Allen Ginsberg and American Protest Literature Essay

1376 Words 6 Pages
BUNEA VALENTIN LEONARD
GROUP 3A, ENGLISH-AMERICAN STUDIES

ALLEN GINSBERG, ¡§HOWL¡¨ AND THE LITERATURE OF PROTEST

     Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was an important figure in the Beat Generation Movement that took place right before the revolutionary American 60¡¦s. Other major beat writers (also called ¡§beatnicks¡¨) were: Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. The beat poetry was meant to be oral and very effective in readings. It developed out of poetry readings in underground clubs.(a beautiful image of these secret clubs can be found in the movie called ¡§Dead Poet¡¦s Society¡¨ with Robin Williams playing the main character). Some argued that it was the grandparent of rap music. The term ¡§Beat
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When Lucien Carr was convicted for murder, Ginsberg was ordered to undergo psychiatric counseling. He was suspended from the university for a year. Before receiving The Bachelor¡¦s Degree he worked as a welder in the Brooklyn Naval yards, as a dishwasher and night porter. Ginsberg was also accused of possessing stolen goods. He pleaded insanity and spent eight months at Columbia Psychiatric Institute. He was experimenting with drugs, hanging out with junkies and geniuses, brooding about his homosexuality, struggling to find his voice as a poet.
     
     Later he campaigned for the liberation of American anti-drug laws. He wrote poems like ¡§Mescaline¡¨, ¡§Lysergic Acid¡¨ and ¡§Laughing Gas¡¨.
     
     In 1955 he launched ¡§Howl¡¨. It is one of his early works. The poem was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetty¡¦s City Light Press, with a foreword by Williams Carlos Williams:
     ¡§Hold back the edges of your gowns, we are going through hell¡¨
     The police seized the entirely printing on the grounds of obscenity.

     ¡§Howl¡¨ is a long free verse poem which exemplifies Ginsberg¡¦s ars poetica of spontaneous composition:
     ¡§All you have to do is think of anything that comes into your head, then arrange in lines of two, three
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