Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September Beats: Allen Ginsberg

They say all publicity is good. For poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), the publicity he received for the publication of Howl and Other Poems permanently defined his career.

It is 1955. Ginsberg has written a long poem he’s entitles “Howl” that is about capitalism and “the system.” In fact, the poem is a long “howl” about the system. It’s filled with vivid imagery, including sexual imagery, quite graphic sexual imagery.

Poet Louis Ferlinghetti, who owns the City Light Books bookstore in San Francisco, publishes the poem in a relatively small collection. William Carlos Williams writes the introduction. Ginsberg reads the poem publicly in late 1955. City Lights Books arranges the printing in London. The printed volumes arrive, and are promptly seized by customs officials.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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