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Howl and Other Poems (City Lights Pocket…

Howl and Other Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets, No. 4) (original 1956; edition 2001)

by Allen Ginsberg

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Title:Howl and Other Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets, No. 4)
Authors:Allen Ginsberg
Info:City Lights Publishers (2001), Ausgabe: Reissue, Paperback, 57 Seiten
Collections:Your library
Tags:gedichtband, gedichte, beat generation, englische literatur, amerikanische literatur, englischsprachige literatur

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Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg (1956)


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English (43)  French (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix;
Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night."

If that doesn't set your reading hair on fire, then this book isn't for you. If so, read it and howl. I had the great fortune of reading it for the first time at City Lights Bookstore in SF. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
I wound up picking this for a book challenge (as a formerly banned work, and I can see why it would have been banned in the 50's) in part because I hadn't really read any beat authors and partly because I don't read enough poetry. I came into it with the vague idea that beat poetry was probably not my scene, and yeah, based on this work at least I was right. It felt pretentiously hip, or maybe that's how it's supposed to feel, but it doesn't make me want to read more. ( )
  duchessjlh | Mar 16, 2016 |
I can't believe I've never read this before, given how much of the Beat writers' works I've consumed. But I realized, reading the first section, that I only knew the first famous line. I picked this because it fit the PopSugar category of banned books, and reading it I can definitely see why. A poem of this form, with explicit descriptions of drug use, homosexuality, and other illegal or frowned-upon activities, would definitely land with a thunderclap in mid-1950s America.

That said, when you separate it from its historical importance and Beat-Generation cult status and focus on it as a poem, it's really, really good. I can't even say I fully understand it. I looked at a Wikipedia page on the poem (I know, I know) and it explained some of the references and that helped. Many of the allusions are to his friends and fellow writers, like Neal Cassady, Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac, etc. But even if you don't know that, the style and the language is hypnotic and compelling.

The other poems are justly acclaimed as well. Walt Whitman in the supermarket is great, and also requires multiple readings.

I don't know why I don't read more poetry. It's the ultimate slow reading. And the good ones are so powerful.

The full text of the poem, as well as the last stanza (the "footnote"), are available at the Poetry Foundation website.

Highly recommended. ( )
  Sunita_p | Mar 5, 2016 |
It took about 3 readings for me to love Howl. Great stuff! ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
While I didn't understand every word, I felt the power of them all, and was strongly moved. The opening line of "Howl" is thrilling and the historic signifigance of it is overwhelming! The rawness if the language! And the other poems rolled me too! Such beautiful power! Holy Allen - forget your underwear - you're free! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 23, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Allen Ginsbergprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, William CarlosIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Jack Kerouac, new Buddha of American prose, who spit forth intelligence into eleven books written in half the number of years (1951-1956)--On the Road, Visions of Neal, Dr. Sax, Springtime Mary, The Subterraneans, San Francisco Blues, Some of the Dharma, Book of Dreams, Wake Up, Mexico City Blues, and Visions of Gerard--creating a spontaneous bop prosody and original classic literature. Several phrases and the title of Howl are taken from him.

William Seward Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, an endless novel which will drive everybody mad.

Neal Cassady, author of The First Third, an autobiography (1949) which enlightened Buddha.

All these books are published in Heaven.
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I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0872860175, Paperback)

The epigraph for Howl is from Walt Whitman: "Unscrew the locks from the doors!/Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!" Announcing his intentions with this ringing motto, Allen Ginsberg published a volume of poetry which broke so many social taboos that copies were impounded as obscene, and the publisher, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was arrested. The court case that followed found for Ginsberg and his publisher, and the publicity made both the poet and the book famous. Ginsberg went on from this beginning to become a cultural icon of sixties radicalism. This works seminal place in the culture is indicated in Czeslaw Milosz's poetic tribute to Ginsberg: "Your blasphemous howl still resounds in a neon desert where the human tribe wanders, sentenced to unreality".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:02 -0400)

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