Lana Del Rey Loves Whitman, Ginsberg and Nabokov...

I heard Lana Del Rey say yesterday whilst she was in Radio One's Live Lounge that her favourite writers are Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg and Vladimir Nabokov: these were the first writers for her whose
'words came alive on the page'.
What a girl. (And thanks to whoever phoned in with that question).

Y'all know I love Nabokov (he's featured, in some way, in five of my blog posts to date), but I've not read any Whitman or Ginsberg, and I suspect that maybe they're more a feature of the American canon, than elsewhere? I'm aware of them, sure, but I don't hear them referenced much or talked about. Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass' poetry collection sounds fascinating though, as described on Wikipedia and by Miss Del Rey, so that's something to search out I think.

I found this reading of Ginsberg 'Howl' on Youtube and have only listened to the first few minutes so far, but I'm surprised by how much of it I recognise, so maybe I'm more aware of it than I realise.

Have you read any Whitman or Ginsberg (or Nabokov, for that matter), and what did you think?


  1. Whitman is an international giant, even if British poets have been able to resist him. He was an enormous influence on Spanish- and Portuguese-language poets, like Neruda and Pessoa, and to a lesser degree a key group of Modernist French poets.

    At least one British poet loved Whitman, come to think of it - D. H. Lawrence.

    1. That's interesting to know - without references in other US pop culture channels, I doubt I'd have heard of him, which suggests that British poets can resist him, even if he's relevant elsewhere. I'm looking forward to looking him up though.


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