Chris's Reviews > Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems

Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
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's review
Mar 04, 2011

it was amazing

Before reading this excellent collection of poetry, I did not think too much of the beat movement. Poetry for me was Yeats, Dickinson, Heaney and most of all Plath. But the main piece of this collection, Howl is the best poem I have ever read, with the endless energy, imagery of the city and the total relevance of a generation. Not only does it appear to sum up many of the past and present generation of American, but it has also eerie parallels to my generation living in ireland and scotland.

Ginsberg has such a keen skill to never sound bland, boring or tired. Each of the images, stories and encounters he evokes with his vocabulary seem equally different, fresh and relevant. His poem is one of grimy back road motels, dirty drug ridden Cities and creative minds which have been blanked and destroyed by the spectre of insanity which American seemed so pre-occupied with at times. Some people might draw comparisons with Plath and Lowell in this manner, but Ginsberg is far from a confessional poet, and nor would he want to be.

I feel if Hemingway managed to show the Generation of Americans following the First World War who were angry and disgruntled and chose to live in Europe, Ginsberg shows a generation which is disgusted by the Vietnam War and the manner in which their nation operated, and as such are presented as living in a New York City which seems at times something from Lewis Carroll or Edgar Allan Poe. It is a term which is truly overused but I believe Ginsberg was both the voice of his generation and a true visionary.
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Reading Progress

March 4, 2011 – Shelved
March 5, 2011 – Started Reading
March 6, 2011 –
page 36
March 6, 2011 – Finished Reading

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