For our discussion of Allen Ginsberg, take a look at Howl Part I and A Supermarket in California (see links below for the text of each poem as well as readings by Ginsberg). Howl is a little lengthy but very cool so get through as much as you can! Focusing on these two poems, give us your take on some similarities as well as some noticeable differences between the two poets. Start by considering the structure of the poems. What influence by Whitman do you see in the structure of Ginsberg’s poetry? Secondly, think about the themes and imagery of Ginsberg’s two poems and where we have seen some of these themes and images within Whitman’s poetry. Some areas to think about include their views on the American dream and American institutions, themes of “interconnectedness,” and themes of sexuality. Finally, we have discussed the evolving connection between Whitman “the man” and Whitman “the poet.” How do you feel about this connection with Ginsberg when reading his poetry?
Be sure to check out the readings of each poem by Ginsberg as well. They feel very different when heard as opposed to read.
Text of Howl - here
Reading of Howl - here
Text of A Supermarket in California - here
Reading of A Supermarket in California - here