Allen Ginsberg’s Martifice


On November 1st, the 50th anniversary of Howl, De Capo Press is releasing poems and journals from Allen Ginsberg. If nothing else, they’ve chosen a provocative title: The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice. The title came from a notation on one of Ginsberg’s notebooks that combined the words Martyrdom and Artifice into Martifice. The book is rich with comments and analysis of Ginsberg’s friends, literary and otherwise, including this bit about Jack Kerouac that’s intriguing because of his estimation of Kerouac and himself:

“I think Jack is the greatest writer alive in America of our own age – yet Harcourt rejected his first version [of On the Road] as being too personal and subjective – not worked out in objective story – which feeling I went along with. Now this second version seems to them a garble of unrelated free associations. I think I will stick by Jack, though I haven’t seen the pages yet, only snatches in his letters. He understands me – so he must be great.”

Poetry buffs and dilettantes, check it out – there’s 65 poems that haven’t been published elsewhere and the book clocks in at a hefty 515 pages.

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