Offering a one-page, 8 ½ x 16, ALS by ALLEN GINSBERG on the verso of a broadside advertising a prose and poetry series he hosted at Brooklyn College’s Humanities Institute. On March 26, 1987, Ginsberg writes to Macmillan editor “Ken Stuart & Juanita: Here at the last is the volume of Catullus translations by Jonathan Robbins [pseudonym of Jacob Rabinowitz]. I think Robbins is potentially a strong poet, oddly learned as well after a long period of immersion in the beat gutter with me, Corso, [novelist William S], Burroughs & Harvey Smith in his teens. Now he’s an instructor at Brown Univ. & has mastered Greek...Hebrew, German, French etc. as well as some Arabic...If you know any place [his translations] could be published, please suggest any ideas...In the long run...Robbins will be an interesting writer to follow – as I have since he wa a Rimbaud-like kid of 17...OK Allen Ginsberg”
GINSBERG (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet and writer. He began friendships with William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac in the 1940s, forming the Beat Generation. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression. He embodied various aspects of the counterculture with his views on drugs, hostility to bureaucracy and openness to Eastern religions. He is best known for his poem “Howl” in which he denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. The poem was seized by San Francisco police and U. S. Customs and became the subject of an obscenity trial as it described heterosexual and homosexual sex at a time when sodomy laws made homosexual acts a crime in every state. Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that the poem was not obscene. Ginsberg took part in many political protests from the Vietnam War to the War on Drugs.
The broadside is autographed by CARL SOLOMON (1928 – 1993), who first met Ginsberg in the waiting room of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” was dedicated to Solomon, who claimed that the poem misstated events, “garbles history completely.” Solomon had been admitted to the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Folds, but in very good condition, Rabinowitz did have the translations published in 1991 under his real name, and became known for his scholarly works on antiquity, especially Hebrew culture. Ginsberg’s poetry collection “Cosmopolitan Greetings” contains a poem to Rabinowitz, who had briefly been his lover in the days of the “beat gutter.”
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