American Dystopia; American Spaces and Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’

In his 1956 poem ‘Howl’ Allen Ginsberg portrays a vision of America that is simultaneously both apocalyptic and somewhat hopeful of the future. Ginsberg, one of the primary figures of the counterculture of Beat Writers during the 1940s and 50s, presents America as a land in the grip of a capitalistic conglomerate which smothers the … Read moreAmerican Dystopia; American Spaces and Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’

Pound, Ginsberg and Olson: Techniques of Modern and Postmodern Poetry

With the advent of both modernism and post-modernism, the twentieth century was a time in which poetic expression was extremely diverse. Especially in the aftermath of World War Two, poets sought to widen the scope of their craft; they experimented with minimalism, for example, and strove to accentuate the realism which poetry was capable of … Read morePound, Ginsberg and Olson: Techniques of Modern and Postmodern Poetry

Literary Value in Ginsberg’s “Howl”

Michael Runmaker argued that Ginsberg’s “Howl” espoused “hysterical language” and “non-exact vocal,” making this poem antithetical to qualities such as “resonance, historical associations, beauty, or rightness for the particular context” which give a piece literary value. While contentious in nature, Runmaker’s statement is arguably a consequence of the stigma at the time that surrounded Beat … Read moreLiterary Value in Ginsberg’s “Howl”

The Invisible War of “Howl”

In interpretations of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” it is common to find the assertion that this wild three-part poem is a diatribe against the evils of capitalism, personified in the poem as the ancient, child-devouring god Moloch. Marjorie Perloff’s essay from The Poem That Changed America: ‘Howl’ Fifty Years Later, argues that the violence and distress … Read moreThe Invisible War of “Howl”

Imagery in Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket in California”

In “A Supermarket in California,” Allen Ginsberg uses the American supermarket as an extended metaphor for a poet’s mind and experiences. In this supermarket of the mind, the poet can select images and inspirations much as one would search for items on a grocery list. The free-verse form allows for the free association of ideas. … Read moreImagery in Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket in California”

From a Whitman Song to a Ginsberg Howl: Homophobia Creates a Forum for Biased Critical Evaluation of Poetry

Generations of readers and critics alike have denigrated the works of Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg, both equally brilliant poets, separated by a century, yet sharing a poetic vision of both political and sexual freedom, simply because the language and lifestyle represented in their work happens to conflict with the “moral norms” of society. Both … Read moreFrom a Whitman Song to a Ginsberg Howl: Homophobia Creates a Forum for Biased Critical Evaluation of Poetry

An Analysis and Interpretation of Allen Ginsberg’s America

Through a careful interpretation of A Defense of Poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Democratic Vistas by Walt Whitman, one can gain a holistic sense of poetry, what it is and what it does, that can be applied to literary texts of all times. One can better understand Allen Ginsberg’s “America” through an examination of … Read moreAn Analysis and Interpretation of Allen Ginsberg’s America

Two Sides of the Same Coin: How Madness Is Portrayed in Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’

The trope of madness and the figure of the madman are notions that have for centuries fascinated, horrified, and perplexed Western culture. Considerations of madness have influenced myriad literary narratives, starting with the madness of Cervantes’ Don Quixote and moving through the ages, past Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Poe’s Usher, Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov, and Camus’ Meursault. Yet the … Read moreTwo Sides of the Same Coin: How Madness Is Portrayed in Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’