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on 12 June 2014
I had never read any of Allen Ginsberg's work. Being able to buy a small volume at a reasonable price is perfect for just sampling his works. That way you won't waste money if you end up not liking his work.
As for the work, I can't say I have become a big fan, but he is very adept at his trade.
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on 28 March 1997
Ginsberg - The name flashes at you like some familiar face in a crowd of a thousand faces. He grasps every thread of the Beat Generation and embodies it in his work. The poem "A Supermarket in California" details a mystic journey into the thoughts of a Wandering writer who, in such a mind, asks " ...and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?" The book "Howl and other Poems" wonderfully pieces together some of the most enticing and thought-provoking works of Allen Ginsberg. This book allows you to sample poems from the reknowned "Howl", to the light airiness of"Asphodel". At one time, Ginsberg was compared to the genius mind of Walt Whitman, by using the similar style of repetition in his poetry. Now, Ginsberg is noted for his own syle of Genius, and his use of "mental tatalization" that simply cannot be compared with any other, even those in the Beat Generation.
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on 11 July 2012
Perfect pocket sized book with the complete poems in it (not just extracts, which i have mistakely bought before!). Very approprietely priced and the introduction most interesting. Would reccomend smaller/less packaging though!
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on 10 July 2014
Most famous for the epic poem Howl, which launched Ginsberg’s career and caused an obscenity trial, this collection is also notable for greats like America, Sunflower Sutra and In Back of the Real.
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on 17 July 1998
When Allen Ginsburg first began reading the poem "Howl" in coffee shops around San Francisco, he was immediately berated by city and state officials for breaking obsenity laws. Instead of backing off, he continued to write and read his poetry despite these official inquries. In doing so he established himself as one of the most out spoken writers of his time. In "Howl" he captures the universal feeling of hopelessness, yet does so with a small glimmer of hope. This feeling can best be described in the opening line of "Howl", "I have seen the greatest minds of my generation destroyed by madness" Truelly a great work, in my humble opinion one of the best ever.
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on 9 August 1999
To be completely honest, I don't find Howl as interesting as I find Ginsberg's other poems. While Howl does reach the soul, I find that Ginsberg's poems America, Sunflower Sutra, and A Supermarket in California are much more effective this and a lot less annoying to read. I found myself plugging away through Howl because it got redundant and boring. The other poems are fresh and more personal than Howl. Howl is a great poem and it is easy to see how it receives so much acclaim, but as a fan of Ginsberg's work, I find that Howl pales in comparison to Ginsberg's America. By all means, purchase this book, but don't buy it with the expectation that Howl is the best poem in there, because it isn't.
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on 30 January 2017
I understand it is probably quite original and so on, I just do not like it very much. It does not move me like I wish to be moved. It really depends on what you want from poetry - but the perspective I get from this is not one that is lacking representation in society - I prefer my 'hopelessness' to have a bit more to it than sheer expression of this (and to somehow move no further).
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on 25 July 2000
Imagine that you close your eyes and the vibrating sound of the jazz slightly flows over your skin. While you are completely absorbed by that sound, a vortex of emotions gently comes out to shake your steadfastness, no matter who you are and how old you are. This is the sentiment I feel every time I read this book. Above all I appreciate its universal dimension that, almost half-century after its creation, make me share with the author this boundless feeling of defeat. Whenever you believe in something; whenever you are ready to bet on it; whenever you spend your positive energy to improve it and your trustfulness is betrayed, then, you are sharing the truest feeling of this book with the countless people who experienced it. When you read this book you feel the need of living and the pain of doing it: both of them portrayed in the picture of a gloomy America unables to take care of her sons. The poems convey the hopelessness of the American Dream which proved mendacious. They are made up of concrete images, which express the metaphysical aspects of life. Drug, sex and dead-living bodies seeking what does not exist: these are the most striking figures. In 'Howl' "Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!" represent the varied universe of sufferers who are joined by a metaphysical brotherhood. This union is best represented by the friendship between the narrator and Carl Solomon, the poet to whom the poem is addressed. The theme of a metaphysical brotherhood is also traced in 'A Supermarket in California' where the author dreams of talking to Walt Whitman and asking about the lost America. In 'America', the hopeful land, which was joyfully sung by the old bard in 'Leaves of Grass' a century before, has become the world of atom bomb, of human war, of machinery. Ginsberg says: "America I've given you all and now I'm nothing", but when he deepens into the problem he realises that he is America and he is talking to himself. Think about what it means...
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on 10 August 1996
Allen Ginsberg's Howl is W.C. Williams vision
of a "New Measure" made concrete. It is not only
a poem, as such but a lyrical cry that echoes
throughout the page and the reader's mind as he/she
lets the words rebound off a boundless
mind/soul. It is as if Ginsberg broke free from
the word-form lines that confine thought and
let his untampered ideas flow free onto the page
and then just leave them there to reform themselves
in the readers mind exactly as Ginsberg thought
them. He not only cast his un-strained thoughts
onto the page but also poured them into a mind-
breath mould that allowed them to be measured
by each breath the mind takes, re-inhaling the
glorious fumes with the base repitition of "Who..."
This not only gives the poem a measurable quality but
also an ethereal quality because it is not measured
physically but with each breath of the mind.
The second stanza is one of industrial wickedness
and power-hunger as well as divine-right rule and
god-like evil. It shows Moloch as The Tyrant and
money, corruption and greed as his arms, legs and blood.
The whole poems shines like a glossy white garage
on a soot covered hill.
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on 3 August 2012
Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" was probably the dividing line between two Americas, two generations, two sexualities, two cultures. He was of course indicted and arrested and this poem barred from publication - of course again making it sell a lot more copies eventually - but in a way he was America's first great modern poet. The first line became a sort of countercultural national mantra:

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked"

"Howl" presents a view of contemporary society, placing a source of human woe within human consciousness and perception. In his poem, Ginsberg uses the word "Moloch," for the condition of the mind. The narrator declares" Mental Moloch!"... Moloch who name is the Mind!" According to Ginsberg, we are born in a state of "natural ecstasy" but Moloch "enter's the soul early". He pushes for an emergence from the belly of "Moloch," or the monster of corrupt institutions that devours us, "bashe[s]" and eats "up our brains and imaginations."

One of my favorite poems of all time and an absolute must read.
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