Today, October 7 in the year 1955 poet Allen Ginsberg read his seminal poem “Howl” at Six Gallery in San Francisco.
1) The poem was published in Ginsberg’s 1956 book “Howl and Other Poems”
2) “Howl” is considered one of the great works of the Beat Generation (along with Kerouac’s “On the Road”).
3) Supposedly, Ginsberg wrote the poem in a coffeehouse known today as the Caffe Mediterraneum in Berkeley, California.
4) The poem was written as a performance piece.
5) Publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books was arrested and charged for distributing obscene literature.
6) The poem celebrates “angel-headed hipsters” and criticizes capitalism and conformity.
7 ) “Howl” is dedicated to his friend Carl Solomon whom he met in a mental institution.
8 ) Many considered the reading of “Howl” as the beginning of a new movement.
9 ) After Part I of “Howl” was published, Ginsberg wrote Part II, Part III and a footnote to boot.
10) Michael McClure wrote: “Ginsberg read on to the end of the poem, which left us standing in wonder, or cheering and wondering, but knowing at the deepest level that a barrier had been broken, that a human voice and body had been hurled against the harsh wall of America”.
Zohar – Man of la Book
Alan Ginsberg. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Ginsberg
Carl Solomon. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Solomon
Ginsberg Reads “Howl” for the First Time. (n.d.). Retrieved http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ginsberg-reads-howl-for-the-first-time?catId=8
Howl. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howl
- October 6, 2011 Arthurian Fact of the Day (caridwen.wordpress.com)
- Book Acquired, 9.26.2011 (biblioklept.org)
- You: 55 years after the fact, culture still cries out for Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ (washingtonpost.com)
- Sad Poems That Make You Cry (mademan.com)
- Allen Ginsberg, Poetics Practicum packet, c. 1995 [pdf]. (wewhoareabouttodie.com)