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Howl
 
by
Allen Ginsberg
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Howl

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,646 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
In the decade before his death, Allen Ginsberg assembled the original typescripts of his prophetic masterpiece "Howl," along with revisions and later drafts of each section of the poem; they are reproduced here in facsimile with facing-page transcriptions and notes. Following, and at the heart of this volume, are the poet's meticulous annotations of each verse of the succe ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by City Lights Books (first published April 26th 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,692)
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Melissa Arguello
I love this poem-it changed so much for me, it showed me the possibilities of writing. what it could be. ITs about a friend of Ginsbergs, who was put in a mental institution, and Ginsberg is writng about how society itself has gone mad, how everyone is crazy, the passion of that insanity, the search for stability, the consequence of crazy, maddening liablities when what used to be your mind takes over. It documents the point when the 50's became the 60's, and we as a nation ushered in a new dawn ...more
Matthew
Aug 20, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Don't read the edition of Howl illustrated by Eric Drooker.
Drooker may have collaborated with Ginsberg on
Illuminated Poems, but he's also responsible for the unspeakably bad animated sequences in the unwatchable Ginsberg biopic Howl .
(Notice the description advertises that Howl is "Now a Major Motion Picture", as if this is something to brag about.)
In fact, the illustrations from this edition of Howl look like screenshots from film.
Read this edition instead. Or this edition.

 For Carl
...more
Margaret
Oct 23, 2008 Margaret rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just because it's a classic doesn't mean I have to like it.
Kevin Warman
Absurd. Definitely absurd and defiant. Interesting to read, but one is left with many questions after finishing.
Jason Bradshaw
Feb 14, 2015 Jason Bradshaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really blew me away. Not especially for the poem, Howl, which I quite like for its own merits, but for the depth it gets into of everything surrounding it. The entire first part of the poem is fully annotated by Ginsberg himself through several rough drafts(parts 2, 3 and the footnote are annotated only for the final text) giving both context for the lines within the poem but also reasons for edits, omissions or re-writes within it. There's also a wealth of appendixes covering critical ...more
Liz
Nov 11, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Howl: Original Draft Facsimile" is a different text than "Howl and Other Poems". They should not be combined as the same book. They are two different poems with the same name. The Original Draft has only the text of the original Howl, while the latter book has the highly revised version along with additional poems.
Lisa
Jan 28, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
came upon this during a break from reading/writing at the library. borrowed the film but didn't watch it. know too little of the beat generation and the censorship fervor this poem created. his words pack a romantic, terrifying, compassionate, melancholy, haunting, angry, in-your-face-and-about-bloody-time wallop.
Michael
Feb 27, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He went through more than 20 drafts of 'Howl'.

Wow. That's amazing, right?

I understand it though. And allowing a look at the drafts (similar to Ariel by Sylvia Plath)... man.

So I'm not really reviewing this book as best I can, because damn it, its good, you should read it, hear him recite it, end of poem.
Camille McCarthy
May 01, 2014 Camille McCarthy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this poem, even though I really disliked "On the Road" and they have a very similar style. I think this is because "Howl" is a lot more profound and it seemed to have a very clear message, while "On the Road" just seemed to be long and rambling without a purpose. They had very similar lifestyles but while Kerouac seems to just be stuck in it, Ginsberg seems to be able to take a step back and see how their lives are so scattered and their intelligence is wasted and looks at the ...more
Luana Fortes Miranda
Sep 13, 2011 Luana Fortes Miranda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat
Ils sont tous pauvres, déchirés, ils protestent, ils se couchent avec n'importe qui - pour, donc se réveiller des rêves sordides. Voilà un poème qui décrit toute une génération.

" Que jogaram seus relógios do telhado fazendo seu lance de aposta pela Eternidade fora do Tempo e despertadores caíram em suas cabeças por todos os dias da década seguinte. "

On se réveille du rêve, deux situations à choisir (ou déjà choisis) : loja de antiguidades où on pleut le passé qui nous manque " Que cortaram seus
...more
Jane
Nov 22, 2008 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Jim Morrison meets 'A Beautiful Mind.' I'd rather watch Russel Crowe as a genius/mad math professor getting electric shock therapy than read Ginsberg's overbearing encomium to Carl Solomon and his electric shock therapy. I think I appreciated Kerouac's take on the beat generation more when I happened upon "On the Road" at a used book store, like you're supposed to, as a teenager. But I picked this up at the public library and I like that this edition has Ginsberg's personal edits in various draf ...more
Jamie
Jul 09, 2016 Jamie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Checked out this book just to read the poem. Skimmed the rest. For those who want to know more about the story behind Howl and how it came to be, this is a great choice.
Elizabeth
Dec 02, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't read all of the annotations, but this is a wonderful edition that you ought to read if you love the poem. Would strongly recommend.
David Rullo
Mar 10, 2014 David Rullo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm rereading this now. What an interesting addition to the Howl poem. How often does one get to see a poem revised or understand exactly what sources, influences, people, places, etc were the original material for that poem? This edition is invaluable. When I first read Howl it made me feel like I could be writer. I recognized the genius but felt I could write like that. It helped me find and recognize my voice. While reading this edition though I really how deep Howl is, how much work went int ...more
John
yeah good, a classic of free verse formalism
JT
Mar 20, 2012 JT rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have the Pocket Poets Series "Howl and Other Poems." I just read it for my American Lit class and man why haven't I read Ginsberg before?! I'm a huge fan of the beats (Kerouac and Burroughs in particular). Ginsberg's poetry is brilliant! I love his nods to Walt Whitman, and his breathless style. The stream of consciousness feel to these poems is something I really dig.

My favorite poems included in this little book are:

Howl, Transcription of Organ Music, Sunflower Sutra, America, In the Bagga
...more
Sigmund BoPs
Feb 10, 2015 Sigmund BoPs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.78 ;))
Eva Sanchez
May 21, 2014 Eva Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes.
h
Jan 26, 2014 h rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
poem gets 5 stars. presentation and ordering of material could have been better. indispensable, though.
kate
Apr 03, 2009 kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers and rebels
Though Howl was not one of my favourites, I picked this book up because it is a combination of the original typed manuscript (including penned corrections, changes etc) and the full poem.

It was worth it for the glimpse into the creative process from which arose the monstrous rambling mother of all rants.

After reading it, I gained a new appreciation for the poem and the America of Ginsberg at that moment in history. a time of tumult exploding across page after page.
Mike Good
Oct 16, 2012 Mike Good rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anything less than four stars to a book that contains Howl would be unbecoming. That being said, a long, and tedious work, best suited for academic research. There are few things more enjoyable than reading Ginsberg defending the merit of his work to people who received it negatively (Allen Ginsberg to John Hollander, abridged from a 32-page letter). Plus Guillame Apollinaire, and Antonin Artaud seem like pretty good guys(poets who influenced Ginsburg).
Cherie
Aug 05, 2008 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Venessa
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
A I love Allen. This book is a MUST for Allen lovers and Ginsy scholars. I have seen a lot of this already (the first reading, legal skirmishes), but still interesting to see in this context. You see all of the drafts, with the changes (He originally had "starving mystical naked" instead of "starving hysterical naked") and I didn't know much abt Carl Solomon but now do. I love Allen. :)
Lydia Steenhoek
Mar 02, 2014 Lydia Steenhoek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartwrenching - the ratatatat of the words only served as an echo to the intense emptiness of the poem. A good glimpse into modern despair.
David L
Feb 19, 2009 David L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Annotated is best. Learning from the annotations itself could take weeks. But if you've ever woke up half naked next to a railroad track in Athens, OH, or to a billy club knocking you off a bench in Hell's Kitchen; if you ever seen the color of music, loved the woblies, or like poetry, this is for you.
Sarah Cypher
Oct 06, 2011 Sarah Cypher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seeing the poem in this form was a much-needed inspiration to start art wherever you are. If you're troubled, not sure what you want to say yet, pulled in a thousand directions--just start. Riff on a word. Barf out ten pages of nonsense.

Grace approaches by drafts. And then you get HOWL.
Lisa
Given to me in 2009 as a birthday present from Kari, I'm only now truly looking through it deeply because I've just watched the film Howl. I must say that this is an extraordinary copy and and provide real insight into Gingsberg's writing process. There is also a section focused on Carl Solomon.
Russell
Oct 03, 2008 Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
..,\."who stood before you speechless & intelligent and shaking with shame
who were yourselves, your own souls' confessions,
your miseries incarnate in madman and bum & angel
preaching neither acceptance nor rejection
neither man nor god,
reality or imagination......
Jess
Jan 26, 2008 Jess marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
You know, i talk a lot of smack on The Beats & i'm generally dismissive about their movement. That's really snobbish of me. I hope i can study it with an open mind. Just cause they're beatnik hipsters with too much groove doesn't mean i might not like a couple lines...
Jon
Mar 28, 2008 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
Read it!

(From the liner)
First published in 1956, Allen Ginsberg's Howl is a prophetic masterpiece-an epicraging against dehumanizing society that overcame censorship trials and obscenity charges to become one of the most widely read poemsof the century.
Lars Mandon
I'm not sure what I thought. It made me feel a bit mad, though, hey, isn't that the point?

A question: Women's roles according to Ginsberg?

I'll re-read it before answering my own question, but I'd love to know someone else's opinion. A feminist's perhaps?
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Irwin Allen Ginsberg was the son of Louis and Naomi Ginsberg, two Jewish members of the New York literary counter-culture of the 1920s. Ginsberg was raised among several progressive political perspectives. A supporter of the Communist party, Ginsberg's mother was a nudist whose mental health was a concern throughout the poet's childhood. According to biographer Barry Miles, "Naomi's illness gave A ...more
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