Book Review: Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg

“…angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night…”

I recently read Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg.  Yes, I realize that beat poets get parodied and poetry slammers get mocked, sometimes for good reason.  I’ve been to poetry slams, and when it’s good it’s good; but when it’s bad it’s awful.

Still, the reach of beats is long and deep both inside and outside the realm of modern poetry.  It influenced protest music in the 60’s and 70’s and later helped shape rap.  I had been meaning to read Ginsberg’s Howl for a long time — knowing I couldn’t say I knew anything about modern poetry without reading this giant — but somehow I never got around to it.

So glad I didn’t put it off any longer.  Howl and Other Poems is called a masterpiece and its justified.  If you haven’t read it, do so as soon as possible.

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