Tortla's Reviews > Howl and Other Poems

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
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's review
Apr 28, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: schooly, poetry, classics
Read on April 28, 2010 — I own a copy

I liked the dark imagery, but the repetitiveness made it hard to stay focused on actually absorbing the images. His robotic reading of "Howl"--which can be found online if you look around a tad--doesn't really help, sounds prettier in my head than in his voice. He probably wasn't going for pretty but I think I have a weird sense of what constitutes beauty so it's not disgracing his memory to call "Howl" or his other poems pretty. They communicate "beat"-ness--in the sense of having rhythm, describing a downtrodden world, and being beatific--in a neat way. With a sort of elegance which I deem "pretty."

It's not all pretty, though. Ginsberg's emphatic homosexuality is nice and all, but the fact that it comes at the expense of portraying any sort of female presence (aside from a mental-instability-representing mother) is off-putting. Women are referenced only in derogatory and kind of frightening ways...Ginsberg isn't exactly painting a world of sunshine and puppies, and the male-centered imagery of the world he describes reflects the fact that the male presence is powerful and (potentially) comforting to him. But I still wish he'd made a poem that didn't contain such a pointed, exclusive, male focus. It makes it even harder to engage with (given the rambly structure and allusions and highly specific confessional nature which is already exclusive).
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Reading Progress

04/28/2010 page 10
04/28/2010 page 10
17.86% "kind of Rilke-y imagery of an empty sort of paradoxical nighttime world"

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Shannon (new) - added it

Shannon hey when did you become a poetry expert

Tortla I've always been an expert on everything.

message 3: by Shannon (new) - added it

Shannon false

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