To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Six Gallery reading – at which Allen Ginsberg first read from his poem, “Howl” – Beatdom Books is delighted to announce the latest in its series of Beat Generation studies, The Poetry and Politics of Allen Ginsberg, by Eliot Katz.

About the Book

Allen Ginsberg was one of the most politically engaged writers of his era, with a widespread social and cultural impact that was rare for a poet of his or any generation. In his upcoming book, Katz takes a readable, scholarly look at Ginsberg’s most influential poetry and explores the varied and inventive ways that Ginsberg turned his political ideas and perceptions into powerful poetry. While there have been a number of important, previous biographies of Allen Ginsberg and some excellent recent books and essays of literary criticism examining Ginsberg’s poems, Katz’s book will be the first full-length study focusing primarily on the question of how Ginsberg’s writing works as political poetry and on Ginsberg’s extraordinary influence on political culture over the ensuing decades. As an anthologized poet and longtime social-justice activist himself, as well as a friend of Ginsberg’s who worked with him on a number of poetry and activist projects, Katz brings a unique personal, political, and literary perspective to this project, which we hope will be valuable to students and scholars studying Ginsberg’s poems in college classrooms, as well as to general poetry readers and writers interested in Ginsberg’s work.


The Poetry and Politics of Allen Ginsberg

About the Author

Eliot Katz is the author of seven books of poetry, including Unlocking the Exits (1999) and Love, War, Fire, Wind: Looking Out from North America’s Skull (2009).  His first full-length poetry book, Space and Other Poems for Love, Laughs, and Social Transformation was published in 1990, with introductions by Allen Ginsberg and Amiri Baraka, and a front cover drawing by Leon Golub. Katz is also the author of two prose e-books, Three Radical Poets: Tributes to Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Adrienne Rich (2013) and The Moonlight of Home and Other Stories of Truth and Fiction (2013). He was a coeditor, with Allen Ginsberg and Andy Clausen, of Poems for the Nation (2000), a collection of contemporary political poems that Ginsberg was compiling in the 18 months before his death in 1997. A cofounder, with Danny Shot, and former coeditor of Long Shot literary journal, he guest-edited Long Shot’s final issue, a “Beat Bush issue” released in Spring 2004.

Early Praise

The Poetry and Politics of Allen Ginsberg is an inspired work about one very-celebrated poet and political activist by another remarkable poet and activist, Eliot Katz. It is a serious work about the politics and social commitment behind much of Ginsberg’s writings and is long overdue. In this perfectly researched and immensely readable book, Katz has tackled this important aspect of Ginsberg’s work and reminds people in this apathetic and polarized world that raising our voices and becoming involved can make a difference. Ginsberg never shied away from addressing issues head-on and Katz’s book makes his timeless ideas shine through with crystalline brilliance.

– BILL MORGAN, author of I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg

The Poetry and Politics of Allen Ginsberg is the most engaging and rigorous analysis of Ginsberg’s political poetry yet attempted. We find in these pages the astuteness of a literary critic, the contextualization of a social historian, the knowledge of a veteran political activist, the insights of a memoirist, and the aesthetic understanding of a poet. Eliot Katz wears all these hats simultaneously, and the finished product is a pleasure to read. The major strength of the work is its multidisciplinary approach. It will appeal to people interested in literary criticism, Beat poetry, American poetry, political literature, political science, and sociology. I will certainly use this book as a required text in my Beat Generation course.

– KURT HEMMER, editor of The Encyclopedia of Beat Literature

Congratulations to Eliot Katz for powerfully presenting his love for Allen Ginsberg, and his respect also for the utter usefulness to poetry and poets that Allen’s life and poetry gives to the world!

– ED SANDERS, Co-founder of The Fugs, and author of America: A History in Verse, and The Poetry and Life of Allen Ginsberg: A Narrative Poem


The Poetry and Politics of Allen Ginsberg is set for release at the beginning of 2016. Pre-order your copy of the print edition now by clicking the PayPal link below. If there is any difficulty ordering, or to order in bulk, please contact editor [at] beatdom (dot) com. For a Kindle copy the Amazon page now allows pre-orders.