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May 03, 2007


Matt Merritt

That's one hell of a review! If the book's half as entertaining, I'll be, well, very entertained!

Neil Astley

Fascinating review, Luke, despite filling all that space with stuff about when is unfashionable fashionable. But I'm delighted to see Gilbert getting some recognition at last in Britain.

However, what's this about Gilbert "name-dropping" Ginsberg? You can't be aware of how it was Gilbert who helped Ginsberg in the early days. In 1954 Gilbert left Italy for San Francisco, where he lived for seven years 'like a hippie without drugs', taking part in Jack Spicer's famous 'Poetry as Magic' workshops and attending Kenneth Rexroth's Tuesday salon. Gilbert was by then extremely well read, and had very definite ideas about poetry. He and Ginsberg argued so often that Ginsberg once took a bus across the bay to Sausalito, walking up rough tracks and through woods to reach the abandoned house where Gilbert was then living, to demand that he read a new poem. ‘Finally, this is really beautiful, wonderful stuff,’ Gilbert told him. It was the first two pages of ‘Howl’, soon to become the title-poem of Ginsberg’s first book, published by City Lights in 1956.

Also, what you say about getting hold of Gilbert's work via Amazon isn't strictly true. The first two collections included in TRANSGRESSIONS have been out of print for many many years, VIEW OF JEOPARDY (1962) and MONOLITHOS (1982). Second-hand copies are outrageously expensive. So if you want to read a comprehensive selection of Gilbert's work from across his career, TRANSGRESSIONS is the only book which will enable you to do this. Even his American readers can't get hold of the earlier work included in TRANSGRESSIONS, unless they go on Amazon and buy the Bloodaxe edition.

duane tucker

One of the better written more engaging reviews I've ever read. Bravo

Duane Tucker

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