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  • Howl & Reality

    Posted by Ginny on April 25th, 2007 (All posts by )

    After reading the comments on Shannon’s piece, I went into class. Today we talked of Ginsberg & Howl. I could teach the power of his incantatory lines, his use of repetition, ways he took what Whitman had discovered & made it his own; but, then, I found myself unable to speak. Shannon’s piece, the comments, Cho, so many memories – I just didn’t feel like letting these words lie on the page. I talked for a moment about America in those years and about this romanticism, this belief society was fallen but man wasn’t. These beliefs were not always true, not even useful. Sometimes we’re not noble savages thwarted by a society that sacrifices us to Moloch – sometimes we’re just nuts and need help. And then we turned to Bishop, whose life, too, had plenty of tragedies and whose inclinations, too, were not conventional; still she created a world that better helps us understand and even appreciate our own.

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    4 Responses to “Howl & Reality”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:


      Roll over, Allen Ginsberg.

      Er, on second thought….

      by Gerard Allen Van der Ginsberg

      For Karl Rove Solomon

      Posted by Vanderleun Mar 23, 2006

      I SAW the second-best minds of my not-so-Great Generation destroyed by Bush Derangement Syndrome, pasty, paunchy, tenured, unelectable, and not looking too sharp naked,

      bullshitting themselves through the African-American streets at cocktail hour looking for a Prozac refill, …

    2. david still Says:
      Allen made his peace with society when increasingly he turned to a buddhist perspective, and questioned by a student about Howe, he said that it was Kaddish (death of his mother) that he believed to be his best poem.

    3. david still Says:
      lovely video of Allen being interviewed

    4. Ginny Says:

      We just throw up stuff and then the comments spring up to add value. I will say that about any one of my age (I think, maybe it was just chance) was likely to see Ginsberg in several of his manifestations on whatever campus we were on. In the sixties, he visited Shapiro in Lincoln, later he was in Austin and even College Station. My husband, who was becoming less and less of a sixties person, had a long conversation with him at Charles the semester after the Velvet Revolution, when he was in Charles’ English Department and Ginsberg was a prominent guest. The real sweetness of Ginsberg is quite true, but beliefs in the noble savage and the purity of same sex love do, however, have their dark sides.