literary flowering we know as the Beat movement.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“This sparkling collection of letters between Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg offers enthusiasts an intimate glimpse of the poets’ shared vision of creativity, spiritualism, and their work, as well as literary and sexual adventures from across the globe. In vivid prose that makes the infamous Yage Letters (between Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs) seem juvenile, these legendary Americans reveal a stunning amount, sharing both innermost doubts and grand career aspirations… Filled with the sort of high-minded yearning for knowledge that Ginsberg and Snyder are known for, this volume presents a thrilling opportunity to eavesdrop on two of the most intriguing American poets-and personalities-of the 20th Century.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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