Allen Ginsberg, "Howl" Cultural Imapact Essay

2878 Words Jan 27th, 2014 12 Pages
Howl’s Explicit Language and Revolution
“Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does.” Allen Ginsberg believed this wholly and based his means of poetry by what he said in this sentence. One cannot censor thoughts, just as one can’t censor expression. Ginsberg faced controversy for sexual content and profanities that he used in his poetry, but those were merely his private thoughts that he brought to the public. His poetry fueled a whole generational revolution in the 1950s. In times of cookie cutter uniformity Allen Ginsberg went against norm and wrote explicit poetry for the sake of expressing a
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They pushed an open headedness to alternative sexualities and experimentation with drugs. This movement conflicted with the publicly accepted ideals of the time period (“The Beat Generation”). These ideals of the beat generation that “Howl” stood for is a big reason why there was so much controversy surrounding this poem. “Howl” was banned for obscenity because of its sexual and drug references, but without these references the voice of a movement could not be heard (
The San Francisco Police Department deemed the poem “Howl” obscene due to the graphic sexual language the poem contained and arrested its publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti on June 3, 1957(“Howl on trial” pg. 2). The trial that proceeded was sure to change the tides of the literary world. The ruling could change the ways of the Country, from prudery to expression sexual and other kinds. This was proven by the revolution in the sixties; Ginsberg breathed the unspoken truth into American consciousness, when he spoke frankly in colloquiums in “Howl.” October 3, 1957 “Judge Clayton W. Horn not guilty of publishing and selling obscene writings, on the grounds that Howl and Other Poems was not written with lewd intent and was not without ‘redeeming social importance’(“Howl on trial” pg.3.)” Judge Clayton said during the declaration of his decision that, “I do not believe that "Howl" is without redeeming social importance. The first part
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