Published on the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Beat Generation -- that historic encounter in 1944 in New York City between Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs -- "Cosmopolitan Greetings" is the first new collection of poems from Allen Ginsberg since his highly acclaimed book "White Shroud" appeared in 1986.
In "Cosmopolitan Greetings," Ginsberg's ebullient spirit, his compassion, humor, playfulness, and candor are as refreshing as ever. These are poems from the autumn years of his life, a time of extensive activity and engagement for the public figure and a period of reflection and meditation for the Buddhist. The poet confronts evil in the world--the ravages of government, dictators, and the CIA; the wanton destruction of natural resources and of our planet; the suffering of the persecuted, the victims of war --and he does it fearlessly and with passion.
Death lurks around the corners of these poems, but Ginsberg's zest for life remains undiminished. His search for love is as poignant, funny, and energetic as his attempt to understand why he writes poetry. There is a wonderful balance in this collection between memory and desire. Ginsberg's ardent pursuit of younger lovers alternates with his poignant revisiting of family, friends, and scenes from his earlier days.
"Cosmopolitan Greetings" demonstrates a variety of poetic style and voice. Some of the poems here have dance rhythms; others are song lyrics, and some are accompanied by sheet music on the facing page. There's even an original comic strip--"Deadline Dragon Comix"--in which Ginsberg's publisher is gently taken to task for pressuring the poet about deadlines.
The poems in "Cosmopolitan Greetings" are vintage Allen Ginsberg; fresh, hopeful, full of humanity and soul in the face of the darkness of our times.