Howl and Other Poems Howl and Other Poems discussion


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The Fiftieth Anniversay of Howl

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message 1: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane I re-read Howl as a way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its publication and to commemorate a time long gone when people were passionate about causes and issues. Reading the first few lines takes me back to my youth--naive and dopey, but ready for whatever came my way. Those days are gone forever. Thank the goddess for a memory that still seems intact.


message 2: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert Pielke I'm still naive and dopey! ;-)

Plus those first few lines are used prominently in my favorite film - Hairspray [The ORIGINAL, of course.]


uh8myzen Robert wrote: "I'm still naive and dopey! ;-)

Plus those first few lines are used prominently in my favorite film - Hairspray [The ORIGINAL, of course.]"


Best poetic opening ever!


Eric Jay Sonnenschein The wonderful thing about HOWL is the shamanistic quality of the verse. Ginsberg found something primal and powerful in poetry, its roots in the human psyche.

Whether one likes or understands a significant percentage of the lines, or can tolerate the bleak and sordid imagery, or sympathize with the grievances of the lamentation, one cannot ignore the infectious, incantatory power of the cadences, themselves. He sounds at times like the village priest exorcising demons of the forest.


message 5: by uh8myzen (last edited Apr 19, 2011 02:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

uh8myzen Eric wrote: "The wonderful thing about HOWL is the shamanistic quality of the verse. Ginsberg found something primal and powerful in poetry, its roots in the human psyche.

Whether one likes or understands a s..."


I agree... I think all of his best work, such as Kaddish, has that quality. This quality of his always reminds me of the Dionysian ceremonies that proceeded Greek theatre and their ability to work the audience into a trance for the main production.

The opening lines of Howl have that quality for me, as the go on breathlessly building to an ultimate crescendo. By the time I get through that opening, I am hooked. Its the same no matter how many times I read it.


Eric Jay Sonnenschein Great connection to the Dionysian! That's so true...Ginsberg would be so happy to hear you invoke those ceremonies. And what you say about the invocation of HOWL is absolutely right!

HOWL and KADDISH also resonate with the Hebrew chant; the lamentation of the Jewish prayer is present in his work, understandably since he was raised a Jew.

Ginsberg was, perhaps like many writers, struggling for faith, or the means to express the faith he had. He would later apply his predilection for sacred cadences to Buddist chants.


message 7: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert Pielke The film was pretty good too....


Matthew Personally, I thought this book was one of the most important in American poetry and probably should replace Robert Frost as required reading in all of our high schools. in many ways, it was the totem works of every generation the followed the beats. It should also be held up as the icon for the OWS movement.


Julie Robert wrote: "The film was pretty good too...."

I just couldn't buy James Franco as Ginsberg.


Matthew Me neither


David This is one of the great poems of the Beat era.


message 12: by Jude (new) - added it

Jude The film was pretty good but the director could've much much further with it.


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