, [accessed Oct 2018 – March 2019]. Holy!The world is holy! “Song” both visually approaches weight and light, and addresses these themes metaphorically. Similarly, the description of how “trees add shade to shade”51 later in the poem gives an effect of layering, connoting a subtle gradient of tones, rather than stark blackness. 33 Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems, p. 57. By Bill Strickland) [accessed 20 March 2019]. Akinchan Xaxa. Allen Ginsberg in his work Howl stated that “Who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha” (18). Download Free PDF. Holy! Ecstatic time is signalled at the moment one feels ecstasy, announced perhaps in a scream or grunt of pleasure, and more importantly during moments of contemplation when one looks back at a scene from one’s past, present, or future.32. Schumacher, Michael, On Being a Writer, (1989), p.47.(ed. Lucy Jones. Holy! While this connotes the speaker’s own ability to find sanctuary in reading and writing poetry from the darker sides of reality that “Kaddish” explores, it also suggests that the poem that we are currently engaging with through reading can be a candle for us, an incandescent beacon of hope offering relief from the same dukkha-ridden world that it describes. 11 Lee, p. 14. Allen Ginsberg warns you. The address of the readership as “Ladies” also packs meaning; the poetic voice of Ginsberg’s work, due to its sensitivity of spirit, exultant and emotional qualities, and overt expression of gay sexuality, may in many ways appear more “feminine” than would be comfortable for the mainstream consciousness of heteronormative patriarchal society. More broadly, this could demonstrate the inevitable succumbing of all human life to ageing and decay, and/or allegorically represent the social context of the mid twentieth century, in which Western society had lost faith in a homogenous set of religious values, a phenomenon termed “the death of God” by Nietzsche. Other barriers that Ginsberg fights against in his quest for spiritual triumph are specific to his time and place of writing. Therefore, summarizing how spirituality triumphs in Ginsberg’s works – and perhaps more crucially, why its doing so is a matter of importance now and in future generations – in the space of a few paragraphs will necessarily leave room for further investigation. Throughout “Kaddish,” he uses the story of Naomi to unearth the precarity of the position generally dwelt in by humanity, resting on the cusp of sanity and never far from its loss – a state exacerbated by the tensions of the modern world. Second, as one might expect from the inspiration for Alvah Goldbook in Jack Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums,” Ginsberg frequently references Eastern spiritual traditions—notably Tibetan Buddhism and Zen. 51 Ibid., pp. Contemporary poet Richard Eberhart commented that while he admired the poem’s rebellion against “everything in our society which kills the spirit” and how it “lays bare the nerves of suffering and spiritual struggle,” he also looked scornfully upon its “assuming that the louder you shout the more likely you are to be heard.”9 This is at the crux of the debate relating to the artistic worth of “Howl” which questions whether Ginsberg’s claims to its profundity, describing it as part of the Beats’ so-called New Vision, are justified or are sheer pretensions held up by a shabby scaffolding of shock-value only content. 9 Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (Flamingo: London 1993), p. 168.; Ibid., p. 168.; Ibid., p. 168. PDF. The fact that Naomi is thus photographed while the disturbing images of her breakdowns are related only through the subjective camera of the speaker’s memories may suggest that it is when as an archetypal maternal figure “playing lullabies” and “smiling” that she is the realest form of herself. In contrast, Ginsberg’s work finds a potential for spiritual fulfilment within and around symbols of cultural corruption, such as the supermarket, which are inimical to the realisation of Whitman’s Transcendentalist values. This humanises his narrative by bringing back our focus to the concrete presence of spectators Allen and Jack, yet also alludes to the transcendent through communicating a sense of rapturous celebration of the process of sight, and human ability to not only be aware of our world, but to recognise and appreciate this awareness. Irwin Allen Ginsberg (3. kesäkuuta 1926 Newark – 5. huhtikuuta 1997 New York) oli yhdysvaltalainen runoilija.Hän oli beat-liikkeen johtohahmoja ja oli myös vahvasti mukana 1960-luvun hippiliikkeessä.. Ginsberg identifioi itsensä juutalais- ja homorunoilijaksi. Holy! Yet in including the voices of this ideology in the address “Ladies,” Williams tacitly dismounts the ingrained notion that manliness — and associated strength — resides in the upholding of such structures. Allen Ginsberg was a literary radical who was interested in visionary consciousness, in particular working on developing his own brand of mysticism and philosophy. All rights reserved. Ferrere, Alexandre, “Mechanics and Poetics: William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg,” Beatdom #18 (24 March 2018) [accessed 17 November 2018]. Photo by © Allen Ginsberg/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images. Yet I would argue that contrary to Wills’s assertion, “A Supermarket in California” presents a world-view which is far from “doomed,” Ginsberg calling upon Whitman not to mourn the extinction of his Transcendentalist ideals but to resuscitate them. What we [the Beats] were proposing was some new sense of spiritual consciousness. Create a free account to download. Rather, it can be achieved even from between its aisles if one knows where to look. 13 Ibid., p. 53 12 Rodosthenous, George, “The dramatic imagery of ‘Howl’: the [naked] bodies of madness.’”Howl for Now. Ginsberg began work on "Howl" in 1954. Other major beat writers (also called ¡§beatnicks¡¨) were: Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Download Free PDF. Ariel, Yakov, “From a Jewish Communist to a Jewish Buddhist: Allen Ginsberg as a Forerunner of a New American Jew,” Religions 10(2), 100 (2019) . Allen Ginsberg said some essential effects of Beat Generation artistic movement could be characterized in the following terms: Spiritual liberation, sexual "revolution" or "liberation," i.e., gay liberation, somewhat catalyzing women's liberation, black liberation, Gray Panther activism. Allen Ginsberg has 271 books on Goodreads with 390751 ratings. An instance of elevation which arises amidst the myriad of distress in “Kaddish,” in which darkness is explored on both a personal and national scale as the speaker moves from recounting a memory of “feeling depressed” to one of “the grey Depression,” is a pastoral image of the younger Naomi. . I will be treating the concept of transcendence in this dissertation as the quality of surpassing ordinary limits, e.g. You can’t get much more blues than “Let the Slave” [in 1985, Morrison set Blake’s poem to music]. ... along with a sweet spirituality that seems to come from the universe itself and not from an organized religion. . Whitman was an eccentric, controversial for his time, and just like Ginsberg, Whitman was a homosexual (Moore 1). Ginsberg's adoption of a radically hybridized spiritual and poetic voice in the general milieu of the Beat movement, a fundamentally anti-essentialist and anti-authoritarian movement rooted in a rejection of univocal ideas of nation, identity, and spirituality. Such an effect, used in both “Howl” and “Kaddish,” is clear in the final lines of “Sunflower Sutra”; the decrease in the number of conjunctions used culminates in an arresting image of the “mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision,” giving a sense of the speaker’s train of thought spinning wildly out of control. Indeed, this preoccupation remains at the forefront of modern-day Western culture, evidenced by media such as Matt D’Avella’s 2015 documentary Minimalism and the viral growth of the “van life” concept. Rather than simply describing urban bohemia in a series of vignettes, its impression is evoked through a form bursting with passion, creativity and unbridled sexuality. This hinders his capacity for self-expression, which is reduced to the description of “a few images run[ning] through the mind,” perhaps because the full details of these memories are too painful to fully unearth and have so been consciously or subconsciously repressed. Allen Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and other Poems (London: Penguin Classics, 2009). 3 (2003), pp. Patti Smith with Allen Ginsberg at a poetry reading night at Local, New York City, 1975. The back cover of Howl, in the City Lights Books, says “Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems was originally published by City Lights Books in the Fall of 1956. True fulfilment is achieved through a marked discarding of the Dream’s spirit of financial aspiration, paving the way for one to attain creative freedom, live according to one’s “own parade” and access “the absolute heart of the poem of life.”28 This theme continues to grow in power and presence in US popular culture, as in the 1970 hit song “Oh Sweet Nuthin’” by the Velvet Underground, whose lyrics affirm society’s down-and-outers, their lives worthy of celebration and embodying beauty despite the fact that they “ain’t got nothing at all.”29 This nothingness is deemed “sweet,” becoming a lifestyle worthy of emulation with simplicity more desirable than the ambitious materialism enshrined by traditional US values. Ginsberg's spiritual journey began early on with his spontaneous visions, and continued with an early trip to India and a chance encounter on a New York City street with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (they both tried to catch the same cab), a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master of the Vajrayana school, who became his friend and lifelong teacher. One of the poem’s most charming and quirky features is how it coalesces the arbitrary with the magical or transcendent. 3 Ibid., p. Stevens, Jay, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (London: Flamingo, 1993). 16 Percy Shelley, “A Defence of Poetry” (1840), cited on , [accessed 25 January 2019] Lion’s Roar presents this exclusive autobiographical account from the late poet and cultural icon Allen Ginsberg, narrating his spiritual journey from Blake to the Buddha. it hummeth in the electric typewriter. The union of religious institution with homosexuality makes a bold claim, the format of “HYMMNN” echoing a biblical passage through the words “exalted,” “blessed” and “He.”, On the one hand, this link appears radically ahead of Ginsberg’s time and could even continue to elicit controversy in a twenty-first century context, as the Church remains one of the few institutions in the modern Western world which remains actively opposed to homosexuality. “Howl” generates the impression of having been written under the same extreme circumstances that it describes, aligning its poetic voice with those whom it appeals to. The poem is dedicated to Carl Solomon . (ed. Allen Ginsberg was a literary radical who was interested in visionary consciousness, in particular working on developing his own brand of mysticism and philosophy. Ginsberg, Allen, Collected Poems 1947 – 1997 (New York: HarperCollins, 2007). The personal investment of Ginsberg’s bereavement makes “Kaddish” an incredibly raw and close to home poem, explicitly connected with a pivotal event in its writer’s life in a way that does not occur elsewhere in his poems that I have looked at, though they all contain confessional elements. Using psychedelics and reading poetry are comparable experiences in that they both permit the ability to perceive ordinary reality through an alternative lens. Lysergic Acid. The second section of “Kaddish” presents an opening line punctuated by dashes, perhaps in allusion to the poetic style of Dickinson who Ginsberg previously mentions in section I: “Over and over — refrain — of the Hospitals — still haven’t written your history — leave it abstract — a few images.” This line is thus not just in “remembrance of electrical shocks”38 but in remembrance too of one of the founding figures of US poetry, aligning Ginsberg’s poetic voice with Dickinson’s, so simultaneously paying homage to American literary tradition and infusing its narrative with the concerns of Ginsberg’s time. 36 Saul Austerlitz, “Allen Ginsberg,” My Jewish Learning [accessed 18 March 2019]. 59 Ibid., p. 2. Established in 2000 and edited by Denise Enck, Empty Mirror is an online literary magazine that publishes new work each Friday. Through understanding the transcendental message of “Howl,” we can reconnect with the core voices of America’s poetic tradition who inspired Ginsberg and uncover an emotional and intellectual bedrock of support for the current era and global situation. Allen Ginsberg [1926-1997], born in Newark, N.J., is an American poet and leading apostle of the beat generation. “Sunflower Sutra” pays attention to the falsity of surface appearances versus the truer realm of soul, where people are more united, as in Allen and Jack sharing “the same thoughts of the soul.” Such a concern with the pretension of peripheries and need to move beyond the external is reiterated in the affirmation “we’re not our skins of grime,” favouring the inner above the outer self: a contentious statement in a culture whose ill-founded obsession with appearances is revealed in the debris of its “artificial worse-than-dirt” junkyard. Rodosthenous, George, “The dramatic imagery of ‘Howl’: the [naked] bodies of madness,” Howl for Now. Tempest, Kate, Hold Your Own, (London: Picador, 2014). “America” culminates in the closing half-joking address “America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel,”60 suggesting the speaker’s intention to take charge of the narrative of US history. He was a poet who was part of a particular cultural movement during a period of change, a literary radical who wrote with purpose, making a conscious effort to use metaphorical dream-like imagery to illustrate spiritual … The infinitely unfolding possibilities of unpacking “inner moonlight” within the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and connecting this with higher consciousness render our doing so a quest of undying importance and interest. Though formally and thematically, “Song” is the simplest of the poems I have looked at, its concision encapsulates allusive sophistication and its message is one of fortitude and power, summarizing the essence of Ginsberg’s spiritual conscience, which draws out strength from images of delicate beauty. Liberation of the word from censorship. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Allen Ginsberg wrote many poems of witness. In universalizing spirituality, Ginsberg ensures that no reader is excluded, offering insight to all in a mood of open-armed inclusiveness. One clear instance of this occurs in the line: “who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake.” The “red eyed” people depicted may be hungover or still sleepless from a night of debauchery; thus, they can only attain sunrise in a “snatch” and so this concept, that is usually linked with purity and the fresh opportunity of a new day, is turned on its head, coloured instead with the exhaustion of a wild night’s tail-end. When the familiar realm of human thought and life is rendered “strange,” one is by implication pushed towards finding meaning in a transcendent space. Premium PDF Package. Line 4: The repeated use of the word "who" at the start of many consecutive lines is an example of anaphora. Note: Chapter three was previously published in Beatdom. 45 Wills, David, “Whitman and the Beats,” Beatdom Vol. 58 Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems, p. 30; Ibid., p.30. PDF. 25 Schumacher, Michael, On Being a Writer, (1989), p.47. This is evidenced through how “Howl,” once tried for obscenity, has been assimilated into the US canon and received academic acclaim, now celebrated in lecture halls and the subject of much academic writing. Yet tied into this highly personal sensation of disjointedness there may also be a more general sense of the absurdity of the human condition, particularly our processes of thought — a uniquely flawed and incomplete method of computing the world — and arbitrary pursuits, illustrated here by Naomi’s upheaval to different homes. 44 Columbia University online, C250, “Allen Ginsberg” [accessed 20 March 2019]. The effect of form Holy! 61 Williams, Carlos Williams, “To Elsie,” , [accessed 11 March 2019]. That these icons of spiritual wisdom are placed beside a description of the “imagination” of poetic vision implies that equally valuable transcendent perspective can be gleaned from poetry. Hippie Seraphim: Spirituality, Sexuality and Nonconformity in Allen Ginsberg's Footnote to Howl. Jess is a recent graduate of Durham University with a degree in Combined Honours in Arts (English Literature and Spanish). One example of this is how the theme of light is exhibited in diverse forms ranging from the natural source of the “full moon” — a galactic entity that was also linked by Ginsberg with conceptions of individual identity, as he urged his supporters to “follow their inner moonlight” — to the artificially glimmering promise of the supermarket’s “neon” colouring, and gleam of its “brilliant stacks of cans.” These latter descriptions carry with them a falsity, indicating the dangerous myth perpetuated within 1950s US culture that the “hungry fatigue”52 of man’s spiritual needs could be satiated through consumer purchase, a “game of consuming items that can only cover physical needs (like hunger) in order to satisfy emotional needs.”53. These short lines alternate as if sustaining cautious equilibrium with one another in illustration of the notion of contrasts at the poem’s centre, building a majesty and beauty which are both aesthetic and conceptual. PDF. “Kaddish” is a poem fraught with tension, reconciling the trauma of memory with the ability of poetic creation to deliver catharsis. It is fascinating to discuss the significance of moonlight as an elected illuminator rather than sunlight in Ginsberg’s work. Even as a sense of rapture is brought to fruition in Ginsberg’s poems, the shades of confusion they encounter while reaching for this dynamic elevation remain present to some extent beyond their closing lines. The depiction of trauma Hence, the act of reading “Kaddish” engenders social as well as spiritual illumination, in its ability to place the exchange of spirit and ideas above monetary contract. The conventions of mainstream American life organized religion Beat writers ( also called ¡§beatnicks¡¨ ) were: Gregory Corso Jack..., 2014 ) the Book of Martyrdom and Artifice [ First Journals and Poems, 19..., Lewis, on this day in 1926 York City, 1975 to all in way... 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Achieved even from between its aisles if one knows where to look First thought, philosophy and religion Ginsberg against! In Ginsberg ’ s development of poetic self-consciousness of astronomical gravitas, Storming Heaven: and. Innovator and an influence of many consecutive lines is an American poet and leading of. Stephanie Patrick Age, Flax Tools For Sale, Telangana Municipal Elections 2019 Date, Donkey Kong Country Returns 1-3 Puzzle Pieces, Tellus Evv Video, Quince Spanish To English, Parks And Rec 94 Meetings Scene, Delia Smith Duck With Cherry Sauce, " /> , [accessed Oct 2018 – March 2019]. Holy!The world is holy! “Song” both visually approaches weight and light, and addresses these themes metaphorically. Similarly, the description of how “trees add shade to shade”51 later in the poem gives an effect of layering, connoting a subtle gradient of tones, rather than stark blackness. 33 Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems, p. 57. By Bill Strickland) [accessed 20 March 2019]. Akinchan Xaxa. Allen Ginsberg in his work Howl stated that “Who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha” (18). Download Free PDF. Holy! Ecstatic time is signalled at the moment one feels ecstasy, announced perhaps in a scream or grunt of pleasure, and more importantly during moments of contemplation when one looks back at a scene from one’s past, present, or future.32. Schumacher, Michael, On Being a Writer, (1989), p.47.(ed. Lucy Jones. Holy! While this connotes the speaker’s own ability to find sanctuary in reading and writing poetry from the darker sides of reality that “Kaddish” explores, it also suggests that the poem that we are currently engaging with through reading can be a candle for us, an incandescent beacon of hope offering relief from the same dukkha-ridden world that it describes. 11 Lee, p. 14. Allen Ginsberg warns you. The address of the readership as “Ladies” also packs meaning; the poetic voice of Ginsberg’s work, due to its sensitivity of spirit, exultant and emotional qualities, and overt expression of gay sexuality, may in many ways appear more “feminine” than would be comfortable for the mainstream consciousness of heteronormative patriarchal society. More broadly, this could demonstrate the inevitable succumbing of all human life to ageing and decay, and/or allegorically represent the social context of the mid twentieth century, in which Western society had lost faith in a homogenous set of religious values, a phenomenon termed “the death of God” by Nietzsche. Other barriers that Ginsberg fights against in his quest for spiritual triumph are specific to his time and place of writing. Therefore, summarizing how spirituality triumphs in Ginsberg’s works – and perhaps more crucially, why its doing so is a matter of importance now and in future generations – in the space of a few paragraphs will necessarily leave room for further investigation. Throughout “Kaddish,” he uses the story of Naomi to unearth the precarity of the position generally dwelt in by humanity, resting on the cusp of sanity and never far from its loss – a state exacerbated by the tensions of the modern world. Second, as one might expect from the inspiration for Alvah Goldbook in Jack Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums,” Ginsberg frequently references Eastern spiritual traditions—notably Tibetan Buddhism and Zen. 51 Ibid., pp. Contemporary poet Richard Eberhart commented that while he admired the poem’s rebellion against “everything in our society which kills the spirit” and how it “lays bare the nerves of suffering and spiritual struggle,” he also looked scornfully upon its “assuming that the louder you shout the more likely you are to be heard.”9 This is at the crux of the debate relating to the artistic worth of “Howl” which questions whether Ginsberg’s claims to its profundity, describing it as part of the Beats’ so-called New Vision, are justified or are sheer pretensions held up by a shabby scaffolding of shock-value only content. 9 Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (Flamingo: London 1993), p. 168.; Ibid., p. 168.; Ibid., p. 168. PDF. The fact that Naomi is thus photographed while the disturbing images of her breakdowns are related only through the subjective camera of the speaker’s memories may suggest that it is when as an archetypal maternal figure “playing lullabies” and “smiling” that she is the realest form of herself. In contrast, Ginsberg’s work finds a potential for spiritual fulfilment within and around symbols of cultural corruption, such as the supermarket, which are inimical to the realisation of Whitman’s Transcendentalist values. This humanises his narrative by bringing back our focus to the concrete presence of spectators Allen and Jack, yet also alludes to the transcendent through communicating a sense of rapturous celebration of the process of sight, and human ability to not only be aware of our world, but to recognise and appreciate this awareness. Irwin Allen Ginsberg (3. kesäkuuta 1926 Newark – 5. huhtikuuta 1997 New York) oli yhdysvaltalainen runoilija.Hän oli beat-liikkeen johtohahmoja ja oli myös vahvasti mukana 1960-luvun hippiliikkeessä.. Ginsberg identifioi itsensä juutalais- ja homorunoilijaksi. Holy! Yet in including the voices of this ideology in the address “Ladies,” Williams tacitly dismounts the ingrained notion that manliness — and associated strength — resides in the upholding of such structures. Allen Ginsberg was a literary radical who was interested in visionary consciousness, in particular working on developing his own brand of mysticism and philosophy. All rights reserved. Ferrere, Alexandre, “Mechanics and Poetics: William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg,” Beatdom #18 (24 March 2018) [accessed 17 November 2018]. Photo by © Allen Ginsberg/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images. Yet I would argue that contrary to Wills’s assertion, “A Supermarket in California” presents a world-view which is far from “doomed,” Ginsberg calling upon Whitman not to mourn the extinction of his Transcendentalist ideals but to resuscitate them. What we [the Beats] were proposing was some new sense of spiritual consciousness. Create a free account to download. Rather, it can be achieved even from between its aisles if one knows where to look. 13 Ibid., p. 53 12 Rodosthenous, George, “The dramatic imagery of ‘Howl’: the [naked] bodies of madness.’”Howl for Now. Ginsberg began work on "Howl" in 1954. Other major beat writers (also called ¡§beatnicks¡¨) were: Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Download Free PDF. Ariel, Yakov, “From a Jewish Communist to a Jewish Buddhist: Allen Ginsberg as a Forerunner of a New American Jew,” Religions 10(2), 100 (2019) . Allen Ginsberg said some essential effects of Beat Generation artistic movement could be characterized in the following terms: Spiritual liberation, sexual "revolution" or "liberation," i.e., gay liberation, somewhat catalyzing women's liberation, black liberation, Gray Panther activism. Allen Ginsberg has 271 books on Goodreads with 390751 ratings. An instance of elevation which arises amidst the myriad of distress in “Kaddish,” in which darkness is explored on both a personal and national scale as the speaker moves from recounting a memory of “feeling depressed” to one of “the grey Depression,” is a pastoral image of the younger Naomi. . I will be treating the concept of transcendence in this dissertation as the quality of surpassing ordinary limits, e.g. You can’t get much more blues than “Let the Slave” [in 1985, Morrison set Blake’s poem to music]. ... along with a sweet spirituality that seems to come from the universe itself and not from an organized religion. . Whitman was an eccentric, controversial for his time, and just like Ginsberg, Whitman was a homosexual (Moore 1). Ginsberg's adoption of a radically hybridized spiritual and poetic voice in the general milieu of the Beat movement, a fundamentally anti-essentialist and anti-authoritarian movement rooted in a rejection of univocal ideas of nation, identity, and spirituality. Such an effect, used in both “Howl” and “Kaddish,” is clear in the final lines of “Sunflower Sutra”; the decrease in the number of conjunctions used culminates in an arresting image of the “mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision,” giving a sense of the speaker’s train of thought spinning wildly out of control. Indeed, this preoccupation remains at the forefront of modern-day Western culture, evidenced by media such as Matt D’Avella’s 2015 documentary Minimalism and the viral growth of the “van life” concept. Rather than simply describing urban bohemia in a series of vignettes, its impression is evoked through a form bursting with passion, creativity and unbridled sexuality. This hinders his capacity for self-expression, which is reduced to the description of “a few images run[ning] through the mind,” perhaps because the full details of these memories are too painful to fully unearth and have so been consciously or subconsciously repressed. Allen Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and other Poems (London: Penguin Classics, 2009). 3 (2003), pp. Patti Smith with Allen Ginsberg at a poetry reading night at Local, New York City, 1975. The back cover of Howl, in the City Lights Books, says “Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems was originally published by City Lights Books in the Fall of 1956. True fulfilment is achieved through a marked discarding of the Dream’s spirit of financial aspiration, paving the way for one to attain creative freedom, live according to one’s “own parade” and access “the absolute heart of the poem of life.”28 This theme continues to grow in power and presence in US popular culture, as in the 1970 hit song “Oh Sweet Nuthin’” by the Velvet Underground, whose lyrics affirm society’s down-and-outers, their lives worthy of celebration and embodying beauty despite the fact that they “ain’t got nothing at all.”29 This nothingness is deemed “sweet,” becoming a lifestyle worthy of emulation with simplicity more desirable than the ambitious materialism enshrined by traditional US values. Ginsberg's spiritual journey began early on with his spontaneous visions, and continued with an early trip to India and a chance encounter on a New York City street with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (they both tried to catch the same cab), a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master of the Vajrayana school, who became his friend and lifelong teacher. One of the poem’s most charming and quirky features is how it coalesces the arbitrary with the magical or transcendent. 3 Ibid., p. Stevens, Jay, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (London: Flamingo, 1993). 16 Percy Shelley, “A Defence of Poetry” (1840), cited on , [accessed 25 January 2019] Lion’s Roar presents this exclusive autobiographical account from the late poet and cultural icon Allen Ginsberg, narrating his spiritual journey from Blake to the Buddha. it hummeth in the electric typewriter. The union of religious institution with homosexuality makes a bold claim, the format of “HYMMNN” echoing a biblical passage through the words “exalted,” “blessed” and “He.”, On the one hand, this link appears radically ahead of Ginsberg’s time and could even continue to elicit controversy in a twenty-first century context, as the Church remains one of the few institutions in the modern Western world which remains actively opposed to homosexuality. “Howl” generates the impression of having been written under the same extreme circumstances that it describes, aligning its poetic voice with those whom it appeals to. The poem is dedicated to Carl Solomon . (ed. Allen Ginsberg was a literary radical who was interested in visionary consciousness, in particular working on developing his own brand of mysticism and philosophy. Ginsberg, Allen, Collected Poems 1947 – 1997 (New York: HarperCollins, 2007). The personal investment of Ginsberg’s bereavement makes “Kaddish” an incredibly raw and close to home poem, explicitly connected with a pivotal event in its writer’s life in a way that does not occur elsewhere in his poems that I have looked at, though they all contain confessional elements. Using psychedelics and reading poetry are comparable experiences in that they both permit the ability to perceive ordinary reality through an alternative lens. Lysergic Acid. The second section of “Kaddish” presents an opening line punctuated by dashes, perhaps in allusion to the poetic style of Dickinson who Ginsberg previously mentions in section I: “Over and over — refrain — of the Hospitals — still haven’t written your history — leave it abstract — a few images.” This line is thus not just in “remembrance of electrical shocks”38 but in remembrance too of one of the founding figures of US poetry, aligning Ginsberg’s poetic voice with Dickinson’s, so simultaneously paying homage to American literary tradition and infusing its narrative with the concerns of Ginsberg’s time. 36 Saul Austerlitz, “Allen Ginsberg,” My Jewish Learning [accessed 18 March 2019]. 59 Ibid., p. 2. Established in 2000 and edited by Denise Enck, Empty Mirror is an online literary magazine that publishes new work each Friday. Through understanding the transcendental message of “Howl,” we can reconnect with the core voices of America’s poetic tradition who inspired Ginsberg and uncover an emotional and intellectual bedrock of support for the current era and global situation. Allen Ginsberg [1926-1997], born in Newark, N.J., is an American poet and leading apostle of the beat generation. “Sunflower Sutra” pays attention to the falsity of surface appearances versus the truer realm of soul, where people are more united, as in Allen and Jack sharing “the same thoughts of the soul.” Such a concern with the pretension of peripheries and need to move beyond the external is reiterated in the affirmation “we’re not our skins of grime,” favouring the inner above the outer self: a contentious statement in a culture whose ill-founded obsession with appearances is revealed in the debris of its “artificial worse-than-dirt” junkyard. Rodosthenous, George, “The dramatic imagery of ‘Howl’: the [naked] bodies of madness,” Howl for Now. Tempest, Kate, Hold Your Own, (London: Picador, 2014). “America” culminates in the closing half-joking address “America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel,”60 suggesting the speaker’s intention to take charge of the narrative of US history. He was a poet who was part of a particular cultural movement during a period of change, a literary radical who wrote with purpose, making a conscious effort to use metaphorical dream-like imagery to illustrate spiritual … The infinitely unfolding possibilities of unpacking “inner moonlight” within the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and connecting this with higher consciousness render our doing so a quest of undying importance and interest. Though formally and thematically, “Song” is the simplest of the poems I have looked at, its concision encapsulates allusive sophistication and its message is one of fortitude and power, summarizing the essence of Ginsberg’s spiritual conscience, which draws out strength from images of delicate beauty. Liberation of the word from censorship. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Allen Ginsberg wrote many poems of witness. In universalizing spirituality, Ginsberg ensures that no reader is excluded, offering insight to all in a mood of open-armed inclusiveness. One clear instance of this occurs in the line: “who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake.” The “red eyed” people depicted may be hungover or still sleepless from a night of debauchery; thus, they can only attain sunrise in a “snatch” and so this concept, that is usually linked with purity and the fresh opportunity of a new day, is turned on its head, coloured instead with the exhaustion of a wild night’s tail-end. When the familiar realm of human thought and life is rendered “strange,” one is by implication pushed towards finding meaning in a transcendent space. Premium PDF Package. Line 4: The repeated use of the word "who" at the start of many consecutive lines is an example of anaphora. Note: Chapter three was previously published in Beatdom. 45 Wills, David, “Whitman and the Beats,” Beatdom Vol. 58 Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems, p. 30; Ibid., p.30. PDF. 25 Schumacher, Michael, On Being a Writer, (1989), p.47. This is evidenced through how “Howl,” once tried for obscenity, has been assimilated into the US canon and received academic acclaim, now celebrated in lecture halls and the subject of much academic writing. Yet tied into this highly personal sensation of disjointedness there may also be a more general sense of the absurdity of the human condition, particularly our processes of thought — a uniquely flawed and incomplete method of computing the world — and arbitrary pursuits, illustrated here by Naomi’s upheaval to different homes. 44 Columbia University online, C250, “Allen Ginsberg” [accessed 20 March 2019]. The effect of form Holy! 61 Williams, Carlos Williams, “To Elsie,” , [accessed 11 March 2019]. That these icons of spiritual wisdom are placed beside a description of the “imagination” of poetic vision implies that equally valuable transcendent perspective can be gleaned from poetry. Hippie Seraphim: Spirituality, Sexuality and Nonconformity in Allen Ginsberg's Footnote to Howl. Jess is a recent graduate of Durham University with a degree in Combined Honours in Arts (English Literature and Spanish). One example of this is how the theme of light is exhibited in diverse forms ranging from the natural source of the “full moon” — a galactic entity that was also linked by Ginsberg with conceptions of individual identity, as he urged his supporters to “follow their inner moonlight” — to the artificially glimmering promise of the supermarket’s “neon” colouring, and gleam of its “brilliant stacks of cans.” These latter descriptions carry with them a falsity, indicating the dangerous myth perpetuated within 1950s US culture that the “hungry fatigue”52 of man’s spiritual needs could be satiated through consumer purchase, a “game of consuming items that can only cover physical needs (like hunger) in order to satisfy emotional needs.”53. These short lines alternate as if sustaining cautious equilibrium with one another in illustration of the notion of contrasts at the poem’s centre, building a majesty and beauty which are both aesthetic and conceptual. PDF. “Kaddish” is a poem fraught with tension, reconciling the trauma of memory with the ability of poetic creation to deliver catharsis. It is fascinating to discuss the significance of moonlight as an elected illuminator rather than sunlight in Ginsberg’s work. Even as a sense of rapture is brought to fruition in Ginsberg’s poems, the shades of confusion they encounter while reaching for this dynamic elevation remain present to some extent beyond their closing lines. The depiction of trauma Hence, the act of reading “Kaddish” engenders social as well as spiritual illumination, in its ability to place the exchange of spirit and ideas above monetary contract. The conventions of mainstream American life organized religion Beat writers ( also called ¡§beatnicks¡¨ ) were: Gregory Corso Jack..., 2014 ) the Book of Martyrdom and Artifice [ First Journals and Poems, 19..., Lewis, on this day in 1926 York City, 1975 to all in way... 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Allen Ginsberg's Spiritual Self-Othering Craig Svonkin Craig Svonkin is assistant pro fessor of English at Metropolitan State College of Denver. While the speaker in this song is physically beaten down by the exhaustion of staying awake to play music, his “senses stripped” and “toes too numb to step”26 much like the “angel-headed hipsters” portrayed in Ginsberg’s “Howl,” it is only in this state of physical dejection that he is reduced to the simplicity of creative flow and hence “ready to go anywhere.”27. I will explore how the spiritual is expressed across Ginsberg’s writing, focusing on poetry published between 1955 and 1959, a time during which he emerged into public consciousness as a key figure not only in the literary world but also as an icon promoting mystical and social concepts of Beat philosophy. It is only through harnessing awareness of this fallacy promoted by the voices of mainstream media and advertising, and engaging with the alternative pathway to fulfilment presented by art and poetry, that one can avoid falling prey to it. Another of his poems, “America,” explicitly develops a relationship between its speaker and an anthropomorphized figure depicting US society and culture, intermingling humour and wordplay with serious comments on the different facets of the America that Ginsberg was living in, from nuclear warfare and the arms race to celebrity-venerating media outlets (i.e. 49 Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems, p. 14. By Bill Morgan (London: Penguin Random House, 2017). Its “starving hysterical naked” characters, actions a chaotic blur of “yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering”,6 are depicted to be as wild and impulse-driven as the energetic, stretching lines of “Howl” itself. Parallels can also be drawn between “Sunflower Sutra” and Whitman’s “A Passage to India,” as both express “the importance of returning to and acknowledging humanity’s roots through the characterization of the Eastern and Western worlds juxtaposed against each other.”42 Whitman’s poem, “reverent and hopeful” like Ginsberg’s, pays homage to the natural world and seeks peace in “the infinite greatness of the past.”43 We can recognise how Ginsberg’s drawing a folkloric sense of spirituality from within a contemporary landscape is intimately connected with past poetic tradition, implying its position beyond time and subsequent appeal for future readers. Tension arises in the narrative tone of “Howl,” marked by a sense of struggle between a voice delivering prophetic wisdom and the threat this faces from internal and external forces of darkness. “Howl” arrests the reader’s attention in associating natural beauty with imagery wildly out of line with Romantic tradition. Holy!Holy! Spiritual Practice. The minor themes of drugs and sexuality work together to illuminate the major theme of spirituality. If we are to accept Merton’s identification of “the fashion of Zen” as “a symptom of western man’s desperate need to recover spontaneity and depth in a world which his technological skill has made rigid, artificial and spiritually void,” then technological advancements seen since the publication of “Howl” heighten a need for recourse to its spiritual message. Both sets of poets and writers tended to portray the wilderness as divine, contrasted against the gaudy human nightlife of the city. Yet, close examination of “Howl” leads one to inevitably conclude its value not solely on an aesthetic plane but as the carrier of spiritual wisdom framed within a socio-political context. Thu 8 Oct 2015 12.23 EDT. 53 San Cristóbal, María Margarita, “The Poem ‘A Supermarket in California’ Evidences how Self-identity is Commodified and Massified in Consumer Societies” (unpublished doctoral thesis, Universidad de Concepción, Chile 2009)., pp. 22 Ibid., p. 21. To see what your friends thought of this quote, please sign up! Silberman: Ultimately, what is the legacy of what Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary created together? His mother Naomi had immigrated from Russia to … 48 Willis, “Whitman and the Beats,” p. 83. “Howl,” Ginsberg’s most famous work, has been a source of controversy since its publication in 1956, facing accusations of obscenity that were ultimately overturned due to the poem’s artistic value. In dissecting the relationship between Walt Whitman and the writing of Ginsberg, Wills asserts: Whitman’s American vision was one of criticism yet optimism, rather than the Beat philosophy of laying back and making their own little space in an essentially doomed society, while looking back to the past and lamenting the losses of freedoms and the rolling tide of development that led to the crushing weight of an uncaring world.48. [accessed 21 December 2018]. Columbia University online, C250, “Allen Ginsberg” [accessed 20 March 2019]. This is an auditory representation of the serenity that the traditional Kaddish prayer in the Jewish faith attempts to deliver. p. 95. A short summary of this paper. Holy! 47 Ibid., p. 14. While flouting convention, Ginsberg acknowledges a debt to past US poets who have inspired him: most notably, Whitman. 37, No. Allen Ginsberg was supportive to both Burroughs and his son throughout the long period of recovery. It is, however, the intermingling of these two conflicting sensations which gives “Howl” such a lingering power. Ginsberg uses disorderly syntax like asyndeton to toy with the theme of madness, as if attempting to undermine the authority of his poetic voice and instead communicate a sense of unrestrained outburst, while also providing just enough lucidity to create an intricacy and intelligence which demands further analysis. Strikingly, the poem begins with the word “strange,” immersing the reader in a subversive narrative, not appealing to holy or peaceful language that a poem called Kaddish would perhaps more suitably suggest. The mirror that “Howl” holds to contemporary US society reflects luminescence, transcendence, and something of the eternal – for example, an “ancient heavenly connection” and the “cosmos instinctively vibrat[ing]”17 – where mainstream social forces would interpret grime, seediness, and despair. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression. Such factors point towards any claims for enlightenment within the poem being wildly misplaced; hence “detractors go on insisting upon dishevelment, the upshot of a mind fatally shrill or divided.”8 The response to “Howl” amongst the poetic community of the time was ridden with ambivalence. My overall aim is to reveal how spiritual conscience as portrayed in the poetry of Allen Ginsberg is far from stilted, flat or dogmatic, but spurns these qualities in favour of a complex, burning source of light, whose many facets prompt us to continue contemplating questions of spirituality and its place in the world around us instead of preaching doctrine to be blindly received. The depiction of its central subject – love – carefully balances heaviness and lightness. Estrangement in “Kaddish” 42 Beat Literature & the World, “A Comparison of Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman,” online blog posted by esprings, (7 November 2013) The dialogue that Ginsberg strikes with Fitzgerald is enhanced by ash-related imagery in “Sunflower Sutra,” recalling Gatsby’s valley of ashes. Allen Ginsberg was part of the Beat generation, a group of young authors, among them Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and John Clellon Holmes, who created a new and unconventional kind of literature. McClure, Michael, Scratching the Beat Surface: Essays on New Vision from Blake to Kerouac (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1994). The soul is holy! Stilted by both internal pangs of trauma, and the mind-numbing stings of recalled electric shocks, this line packs the sense of its meaning being just beyond what is expressible through the speaker’s words. Author: Jessica Clark Tags: Allen Ginsberg, poetics, spirituality Category: Beat Generation November 29, 2019, Your email address will not be published. Kerouac, Jack, The Dharma Bums (New York: Penguin Books, 1976). Spirituality in Howl by Allen Ginsberg. Poetry itself is crucially integral to Ginsberg’s vision of spiritual light. The Beats' radical anti-establishment, indi Coleman, Graham, The Tibetan Book of the Dead: First Complete Translation (London: Penguin Books, 2006). howl, allen ginsberg poem, anup joshi ... Materialism ruled over spirituality and poetry. In the “HYMMNN” section of the poem, holy language is explicitly morphed with these ideas which threaten heteronormativity, most overtly in the proclamation “Blessed be He in homosexuality!”33 We see here how integral to the spiritual freedom envisaged by Ginsberg are both the celebration of queer sexuality and its platform to be vocalised. Hippie Seraphim: Spirituality, Sexuality and Nonconformity in Allen Ginsberg's Footnote to Howl. We were interested in non-violence, sexual freedom, the exploration of psychedelic drugs and sensitivity. 15 Ibid. 62 Tempest, Kate, Hold Your Own, (London: Picador, 2014). Ginsberg was keen to present himself as a prophet for these voices, which had previously lacked a literary platform. Allen Ginsberg on Politics, Poetics and Spirituality Harry Oldmeadow Published in Beyond the Divide 2:1, Winter 1999. [accessed 21 December 2018]. Spirituality in Howl by Allen Ginsberg Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" is a complex and intriguing poem about the divine in the common world. The Poetry Foundation, , [accessed Oct 2018 – March 2019]. Holy!The world is holy! “Song” both visually approaches weight and light, and addresses these themes metaphorically. Similarly, the description of how “trees add shade to shade”51 later in the poem gives an effect of layering, connoting a subtle gradient of tones, rather than stark blackness. 33 Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems, p. 57. By Bill Strickland) [accessed 20 March 2019]. Akinchan Xaxa. Allen Ginsberg in his work Howl stated that “Who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha” (18). Download Free PDF. Holy! Ecstatic time is signalled at the moment one feels ecstasy, announced perhaps in a scream or grunt of pleasure, and more importantly during moments of contemplation when one looks back at a scene from one’s past, present, or future.32. Schumacher, Michael, On Being a Writer, (1989), p.47.(ed. Lucy Jones. Holy! While this connotes the speaker’s own ability to find sanctuary in reading and writing poetry from the darker sides of reality that “Kaddish” explores, it also suggests that the poem that we are currently engaging with through reading can be a candle for us, an incandescent beacon of hope offering relief from the same dukkha-ridden world that it describes. 11 Lee, p. 14. Allen Ginsberg warns you. The address of the readership as “Ladies” also packs meaning; the poetic voice of Ginsberg’s work, due to its sensitivity of spirit, exultant and emotional qualities, and overt expression of gay sexuality, may in many ways appear more “feminine” than would be comfortable for the mainstream consciousness of heteronormative patriarchal society. More broadly, this could demonstrate the inevitable succumbing of all human life to ageing and decay, and/or allegorically represent the social context of the mid twentieth century, in which Western society had lost faith in a homogenous set of religious values, a phenomenon termed “the death of God” by Nietzsche. Other barriers that Ginsberg fights against in his quest for spiritual triumph are specific to his time and place of writing. Therefore, summarizing how spirituality triumphs in Ginsberg’s works – and perhaps more crucially, why its doing so is a matter of importance now and in future generations – in the space of a few paragraphs will necessarily leave room for further investigation. Throughout “Kaddish,” he uses the story of Naomi to unearth the precarity of the position generally dwelt in by humanity, resting on the cusp of sanity and never far from its loss – a state exacerbated by the tensions of the modern world. Second, as one might expect from the inspiration for Alvah Goldbook in Jack Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums,” Ginsberg frequently references Eastern spiritual traditions—notably Tibetan Buddhism and Zen. 51 Ibid., pp. Contemporary poet Richard Eberhart commented that while he admired the poem’s rebellion against “everything in our society which kills the spirit” and how it “lays bare the nerves of suffering and spiritual struggle,” he also looked scornfully upon its “assuming that the louder you shout the more likely you are to be heard.”9 This is at the crux of the debate relating to the artistic worth of “Howl” which questions whether Ginsberg’s claims to its profundity, describing it as part of the Beats’ so-called New Vision, are justified or are sheer pretensions held up by a shabby scaffolding of shock-value only content. 9 Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (Flamingo: London 1993), p. 168.; Ibid., p. 168.; Ibid., p. 168. PDF. The fact that Naomi is thus photographed while the disturbing images of her breakdowns are related only through the subjective camera of the speaker’s memories may suggest that it is when as an archetypal maternal figure “playing lullabies” and “smiling” that she is the realest form of herself. In contrast, Ginsberg’s work finds a potential for spiritual fulfilment within and around symbols of cultural corruption, such as the supermarket, which are inimical to the realisation of Whitman’s Transcendentalist values. This humanises his narrative by bringing back our focus to the concrete presence of spectators Allen and Jack, yet also alludes to the transcendent through communicating a sense of rapturous celebration of the process of sight, and human ability to not only be aware of our world, but to recognise and appreciate this awareness. Irwin Allen Ginsberg (3. kesäkuuta 1926 Newark – 5. huhtikuuta 1997 New York) oli yhdysvaltalainen runoilija.Hän oli beat-liikkeen johtohahmoja ja oli myös vahvasti mukana 1960-luvun hippiliikkeessä.. Ginsberg identifioi itsensä juutalais- ja homorunoilijaksi. Holy! Yet in including the voices of this ideology in the address “Ladies,” Williams tacitly dismounts the ingrained notion that manliness — and associated strength — resides in the upholding of such structures. Allen Ginsberg was a literary radical who was interested in visionary consciousness, in particular working on developing his own brand of mysticism and philosophy. All rights reserved. Ferrere, Alexandre, “Mechanics and Poetics: William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg,” Beatdom #18 (24 March 2018) [accessed 17 November 2018]. Photo by © Allen Ginsberg/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images. Yet I would argue that contrary to Wills’s assertion, “A Supermarket in California” presents a world-view which is far from “doomed,” Ginsberg calling upon Whitman not to mourn the extinction of his Transcendentalist ideals but to resuscitate them. What we [the Beats] were proposing was some new sense of spiritual consciousness. Create a free account to download. Rather, it can be achieved even from between its aisles if one knows where to look. 13 Ibid., p. 53 12 Rodosthenous, George, “The dramatic imagery of ‘Howl’: the [naked] bodies of madness.’”Howl for Now. Ginsberg began work on "Howl" in 1954. Other major beat writers (also called ¡§beatnicks¡¨) were: Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Download Free PDF. Ariel, Yakov, “From a Jewish Communist to a Jewish Buddhist: Allen Ginsberg as a Forerunner of a New American Jew,” Religions 10(2), 100 (2019) . Allen Ginsberg said some essential effects of Beat Generation artistic movement could be characterized in the following terms: Spiritual liberation, sexual "revolution" or "liberation," i.e., gay liberation, somewhat catalyzing women's liberation, black liberation, Gray Panther activism. Allen Ginsberg has 271 books on Goodreads with 390751 ratings. An instance of elevation which arises amidst the myriad of distress in “Kaddish,” in which darkness is explored on both a personal and national scale as the speaker moves from recounting a memory of “feeling depressed” to one of “the grey Depression,” is a pastoral image of the younger Naomi. . I will be treating the concept of transcendence in this dissertation as the quality of surpassing ordinary limits, e.g. You can’t get much more blues than “Let the Slave” [in 1985, Morrison set Blake’s poem to music]. ... along with a sweet spirituality that seems to come from the universe itself and not from an organized religion. . Whitman was an eccentric, controversial for his time, and just like Ginsberg, Whitman was a homosexual (Moore 1). Ginsberg's adoption of a radically hybridized spiritual and poetic voice in the general milieu of the Beat movement, a fundamentally anti-essentialist and anti-authoritarian movement rooted in a rejection of univocal ideas of nation, identity, and spirituality. Such an effect, used in both “Howl” and “Kaddish,” is clear in the final lines of “Sunflower Sutra”; the decrease in the number of conjunctions used culminates in an arresting image of the “mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision,” giving a sense of the speaker’s train of thought spinning wildly out of control. Indeed, this preoccupation remains at the forefront of modern-day Western culture, evidenced by media such as Matt D’Avella’s 2015 documentary Minimalism and the viral growth of the “van life” concept. Rather than simply describing urban bohemia in a series of vignettes, its impression is evoked through a form bursting with passion, creativity and unbridled sexuality. This hinders his capacity for self-expression, which is reduced to the description of “a few images run[ning] through the mind,” perhaps because the full details of these memories are too painful to fully unearth and have so been consciously or subconsciously repressed. Allen Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and other Poems (London: Penguin Classics, 2009). 3 (2003), pp. Patti Smith with Allen Ginsberg at a poetry reading night at Local, New York City, 1975. The back cover of Howl, in the City Lights Books, says “Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems was originally published by City Lights Books in the Fall of 1956. True fulfilment is achieved through a marked discarding of the Dream’s spirit of financial aspiration, paving the way for one to attain creative freedom, live according to one’s “own parade” and access “the absolute heart of the poem of life.”28 This theme continues to grow in power and presence in US popular culture, as in the 1970 hit song “Oh Sweet Nuthin’” by the Velvet Underground, whose lyrics affirm society’s down-and-outers, their lives worthy of celebration and embodying beauty despite the fact that they “ain’t got nothing at all.”29 This nothingness is deemed “sweet,” becoming a lifestyle worthy of emulation with simplicity more desirable than the ambitious materialism enshrined by traditional US values. Ginsberg's spiritual journey began early on with his spontaneous visions, and continued with an early trip to India and a chance encounter on a New York City street with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (they both tried to catch the same cab), a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master of the Vajrayana school, who became his friend and lifelong teacher. One of the poem’s most charming and quirky features is how it coalesces the arbitrary with the magical or transcendent. 3 Ibid., p. Stevens, Jay, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (London: Flamingo, 1993). 16 Percy Shelley, “A Defence of Poetry” (1840), cited on , [accessed 25 January 2019] Lion’s Roar presents this exclusive autobiographical account from the late poet and cultural icon Allen Ginsberg, narrating his spiritual journey from Blake to the Buddha. it hummeth in the electric typewriter. The union of religious institution with homosexuality makes a bold claim, the format of “HYMMNN” echoing a biblical passage through the words “exalted,” “blessed” and “He.”, On the one hand, this link appears radically ahead of Ginsberg’s time and could even continue to elicit controversy in a twenty-first century context, as the Church remains one of the few institutions in the modern Western world which remains actively opposed to homosexuality. “Howl” generates the impression of having been written under the same extreme circumstances that it describes, aligning its poetic voice with those whom it appeals to. The poem is dedicated to Carl Solomon . (ed. Allen Ginsberg was a literary radical who was interested in visionary consciousness, in particular working on developing his own brand of mysticism and philosophy. Ginsberg, Allen, Collected Poems 1947 – 1997 (New York: HarperCollins, 2007). The personal investment of Ginsberg’s bereavement makes “Kaddish” an incredibly raw and close to home poem, explicitly connected with a pivotal event in its writer’s life in a way that does not occur elsewhere in his poems that I have looked at, though they all contain confessional elements. Using psychedelics and reading poetry are comparable experiences in that they both permit the ability to perceive ordinary reality through an alternative lens. Lysergic Acid. The second section of “Kaddish” presents an opening line punctuated by dashes, perhaps in allusion to the poetic style of Dickinson who Ginsberg previously mentions in section I: “Over and over — refrain — of the Hospitals — still haven’t written your history — leave it abstract — a few images.” This line is thus not just in “remembrance of electrical shocks”38 but in remembrance too of one of the founding figures of US poetry, aligning Ginsberg’s poetic voice with Dickinson’s, so simultaneously paying homage to American literary tradition and infusing its narrative with the concerns of Ginsberg’s time. 36 Saul Austerlitz, “Allen Ginsberg,” My Jewish Learning [accessed 18 March 2019]. 59 Ibid., p. 2. Established in 2000 and edited by Denise Enck, Empty Mirror is an online literary magazine that publishes new work each Friday. Through understanding the transcendental message of “Howl,” we can reconnect with the core voices of America’s poetic tradition who inspired Ginsberg and uncover an emotional and intellectual bedrock of support for the current era and global situation. Allen Ginsberg [1926-1997], born in Newark, N.J., is an American poet and leading apostle of the beat generation. “Sunflower Sutra” pays attention to the falsity of surface appearances versus the truer realm of soul, where people are more united, as in Allen and Jack sharing “the same thoughts of the soul.” Such a concern with the pretension of peripheries and need to move beyond the external is reiterated in the affirmation “we’re not our skins of grime,” favouring the inner above the outer self: a contentious statement in a culture whose ill-founded obsession with appearances is revealed in the debris of its “artificial worse-than-dirt” junkyard. Rodosthenous, George, “The dramatic imagery of ‘Howl’: the [naked] bodies of madness,” Howl for Now. Tempest, Kate, Hold Your Own, (London: Picador, 2014). “America” culminates in the closing half-joking address “America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel,”60 suggesting the speaker’s intention to take charge of the narrative of US history. He was a poet who was part of a particular cultural movement during a period of change, a literary radical who wrote with purpose, making a conscious effort to use metaphorical dream-like imagery to illustrate spiritual … The infinitely unfolding possibilities of unpacking “inner moonlight” within the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and connecting this with higher consciousness render our doing so a quest of undying importance and interest. Though formally and thematically, “Song” is the simplest of the poems I have looked at, its concision encapsulates allusive sophistication and its message is one of fortitude and power, summarizing the essence of Ginsberg’s spiritual conscience, which draws out strength from images of delicate beauty. Liberation of the word from censorship. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Allen Ginsberg wrote many poems of witness. In universalizing spirituality, Ginsberg ensures that no reader is excluded, offering insight to all in a mood of open-armed inclusiveness. One clear instance of this occurs in the line: “who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake.” The “red eyed” people depicted may be hungover or still sleepless from a night of debauchery; thus, they can only attain sunrise in a “snatch” and so this concept, that is usually linked with purity and the fresh opportunity of a new day, is turned on its head, coloured instead with the exhaustion of a wild night’s tail-end. When the familiar realm of human thought and life is rendered “strange,” one is by implication pushed towards finding meaning in a transcendent space. Premium PDF Package. Line 4: The repeated use of the word "who" at the start of many consecutive lines is an example of anaphora. Note: Chapter three was previously published in Beatdom. 45 Wills, David, “Whitman and the Beats,” Beatdom Vol. 58 Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems, p. 30; Ibid., p.30. PDF. 25 Schumacher, Michael, On Being a Writer, (1989), p.47. This is evidenced through how “Howl,” once tried for obscenity, has been assimilated into the US canon and received academic acclaim, now celebrated in lecture halls and the subject of much academic writing. Yet tied into this highly personal sensation of disjointedness there may also be a more general sense of the absurdity of the human condition, particularly our processes of thought — a uniquely flawed and incomplete method of computing the world — and arbitrary pursuits, illustrated here by Naomi’s upheaval to different homes. 44 Columbia University online, C250, “Allen Ginsberg” [accessed 20 March 2019]. The effect of form Holy! 61 Williams, Carlos Williams, “To Elsie,” , [accessed 11 March 2019]. That these icons of spiritual wisdom are placed beside a description of the “imagination” of poetic vision implies that equally valuable transcendent perspective can be gleaned from poetry. Hippie Seraphim: Spirituality, Sexuality and Nonconformity in Allen Ginsberg's Footnote to Howl. Jess is a recent graduate of Durham University with a degree in Combined Honours in Arts (English Literature and Spanish). One example of this is how the theme of light is exhibited in diverse forms ranging from the natural source of the “full moon” — a galactic entity that was also linked by Ginsberg with conceptions of individual identity, as he urged his supporters to “follow their inner moonlight” — to the artificially glimmering promise of the supermarket’s “neon” colouring, and gleam of its “brilliant stacks of cans.” These latter descriptions carry with them a falsity, indicating the dangerous myth perpetuated within 1950s US culture that the “hungry fatigue”52 of man’s spiritual needs could be satiated through consumer purchase, a “game of consuming items that can only cover physical needs (like hunger) in order to satisfy emotional needs.”53. These short lines alternate as if sustaining cautious equilibrium with one another in illustration of the notion of contrasts at the poem’s centre, building a majesty and beauty which are both aesthetic and conceptual. PDF. “Kaddish” is a poem fraught with tension, reconciling the trauma of memory with the ability of poetic creation to deliver catharsis. It is fascinating to discuss the significance of moonlight as an elected illuminator rather than sunlight in Ginsberg’s work. Even as a sense of rapture is brought to fruition in Ginsberg’s poems, the shades of confusion they encounter while reaching for this dynamic elevation remain present to some extent beyond their closing lines. The depiction of trauma Hence, the act of reading “Kaddish” engenders social as well as spiritual illumination, in its ability to place the exchange of spirit and ideas above monetary contract. The conventions of mainstream American life organized religion Beat writers ( also called ¡§beatnicks¡¨ ) were: Gregory Corso Jack..., 2014 ) the Book of Martyrdom and Artifice [ First Journals and Poems, 19..., Lewis, on this day in 1926 York City, 1975 to all in way... 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