Monday, June 14, 2010

Howl and Other Poems

I've heard recordings of Ginsberg reading these poems out loud, and it is very clear to me that most of them want to be read out loud. I don't know how I get that feeling, exactly, but "America" definitely wants to be read aloud, whereas "An Asphodel" would probably prefer not to.

Howl is the strongest of the lot, of course. Reading it makes me long for the sixties, long for a time when there was an establishment to rage against, that manufactured enough rage in everyone that when you screamed, others screamed with you, or were horrified by your screaming. Here in the future, when you scream, people just laugh, if they notice you at all.

1 comment:

  1. You should follow it up with Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." I'd be willing to bet that when you sense these poems want to be read aloud, you're responding to the incantatory quality of those Whitmanian long lines.

    It occurs to me that screaming and being heard was/is not restricted to Ginsberg's time and place.