Howl, and other poems

Allen Ginsberg, 1926-1997

Book - 1967

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Series
The pocket poets series
Published
San Francisco : City Lights Pocket Bookshop [1967]
Language
English
Physical Description
44 p.
ISBN
0872863107
Main Author
Allen Ginsberg, 1926-1997 (-)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Lately, Ginsberg hasn't always been in top form, but "Howl" remains a masterpiece. White Shroud is the best of his later works. Copyright 1998 Library Journal Reviews

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The prophetic poem that launched a generation when it was first published in 1965 is here presented in a commemorative 40th Anniversary Edition.Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems was originally published by City Lights Books in the Fall of 1956. Subsequently seized by U.S. customs and the San Francisco police, it was the subject of a long court trail at which a series of poets and professors persuaded the court that the book was not obscene.Howl & Other Poems is the single most influential poetic work of the post-World War II era, with over 1,000,000 copies now in print."Howl was Allen's metamorphosis from quiet, brilliant, burning bohemian scholar trapped by his flames and repressions to epic vocal bard."—Michael McClure"It is the poet, Allen Ginsberg, who has gone, in his own body, through the horrifying experiences described from life in these pages." —William Carlos Williams"At the height of his bardic powers, Allen Ginsberg could terrify the authorities with the mere utterance of the syllable “om” as he led street throngs of citizens protesting the Vietnam War. Ginsberg reigned as the raucous poet of American hippiedom and as a literary pioneer whose freewheeling masterwork “Howl” prevailed against government censorship in a landmark obscenity trial 50 years ago." — New York Times"Fifty years ago, on October 3, Judge Clayton Horn ruled that Allen Ginsberg's great epic Beat-era poem HOWL was not obscene but instead, a work of literary and social merit. This ruling allowed for the publication of HOWL and exonerated the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who faced jail time and a fine 50 years ago for publishing 'HOWL.'" — Pacifica.orgAllen Ginsberg was born June 3, 1926, the son of Naomi Ginsberg, Russian émigré, and Louis Ginsberg, lyric poet and schoolteacher, in Paterson, New Jersey. To these facts Ginsberg adds: "High school in Paterson till 17, Columbia College, merchant marine, Texas and Denver copyboy, Times Square, amigos in jail, dishwashing, book reviews, Mexico City, market research, Satori in Harlem, Yucatan and Chiapas 1954, West Coast 3 years. Later Arctic Sea trip, Tangier, Venice, Amsterdam, Paris, read at Oxford Harvard Columbia Chicago, quit, wrote Kaddish 1959, made tape to leave behind & fade in Orient awhile. Carl Solomon to whom Howl is addressed, is a intuitive Bronx dadaist and prose-poet."

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The prophetic poem that launched a generation when it was first published in 1965 is here presented in a commemorative hardcover edition!The landmark, original publication of Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL & Other Poems!HOWL & Other Poems, the prophetic book that launched the Beat Generation, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights Books in 1956. Considered the single most influential work of post-WWII United States poetry, the City Lights edition of HOWL has remained in print for more than 60 years, with well over 1,000,000 copies in print. A strident critique of middle-class complacency, consumerism, and capitalist militarism, HOWL also celebrates the pleasures and freedoms of the physical world, including a tribute to homosexual love.  In addition to “Howl,” poems in the book include: “A Supermarket in California,” “Sunflower Sutra,” “America,” “In the Baggage Room at Greyhound,” “Transcription of Organ Music,” and “Wild Orphan,” among others. A History of HOWL:City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti first heard Allen Ginsberg read “Howl” at the Six Gallery event in San Francisco, 1955, which featured writers Philip Lamantia, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Michael McClure, introduced by poet Kenneth Rexroth. Jack Kerouac was present, but did not read, encouraging and cheering the other poets on. Ferlinghetti was so impressed by Ginsberg’s performance, he immediately telegrammed him, referencing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s response to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, “I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?” When the first edition of HOWL arrived from its British printers, it was seized almost immediately by U.S. Customs, and shortly thereafter the San Francisco police arrested its publisher and editor, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, together with the City Lights Bookstore manager, Shigeyoshi Murao. The two were charged with disseminating obscene literature, and the case was sent to trial. Ferlinghetti partnered with the ACLU to launch a defense of HOWL, and a parade of distinguished literary and academic witnesses appeared in court to persuade the judge of its merits. In the end, famously conservative Judge Clayton Horn ruled that the poem was not obscene, but rather, as he stated emphatically, HOWL was a work of “redeeming social significance.” The landmark decision signaled a sea change in American culture, and the City Lights edition of HOWL became a vital cornerstone in the ongoing struggle for free expression and representation.  It continues to attract generation after generation of readers. “It is the poet, Allen Ginsberg, who has gone, in his own body, through the horrifying experiences described from life in these pages.”—William Carlos Williams “Ginsberg is both tragic and dynamic, a lyrical genius . . . probably the single greatest influence on American poetical voice since Whitman.”—Bob Dylan  “Not only did he give us love and poetry, he reminded us of our civic duty to use our voice.”—Patti Smith “Howl was Allen's metamorphosis from quiet, brilliant, burning bohemian scholar trapped by his flames and repressions to epic vocal bard.”—Michael McClure