Most helpful critical review
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A note on this edition
on 2 January 2012
With Ginsberg having been such a brilliant spoken poet, Howl is much more powerful to read at the same time as listening to a live recording of his reading it. With his intonation and tone behind it, the poem is even more moving and vivid than it is as written. A word of caution on this (the penguin classics 2009) edition though. Once I'd found an early enough recording to find Ginsberg completely unedited, I was surprised to come across the occasional small omission when comparing with this edition, usually a word here or there left out of this copy. However I was mostly infuriated by the deliberate starring out of one expletive in this Penguin edition. Ironically, the very same expletive is printed in an earlier stanza/breath of the poem without being starred, and then inexplicably its censored later on.
Given the poem's unique history when it comes to notions of obscenity and censorship, it seems sad that Penguin have felt the need to star out an expletive. While it is certainly not much of a mark on reading the poem, it does seem to undermine the spirit of reading the poem as raw and effectively as it was originally written, spoken and intended.