Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Howls and Whispers

Howl and Other Poems was published in the fall...Image via Wikipedia

Today over at the U. the English department organized a public serial reading, mostly by profs and kids, of Ginsberg's "Howl" to celebrate National Reading Week.

It is a vigorous poem, Whitman with his pubes ablaze you might say, and I do enjoy hearing it read well. But maybe it was the burden of filling an outdoor space with sound or maybe it was the fact those who had the gusto didn't want to outshine those who didn't -- whatever the reason, too many read in zombie tones,as if surprised and a little distressed at what they were reading.

If you don't sound as if you've recently been beaten with a hose and somewhat resented it, when it comes to saying "Howl" why bother? Proclaiming the joys of consensual sodomy with rough trade isn't tea shoppe conversation.

(I don't think, though those are not my areas of expertise, either of 'em.)

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