“Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti will forever be linked as the respective writer and publisher of Howl, and this irresistible collection of their correspondence shows the depth of their friendship and working relationship … an impressive volume that is a must for every Beat aficionado.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
In 1969, Allen Ginsberg wrote to his friend, fellow poet, and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Alas, telephone destroys letters!” Fortunately, however, by then the two had already exchanged a treasure trove of personal correspondence, and more than any other documents, their letters—intimate, opinionated, and action-packed—reveal the true nature of their lifelong friendship and creative relationship. Collected here for the first time, they offer an intimate view into the range of artistic vision and complementary sensibilities that fueled the genius of their literary collaborations.
Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg were two of the twentieth century’s most influential literary rebels, and their correspondence documents a time when both were rising to the peak of their notoriety and international fame, traveling, writing, publishing, and performing their poetry during times of unprecedented social and cultural experimentation and upheaval. Ferlinghetti was Ginsberg’s publisher and editor, and the correspondence begins with a telegram from Lawrence after hearing Allen’s legendary reading of “Howl” at the Six Gallery: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?”
The majority of the letters collected here have never before been published, and they span the period from 1955 until Ginsberg’s death in 1997. Facsimiles and photographs enhance the collection, an evocative portrait of an inspiring and enduring relationship.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti is an internationally renowned poet, painter, publisher, and founder of City Lights Books.
Allen Ginsberg was a leading member of the Beat Generation and an award-winning poet best known as the author of Howl & Other Poems, among many other works.