Material Wealth Review in Rock and the Beat Generation

Review of “Material Wealth: Mining the Personal Archive of Allen Ginsberg,”compiled by Pat Thomas and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, in the Rock and the Beat Generation newsletter by Simon Warner.

Book review #20: Material Wealth

“Material Wealth might be called a scrapbook in the spirit of the Yippies that combines words and images and creates something greater than its parts. Indeed, it’s composed of bits and pieces – photos, sketches, letters, posters and ephemera – that cohere and coalesce.

It might be also be described as Ginsberg ‘light’, though it also includes plenty of darkness, a territory that the poet covered in his three major poems: ‘Howl’ – an epic about a generation ‘destroyed by madness’; ‘Kaddish’ – an elegy for his mother, Naomi— and ‘Wichita Vortex Sutra’, an anti-war hymn in which he writes, ‘I here declare the end of the war!’ It’s as timely a proclamation in the age of Ukraine and Gaza as it was during the Vietnam War.

The new title moves chronologically from the 1950s to the 1990s with emphasis on the Sixties – especially Chicago in ‘68 – and on the music and musicians in Ginsberg’s life, such as Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, the Clash, Leonard Cohen, and Patti Smith. At the back of the book, Thomas includes a section on Ginsberg’s music recordings.”

Read the full review HERE

Read more about the book HERE