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Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008

Great Poems 50 Years Later

  Allen Ginsberg's Howl & Other Poems, the 50th anniversary of which was celebrated in 2006, is the most famous book by a Beat poet. A close second is A ConeyIsland of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose fledgling City Lights Press published Howl in 1956 and defended it at the ensuing obscenity trial. That landmark First Amendment case established a legal precedent that protected controversial literary work with "redeeming social significance." In the aftermath of Howl, City Lights became the premiere hip press, faithfully publishing each subsequent book by Ginsberg in its "Pocket Poet Series," which also included luminaries from Kerouac and Corso to...