It really comes down to your opinion of the title piece. If you think it's great, the other poems won't matter. But if you don't like it, the other poems won't make up for it.
Of the 124 pages, 30 are "Kaddish' and another 30 are the two essays about it. "Laughing Gas" checks in at 17 pages. The other 47 pages are comprised of 14 shorter poems. Both essays are new to the 50th anniversary edition. Or were new when it was first published. Bill Morgan sheds light on Naomi's life before moving on to the poem itself.
"Kaddish" is a depressing piece. Gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, etc. AG does a good job of depicting his mother's paranoia. His approach is as blunt / bold as it was in "Howl".
"To Lindsay" is the 'other' piece that stood out to me. It's an efficient ten lines.
Anyway, here are some lines that popped out at me:Franco has murdered Lorca the fairy son of Whitman / just as Mayakovsky committed suicide to avoid Russia
- "Death to Van Gogh's Ear!"Somebody will invent / a Buchenwald next door
- "Laughing Gas"I'm a spy / in Bloomfield on a park bench / - frightened by buses -
- "Laughing Gas"
This, from "How Kaddish Happened":In the country getting up with the cows and birds hath Blakean charm, in the megalopolis the same nature's hour is a science-fiction hell vision, even if you're a milkman. Phantom factories, unpopulated streets out of Poe, familiar nightclubs bookstores groceries dead.
I'll leave you with this:I write best when I cry.