written April 6, 2012, but not posted until today
In the library
I chose poetry and banned books
In just one volume
Alan Ginsburg’s Howl
I’ve never read it
But my friend
A sweet and lovely woman
Met Ginsburg years ago
At a reading of Howl
She has a signed copy in her basement
I read today that Daniel Radcliff
Will play his part in a new movie
I will read it at long last
I don’t know if I’ll think it brilliant
Or whether I’ll be turned off
But I’ll have read it
Which is more than I can say right now.
I’ve heard about Alan Ginsburg and his poem Howl for many years. I decided that the time had come for me to read it. After all, I’d be tackling a work of poetry and a banned book at the same time.
Talking with a friend about poetry and National Poetry Month I mentioned that I had finally read it and she asked me “what did you think of it?” I didn’t have an answer for that. Finally, I said “It was long.” She burst out laughing and we both agreed that wasn’t much of a recommendation.
Certainly the poem is striking and raw and full of the spirit of the times. I could feel myself transported to a different time. I found myself wishing that I could have edited it down to a page, maybe a page and a half. Made me think about going back and editing my own work more ruthlessly.
All the same, I’m glad I read it and know.