Howl If You Hear Me


Howl and Other Poems, Ginsberg
EL237--Writing About Literature

Poetry is meant to be heard...

Exhibit A... Howl

Howl and the other poems in the chapbook are in itself a resistence to the norm and the destruction of political correctness before there was even a term called politcal correctness. I was just searching in a Wikipedia article at it stated that Ginsberg "saw the destructive forces of materialism and conformity in the United States at the time". That kind of a message needs to be in your face and over the top. The imagery of course is very compact but what about the structure of the poem itself. In Howl, GInsberg breaks almost every rule in the book by having notoriosly long lines and a saturation of repeated words and punctuation. In Canto II, the repitition of the name Moloch (a demon) shows the evil of society by association.

So does Howl has a message that is beyond the words?

I think so, that is the beauty of reading poetry. Once you see the pattern, you wonder how you could ever miss it.


I think so too. I think that, going along with the other agenda items I've read, it is mostly about all of the imperfections in society that need to be addressed but are too often ignored. The main message my be that these truths need to be confronted so that they can be remedied.

What many people see the world as and what it actually is is a main point in this poem.The conformists try to create the world as they think it should be. But guess what? people drink, do drugs, and have sex. Face it, conformists! Not all poems should be about love. By speaking of these controversial truths, we can hope to better ourselves. Problems fester when we ignore them.

The message I got from Howl is this: see the world as it is, not how you think it should be.