Praise for Straight Around Allen

In late 2018, we released Bob Rosenthal’s stunning memoir, Straight Around Allen: On the Business of Being Allen Ginsberg. The book has gotten a tremendous reception, and we’d like to share with you some of the kind words people have had for it:

Ann Charters:

The best book about Ginsberg ever published.

Helen Vendler:

Of course, the book is indispensible on documentary grounds alone but the sustained narrative has great moving power.

Jonah Raskin (for New York Journal of Books):

There is no other book like this one, though there are dozens of books about Ginsberg. Bob Rosenthal has made a courageous and valuable contribution to the field of Beat studies.

Ben Schafer:

 Once I started I literally could not put it down… It was riveting and unlike any memoir I’ve ever read in structure and tone, very in the moment, present, candid. 

Eliot Katz:

This will prove to be an essential book, and a terrific read, for any scholars, students, poets, and activists interested in Allen Ginsberg’s inspiring life and work.

Allen Ginsberg Estate:

There have been a number of recent Beat books of late and our imprimatur of “essential reading” might seem a little easily dispensed and perfunctory – but no, not for this one, not so. This one is essential reading.

Brian Hassett:

The candor of the camera man comes clear. A focused word collage of poetry in practice.

The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo: A Review

Like many people, the limited knowledge that I had of Oscar Zeta Acosta came to me through the writings of Hunter S. Thompson. He is the real-life basis for Dr. Gonzo, the “300 pound Samoan” in Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a truly terrifying man. His physical size is matched by a larger-than-life personality, a wild temper, and a hunger for hard drugs. But what of the real Acosta – the man behind the myth?

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Beyond Jazz: Kerouac and Music

The links between the Beat Generation and music seem obvious, and many of them have been pretty thoroughly explored. Ginsberg befriended and worked with Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and Mick Jagger, while Burroughs coined the phrase “heavy metal” in addition to his own collaborations with people like Kurt Cobain and Tom Waits. But what about Jack Kerouac? Continue Reading…

Women Writers of the Beat Era: A Review

In Women Writers of the Beat Era: Autobiography and Intertextuality, Mary Paniccia Carden argues that although the most famous writers of the Beat Generation rejected traditional values, they very much embraced the sexism that pervaded the wider culture. Her thesis is that women did in fact contribute greatly to the Beat movement (which she says is not a generation) but were marginalized and then later forgotten. In her new book, she seeks to address that, shining a light on several important women and their work. Continue Reading…

Ginsberg Goes Behind Enemy Lines: A Review of Iron Curtain Journals

In 1965, Allen Ginsberg jumped at the chance to peek behind enemy lines with a visit to communist Cuba. He was only asked to judge a literary competition, but his trip was expanded time and again due to bizarre complications, meaning that he instead visited Mexico, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Poland, England, and Paris, before finally returning home some six months later. In Iron Curtain Journals: January-May 1965, Michael Schumacher (author of Dharma Lion) has collected Ginsberg’s notes, poems, and dream journals into a valuable resource for Beat enthusiasts. Continue Reading…

Straight Around Allen

Today we are delighted to announce the release of Straight Around Allen: On the Business of Being Allen Ginsberg, by Bob Rosenthal. This intimate and poetic memoir brings the reader into the life the work of Allen Ginsberg like no other.

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Angry Young Men Become Nice Old Men: A Review of Don’t Hide the Madness

In March, 1992, Allen Ginsberg visited his old friend, William S. Burroughs, at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. He recorded ten ninety-minute cassette tapes of conversation for his long-time musical collaborator, Steven Taylor, to transcribe. The purpose was to gather suitable material for a short article. However, a few decades later the tapes surfaced once again and Taylor decided that the result warranted its own book. Continue Reading…

The Revised Boy Scout Manual: Burroughs on Fake News and Scientology

Ohio State University Press has recently published a “lost masterpiece” by William S. Burroughs, called “The Revised Boy Scout Manual”: An Electronic Revolution. This book is not exactly a “lost” piece of writing in the truest sense; rather, it has been put together from various sources, many of which actually have been previously available to the public. (Indeed, the process of putting this short book together was complicated enough to necessitate a lengthy explanation as part of the book’s foreword.) The result is an interesting and rather familiar text, valuable to Burroughs scholars and fans, but probably not a “masterpiece” like Burroughs’ novels. What it is is a heavily annotated guide to everything that interested the author in the late sixties and early seventies – Scientology, Mayan codices, cutups, tape recorders, the concept of language as a virus, and much more. Continue Reading…

From Fitzgerald’s Green Light to Thompson’s Wave

Hunter S. Thompson is one of those literary figures who, like the Beat Generation writers, divides opinion. His controversial books inspired legions of fans, and more than a few critics. As with the Beats, Thompson is often viewed as an outsider and a rebel; his contributions to the literary canon seen merely as a quirky commentary on a weird stage in American culture. Even among those who admire his work, there is no real consensus on what exactly made him great. Continue Reading…

Tyrannus Trump

For my birthday twin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti—I treasure the copy of your Tyrannus Nix? that you signed for me on one of our birthdays over 20 years ago. My poem’s title does not end in a question mark because with Trump there is no question. He quests for tyranny. Continue Reading…