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Author: admin
5
AUG
Birth

Iqbal was born in the Punjab on February 22, 1873. His ancestors, who were Kashmiri Brahmins, had embraced Islam two hundred years earlier. Iqbal’s own father was a devout Muslim with Sufistic bent of mind.

Primary Education

He received his early education in Sialkot. After passing the entrance examination, he joined Intermediary College. Mir Hassan, a great oriental scholar, had a special aptitude for imparting his own literary taste and to his students. Under his influence, Iqbal was drawn towards Islamic studies, which he regarded to be an outstanding favor that he could not forget it all his life.

Higher Education

Passing on to the Government College of Lahore, Iqbal did his graduation with English Literature, Philosophy and Arabic as his subjects. At the college he met Prof. Arnold and Sir Abdul Qadir. Iqbal’s poem, Chand (moon) and other early poems appeared in the journal (which belonged to Sir Abdul Qadir) in 1901 and were acclaimed by critics as cutting a new path in Urdu poetry.

It did not take him long to win recognition as a rising star on the firmament of Urdu literature.

In the mean time he had done his MA in Philosophy and was appointed as a Lecturer in History, Philosophy and Political science at Oriental College, Lahore. He then moved to Government College to teach Philosophy and English Literature.

Wherever Iqbal worked or thought his versatility and scholarship made a deep impression on those around him.

In Europe

Iqbal proceeded to Europe for higher studies in 1905 and stayed there for three years. He took the Honors Degree in Philosophy and taught Arabic at the Cambridge University in the absence of Prof. Arnold. From England, he went to Germany to do his doctorate in Philosophy from Munich and then returned to London to qualify for the bar. He also served as a teacher in the London school of Commerce and passed the Honors Examination in Economics and Political Science. During his stay in Europe Iqbal not only read voraciously but also wrote and lectured on Islamic subjects which added to his popularity and fame in literary circles.

Back in India

Iqbal returned to India in 1908. The poet had won all these academic laurels by the time he was 32 or 33. He practiced as a lawyer from 1908 to 1934, when ill health compelled him to give up his practice. In fact, his heart was not in it and he devoted more time to philosophy and literature than to legal profession.

He attended the meetings of Anjuman Himayat-I-Islam regularly at Lahore. The epoch making poems, Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa, which he read out in the annual convention of it one year after another, sparkled with the glow of his genius and made him immensely popular. They became the national songs of Millet.

Iqbal’s other poems Tarana-e-Hind (The Indian anthem) and Tarana-e-Milli (the Muslim Anthem) also became very popular among masses and used to be sung as symbols of National or Muslim identity at public meetings.

The spirit of Change

Allama IqbalThe Balkan wars and the Battle of Tripoli, in 1910, shook Iqbal powerfully and inflicted a deep wound upon his heart. In his mood of anger and frustration, he wrote a number of stirring poems, which together with portraying the anguish of Muslims were severely critical of the West.

The spirit of change is evident in poems like Bilad-e-Islamia (the lands of Islam), Wataniat (Nationalism), Muslim, Fatima Bint Abdullah (who was killed in the siege of Cyrainca, Siddiq, Bilal, Tahzib-e-Hazir (Modern civilization) and Huzoor-e-Risalat Maab Mein (in the presence of Sacred Prophet).

In these poems, Iqbal deplores the attitude of Muslim leaders who lay a claim to Islamic leadership and yet are devoid of a genuine spiritual attachment to the blessed Prophet.

The turning point in Iqbal’s Life

Iqbal was shaken by the tragic events of World War I and the disaster the Muslims had to face. The genius had passed through the formative period. He had attained maturity as a poet, thinker, seer and crusader who could read the signs of tomorrow in the happenings of today, make predictions, present hard facts and unravel abstruse truths through the medium of poetry and ignite the flame of faith, Selfhood and courage by his own intensity of feeling and force of expression. Khizr-e-Raah (The Guide) occupies the place of pride among the poems he wrote during this period. Bang-e-Dara (The caravan bell) published in 1929 has held a place of honor in Urdu poetry and world poetry.

Iqbal preferred Persian for poetic expression because its circle was wider than that of Urdu in Muslim India. His Persian works, Asrar-e-khudi (Secrets of the self), Rumuz-e-Bekhudi (Mysteries of Selflessness), Payam-e-Mashriq (Message of the East), Javed Nama (The Song of Eternity) belong to the same period of his life. And so is Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam, which was extensively appreciated and translated into many languages. Academies were set up in Italy and Germany for the study of Iqbal’s poetry and philosophy.

Politics

In 1927 the poet was elected to the Punjab Legislative assembly. In 1930, he was elected to preside over at the annual session of Muslim League. In his presidential address at Allahabad, Iqbal for the first time introduced the idea of Pakistan. In 1930-31, he attended the Round Table conference, which met in London to frame a constitution for India.

In Spain

Allama Iqbal in PrayerWhile in England, Iqbal accepted the hospitality of Spain. He also went to Cordoba and had the distinction of being the first Muslim to offer prayers at its historical mosque after the exile of Moors. Memories of the past glory of Arabs and their 800-year rule over Spain were revived in his mind and his emotions were aroused by what he saw.

Meeting with Mussolini

In Italy Iqbal was received by Mussolini who had read some of his works and was aquatinted with his philosophy. They had long meetings and talked freely to each other.

The Universities of Cambridge, Rome and Madrid and the Roman Royal society organized meetings in his honor. On his way back he also went to Jerusalem to attend the International Conference of Motamar-i-Isalami.

In Afghanistan

At the invitation of King Nadir Shah, Iqbal visited Afghanistan in 1932. The king received the poet with great honor and met hi privately, as well during which he laid bare his heart. The two talked and wept.

Iqbal’s Death

The last phase of Iqbal’s life was embittered with constant illness. But as regards his creative activities this product was most productive. He kept in touch with every question of the day and continued composing beautiful verses.

A few minutes before his death he recited these touching lines:

The departed melody may return or not!

The zephyr from Hijaz may blow again or not!

The days of this Faqir has come to an end,

Another seer may come or not!

Allama Iqbal’s MausolemAlthough Iqbal’s was long and protracted the end was sudden and verypeaceful. He breathed his last in the early hours of April 21, 1938, in the arms of his old and devoted servant, leaving behind a host of mourners all over the Islamic world. There was a faint smile playing on his lips, which irresistibly reminded one of the last criterions, which he laid down for a truthful Muslim.

I tell you the sign of a Mumin-

When death comes there is smile on his lips.

Note: The above biography is a summarized version from Glory of Iqbal by Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

[republished with permission from www.jaihoon.com]

0 Comments Filed under: Famous Pakistani Poets
Theodore Roethke (1908 – 1963)
Author: admin
2
AUG
Theodore Huebner Roethke was born in Saginaw, Michigan, the son of Otto Roethke and Helen Huebner, who, along with an uncle owned a local greenhouse. As a child, he spent much time in the greenhouse observing nature. Roethke grew up in Saginaw, attending Aurthur Hill High School, where he gave a speech on the Junior Red Cross that was published in twenty six different languages. In 1923 his father died of cancer, an event that would forever shape his creative and artistic outlooks. From 1925 to 1929 Roethke attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduating magna cum laude. Despite his family’s wish that he pursue a legal career, he quit law school after one semester. From there he spent 1929 to 1931, taking graduate courses at the University of Michigan and later the Harvard Graduate School. There he met and worked with fellow poet Robert Hillyer.

When the Great Depression hit Roethke had no choice but to leave Harvard. He began to teach at Lafayette College, and stayed there from 1931 to 1935. It was here where Roethke began his first book, Open House. At Lafayette he met Stanley Kunitz, who later in life, became a great support and friend. By the end of 1935 Roethke was teaching at Michigan State College at Lansing. His career there, however, did not last long. Roethke was hospitalized for what would prove to be a bout of mental illness, which would prove to be reoccurring. However the depression, as Roethke found, was useful for writing, as it allowed him to explore a different mindset.

By the time he was teaching at Michigan State Roethke’s reputation as a poet had been established. In 1936 he moved his teaching career to Pennsylvania State University, where he taught seven years. During his time there he was published in such prestigious journals as Poetry, the New Republic, the Saturday Review, and Sewanee Review. His first volume of verse, Open House, was finally published and released in 1941. Open House was favorably reviewed in the New Yorke, the Saturday Review, the Kenyon Review, and the Atlantic; W. H. Auden called it “completely successful.” His first work shows the influence of poetic models such as John Donne, William Blake, Léonie Adams, Louise Bogan, Emily Dickinson, Rolfe Humphries, Stanley Kunitz, and Elinor Wylie, writers whose verse had shaped the poet’s early imagination and style.

In 1942 Harvard asked Roethke to deliver on of their prestigious Morris Gray lectures. Then in 1943 he left Penn State to teach at Bennington College, where he met Kenneth Burke, whom he collaborated with. The second volume of Roethke’s career, The Lost Son and Other Poems was published in 1948 and included the. greenhouse poems. Roethke described the glasshouse, in An American Poet Introduces Himself and His Poems in a BBC broadcast, on the 30th of July 1953, as “both heaven and hell…. It was a universe, several worlds, which, even as a child, one worried about, and struggled to keep alive.”
He penned Open Letter in 1950, and explored eroticism and Salman Khanuality with I Need, I Need, Give Way, Ye Gates, Sensibility! O La!, and O Lull Me, Lull Me. He later wrote Praise to the End! in 1951 while at Washington University, and a telling Yale Review essay, How to Write Like Somebody Else in 1959. Roethke was awarded Guggenheim Fellowship in 1950, the Poetry magazine Levinson Prize in 1951, and major grants from the Ford Foundation and the National Institute of Arts and Letters the year after. In 1953 Roethke married Beatrice O’Connell, whom he had met during his earlier at Bennington. The two spent the following spring honeymooning at W. H. Auden’s villa at off the coast of Italy. There Roethke began editing the galley proofs for The Waking: Poems 1933-1953 which was published later that same year, and won the Pulitzer Prize the next year. It included major works such as Elegy for Jane and Four for Sir John Davies, which was modeled on Davies’s metaphysical poem Orchestra.
During 1955 and 1956 the Roethke and his new wife traveled Europe, on a Fulbright grant. The following year he published a collection of works that included forty-three new poems entitled Words for the Wind, winning the Bollingen Prize, the National Book Award, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize, the Longview Foundation Award, and the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Award for it. The new poems included his famous I Knew a Woman, and Dying Man. Roethke began a series of reading tours in New York and Europe, underwritten by another Ford Foundation grant.

While visiting with friends at Bainbridge Island in 1963, Washington, Roethke suffered a fatal heart attack. During the last years of his life be had composed the sixty-one new poems that were published posthumously in The Far Field in 1964–which received the National Book Award–and in The Collected Poems in 1966.

0 Comments Filed under: Famous English Poets
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)
Author: admin
2
AUG
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was born in Dublin to unconventional parents. His mother, Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1820-96), was a poet and journalist. Her pen name was Sperenza. According to a story she warded off creditors by reciting Aeschylus. Wilde’s father was Sir William Wilde, an Irish antiquarian, gifted writer, and specialist in diseases of the eye and ear, who founded a hospital in Dublin a year before Oscar was born. His work gained for him the honorary appointment of Surgeon Oculist in Ordinary to the Queen. Lady Wilde, who was active in the women’s rights movement, was reputed to ignore her husbands amorous adventures.

Wilde studied at Portora Royal School, in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh (1864-71), Trinity College, Dublin (1871-74) and Magdalen College, Oxford (1874-78), where he was taught by Walter Patewr and John Ruskin. Already at the age of 13, Wilde’s tastes in clothes were dandy’s. “The flannel shirts you sent in the hamper are both Willie’s mine are one quite scarlet and the other lilac but it is too hot to wear them yet,” he wrote in a letter to his mother. Willie, whom he mentioned, was his elder brother. Lady Wilde’s third and last child was a daughter, named Isola Francesca, who died young. It has been said that Lady Wilde insisted on dressing Oscar in girl’s clothers because she had longed for a girl.

In Oxford Wilde shocked the pious dons with his irreverent attitude towards religion and was jeered at his eccentric clothes. He collected blue china and peacock’s feathers, and later his velvet knee-breeches drew much attention. In 1878 Wilde received his B.A. and on the same year he moved to London. His lifestyle and humorous wit made him soon spokesman for Aestheticism, the late 19th century movement in England that advocated art for art’s sake. He worked as art reviewer (1881), lectured in the United States and Canada (1882), and lived in Paris (1883). Between the years 1883 and 1884 he lectured in Britain. From the mid-1880s he was regular contributor for Pall Mall Gazette and Dramatic View.

In 1884 Wilde married Constance Lloyd (died 1898) and to support his family Wilde edited in 1887-89 Woman’s World magazine. In 1888 he published The Happy Prince and Other Tales, fairy-stories written for his two sons. The Picture of Dorian Gray followed in 1890 and next year he brought out more fairy tales. The marriage ended in 1893. Wilde had met an few years earlier Lord Alfred Douglas (“Bosie”), an athlete and a poet, who became both the love of the author’s life and his downfall. “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it,” Wilde once said. Bosie’s uncle, Lord Jim, caused a scandal when he filled in the 1891 census describing his wife as a “lunatic” and his stepson as a “shoeblack born in darkest Africa.”
Wilde made his reputation in theatre world between the years 1892 and 1895 with a series of highly popular plays. Lady Wintermere’s Fan (1892) dealt with a blackmailing divorcee driven to self-sacrifice by maternal love. In A Woman of No Importance (1893) an illegitimate son is torn between his father and mother. An Ideal Husband (1895) dealt with blackmail, political corruption and public and private honour. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) was a comedy of manners. John Worthing (who prefers to call himself Jack) and Algernon Moncrieff (Algy) are two fashionable young gentlemen. John tells that he has a brother called Ernest, but in town John himself is known as Ernest and Algernon also pretends to be the profligate brother Ernest. “Relly, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them?” (from The Importance of Being Earnest) Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew are two ladies whom the two snobbish characters court. Gwendolen declares that she never travels without her diary because “one should always have something sensational to read in the train”.

Before the theatrical success Wilde produced several essays, many of these anonymously. “Anybody can write a three-volume novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature,” he once stated. His two major literary-theoretical works were the dialogues ‘The Decay of Lying’ (1889) and ‘The Critic as Artist’ (1890). In the latter Wilde lets his character state, that criticism is the superior part of creation, and that the critic must not be fair, rational, and sincere, but possessed of “a temperament exquisitely susceptible to beauty”. In a more traditional essay The Soul of a Man Under Socialism (1891) Wilde takes an optimistic view of the road to socialist future. He rejects the Christian ideal of self-sacrifice in favor of joy. “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”

Although married and the father of two children, Wilde’s personal life was open to rumours. His years of triumph ended dramatically, when his intimate association with Alfred Douglas led to his trial on charges of homoSalman Khanuality (then illegal in Britain). He was sentenced two years hard labour for the crime of sodomy. During his first trial Wilde defended himself, that “the ‘Love that dare not speak its name’ in this century is such a great affection of an eleder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare… There is nothing unnatural about it.” Mr. Justice Wills, stated when pronouncing the sentence, that “people who can do these things must be dead to all senses of shame, and one cannot hope to produce any effect upon them.” During the trial and while he served his sentence, Bosie stood by Wilde, although the author felt himself betrayed. Later they met in Naples.

Wilde was first in Wandsworth prison, London, and then Reading Gaol. When he was at last allowed pen and paper after more than 19 months of deprivation, Wilde had became inclined to take opposite views on the potential of humankind toward perfection. During this time he wrote DE PROFUNDIS (1905), a dramatic monologue and autobiography, which was addressed to Alfred Douglas. “Everything about my tragedy has been hideous, mean, repellent, lacking in style. Our very dress makes us grotesques. We are the zanies of sorrow. We are the clowns whose hearts are broken.” (De Profundis)

After his release in 1897 Wilde lived under the name Sebastian Melmoth in Berneval, near Dieppe, then in Paris. He wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. It is said, that on his death bed Wilde became a Roman Catholic. He died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900, penniless, in a cheap Paris hotel at the age of 46. “Do you want to know the great drama of my life,” asked Wilde before his death of Andre Gide. “It’s that I have put my genius into my life; all I’ve put into my works is my talent.”

0 Comments Filed under: Famous English Poets
Amy Lowell (1874 – 1925)
Author: admin
2
AUG
Amy Lowell (1874-1925), American Imagist poet, was a woman of great accomplishment. She was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, to a prominent family of high-achievers. Her environment was literary and sophisticated, and when she left private school at 17 to care for her elderly parents, she embarked on a program of self-education.

Her poetic career began in 1902 when she saw Eleonora Duse, a famous actress, perform on stage. Overcome with Eleonora’s beauty and talent, she wrote her first poem addressed to the actress. They met only a couple times and never developed a relationship, but Eleonora inspired many poems from Amy and triggered her career.

Ada Russell, another actress, became the love of Amy’s life. She met Ada in 1909 and they remained together until Amy’s death in 1925. Amy wrote many, many poems about Ada. In the beginning, as with her previous poems about women, she wrote in such a way that only those who knew the inspiration for a poem would recognize its lesbian content. But as time went on, she censored her work less and less. By the time she wrote Pictures of the Floating World, her poems about Ada were much more blatantly erotic. The series “Planes of Personality: Two Speak Together” chronicles their relationship, including the intensely erotic poem “A Decade” that celebrates their tenth anniversary.

Amy’s dedication to the art of poetry was consuming. She purchased her parent’s estate upon her death and established it as a center of poetry, as well as a place to breed her beloved English sheepdogs. She promoted American poetry, acting as a patron to a number of poets. Amy also wrote many essays, translated the works of others, and wrote literary biographies. Her two-volume biography of Keats was well-received in the United States, though it was rejected in England as presumptuous.

She is best known for bringing the Imagist movement to America. Her own work, full of lush imagery but slim on excess verbiage, was similar to that of H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), an emerging Imagist poet in England. . When Amy saw the similarity, she travelled to England to research the movement and ended up bringing back volumes of poetry to introduce Imagist work to the United States. Ezra Pound, the “head” of the movement, was most offended by Amy’s involvement. He threatened to sue her, something which delighted her no end, and finally he removed himself from the movement entirely. She argued that this was good; he would ruin it anyway. Pound took to calling the movement “Amygisme,” and engaged in plenty of scathing attacks against her.

Beyond the nasty slurs hurled by Pound, Amy was criticized for many more things that did not actually reflect her skill as a poet. Critics were offended by her lesbianism, by the way she wore men’s shirts and smoked cigars, and even by her obesity. They argued that she must not have experienced true passion, reflecting a common prejudice that women who are overweight cannot possibly be Salman Khanual beings. In the face of these barbs, her literary career suffered, and she did not achieve the status as a poet she so richly deserved.

Her admirers defended her, however, even after her death. One of the best rebuttals was written by Heywood Broun , in his obituary tribute to Amy. He wrote, “She was upon the surface of things a Lowell, a New Englander and a spinster. But inside everything was molten like the core of the earth… Given one more gram of emotion, Amy Lowell would have burst into flame and been consumed to cinders.”

Amy’s book, What’s O’Clock, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, a year after her death.

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Robert Hayden (1913 – 1980)
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Robert Hayden, born Asa Bundy Sheffey in Detroit, Michigan, was raised in a slum called Paradise Valley. Hayden’s parents separated soon after his birth and he became the foster child of Sue Ellen Westerfield and William Hayden. He earned his BA (1936) from Detroit City College, later renamed Wayne State University, and between 1936 and 1938 participated in the Detroit Federal Writer’s Project. His studies with W.H. Auden at the University of Michigan, where he earned his MA (1944), had a profound impact on his poetry. After graduation he accepted a professorship at Fisk University in Nashville where he would remain for over twenty years. In 1969 he returned to teach at Michigan until his death.

Hayden’s early reading of Harlem Renaissance poets such as Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes, combined with his study of the English classics, informed the precision and originality of his poetry throughout his life. As William Meredith states: “Robert Hayden was a man as gifted in humanity as he was in poetry. There is scarcely a line of his which is not identifiable as an experience of black America, but he would not relinquish the title of American writer for any narrower identity.” Whether exploring an extended metaphor as in “The Diver” or drawing on the biography of Phyllis Wheatley, Hayden’s poetry remains a distinct contribution to our literature.

Hayden’s books include Heart-Shape in the Dust: Poems (Falcon Press, 1940), The Lion and the Archer (Hemphill Press, 1948), Figure of Time: Poems (Hemphill Press, 1955), A Ballad of Remembrance (P. Breman, 1962), Selected Poems (October House, 1966), Words in the Mourning Time (October House, 1970), The Night-Blooming Cereus (P. Breman, 1972), Angle of Ascent: New and Selected Poems (Liveright, 1975), American Journal (Liveright, 1982), and Collected Poems (Liveright, 1996). His prose is collected in Collected Prose (University of Michigan Press, 1984). Hayden twice received the Hopwood Award for poetry, won the Grand Prize for Poetry at the World Festival of Negro Arts for A Ballad of Remembrance and earned the Russell Loines Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

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Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928)
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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) own life wasn’t similar to his stories. He was born on the Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. His father was a master mason and building contractor. Hardy’s mother, whose tastes included Latin poets and French romances, provided for his education. After schooling in Dorchester Hardy was apprenticed to an architect. He worked in an office, which specialized in restoration of churches. In 1874 Hardy married Emma Lavinia Gifford, for whom he wrote 40 years later, after her death, a group of poems known as VETERIS VESTIGIAE FLAMMAE (Vestiges of an Old Flame).

At the age of 22 Hardy moved to London and started to write poems, which idealized the rural life. He was an assistant in the architectural firm of Arthur Blomfield, visited art galleries, attended evening classes in French at King’s College, enjoyed Shakespeare and opera, and read works of Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and John Stuart Mills, whose positivism influenced him deeply. In 1867 Hardy left London for the family home in Dorset, and resumed work briefly with Hicks in Dorchester. He entered into a temporary engagement with Tryphena Sparks, a sixteen-year-old relative. Hardy continued his architectural work, but encouraged by Emma Lavinia Gifford, he started to consider literature as his “true vocation.”

Unable to find public for his poetry, the novelist George Meredith advised Hardy to write a novel. His first novel, THE POOR MAN AND THE LADY, was written in 1867, but the book was rejected by many publishers and he destroyed the manuscript. His first book that gained notice, was FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (1874). After its success Hardy was convinced that he could earn his living as an author. He devoted himself entirely to writing and produced a series of novels, among them THE RETURN OF NATIVE (1878), THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE (1886).

TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES (1891) came into conflict with Victorian morality. It explored the dark side of his family connections in Berkshire. In the story the poor villager girl Tess Durbeyfield is seduced by the wealthy Alec D’Uberville. She becomes pregnant but the child dies in infancy. Tess finds work as a dairymaid on a farm and falls in love with Angel Clare, a clergyman’s son. They marry but when Tess tells Angel about her past, he hypocritically desert her. Tess becomes Alec’s mistress. Angel returns from Brazil, repenting his harshness, but finds her living with Alec. Tess kills Alec in desperation, she is arrested and hanged.

Hardy’s JUDE THE OBSCURE (1895) aroused even more debate. The story dramatized the conflict between carnal and spiritual life, tracing Jude Fawley’s life from his boyhood to his early death. Jude marries Arabella, but deserts her. He falls in love with his cousin, hypersensitive Sue Bridehead, who marries the decaying schoolmaster, Phillotson, in a masochist fit. Jude and Sue obtain divorces, but their life together deteriorates under the pressure of poverty and social disapproval. The eldest son of Jude and Arabella, a grotesque boy nicknamed ‘Father Time’, kills their children and himself. Broken by the loss, Sue goes back to Phillotson, and Jude returns to Arabella. Soon thereafter Jude dies, and his last words are: “Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul?”.

In 1896, disturbed by the public uproar over the unconventional subjects of two of his greatest novels, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, Hardy announced that he would never write fiction again. A bishop solemnly burnt the book, ‘probably in his despair at not being able to burn me’, Hardy noted. Hardy’s marriage had also suffered from the public outrage – critics on both sides of the Atlantic abused the author as degenerate and called the work itself disgusting. In April, 1912, Hardy wrote:

By 1885 the Hardys had settled near Dorchester at Max gate, a house designed by the author and built by his brother, Henry. With the exceptions of seasonal stays in London and occasional excursions abroad, his Bockhampton home, “a modest house, providing neither more nor less than the accommodation … needed” (as Michael Millgate describes it in his biography of the author) was his home for the rest of his life.

After giving up the novel, Hardy brought out a first group of WesSalman Khan poems, some of which had been composed 30 years before. During the remainder of his life, Hardy continued to publish several collections of poems. “Hardy, in fact, was the ideal poet of a generation. He was the most passionate and the most learned of them all. He had the luck, singular in poets, of being able to achieve a competence other than by poetry and then devote the ending years of his life to his beloved verses.” (Ford Madox Ford in The March of Literature, 1938) Hardy’s gigantic panorama of the Napoleonic Wars, THE DYNASTS, composed between 1903 and 1908, was mostly in blank verse. Hardy succeeded on the death of his friend George Meredith to the presidency of the Society of Authors in 1909. King George V conferred on him the Order of Merit and he received in 1912 the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature.

Hardy kept to his marriage with Emma Gifford although it was unhappy and he had – or he imagined he had – affairs with other women passing briefly through his life. Emma Hardy died in 1912 and in 1914 Hardy married his secretary, Florence Emily Dugdale, a woman in her 30′s, almost 40 years younger than he. From 1920 through 1927 Hardy worked on his autobiography, which was disguised as the work of Florence Hardy. It appeared in two volumes (1928 and 1930). Hardy’s last book published in his lifetime was HUMAN SHOWS, FAR PHANTASIES, SONGS AND TRIFLES (1925). WINTER WORDS IN VARIOUS MOODS AND METRES appeared posthumously in 1928.

Hardy died in Dorchester, Dorset, on January 11, 1928. His ashes were cremated in Dorchester and buried with impressive ceremonies in the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. According to a literary anecdote his heart was to be buried in Stinsford, his birthplace, and all went according to plan, until a cat belonging to the poet’s sister snatched the heart off the kitchen, where it was temporarily kept, and disappeared into the woods with it.

The center of Hardy’s novels was the rather desolate and history-freighted countryside around Dorchester. His novels bravely challenged many of the Salman Khanual and religious conventions of the Victorian age, and dared to present a bleak view into human nature. In the early 1860s, after the appearance Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859), Hardy’s faith was still unshaken, but he soon adopted the mechanical-determinist view of nature’s cruelty, reflected in the inevitably tragic and self-destructive fates of his characters. In his poems Hardy depicted rural life without sentimentality – his mood was often stoically hopeless. “Though he was a modern, even a revolutionary writer in his time, most of us read him now as a lyrical pastoralist. It may be a sign of the times that some of us take his books to bed, as if even his pessimistic vision was one that enabled us to sleep soundly.” (Anatole Broyard in New York Times, May 12, 1982)

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William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)
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William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Dublin into an Irish Protestant family. His father, John Butler Yeats, a clergyman’s son, was a lawyer turned to an Irish Pre-Raphaelite painter. Yeats’s mother, Susan Pollexfen, came from a wealthy family – the Pollexfens had a prosperous milling and shipping business. His early years Yeats spent in London and Sligo, a beautiful county on the west coast of Ireland, where his mother had grown and which he later depicted in his poems. In 1881 the family returned to Dublin. While studying at the Metropolitan School of Art, Yeats met there the poet, dramatist, and painter George Russell (1867-1935). He was interested in mysticism, and his search inspired also Yeats. This was a surprise to his father who had tried to raise his son without encouraging him to ponder with such questions. Reincarnation, communication with the dead, mediums, supernatural systems and Oriental mysticism fascinated Yeats through his life. In 1886 Yeats formed the Dublin Lodge of the Hermetic Society and took the magical name Daemon est Deus Inversus. The occult order also attracted Aleister Crowley.

As a writer Yeats made his debut in 1885, when he published his first poems in The Dublin University Review. In 1887 the family returned to Bedford Park, and Yeats devoted himself to writing. He visited Mme Blavatsky, the famous occultist, and joined the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society, but was later asked to resign. In 1889 Yeats met his great love, Maud Gonne (1866-1953), an an actress and Irish revolutionary who became a major landmark in the poets life and imagination. Yeats worshipped Maud, whom he wrote many poems. She married in 1903 Major John MacBride, and this episode inspired Yeats’s poem ‘No Second Troy’. “Why, what could she have done being what she is? / Was there another Troy for her to burn.” MacBride was later executed by the British.

Through Maud’s influence Yeats joined the revolutionary organization Irish Republican Brotherhood. Maud had devoted herself to political struggle but Keats viewed with suspicion her world full of intrigues. He was more interested in folktales as a part of an exploration of national heritage and for the revival of Celtic identity. His study with George Russell and Douglas Hyde of Irish legends and tales was published in 1888 under the name Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry. Yeats assembled for children a less detailed version, IRIS FAIRY TALES, which appeared in 1892. (see also Wilhelm Grimm.) THE WANDERINGS OF OISIN AND OTHER POEMS (1889), filled with sad longings, took its subject from Irish mythology.

In 1896 Yeats returned to live permanently in his home country. He reformed Irish Literary Society, and then the National Literary Society in Dublin, which aimed to promote the New Irish Library. Lady Gregory first saw W.B. Yeats 1894 – “…looking every inch a poet,” she wrote in her diary – and again two years later. Their relationship started in 1897 and led to the founding of the Irish Literary Theatre, which became the Irish National Theatre Society and moved in 1904 into the new Abbey Theatre, named after the Dublin street in which it stood. Yeats worked as a director of the theater, writing several plays for it. Another director was the dramatist John Synge (1871-1909), Yeats’s close friend, whose masterpiece The Playboy of the Western World (1907) was greeted with riots. Yeats’s most famous dramas were CATHLEEN NI HOULIHAN (1902), in which Maud Gonne gained great acclaim in the title role, and THE LAND OF HEART’S DESIRE (1894). Yeats did not have in the beginning much confidence in Lady Gregory’s literary skills, but after seeing her translation of the ancient Irish Cuchulain sagas he changed his mind. Cathleen ni Houlihan has been cretied to Yeats but now it is considered to be written by Lady Gregory – the idea came from Yeats and he wrote the chant of the old woman at the end. (see ‘Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush’ by Colm Toibín, New York Times Review of Books, August 9, 2001)

An 1899 police report described Yeats as “more or less revolutionary,” and in 1916 he published ‘Easter 1916′ about the Irish nationalist uprising. It referred to the executed leaders of the uprising and stated: “Now and in time to be, / Wherever the green is worn, / All changed, changed utterly: / A terrible beauty is born.”

Ezra Pound, whom Yeats met in 1912, became his fencing master and secretary in the winters of 1913 and 1914. Pound introduced Yeats to Japanese Noah drama, which inspired his plays. In early 1917 Yeats bought Thoor Ballyle, a derelict Norman stone tower near Coole Park. After restoring it, the tower became his summer home and central symbol in his later poetry. At the age of 52, in 1917, he married Georgie Hyde-Lee, who was 26. Although Keats first had his doubts, the marriage was happy and they had a son and a daughter. However, before the marriage Yeats had proposed Maud Gonne, but he was also obsessed with Gonne’s daughter Iseult, who turned him down. During their honeymoon Yeats’s wife demonstrated her gift for automatic writing. Their collaborative notebooks formed the basis of A VISION (1925), a book of marriage therapy spiced with occultism.

The change from suggestive, beautiful lyricism toward the spare and tragic bitterness was marked in Yeats poem ‘September 1913′ in which he stated: “Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone.” During the civil war Irish Free State soldiers burned many of Yeats’s letters to Maud Gonne when they raided her house. At the start of the war Yeats went to Oxford, but then returned to Dublin, becoming a Senator in the same year. As a politician Yeats defended Protestant interests and took pro-Treaty stance against Republicans. Maud Gonne’s son, Sean MacBride, was imprisoned without trial under emergency legislation that Yeats had voted for.

THE WILD SWANS AT COOLE (1917) was set on the Coole Park, the estate of Yeats’s friend and patron Lady Augusta Gregory. Yeats registers the death of Robert Gregory, Lady Gregory’s son, and Mabel Beardley, sister of the English artist Aubrey Beardsley. The tone of the work is reflective, almost conversational, and occasionally the poet lets loose his bitterness and grief of the past. Yeats also returns to his relationship with Maud Gonne, who rejected his love.

In 1932 Yeats founded the Irish Academy of Letters and in 1933 he was briefly involved with the fascist Blueshirts in Dublin. While in Mallorca Yeats became seriously ill. He tried to meet Robert Graves who refused to see him. In his final years Yeats worked on the last version of A VISION, which attempted to present a theory of the variation of human personality, and published THE OXFORD BOOK OF VERSE (1936) and NEW POEMS (1938). Yeats died in 1939 at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton, France. In ‘Under Ben Buiben,’ one of his last poems, he had written: ” No marble, no conventional phrase; On limestone quarried near the spot / By his command these words are cut: Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman; pass by!” Yeats’s coffin was taken in 1948 to Druncliff in Sligo, but there is some doubt as to the authenticity of the bones.- “The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write.”

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Jack Prelutsky (1940 – present)
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Jack Prelutsky (born September 8, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American poet. He attended New York public schools, and later the High School of Music and Art and Hunter College. Prelutsky, who has also worked as a busboy, furniture mover, folk singer, and cab driver, claims that he hated poetry in grade school because of the way it was taught. He is the author of more than 30 poetry collections including Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep< and A Pizza the Size of the Sun. He has also compiled countless children’s anthologies comprised of poems of others’. Jack Prelutsky was married to Von Tre Venefue, a woman he had met in France. They divorced in 1995, but Jack remarried. He currently lives in Washington state with his wife, Carolyn. He befriended a gay poet named Espiritu Salamanca in 1997 and both now work together in writing poems and stories for children and adults alike.

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Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963)
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Born to middle class parents in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, Sylvia Plath published her first poem when she was eight. Sensitive, intelligent, compelled toward perfection in everything she attempted, she was, on the surface, a model daughter, popular in school, earning straight A’s, winning the best prizes. By the time she entered Smith College on a scholarship in 1950 she already had an impressive list of publications, and while at Smith she wrote over four hundred poems.
Sylvia’s surface perfection was however underlain by grave personal discontinuities, some of which doubtless had their origin in the death of her father (he was a college professor and an expert on bees) when she was eight. During the summer following her junior year at Smith, having returned from a stay in New York City where she had been a student “guest editor” at Mademoiselle Magazine, Sylvia nearly succeeded in killing herself by swallowing sleeping pills. She later described this experience in an autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, published in 1963. After a period of recovery involving electroshock and psychotherapy Sylvia resumed her pursuit of academic and literary success, graduating from Smith summa cum laude in 1955 and winning a Fulbright scholarship to study at Cambridge, England.

In 1956 she married the English poet Ted Hughes , and in 1960, when she was 28, her first book, The Colossus, was published in England. The poems in this book—formally precise, well wrought—show clearly the dedication with which Sylvia had served her apprenticeship; yet they give only glimpses of what was to come in the poems she would begin writing early in 1961. She and Ted Hughes settled for a while in an English country village in Devon, but less than two years after the birth of their first child the marriage broke apart.

The winter of 1962-63, one of the coldest in centuries, found Sylvia living in a small London flat, now with two children, ill with flu and low on money. The hardness of her life seemed to increase her need to write, and she often worked between four and eight in the morning, before the children woke, sometimes finishing a poem a day. In these last poems it is as if some deeper, powerful self has grabbed control; death is given a cruel physical allure and psychic pain becomes almost tactile.

On February 11, 1963, Sylvia Plath killed herself with cooking gas at the age of 30. Two years later Ariel, a collection of some of her last poems, was published; this was followed by Crossing the Water and Winter Trees in 1971, and, in 1981, The Collected Poems appeared, edited by Ted Hughes.

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Allen Ginsberg (1926 – 1997)
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Ginsberg, Allen (3 June 1926-6 Apr. 1997), poet, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the younger son of Louis Ginsberg, a high school English teacher and poet, and Naomi Levy Ginsberg. Ginsberg grew up with his older brother Eugene in a household shadowed by his mother’s mental illness; she suffered from recurrent epileptic seizures and paranoia. An active member of the Communist Party-USA, Naomi Ginsberg took her sons to meetings of the radical left dedicated to the cause of international Communism during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In the winter of 1941, when Allen was a junior in high school, his mother insisted that he take her to a therapist at a Lakewood,
New Jersey, rest home, a disruptive bus journey he described in his long autobiographical poem “Kaddish.” Naomi Ginsberg spent most of the next fifteen years in mental hospitals, enduring the effects of electroshock treatments and a lobotomy before
her death at Pilgrim State Hospital in 1956. Witnessing his mother’s mental illness had a traumatic effect on Ginsberg, who wrote poetry about her unstable condition for the rest of his life.

Graduating from Newark’s East Side High School in 1943, Ginsberg later recalled that his most memorable school day was the afternoon his English teacher Frances Durbin read aloud from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” in a voice “so enthusiastic and joyous . . . so confident and lifted with laughter” that he never forgot the image of “her black-dressed bulk seated squat behind an English class desk, her embroidered collar, her voice powerful and high” (quoted in Schumacher, p. 17). Despite his passionate response to Whitman’s poetry, Ginsberg listed government or legal work as his choice of future occupation in the high school yearbook.

Attending the college of Columbia University on a scholarship, Ginsberg considered his favorite course the required freshman
great books seminar taught by Lionel Trilling. Later Ginsberg also cited the renowned literary critics and biographers Mark
Van Doren and Raymond Weaver as influential professors at Columbia. But Ginsberg’s friends at Columbia were an even greater influence than his professors on his decision to become a poet. As a freshman he met undergraduate Lucien Carr, who introduced him to William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, part of a diverse (and now legendary) circle of friends that grew to include the Times Square heroin addict Herbert Huncke, the young novelist John Clellon Holmes, and a handsome young drifter and car thief from Denver named Neal Cassady, with whom Ginsberg fell in love. Kerouac described the intense encounter between Ginsberg and Cassady in the opening chapter of his novel On the Road (1957).

These friends became the nucleus of a group that named themselves the “Beat Generation” writers. The term was coined by Kerouac in the fall of 1948 during a conversation with Holmes in New York City. The word “beat” referred loosely to their shared sense of spiritual exhaustion and diffuse feelings of rebellion against what they experienced as the general conformity, hypocrisy, and materialism of the larger society around them caught up in the unprecedented prosperity of postwar America.

In the summer of 1948, in his senior year at Columbia, Ginsberg had dedicated himself to becoming a poet after hearing in a vision the voice of William Blake reciting the poem “Ah Sunflower.” Experimenting with drugs like marijuana and nitrous oxide to induce further visions, or what Ginsberg later described as “an exalted state of mind,” he felt that the poet’s duty was to bring
a visionary consciousness of reality to his readers. He was dissatisfied with the poetry he was writing at this time, traditional work modeled on English poets like Sir Thomas Wyatt or Andrew Marvell whom he had studied at Columbia.

In June 1949 Ginsberg was arrested as an accessory to crimes carried out by Huncke and his friends, who had stored stolen
goods in Ginsberg’s apartment. As an alternative to a jail sentence, Ginsberg’s professors Van Doren and Trilling arranged with the Columbia dean for a plea of psychological disability, on condition that Ginsberg was admitted to the Columbia Presbyterian Psychiatric Institute. Spending eight months in the mental institution, Ginsberg became close friends with the young writer Carl Solomon, who was treated there for depression with insulin shock.

In December 1953 Ginsberg left New York City on a trip to Mexico to explore Indian ruins in Yucatan and experiment with various drugs. He settled in San Francisco, where he fell in love with a young artist’s model, Peter Orlovsky; he took a job in market research, thinking that he might enroll in the graduate English program at the University of California in Berkeley. In August 1955, inspired by the manuscript of a long jazz poem titled “Mexico City Blues” that Kerouac had recently written in Mexico City, Ginsberg found the courage to begin to type what he called his most personal “imaginative sympathies” in the long poem “Howl for Carl Solomon” (Original Draft Facsimile Howl, p. xii). As his biographer Bill Morgan stated, in the poem “Allen finally accepted his homoSalman Khanuality and stopped trying to become ‘straight’” (Allen Ginsberg and Friends, p. 31).

In October 1955 Ginsberg read the first part of his new poem in public for the first time to tumultuous applause at the Six
Gallery reading in San Francisco with the local poets Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Philip LaMantia. Journalists were quick to herald the reading as a landmark event in American poetry, the birth of what they labeled the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran the City Lights Book Store and the City Lights publishing house in North Beach, sent Ginsberg a telegram echoing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s response to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?” Later Ginsberg wrote that “in publishing ‘Howl,’ I was curious to leave behind after my generation an emotional time bomb that would continue exploding in U.S. consciousness in case our military-industrial-nationalist complex solidified into a repressive police bureaucracy” (Original Draft Facsimile Howl, p. xii).

Early in the following year Howl and Other Poems was published with an introduction by William Carlos Williams as number four in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series. In May 1956 copies of the small black-and-white stapled paperback were seized by the San Francisco police, who arrested Ferlinghetti and Shigeyoshi Murao, his shop manager, and charged them with publishing and selling an obscene and indecent book. The American Civil Liberties Union took up the defense of Ginsberg’s poem in a highly publicized obscenity trial in San Francisco, which concluded in October 1957 when Judge Clayton Horn ruled that Howl had redeeming social value.

During the furor of the trial, Ginsberg left California and settled in Paris with Orlovsky, who was to remain his companion
for the next forty years. Living on Ginsberg’s royalties from Howl and Orlovsky’s disability checks as a Korean War veteran,
they traveled to Tangier to stay with Burroughs and help him assemble the manuscript later published as his novel Naked Lunch (1959). In 1958 Ginsberg returned to New York City, still troubled by his mother’s death in the mental hospital two years before, haunted by the thought that he had never properly said goodbye to her. Using various drugs to explore his painful memories of their life together and confront his complex feelings about his mother, Ginsberg wrote his greatest poem, “Kaddish for Naomi Ginsberg,” modeling his elegy on the traditional Jewish memorial service for the dead.

Continuing to experiment with various psychedelic stimulants to create visionary poetry, Ginsberg traveled to South America,
Europe, Morocco, and India with Orlovsky in 1962. It was the most important trip of his life. Staying in India for nearly
two years, he met with holy men in an effort to find someone who could teach him a method of meditation that would help him
deal with his egotism and serve as a vehicle for heightened spiritual awareness. On a train in Japan, Ginsberg recorded in his poem “The Change” his realization that meditation, not drugs, could assist his enlightenment. He returned to North America in the fall of 1963 to attend the Vancouver Poetry Conference with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, and many other poets who felt that they formed a community of nonacademic experimental writers.

In 1968 Ginsberg received wide coverage on television during the Democratic National Convention when he and the members of the National Mobilization Committee who were against U.S. participation in the war in Vietnam confronted the police in Chicago’s Grant Park. The poet stayed on an impromptu stage and chanted “Om” in an attempt to calm the crowds being brutally attacked by tear gas and billy clubs. Ginsberg’s courage, his humanitarian political views and support of homoSalman Khanuality, his engagement in Eastern meditation practices, and his charismatic personality made him one of the favorite spokesmen chosen by a younger generation of radicalized Americans known as “hippies” during the end of this turbulent decade.

In the early 1970s Ginsberg’s serious, bearded image with black-rimmed glasses, a tweed jacket, and an “Uncle Sam” paper top hat became a ubiquitous poster protesting the Vietnam War. In 1971 Ginsberg met Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who became his meditation teacher at the Naropa Institute, a Buddhist college in Boulder, Colorado. Three years later, Ginsberg, assisted by the young poet Anne Waldman, founded a creative writing program called the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa. Ginsberg taught summer poetry workshops there and lectured during the academic year
at Brooklyn College as a tenured distinguished professor until the end of his life.

In his remaining years, publishing steadily and traveling tirelessly despite increasing health problems with diabetes and the aftereffects of a stroke, Ginsberg gave readings in Russia, China, Europe, and the South Pacific. In the bardic tradition of William Blake, who played a pump organ when he read his poetry, Ginsberg often accompanied himself on a portable harmonium bought in Benares for fifty dollars. He was the archetypal Beat Generation writer to countless poetry audiences and to the general public. Unlike Kerouac, who died in 1969, Ginsberg remained a radical poet, the embodiment of the ideals of personal freedom, nonconformity, and the search for enlightenment. As a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, he unabashedly used his prestige to champion the work of his friends. Two months short of his seventy-first birthday, he died of liver cancer at his home in the East Village, New York City.

Bibliography

Along with Ginsberg’s many awards and honors, his list of publications encompasses hundreds of items. Most notably, in addition to those mentioned above, they include the collections Reality Sandwiches, 1953-1960 (1963); Planet News, 1961-1967 (1968); Indian Journals: March 1962-May 1963 (1970); The Fall of America: Poems of These States, 1965-1971 (1972), which won the National Book Award; Gordon Ball, ed., Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness (1974); Mind Breaths: Poems, 1972-1977 (1978); Plutonium Ode: Poems, 1977-1980 (1982); Collected Poems: 1947-1980 (1985); Barry Miles, ed., Howl: Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript & Variant Versions, Fully Annotated by Author, with Contemporaneous Correspondence, Account of First Public Reading, Legal Skirmishes, Precursor Texts & Bibliography (1986); White Shroud: Poems, 1980-85 (1986); Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems, 1986-1992 (1994); Selected Poems, 1947-1995 (1996), and Death and Fame: Last Poems, 1993-1997 (1999). The front dust wrapper of this last book is a color photograph of the poet standing in his apartment next to a portrait of Walt Whitman, both white-bearded. The list of the forty most important Ginsberg titles in his posthumously published Death and Fame was gathered by his editors Bob Rosenthal, Peter Hale, and Bill Morgan into the categories of Poetry, Prose, Photography, and Vocal Words and Music. Bill Morgan compiled the 456-page descriptive Ginsberg bibliography, The Works of Allen Ginsberg, 1941-1994 (1995). J. W. Ehrlich edited Howl of the Censor (1961), an account of the 1957 San Francisco trial investigating obcenity in Ginsberg’s poem. Jane Kramer, Allen Ginsberg in America, was an early biography, followed by two full-length biographies: Barry Miles, Ginsberg (1989), and Michael Schumacher, Dharma Lion: A Critical Biography of Allen Ginsberg (1992). Bill Morgan, archivist for the estate of Allen Ginsberg, prepared the biographical text in Allen Ginsberg and Friends (New York: Sotheby’s Catalog for Sale 7351, Oct. 7, 1999). An obituary is in the New York Times, 7 Apr. 1997.

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