By Jonah Raskin

ISBN-10: 0520246772

ISBN-13: 9780520246775

Written as a cultural weapon and a choice to hands, Howl touched a uncooked nerve in chilly struggle the USA and has been debatable from the day it was once first learn aloud approximately fifty years in the past. this primary complete severe and historic learn of Howl brilliantly elucidates the nexus of politics and literature within which it was once written and provides impressive new photos of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs. Drawing from newly published psychiatric stories on Ginsberg, from interviews together with his psychiatrist, Dr. Philip Hicks, and from the poet's journals, American Scream shows how Howl brought Ginsberg and the area out of the closet of a repressive society. It additionally provides the 1st complete accounting of the literary figures—Eliot, Rimbaud, and Whitman—who inspired Howl, definitively putting it within the culture of twentieth-century American poetry for the 1st time.

As he follows the genesis and the evolution of Howl, Jonah Raskin constructs a brilliant photo of a poet and an period. He illuminates the advance of Beat poetry in big apple and San Francisco within the 1950s--focusing on old events equivalent to the 1st studying of Howl at Six Gallery in San Francisco in 1955 and the obscenity trial over the poem's book. He appears heavily at Ginsberg's lifestyles, together with his relationships together with his mom and dad, buddies, and mentors, whereas he was once writing the poem and makes use of this fabric to light up the topics of insanity, nakedness, and secrecy that pervade Howl.

A beautiful examine the cultural weather of the chilly battle and at a very good American poet, American Scream finally tells the total tale of Howl—a rousing manifesto for a iteration and a vintage of twentieth-century literature.

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Additional info for American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation

Sample text

At first, Ginsberg refused. He didn’t know enough local poets, he said, and he didn’t feel that there was enough worthwhile Bay Area poetry to warrant a reading. But once he’d written a rough draft of Howl, he changed his “fucking mind,” as he put it. A reading would provide an occasion both for his birth as a poet and for the birth of the Beat Generation, which had been slowly germinating for years. Ginsberg learned that there was a tradition of poetry readings in San Francisco and in Berkeley where poets like Jack Spicer rejected the academic critics of poetry and embraced popular American entertainers and singers.

At first, the members of the audience were “rather stiff,” Kerouac observed, but they were gradually transformed into wild participants. Kerouac collected dimes and quarters and bought gallons of cheap California burgundy. He passed the wine around the room, encouraging everyone to “glug a slug from the jug”— including the poets themselves. “They got drunk, the audience got drunk, all that was missing was the orgy,” Ginsberg and Corso noted. The orgy would come later. Rexroth’s job as the master of ceremonies was to maintain a semblance of order.

Ragged long lips between her legs—What, even, / smell of asshole? ” For most 33 / Family Business of his life, the female body appeared repulsive to him and sex with women proved to be difficult, if not impossible. In his poetry he mythologized the vagina and the womb as dark, deadly places. The story about his mother that he told and retold and that his biographers repeated, was the story about the day he took Naomi by bus, and on the advice of her doctor, to a convalescent home in Lakewood, New Jersey.

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American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation by Jonah Raskin


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