Chamblee54

Happy Birthday Mr. Ginsberg

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Poem by chamblee54 on June 3, 2016







Allen Ginsberg would be 90 today, if nature had not made other plans in 1997. The son of Louis and Naomi Ginsberg arrived, in Newark NJ, June 3,1926.

Allen Ginsberg had a part in many new age dramas, with a few musicals and comedies thrown in for good measure. Hippie, beatnik, gay, artist, peace promoter, Buddhist convert…these are a few of the labels. He became famous for being famous, well known to people who never read a word of his poems. Two of the more famous were howl and kaddish.

Howl became scandalous in 1956 when it was busted for obscenity. It is mild by today’s standards, but almost landed Mr. Ginsberg in prison. PG heard about howl in the early nineties, and looked high and low for a copy. He could not find one. Today on the internet, not only is the text widely available, there are recordings of Mr. Ginsberg reading his work. (Here is an updated version, Howl 2011.)

The original plan was to listen to Mr. Ginsberg read while editing photos. PG was going to listen to the words, and think of something to say while listening to the bard. About the seventeenth time Mr. Ginsberg shouted “Moloch”, the plan began to fall apart.

The next poem was Kaddish. This is about Naomi Ginsberg, the mother of the poet, who evidently had some issues. This was tough for PG to listen to. The other night, PG had a disturbing dream about his own late mother. In this dream, a fearsome shouter came in wearing a black suit, which meant that he intended to do some scary shouting. PG went into another room, where his recently deceased mother was laying on a table.

1956 was the year of the obscenity trial for howl. This took place on the other side of america, from the Brookhaven where PG was two years old. This was the year when his brother was born, the year when the Georgia legislature voted in a new flag, for whatever reason. In 1955, President Eisenhower had a heart attack. Many wondered if it was a good idea to have Richard Nixon as the vice president.

Finally, PG could stand no more of that voice. The player was turned off, the files stored on an external hard drive, never to be heard again. PG just is not a poetry person. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.






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