Reed College Recording
Review by Julie Carpenter
The cool cats over at The Rocking Magpie, where they collect all sort of music and music adjacent reviews for your listening pleasure, asked Julie to review Allen Ginsberg's The Howl, Reed College Recording. Here are a couple snippets, but please head on over to the site and hang out for a while when you get there! There's plenty to see and hear.
Allen Ginsberg is commonly known for two things: being a founding member of the Beat Generation, and the fact that one of his books, Howl and Other Poems, was banned for obscenity.
The Beat Generation consisted of Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Herbert Huncke, and Lucien Carr, all of whom met in 1944. The main theme of the Beat Movement was to push back against the passionless and pointless society around them. Their protests included reimagining the current forms of poetry and narrative, which in their minds did not express the real experiences of the post war generation.
Ginsberg’s Howl – first performed in 1955 – was, like his other poetry, an attempt to free verse from the academy and the forms which had trapped it; and to express truth regardless of the prudish tastes of polite society.
In 1957, San Francisco police arrested the publisher on obscenity charges, ultimately leading to a court decision in favor of the book.
If you’ve never experienced insomnia you may not quite understand the thin coating of anxiety and despair that colors everything after about 1AM, when you realize you will not be going to sleep, nor might you grasp the twisted resourcefulness that results in attempting to work during the flat, exhausting hours when your body begs your brain to just stop already.
I feel compelled to let the reader know most nights I listened to the Reed College recordings, it was during the blunted dreamless hours after 1AM and further into the night.