The editorial staff dedicated this issue of the Paterson Literary Review to Allen Ginsberg, native son of Paterson, New Jersey. Much of the nearly four hundred pages in this volume are devoted to reminisce of Allen Ginsberg by those who knew him, were mentored by him and were profoundly influenced by him. They call him “bard,” “lover of earth and foe of the fascist state,” “poetry father,” “catalyst of utopia,” and “courage-teacher.” They recount vivid memories, reflect, and describe their sense of loss at his death. The poet Jim Cohn wrote, “Allen’s thinking had a way of causing a roar in your head.” The poet Eliot Katz wrote in an elegy, “Ah, Allen, you gave America a new shape & now you’ve lost yours.”
The rest of this journal devoted mostly to poetry, including the 2005 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award winners, also includes some prose, reviews, and one memoir. Among the many notables works are five poems by Leslie Heywood: “Soil Profile,” “Having a Life,” “Don’t Find Me,” “Number 23,” and “Work.” These poems speak with imagery from both nature and suburbia; they ebb and flow with a quiet rhythm that gives breath to the colorful personas that inhabit them. Another set of five will hit one differently, coming with ingenious insights and breathless questions: Hilda Roz, in an evocative “Dante’s Words, A Canzone,” writes, “The lost woman / who planted her garden in stone, / this woman, her flesh cold / in this early morning cold.” Roz never fails to be to be moving. Some real gems are seven poems by Vivian Shipley, who also wrote a review and is reviewed in this publication. Of special interest are her works “Sitting With My Grandmother, Pavealy Stewart Todd,” and “With My Grandfather Todd the Summer I Turned Sixteen,” in which the reader comes to know Shipley. T
he reviews are highly useful, and the award winners appealing. In all, these 400 pages are worth every minute it takes to read them: the Allen Ginsberg tributes are worth it alone; all are from the heart, and now part of history.