Howl Review




The best way to begin this first book review is to begin with Howl and other poems by Allen Ginsberg. Published in 1956, his poetry is the landmark of what the beat neck community was. Much of the influences have of course crossed over to today. The book starts off with an introduction from William Carlos Williams, which gives a lovely tone to how the book is set. Rather than be a little mean and mock the writer, he begins by pointing out the loving characteristics of Ginsberg.

Like in true Ginsberg fashion some of the poems are quiet and long; but they are not boring. In fact, each of the lines keep the reader interested with Howl for the poem Carl Solomon, Ginsberg had made sure that the poem had a distinct pattern and rhythm. Although, it is not broken down into stanzas, each time the author would bring up a new fact about this person he would use the word “who”. There was no particular length for each “who” fact. That did not seem to throw me off at all. Instead it weigh in the importance in “who” the character is and gave the poem more depth.

The best two poems out of the book are of course A Footnote to Howl, and A California Supermarket. In A Footnote, the usage of the word holy was perfect. It does seem like the word is completely over used and rather it gives the emphasis that we over use holy. What does it really mean? What is holy? These are some of the questions that come up in my mind while I read and reread the poem.

Throughout the poetry book, a lot of question came to mind. These are questions that were pinned on them back in the 50’s and are still relevant today in 2013. Every author hopes that their work will still be relevant well after they are gone; however, for this outcast I can still feel the pain that he was going through. I, too am, poor and have struggled to have just a little bit of something. The pain that Ginsberg felt then is something that can still be felt, and read. This is a must read for anyone who loves poetry and knows what the pain of being an outcast, or just not knowing what tomorrow will bring.