The Craft of Poetry: A Semester with Allen Ginsberg

Longreads

Elissa Schappell | The Paris Review | 1995 | 63 minutes (15,685 words)


We’re excited to reprint Elissa Schappell‘s essay, “The Craft of Poetry: A Semester with Allen Ginsberg.” The piece was first featured on the site in 2013 as a Longreads Member Pick, and originally appeared in the Summer 1995 issue of the Paris Review. It was later anthologized in the Paris Review’s 1999 collection Beat Writers at Work. Thanks to Schappell and the Paris Review for sharing it with the Longreads community:

Of all the literature classes I have ever taken in my life Allen Ginsberg’s “Craft of Poetry” was not only the most memorable and inspiring, but the most useful to me as a writer.
First thought, best thought.
It’s 1994 and I am getting my MFA in fiction at NYU. I’m sitting in the front row of a dingy classroom with a tape recorder and a…

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