Monday, April 24, 2006



"The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That's what poetry does."

-- Allen Ginsberg




I didn't realize the power of Ginsberg's style until I was at college. He piled images upon images at a break-neck pace, never looking back, always forward. This technique gives his poetry vitality, a type of energy he wanted to share with the world. Sometimes crude, sometimes abstract, sometimes transcendent, Ginsberg used the full breadth of language to convey whatever he was thinking in his drugged-out haze. Nothing showed his bold disregard for stylistic niceties than his most famous work Howl. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Howl's publication and subsequent obscenity trial. The very same features of the poem that some found offensive is what connected, and still connects, it with so many others. For the longest time after discovering the poem I thought I had been one of the privileged elite to have unearthed this secret tome, until I took a poetry class where 80% of my classmates cited Ginsberg as a major influence. If art is a mechanism for unity and the success of a work can be measured by how well that is achieved then Ginsberg is one of the most successful artists of the past century.

10 comments:

Ming said...

Hmm ... admittedly, and this is sad as an English major, I've never read Ginsberg. Not even in my American Lit class. Maybe I'll throw it on my long list of things to read.

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