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First published in 1956, Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" is a prophetic masterpiece—an epic raging against dehumanizing society that overcame censorship trials and obscenity charges to become one of the most widely read poems of the century. This annotated version of Ginsberg's classic is the poet's own re-creation of the revolutionary work's composition process—as well as a trea First published in 1956, Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" is a prophetic masterpiece—an epic raging against dehumanizing society that overcame censorship trials and obscenity charges to become one of the most widely read poems of the century. This annotated version of Ginsberg's classic is the poet's own re-creation of the revolutionary work's composition process—as well as a treasure trove of anecdotes, an intimate look at the poet's writing techniques, and a veritable social history of the 1950s.


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First published in 1956, Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" is a prophetic masterpiece—an epic raging against dehumanizing society that overcame censorship trials and obscenity charges to become one of the most widely read poems of the century. This annotated version of Ginsberg's classic is the poet's own re-creation of the revolutionary work's composition process—as well as a trea First published in 1956, Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" is a prophetic masterpiece—an epic raging against dehumanizing society that overcame censorship trials and obscenity charges to become one of the most widely read poems of the century. This annotated version of Ginsberg's classic is the poet's own re-creation of the revolutionary work's composition process—as well as a treasure trove of anecdotes, an intimate look at the poet's writing techniques, and a veritable social history of the 1950s.

30 review for Howl: a graphic novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    mwpm mwpm

    Disclaimer: Do not read this edition of Howl. Drooker may have collaborated with Ginsberg on Illuminated Poems , but he's also responsible for the unspeakably bad animated sequences in the unwatchable Ginsberg biopic Howl . Unlike the inspired illustrations found in Illuminated Poems , Howl features poorly-rendered screenshots from the movie. They contribute nothing from the text and may discourage the reader from engaging with the text by imposing a dull literal interpretation. For exa Disclaimer: Do not read this edition of Howl. Drooker may have collaborated with Ginsberg on Illuminated Poems , but he's also responsible for the unspeakably bad animated sequences in the unwatchable Ginsberg biopic Howl . Unlike the inspired illustrations found in Illuminated Poems , Howl features poorly-rendered screenshots from the movie. They contribute nothing from the text and may discourage the reader from engaging with the text by imposing a dull literal interpretation. For example, when Ginsberg writes "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, / dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix", the illustrator presents a literal representation of a naked person crawling in the street. This is both patronizing (being told "this is what a naked person crawling in the street looks like", as if I couldn't imagine it for myself) and a failure of the illustrator's imagination (as if this literal representation is all that could be derived from these lines). The prospective reader needn't look any further than the cover for an example of the literal-minded illustrator's failure to interpret the text. The cover depicts a man howling at the moon. What could be more obvious, more contrived? In effect, Howl is robbed of its subtext and reduced to a children's picture book, an Idiot's Guide to reading poetry, a potable DIY lobotomy kit. Read this edition instead. Or this edition. HOWL for Carl Solomon I I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz, who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated, who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war, who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull, who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall, who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York, who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls, incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between, Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind, who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo, who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi’s, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox, who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge, a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills of Empire State out of the moon, yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars, whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement, who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall, suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of China under junk-withdrawal in Newark’s bleak furnished room, who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts, who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night, who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas, who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels, who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy, who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain, who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa, who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fireplace Chicago, who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the FBI in beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incomprehensible leaflets, who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism, who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed, who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons, who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication, who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts, who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy, who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love, who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whomever come who may, who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond & naked angel came to pierce them with a sword, who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman’s loom. who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness, 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 the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake, who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses’ rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too, who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hungover with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices, who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the East River to open to a room full of steamheat and opium, who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion, who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery, who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music, who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts... Read the full text here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49303/howl

  2. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.5* of five I've shifted my 4.5-star review of this comic book, I mean graphic novel!, to my blog Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud. This is a case where the addition of pictures made a huge and positive difference to my experience of a work. If, like me, you don't want to decode words and interpret pictures because the combination is almost always less than the sum of the parts, here is an exception to the rule. Beautiful. I understand the poem far better for having read this. And someone plea Rating: 4.5* of five I've shifted my 4.5-star review of this comic book, I mean graphic novel!, to my blog Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud. This is a case where the addition of pictures made a huge and positive difference to my experience of a work. If, like me, you don't want to decode words and interpret pictures because the combination is almost always less than the sum of the parts, here is an exception to the rule. Beautiful. I understand the poem far better for having read this. And someone please explain why James Franco gets so much snark lobbed at him. The film of this was quite good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elly Zupko

    Five stars for the poem, one star for the graphics and typography. This book is patently NOT the way to read this poem. Howl is momentum; Howl is movement; Howl is a wall of words that knocks you down and ties you up. This book was full of stills plucked from an animation and breaks up the wall of words over hundreds of pages. Both choices disservice both the poem and animation. The poem ends up broken into pieces. The pictures are indistinct and poorly composed, because they were never meant to Five stars for the poem, one star for the graphics and typography. This book is patently NOT the way to read this poem. Howl is momentum; Howl is movement; Howl is a wall of words that knocks you down and ties you up. This book was full of stills plucked from an animation and breaks up the wall of words over hundreds of pages. Both choices disservice both the poem and animation. The poem ends up broken into pieces. The pictures are indistinct and poorly composed, because they were never meant to be stills. The art itself borders on cheesy, with characters firmly in the uncanny valley and visual metaphor that is just too easy. This book is a dead thing. If you want a better experience, print the poem out in its entirety on a roll of butcher paper and read it out loud to yourself by candlelight in an empty room.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Inkspill

    My first thought in reading Ginsberg’s collection is that it breaks poetical form. On the surface these are angry rambles, with very long lines (not enjambed and from the handful I counted the longest ran to 33 beats), and there is no clear rhyming pattern. And yet, somehow, in this cocktail of fury and despair poetry is delivered in turbulent harmony. In places, some of his poems made me think of Walt Whitman’s lilting chanting voice, but it’s a Whitman without optimism. And what stands out is th My first thought in reading Ginsberg’s collection is that it breaks poetical form. On the surface these are angry rambles, with very long lines (not enjambed and from the handful I counted the longest ran to 33 beats), and there is no clear rhyming pattern. And yet, somehow, in this cocktail of fury and despair poetry is delivered in turbulent harmony. In places, some of his poems made me think of Walt Whitman’s lilting chanting voice, but it’s a Whitman without optimism. And what stands out is the raw uncultivated energy, very different from Plath’s confessional poetry, but don’t be fooled by the chaos his poetry paints – if you look closer there is order and an imperfect rhyming scheme present. Also, many of his poems had parts that repeated themselves, like they were a chant. I thought it worked better in some than others, providing a contrasting landscape, but at other times it seemed to me like a chanting filling up the blank page for the sake of. Overall, I found this an interesting read, it got me thinking about poetry and poetical forms. this review is for https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6..., I picked the first on the list and kept forgetting to change it but now I'm not sure how to do this without losing all the history

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eldan Goldenberg

    I read the poem as a teenager, and I've gradually been getting more interested in graphic novels, so when I saw a graphic novel version--with Ginsberg's involvement, so I knew it wouldn't be a horrible hack job--in Powell's recently I couldn't resist. The poem is just as viciously powerful as when I first read it; though I can only imagine it would have had more impact when it was published, in 1956. The only detail that marks it as in any way dated is the repeated references to typewriters. The I read the poem as a teenager, and I've gradually been getting more interested in graphic novels, so when I saw a graphic novel version--with Ginsberg's involvement, so I knew it wouldn't be a horrible hack job--in Powell's recently I couldn't resist. The poem is just as viciously powerful as when I first read it; though I can only imagine it would have had more impact when it was published, in 1956. The only detail that marks it as in any way dated is the repeated references to typewriters. The significance of the age is more that it shows the disaffection and societal failure it recounts as not only not being novel--I knew that, though it's good to be reminded--but even older than I had realised. The boomer generation has somehow managed to spin this fable of rebellion having been invented in the mid-late 60s, whereas here is a long poem from 10 years earlier that oozes vitriol at the establishment and recounts insistently all the "collateral damage" of an epoch that these days seems to get romanticised as being before everything got so damn complicated. For me, apparently unlike for most of the reviewers on Goodreads, the illustrations added quite a lot. They're beautiful in themselves, the style feels very appropriate, and they fit both the individual images and the cacophonic succession of images very well. They also add something else unexpected: by letting the book put each breath of the text on a new page, they make the poem fit the print format much better than in the text-only edition I had read before, letting it flow more naturally than it can all squashed onto one page.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    The old cliche, "ignorance is bliss," has proven untrue for me. I read a graphic novel version of this and it made me hate the poem, because I didn't appreciate the graphic interpretation. My review of the graphic novel: below. I gave this another chance, and I'm grateful I did. I read the poem here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem.... Ginsburg isn't showing off, as I accused him in my original, scathing review. The man pours out his feelings. His friend lies dying and he howls his words fro The old cliche, "ignorance is bliss," has proven untrue for me. I read a graphic novel version of this and it made me hate the poem, because I didn't appreciate the graphic interpretation. My review of the graphic novel: below. I gave this another chance, and I'm grateful I did. I read the poem here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem.... Ginsburg isn't showing off, as I accused him in my original, scathing review. The man pours out his feelings. His friend lies dying and he howls his words from a broken heart, weeping over the suffering of his generation. It almost brought me to tears and moves me now as I write this. He blames a societal force he calls "Moloch," a name in the Bible for a Canannite god famous for accepting babies into the flames of its stone belly. He ends the poem by opening his heart for his friend who lies dying in a hospital. Beautiful and powerful, moved my heart. ------------ Original read, one star, around June 15th I thought this would amaze and delight. Instead I feel annoyed. Ginsburg had amazing talent with prose, but, in my opinion, he over-indulges and shows it off with melodrama and nonsense.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Actual rating: 3.5 stars. An excellent read. Dark, haunting, haunted, alive! Haha!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mike McDevitt

    I have no use whatsoever for poetry unless it's set to music and called lyrics. So, really, for me, three stars out of five is a tour de force. How I got to this stage of my life without reading beat poetry is easy to explain: I quit college too early, never did drugs save booze, and I am a recluse. I have no use whatsoever for poetry unless it's set to music and called lyrics. So, really, for me, three stars out of five is a tour de force. How I got to this stage of my life without reading beat poetry is easy to explain: I quit college too early, never did drugs save booze, and I am a recluse.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Magdelanye

    Allen Ginsburg's epic poem was first published in 1956, when I was still too young to notice. Half a decade later, as an aspiring beatnik in the wasteland of my home city, reading it was akin to a rite of passage. Faithful to the occasion, I would toke up and start at the beginning, which I came to know well, because I never seemed to reach the end. It was a good book to carry around because it was small enough to carry in a jacket pocket and I did that for a while. Certainly it was easy to iden Allen Ginsburg's epic poem was first published in 1956, when I was still too young to notice. Half a decade later, as an aspiring beatnik in the wasteland of my home city, reading it was akin to a rite of passage. Faithful to the occasion, I would toke up and start at the beginning, which I came to know well, because I never seemed to reach the end. It was a good book to carry around because it was small enough to carry in a jacket pocket and I did that for a while. Certainly it was easy to identify with his chilling assessment. I was one of those who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time....p94 If it didn't sound so much like bragging, I would recount how I bought my first edition at the holy grail of City Lights and if I was a purist I might slam this effort. But Eric Drooker took the trouble to establish a friendship with Allen, who endorsed the project and gave it his enthusiastic blessing. Who am I to hold out against the charm distilled from the anguish of the poem? I love the cover with its Peter Pan allusions, and the pictures of AG and ED together. I love the idea that the spirit of my times is being transported for these times. Readers new to the poem will be inspired to look up the original I want to see the movie asap and dig out my old copy. And yes, I read it straight through! Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! Gone down the American River! Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit! p59

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I wasn't particularly impressed with this illustrated version. The images were stills from the animation which was created for the movie -- not really GN material. They were nice enough, but didn't translate well to the page, and I wasn't particularly impressed with the way they were laid out. I wonder if they had been pencil drawings I would have liked them better, and found them a more fitting companion to the poem. Eh. I wasn't particularly impressed with this illustrated version. The images were stills from the animation which was created for the movie -- not really GN material. They were nice enough, but didn't translate well to the page, and I wasn't particularly impressed with the way they were laid out. I wonder if they had been pencil drawings I would have liked them better, and found them a more fitting companion to the poem. Eh.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alyssah Roxas

    4.5 The poems was dark and the illustration depict every stanza that Ginsberg wrote. I showcase the hardship and negativities that the poetry was expressing to the audience. Beautifully drawn and the theme is captivating to see.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Loved this as a graphic novel ❤️

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren McDonald

    this poem made absolutely ZERO sense to me, which is exactly why I loved it, it was so shocking, jarring, and uncensored that I quite literally had to pick up my jaw from the floor several times throughout. would only recommend if you are in an open minded mood for a very odd read

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    All due respect to the poem encased in this book. My critique comes from the book as a whole. Images in this graphic novel were quite literal in their adherence to the words of the poem. So much so that I think my wandering brain suffered for that. The changes from page to page jarred me, especially in Part I. "Howl" is a better read without pictures at this point. The final part, the epilogue, nixes my critique with a good mix of imagery that doesn't take the reader out of the poem. (Seriously, th All due respect to the poem encased in this book. My critique comes from the book as a whole. Images in this graphic novel were quite literal in their adherence to the words of the poem. So much so that I think my wandering brain suffered for that. The changes from page to page jarred me, especially in Part I. "Howl" is a better read without pictures at this point. The final part, the epilogue, nixes my critique with a good mix of imagery that doesn't take the reader out of the poem. (Seriously, the ending images alone should get this review an extra star. Oh, well.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karen Bovenmyer

    My first exposure to this poem. The art style isn't one I usually enjoy--but I could feel the beat movement in the rhythm of Ginsberg's words. My first exposure to this poem. The art style isn't one I usually enjoy--but I could feel the beat movement in the rhythm of Ginsberg's words.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    3½ stars, rounded up for the great illustrations

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anup Joshi

    Resistance to Twentieth Century Capitalism in Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” This paper explores how the poem “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg appears as a powerful resistance against twentieth century Capitalism of America. A post world war poem, published in 1956, the poem shows strong distaste for the contemporary consumer culture, warfare and monstrous capitalism. With the rapid urbanization, industrialization and quest to pursue American Dream, working class people started to work hard in America. After b Resistance to Twentieth Century Capitalism in Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” This paper explores how the poem “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg appears as a powerful resistance against twentieth century Capitalism of America. A post world war poem, published in 1956, the poem shows strong distaste for the contemporary consumer culture, warfare and monstrous capitalism. With the rapid urbanization, industrialization and quest to pursue American Dream, working class people started to work hard in America. After being branded Superpower nation as a result of victory in second world war, America extended its business globally. Capitalism triumphed and class difference became distinct. As Hansen puts it, during 1950s “With increased living standards, broad layers of the working class were now able to achieve decent standards of living, and buy products that had previously been reserved for the upper classes – hence the phenomenon of so-called “consumerism” – the idea that working-class families could buy happiness with their disposable incomes” (Hansen par. 2). As a result, money ruled over humanity, intellectuality and the ethics. The value of poetry, ethics and morality declined. So, Ginsberg claims, due to capitalist triumph, he saw the “best mind of my generation destroyed by madness” (line 1). As the poem is addressed to his friend Carl Solomon who was in Rockland- a mental hospital, the “angelheaded hipsters” (line 2) destroyed by madness are perhaps the poet himself and his Beat Generation who advocate for equality and socialism. Throughout the poem, Ginsberg clarifies who were the best mind of his generation, how were they destroyed and who destroyed them. In the second part of the poem, Ginsberg asserts “Moloch” (line 79) as the phenomenon which destroys the best mind of the generation. The myth of Moloch comes from Hebrew Bible, where Moloch is the idolatrous god which demands the sacrifice of children by burning. He presents Moloch as the synonymous term for Capitalism as Capitalism is also eating up humanity with utmost cruelty. “Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!” (line 82). Capitalism relies on Industrialization and its mind is pure machinery, it does not regard the pain and suffering of an individual. Its only intention is profit. It is like a cannibal and sucks the life out of the people who intend goodwill instead of chasing American Dream. “Moloch the incomprehensible prison!” (line 81). Capitalism is the prison for the imagination, creativity and intellects. It forces all the genuine ideas to be disintegrated; justice and freedom is chained. Life becomes impossible without money in such world. Everything is comprehended through money and every other human potentiality becomes trivial. The hangover of second world war was not yet over and in 1955, American people saw the dawn of Vietnam War. At universities, too, “war scholars” (line 6) were privileged. The poets and students who advocated for humanism and “Blake-light Tragedy” (line 6) were branded as obscene and “were expelled from the academics” (line 7). This is the autobiographical experience of Ginsberg himself. He was expelled from the university. There was no place for the intellectuals and the humanists of the generation. They were tortured by government for raising voice against capitalism, war, class-difference and advocating for cosmopolitanism and freedom. Due to the consumerist and capitalist culture of twentieth century, Ginsberg witness that creative and intellectuals are forced to "cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully” and are “jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge,”. In this world, only aristocrats, warlords and rich are valued. Nobody cares for the proletariat and people active on creative works rather than on producing money. Ginsberg says "but no one cares; they “walked away unknown and forgotten.” What could the poet and his generation do when the world is engulfed by the rage of war, hatred and the humanity is dismissed for the machinery capitalism? Finding no place for themselves under the monstrous shadow of Moloch, these people indulged on smoking Marijuana, homosexuality, drugs, poetry, protests and communism. They wandered all around talking continuously cursing for the government whose only interest is war and the Capitalism which brought frustration and suicide among the working-class people. They “burned their money in wastebaskets” (line 8) resisting Capitalism, “wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts” (line 22), “distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square” (line 32) advocating for the liberation from money and power. As Miller puts it, “Ginsberg illustrates that capitalism is oppressive and he proposes means to end the system...by way of his protagonists Ginsberg effectively offers socialism and communism as superior alternatives to capitalism” (par 7, 11). Ginsberg’s major intention in the poem is to defense the proletariats group and amplify their potentiality which is oppressed by monstrous capitalism. Ginsberg describes about his protagonists ‘angelheaded hipsters’ who instead of involving in some creative and progressive process, are involving in degenerative activities like drinking, smoking, vomiting and “yacketayakking” screaming. This is all due to the despotic impact of Capitalism. The best minds are withering and being wasted. Frustration clouds their mind. As Wills points out: “angelheaded hipsters were poets, writers, artists, the mentally ill, the impoverished, the unemployed, drug addicts, homosexuals, visionaries, the disillusioned, criminals, and disenfranchised workers. They were all enslaved by the dollar…their disillusionment with society led them to attempt suicide…(they) met Marx’s qualification for a proletariat truly ready for political revolution… and were keenly aware of their oppression.” (par 2, 3) Due to the Capitalist hegemony in America, during and after world wars, Marxism and Communism intensified. The emergence of multi-national companies, rapid development of technology and massive industrialization produced aristocrats along with proletariats. Ginsberg’s mother had also subscription to Communism. As Jonsson claims, “His parents were communists and socialists, and Ginsberg had already as a youth the desire for becoming ‘a labor lawyer’ and ‘fighting the good foght” (par 19) Ginsberg’s involvement in Communist movement is also apparent. Communism was a response towards the Capitalist encroachment in America. At the third part of the poem, Ginsberg shows solidarity with his friend Carl Solomon who is in Columbia Presbyterian Psychiatric Institute to which he refers by Rockland. He keeps repeating “I am with you in Rockland” to focus his support. “where you will split the heavens of Long Island and resurrect your living human Jesus from the superhuman tomb” (line 117). He claims that there are “twentyfive thousand mad comrades” (line 118) with them together in Rockland who are singing the final stanza of the Internationale. This evokes for the starting of a new age of revolution. Furthermore, Ginsberg signals to the resurrection of human Jesus(the best minds) from the superhuman tomb(capitalism). By resisting evil capitalism and ongoing wars, with the mass demonstrations and awakening, Ginsberg asserts that they will be free soon from the tight grip of Capitalism. “O victory forget your underwear we’re free” (line 120). He symbolically shows optimism for the future. In the footnote to the poem, Ginsberg uses the word “holy” repeatedly. He assimilates everything: the soul, the body, the skin, the tongue, the asshole, the nose being holy. “Everything is holy! Everybody’s holy! Everywhere is holy! Everyday is eternity! Everyman’s an angel” (line 3). As footnote is the comment added to the bottom of printed page, Ginsberg seems to be portraying the world after the disintegration of Capitalism and Warfare. After money is burned and the world becomes free from the snare of rapid industrialization, everything will be holy and beautiful. “Intelligent kindness of the soul” (line 15) will be retrieved. Life will no more be cheap and intellectuality and knowledge will get priority in world. Alike Marxist expectation of world to reach to the condition of governmentless, countryless cosmopolitan situation at the end, Ginsberg also has the similar expectation. To conclude, Ginsberg’s “Howl” resists the cruelty of Moloch(Capitalism) in twentieth century America. As a result of growing urbanization and industrialization pushed up by rapid development of science and technology, the best minds of poet’s generation were destroyed and involved in suicidal works like drinking, marijuana, drugs, jazz and protests as a result of frustration. Warfare and money were valorized at that time over the kind soul of humanist, poets and intellectuals. Materialism ruled over spirituality and poetry. Ginsberg portrays the true-wicked face of Capitalism which is like Moloch and demands sacrifice of poor and weak people. In the first part of the poem, he shows who the best minds of the generation are and what has capitalism forced them to do, destroying them. In the second part, he shows the true face on Capitalism by comparing it with Moloch. And in the last part of the poem, he shows his solidarity with all the best mind of generation frustrated, who are in mental hospital or locked up in prison by addressing his friend Carl Solomon in Rockland. He makes it clear that once thousands of socialists come together from all the parts of America to demonstrate with Solomon in Rockland, freedom will rise. He even uses obscene language like ‘fucked’, ‘ass’, ‘cock’, ‘balls’ to attack over Capitalism. The poet seems to be in no mood to negotiate with capitalism and attacks it time and again in favor of socialism. The poem is written to be read aloud and Ginsberg even uses enjambed long lines which must be read in one breath in order to make the voice of the poem powerful to attack over Capitalism. The howling in the poem is intended to defy gruesome Capitalism and establish a classless society which will flourish all the best minds of the generation by providing them equal opportunity and nurturing their creativity. Works Cited Ginsberg, Allen. Howl, and Other Poems. San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, 1956. Pdf. Hansen, Tom. “Ginsberg’s Howl Against Capitalism- a Film Review”. In Defense of Marxism. 24 Mar. 2017. Web. Jonsson, Linnea. “Howl by Allen Ginsberg- Analysis & Discussion”. Sonoloco. 25 Mar. 2017.Web Miller, Kyle. “A Marxist Analysis of ‘Howl”. Kyle’s Blog. 25 Mar. 2017. Web Wills, David S. “Ginsberg and the Machinery of Capitalism: A Political Reading of Howl”. Beatdom. 25 Mar. 2017. Web.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Althea J.

    Howl was one of the most influential pieces of writing I've ever read. It's such a prominent piece of my personal history that I would probably enjoy any attempt at re-presenting it. I also have a fascination with the Graphic Novel as a medium, and am particularly interested in how it can provide another point of access into material, or how it can penetrate material in a new and interesting way. So obviously, when I saw that there was a GN version of Howl, I had to read it. I really enjoyed the u Howl was one of the most influential pieces of writing I've ever read. It's such a prominent piece of my personal history that I would probably enjoy any attempt at re-presenting it. I also have a fascination with the Graphic Novel as a medium, and am particularly interested in how it can provide another point of access into material, or how it can penetrate material in a new and interesting way. So obviously, when I saw that there was a GN version of Howl, I had to read it. I really enjoyed the use of Eric Drooker's illustrations. They provided one man's creative reaction to the poem, not a definitive visual representation of the poem's meaning, and I respected the Howl GN on that level. I particularly appreciated how the book broke down the poem to feature a line on each page. It really forced me to sit with each line, reflecting on its meaning and imagining how I would have visually represented it. And anything that prompts a fresh reading of a poem I have read a million times deserves credit. All that being said, following my reading of the GN, I watched the film Howl (2010, w James Franco as Ginsberg) and I was blown away by the incorporations of Drooker's illustrations as the basis for animation sequences that accompany the performance of the poem Howl. Seeing the movement and flow of the images that were static on the page brought to the screen a heightened experience of the poem. The film brought Howl and Ginsberg and the historical context all to life in a magnificently artful way. And Franco's performance is phenomenal. So the GN Howl gets 5/5 stars for offering a novel presentation of the poem. The film Howl (which uses the GN illustrations as a jumping off point for the animation sequences in the film) gets 6/5 stars for breathing life and vitality and direct historical relevance into one of my favorite works of art of all time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nada Elfeituri

    I'm a spatial person. I like picturing in my head the words that I read. Reading Howl as words was not an easy task for me because it comes off abstruse and run-on at times. After realizing there was a graphic novel version I immediately sought it, but I couldn't find it. I did, however, find the video from which the graphic novel emerged, part of the movie adaptation (thankfully available on Youtube). The content matter itself weaves in and out of numerous subjects, and if you're not familiar wi I'm a spatial person. I like picturing in my head the words that I read. Reading Howl as words was not an easy task for me because it comes off abstruse and run-on at times. After realizing there was a graphic novel version I immediately sought it, but I couldn't find it. I did, however, find the video from which the graphic novel emerged, part of the movie adaptation (thankfully available on Youtube). The content matter itself weaves in and out of numerous subjects, and if you're not familiar with Ginsberg it will be pretty difficult to make heads or tails of it. However, with some background info, along with the illustrations, it's a rather captivating poem.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Um.. I guess poetry really isn't for me... or maybe I was bothered by the fact that a rather short poem was chopped up into parts so that it filled a 200-page book? I liked some of the illustrations.. And I guess that's all that I can actually say about something so short. Um.. I guess poetry really isn't for me... or maybe I was bothered by the fact that a rather short poem was chopped up into parts so that it filled a 200-page book? I liked some of the illustrations.. And I guess that's all that I can actually say about something so short.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    5 stars for the poem and 1 star for using stills from the movie animation add up to a 3 star review. See the movie, read the poem.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Garrison Kelly

    It could be that I’m missing something here. It could be that my English degree wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. It could be that Allen Ginsberg is making me feel stupid. But whatever the case, when I tried to piece together the imagery in Howl, all I could say to myself was…”What?!” Sometimes the imagery made sense to me and I could carry on with my reading. Sometimes I had to read it twice or three times and even then my ability to comprehend it was sketchy. The first poem in the book It could be that I’m missing something here. It could be that my English degree wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. It could be that Allen Ginsberg is making me feel stupid. But whatever the case, when I tried to piece together the imagery in Howl, all I could say to myself was…”What?!” Sometimes the imagery made sense to me and I could carry on with my reading. Sometimes I had to read it twice or three times and even then my ability to comprehend it was sketchy. The first poem in the book starts off with, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” Ordinarily that would be an awesome way to start a poem. It certainly got me going. But then reading the rest of it, I began to wonder if Allen Ginsberg himself was being destroyed by madness. He does have a creative mind, I’ll give him that. He’s so creative that only he understands what the heck he’s talking about. But for all of the times that he made sense to me, his poetry truly spoke from the heart. It’s depressing watching great minds descend into madness. It’s depressing to watch the almighty “Moloch” take over everything you love. It’s depressing to know that your best friend is wasting away in a mental hospital while the orderlies employ draconian techniques. I know how depressing these things are because I myself am a schizophrenic. There once was a time when I thought I was going to be institutionalized against my will. I even welcomed it at one point. But if I didn’t get the help I needed when I did, I could just as easily become another statistic a la Carl Solomon (Ginsberg’s insane friend). This book was published in the 1950’s, during a time when ignorance towards mental health was rampant. I’m not so sure I could have survived that era. Thank you, Allen Ginsberg, for bringing me back to reality. It should be noted how important this book of poetry was to the free speech movement. The sexual imagery, the violence, and the constant swearing had conservative censorship groups up in arms. Despite me not understanding most of the content, I can appreciate the battles Allen Ginsberg went through to get Howl published. Freedom of speech was always a guaranteed right in the American constitution, but it still comes under fire to this day. Luckily, we’re a lot more open-minded as a society, but if not for people like Ginsberg putting their lives on the line for free speech, we would have stayed in the dark ages for a long time. When balancing the confusing imagery with the impact the words had on mental health and the free speech movement, I’ll give this book a respectable mixed grade. It wasn’t a perfect read, but maybe I’m not high enough on the educational food chain to appreciate it to the fullest extent. This is just my opinion. You’re always allowed to have your own, because that comes with the freedom of speech deal.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mook

    Confession - this is not actually the version of the poem I read. I read an online version which I found here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem... This poem - THIS POEM - you ever read something and feel like you need to be smarter/more informed to actually understand what is happening? There is SO MUCH happening here; Howl is the perfect name for this, it feels like a scream, like a chorus of people howling and yelling and screaming into a void that's swallowing them whole. I went looking it Confession - this is not actually the version of the poem I read. I read an online version which I found here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem... This poem - THIS POEM - you ever read something and feel like you need to be smarter/more informed to actually understand what is happening? There is SO MUCH happening here; Howl is the perfect name for this, it feels like a scream, like a chorus of people howling and yelling and screaming into a void that's swallowing them whole. I went looking it up on google for some more information which is when I found out this was written in 1956 which was another shock because it doesn't read like something older, or out of touch. It seems relevant right now. Also, because it was written in 1956 it was banned everywhere for several reasons. Consider it starts like this: I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,/ dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix then just keeps going nonstop, every phrase packing a punch. This first sections deals with people; people who are struggling, who are addicted, who are living in poverty and trauma. It ends with this line: with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years. Part II is about Moloch, which the internet tells me is a biblical reference. I'll just quote the one line from this section: Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind! Can you see why I thought this might have been written slightly more recently? Part III is about Carl Solomon, which is one of a number of names I had to look up. He was a writer famous for his work about the use of shock treatment on people who were mentally ill. I’m with you in Rockland where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul is innocent and immortal it should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse I’m with you in Rockland where fifty more shocks will never return your soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a cross in the void So if you want to read this be prepared to spend some time researching aspects of it in depth if you simply have to know - like me - or just take it in and make of it what you will.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Page

    It's National Poetry Month so I am trying to fill in a few gaps. I'm familiar with the opening of Howl, but I'd never read/heard the whole thing. It seemed most reasonable to listen to Ginsberg read it himself. It is iconic, and still pretty damned filthy and heretic in its content. Even in today's world where folks are hard to shock, there are surprising sequences within this work. That said, it's worth listening to and reading just to better understand beat poetry and the anger that fueled so m It's National Poetry Month so I am trying to fill in a few gaps. I'm familiar with the opening of Howl, but I'd never read/heard the whole thing. It seemed most reasonable to listen to Ginsberg read it himself. It is iconic, and still pretty damned filthy and heretic in its content. Even in today's world where folks are hard to shock, there are surprising sequences within this work. That said, it's worth listening to and reading just to better understand beat poetry and the anger that fueled so much creativity in that era.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lauren (Cook's Books)

    fifty more shocks will never return your soul to its body again from is a pilgrimage to a cross in the void I think I've tried to listen to readings of Howl in the past but the stupidly let the time stamp and my lack of knowledge turn me away. Split down across pages like this, I could really get lost in the poetry, enjoying the fact there was no consistent rhyme or rhythm, really just focusing on the words and the contradictions and finding a rhythm in it all the same. Teenage me would have love fifty more shocks will never return your soul to its body again from is a pilgrimage to a cross in the void I think I've tried to listen to readings of Howl in the past but the stupidly let the time stamp and my lack of knowledge turn me away. Split down across pages like this, I could really get lost in the poetry, enjoying the fact there was no consistent rhyme or rhythm, really just focusing on the words and the contradictions and finding a rhythm in it all the same. Teenage me would have loved this and she would have let everyone know it

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    I'm choosing not to give this book a star rating because I feel I am too uninformed in poetry to be fair. This went so far over my head. Although I can recognise Ginsberg's work as hugely important, not only in literature but also to the queer community, I can't say it touched me. This I'm sure is due to my own ignorance. Although I respect Ginsberg, certainly Beat Poetry is not for me. Perhaps each of us get only one of the Beats. For me, it's not Ginsberg. (For the record, it's not Kerouac eith I'm choosing not to give this book a star rating because I feel I am too uninformed in poetry to be fair. This went so far over my head. Although I can recognise Ginsberg's work as hugely important, not only in literature but also to the queer community, I can't say it touched me. This I'm sure is due to my own ignorance. Although I respect Ginsberg, certainly Beat Poetry is not for me. Perhaps each of us get only one of the Beats. For me, it's not Ginsberg. (For the record, it's not Kerouac either. Answers on a postcard.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This graphic novel version of Howl was so beautifully illustrated! Definitely worth reading it this way. The poem itself is so strange and gritty and the very definition of Beat Poetry. I’m glad I read it after reading On the Road so that I already knew what the writers of the movement spent their time doing. And the free way they lived.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Madi Badger

    I'm not entirely sure that I understood the work of Ginsberg, but it gave me feelings of urgency, melancholy, and reminded me of the musical Rent, for some reason? As well as the book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". Overall I enjoyed it though, because poetry is more about how it makes you feel than actually understanding what the author is trying to say. I'm not entirely sure that I understood the work of Ginsberg, but it gave me feelings of urgency, melancholy, and reminded me of the musical Rent, for some reason? As well as the book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". Overall I enjoyed it though, because poetry is more about how it makes you feel than actually understanding what the author is trying to say.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julie Bettina

    Not having read the original poem, I felt this was perhaps not the best way to meet for the first time. The format makes it chopped up and honestly a bit hard to follow, and the illustrations... Well. Not my cup of tea.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Milka

    I was first introduced to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when in 2010, in my most fervent time of James Franco obsession, I stumbled into the film about the poem with Franco playing Ginsberg. I was immediately taken my the film and the poem, and ended up reading the original text after watching the film. Since then, I have read it multiple times, but it wasn't until I found this graphic novel from the shelves of my local library, that I became to realize that there was a graphic novel (or I guess graphic I was first introduced to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when in 2010, in my most fervent time of James Franco obsession, I stumbled into the film about the poem with Franco playing Ginsberg. I was immediately taken my the film and the poem, and ended up reading the original text after watching the film. Since then, I have read it multiple times, but it wasn't until I found this graphic novel from the shelves of my local library, that I became to realize that there was a graphic novel (or I guess graphic poem) version of it. Ginsberg wrote Howl in in 1955, and it was published in 1956 as part of his poetry collection called Howl and Other Poems. The collection is dedicated to Carl Solomon, an American writer arguably most known for his Report from the Asylum: Afterthoughts of a Shock Patient, an personal account of the shock-therapy treatment used to treat patients in asylums. Both Howl and Ginsberg are widely associated with the Beat Generation, a group of authors who became popular throughout the 1950s. The publications of the Beat culture are known for their rejection of standard narrative values, exploration of religions, rejection of materialism, experimentation of drugs and sexual exploration and liberation. These elements can certainly be found from Howl as well, which uses graphic words and descriptions of drug use and sex. Because of its themes, Howl was involved in a obscenity trial in 1957. Due to its references to illicit drugs and both heterosexual and homosexual practices, copies of the poem were seized during importation process from London and San Francisco police officer arrested and jailed a bookstore manager for selling the poem. The publisher of the book, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was arrested too, and on the trial nine literary experts were invited to testify on the poem's behalf. The line in particular that was used in the trial is: "who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy." Yes, it certainly is pretty graphic, but the fact that someone was arrested over that feels so strange now. Ferlinghetti eventually won the case and the poem was decided to have "redeeming social importance". The case was highly publicized, which probably led to more people reading the poem, and it is this trial that is also used as an inspiration of the 2010 film starring James Franco. Like the original poem, the graphic novel/illustrated poem is also divided into three parts and a footnote. My personal favorite is part III, which is a directly addressed to Carl Solomon, the man the poem is dedicated to. Ginsberg met Solomon in 1949 during his brief stay in a mental hospital, and the "Rockland" the third part mentions several times is actually Columbia Presbyterian Psychological Institute. The poem is illustrated by Eric Drooker, who worked with Ginsberg in 1992 for a collection of Illuminated Poems (which is definitely something I need to get my hands on next). Drooker also designed the animation for the 2010 film and it is actually the film art that is used in this graphic novel. Drooker's graphic novel and the film go hand-in-hand and after seeing the film several times, it was interesting to see the animation close-up and go through it in my own pace. The more I read this poem, the more I like it. Every single time I pick it up, I feel like reading it out loud just to be able to hear the way the words sound together. Both the poem and the film are definitely bit out of the mainstream, but if you are interested in familiarizing yourself with some of the significant pieces of American literature, Howl is definitely worth a read. The film is also brilliant, and one of my personal all-time favorites, and though James Franco has turned kind of creepy in the past couple of years, he is brilliant as Ginsberg. It was no surprise to me that I loved it as much as I did, and I definitely want to buy this for myself at some point to add it to my Ginsberg collection. It also really made me want to watch the film again, which I will probably do as soon as I have time for it.

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