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Family Business: Selected Letters Between a Father and Son Hardcover – 14 Jan 2002
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FAMILY BUSINESS is not only a personal glimpse into the life of one of the great US poets, but also the moving story of a relationship between a father and a son set against the turbulent world of postwar America. As a literary portrait of a father and son, little can match the eloquence and honesty of this collection of letters, written between the years 1944 and 1976. The illuminating correspondence between Allen Ginsberg and his father, Louis, begins when Allen is a precocious, rebellious college student and charts his ascension as a revolutionary icon in poetry. Their letters are filled with affection, respect, and a healthy dose of argumentative zeal - they debate every major political and artistic issue that faced America in over three decades of extraordinary change. Their correspondence also reveals the defining moments that shaped Allen's art - his experimentation with LSD, his various love affairs and obsessions, his travels around the globe. We see, from this unique perspective, the crucial process of a poet's widening experience of the world, and how these experiences are transformed in his art.
From the Publisher
Family Business is not only a personal insight into a great American poet but also a very moving story of a relationship between a father and a son in the turbulent world of post-war America. In a sense, the letters in this volume are a report from frontlines of a changing country, a social and historical record that documents a radically shifting society and two men from different, often opposing, generations, trying to find their respective places in it.See all Product description
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As the landmark events of the 20th Century unfold around them (the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, and explosive confrontations in the Middle East), they strive to find a common ground in their craft. The elder Ginsberg's tolerance is tested by his son's rebellion. Louis instructs Allen to "exorcise" his muse Neal Cassady as a destructive influence, and he's outraged when his son's longtime companion, Peter Orlovsky, is listed as Allen's "spouse" in Who's Who. Along the way, Allen's fame as the bearded paterfamilias of the flower-power generation grows, and he becomes the most trusted critic of his father's work. Louis comes to recognize that poems like his son's "Kaddish" - a shockingly frank portrayal of Allen's mother Naomi - pointed the way to the future of the art.
Poet Louis Untermeyer once remarked to Louis, "You are good for Allen, and he is good for you." Tracing their journey toward a shared conviction that poetry has the power to change history makes Family Business important reading for us all.