Howl A Graphic Novel (Paperback)
|"Including art from the major motion picture"--Cover.|
From the Publisher:
First published in 1956, Allen Ginsberg's Howl is a prophetic masterpiecean epic raging against dehumanizing society that overcame censorship trials and obscenity charges to become one of the most widely read poems of the century.
Published in conjunction with the big screen film, HOWL, about the poet and the times that produced this game-changing poetic work, this illustrated book is not a reprint of Allen Ginsberg's remarkable poem amplified with drawings. Rather, it is a physical keepsake from the film. Street artist and cartoonist Eric Drooker contributed images to the film, and these are frozen here in book form.
and a mentally unstable mother. Both parents espoused leftist politics,
though the father's mainstream leftism was overshadowed by the mother's
obsession with Stalin and communism. Initially more influenced by their
politics than their artistic inclinations, Ginsberg intended to make them
proud by studying pre-law at Columbia University. After encounters with Mark
Van Doren and Lionel Trilling, however, Ginsberg changed his tack and became
a literature student. The world of contemporary writing quickly opened up
for him: through Lucien Carr, a fellow student, he met both William
Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. In 1945, Ginsberg was suspended from Columbia,
either for harboring Kerouac in his room, or for writing offensive protest
slogans on his dorm room window, or both. After a period of wandering, he
found himself back at Columbia--as a patient in the psychiatric ward. After 8
months of treatment and concerted effort, he finally graduated with his B.A.
in 1949. Feeling newly respectable, and determined to stay that way,
Ginsberg took up with a young woman and tried to make a career for himself
as a marketing researcher. His job studying America's attitudes towards
toothpaste entertained him for a while, but finally his efforts to play
straight wore him down, and he abandoned New York, the professional world,
and his feigned heterosexuality. He moved to San Francisco in 1954 and
immersed himself in a pool of artists and writers, including the influential
older poet Kenneth Rexroth and Peter Orlovsky, with whom he fell in love and
sustained a relationship for 30 years. In the summer of 1955, Ginsberg began
writing HOWL, the poem that would change his life and make as deep a mark on
American poetry as any poem of the 20th century. Lawrence Ferlinghetti
published HOWL in 1956, with a preface by William Carlos Williams and in
spite of an obscenity trial that threatened to bury the poem in infamy.
Ginsberg's career took off from this point, but he didn't limit himself to
furthering his poetic success: he aimed for a worldwide impact. He met
Timothy Leary in 1960, who admitted him to his Psilocybin Project at
Harvard, and turned Ginsberg into a disciple of psychedelia. As a poet and
cultural warrior, Ginsberg was ubiquitous in the 1960s, travelling the world
in search of enlightenment (India, Japan) or enjoyable trouble (Cuba,
Prague); participating in Ken Kesey's Acid Tests; leading, with Gary Snyder,
the OM chant at the 1967 Be-In in San Francisco; taking part in the 1968
Chicago Democratic Convention turmoil; and testifying at the trial of the
Chicago 7. As the sixties wound down, Ginsberg channeled his energy into
more spiritual pursuits, taking on Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche as his guru in
1970 and founding the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the
Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado in the same year. His poetry took
center stage again in 1973, when he won the National Book Award for THE FALL
OF AMERICA, but in 1977 he toured with Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder
Review. In the early 1980s he collaborated with The Clash, performing both
on their COMBAT ROCK album and appearing on stage with them in concert.
Wherever Ginsberg went, controversy was sure to follow, and even as late as
1988 the Pacifica radio station WBAI blocked a plan to read HOWL on air,
fearing it would violate obscenity laws. But there were honors and
distinctions to balance the scandals: in 1986 Ginsberg won the Frost Medal
for Poetry, in 1990 he won an American Book Award, and in 1993 he was made a
Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et Letters by the French Minister of Culture.
He began teaching at Brooklyn College in 1986 and remained in New York until
his death, of liver cancer, on April 5, 1997.