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Words, Words, Words

A catalog of my comments and thoughts on books, reading, and writing as well as anything I come across that seems interesting. I used to sell other people's words at an independent bookstore but now I hope to get by on selling my own.

Howl and Other Poems - Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams

My first post on BookLikes, how exciting! I've turned to poetry in a big way recently, but I still feel unequipped to talk about poetry with the same sophistication and background as other appreciators, but here is my take anyway.


Howl is, of course, Ginsberg's most famous work and generally known as his masterpiece. It's a desperate drive into a world of madness and poverty, on the fringe of society. it revels in lowness, every setting bleak, full of the range of colors running from "gray" to "grayish-green" (one allusion to "Red" is a reference to communism). Full of naked bodies with sphincters and assholes and pectoral muscles. Lousy stinking rivers and dying, colorless flowers.


For all the "obscenity" it is full of hope and beauty, too. It calls us to break through the world of high gloss and airbrushed cleanness and to accept the world, the people, the flowers, broken, crooked, injured, dirty, malnourished, naked, mad, and beautiful. "We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread bleaky dusty imageless locomotive, we're all beautiful golden sunflowers inside", Ginsberg's poetry is like that.


That the book fits into your pocket is a godsend because it is bound to accompany me into the gray, beautiful world.