IMG_5092Poem in Jack Gilbert’s 2005 collection Refusing Heaven I rediscovered after Blue Springs North branch reopened (curbside service) and I reordered everything I could remember from the shelf.

Leafing through, I must have seen and recalled it, because I dreamed of posting it here in an entry and remembering the dream decided I had better go ahead and follow through if for no other reason than the poem is about Allen Ginsberg and he factored into the previous post.

Interesting how Gilbert’s “Destroyed / … clan” resonates with Ginsberg’s opening line of “Howl”: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed / by madness.” Now Ginsberg’s mind is destroyed in Gilbert’s eyes in a far-sweeping indictment that slams of all things Buddhism and may be even Christian humility: “Let the little children come unto me …” (Matthew 19:14).

Suggests there is a worldliness to Gilbert that is at odds with the turn toward the meek in Ginsberg. I’ve often wondered about the quality of Ginsberg’s later work because it all seems to fall short of the much anthologized “Howl.” Maybe we’re both missing the point and Ginsberg’s simplicity leads beyond Gilbert’s Nietzschean classicism (Chekov, Aachen, etc.)

Maybe not.


2 thoughts on ““Halloween””

  1. Just remembered Ted Berrigan in an interview saying he didn’t think much of Ginsberg’s verse until he heard him read. I would like to think that Gilbert paid him at least that much courtesy.


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