Title: The Fall of America
Author: Allen Ginsberg
Page Count/Review Word Count: 188
The Fall of America is one of my favourite collections of Ginsberg’s work, despite the fact that it doesn’t contain his most famous or most celebrated poetry. It is, however, a longer collection than some of his others, spanning the years 1965 – 1971 and charting a period in history that I can’t help but be fascinated by.
Whether you’re reading September On Jessore Road, with its Dylan-esque refrain and anti-establishment vibes, or the heartwarming series of elegies for Neal Cassady, you’ll feel the raw power of Ginsberg’s words as they jump off the page and blaze a path across your mind, and you’re unlikely to forget the feelings that were roused even if you do forget the meaning.
The Neal Cassady poems are of historical importance themselves – Cassady, a fellow writer who inspired the character of Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, was the first of the great beat figures to die, coming to an early end after walking home alone beside a railroad track.