A Response to Allen Ginsberg’s Poem, “Howl” As a modern minded student in the mid 1950s, I am fascinated by Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “Howl.” Much of the content is shocking and shockingly amoral, socialist and unchristian. However, there is a kind of extra American energy built into the nature of Ginsberg’s lines. They are a kind of jazz in meter, rhythm and sentiment. Like the American master Earnest Hemingway before him, Ginsberg has remade the poetics of language into something specifically American. It is completely honest and freely profane material. This is great material, great for poetry and for American letters. However, I fear it will come at a price: imitation. Ginsberg may become a victim of his own success and have his fine...The end:
.....s free enough to produce him or handle him. Perhaps his robust style will topple T.S. Eliot’s terser, galactic profundities. Ginsberg’s work comes from the American mongrel gutter, and is as beautiful and memorable as the finest writers America has produced so far, and therefore a splendid and necessary addition to American letters. Bibliography Ginsberg, Allen. (1955). Howl. San Francisco: City Lights Press. Meyers, Jeffrey. (1998) Gonzo Ginsberg and Moby Dickey: A Memoir. The Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer, 446-457. Poland, Tim. (1990). Ginsberg: A Biography. American Literature, 62 (2), 351-352. Raskin, Jonah. (2004). American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation. Berkley: University of California Press.