Head of the Statue of Liberty on display in a park in Paris…Irregular meter and structure, psychedelic, surrealistic?, erotic, European, American, so American, angry lament, sinister… and much more.
I discovered Beat Generation when I was at the University. The first book I read was Kerouac’s On The Road. I must confess I didn’t fall in love at the first sight with automatic writing but I felt intrigued. The next book I can remember was Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch and I really could penetrate in the beat atmosphere. I loved Burroughs’ dreams of methadone and alcohol and whores and truncated words. Years after, I recognize Burroughs as one of my favorite writers.
But today I would like to talk about Allen Ginsberg, the poet who created one of the most representative poems in the History of American Literature. Howl is as dramatic as tragic as comic as great as obscene. Yes, the accusation made the poem more and more popular –it’s always good to be named in the New York Times- but the poem is much more than an obscene piece of provocation. Ginsberg’s work investigates in the deepest point of the human soul to describe those times of desolation and solitude, these times of peace on war and war and peace, these times of desperation, times for forgotten lovers and times for anonymous killers. Howl is the American answer to the II World War, the war that destroyed much more than civilizations, the war against the reason and a war versus the Humankind. The poem tries to construct a new scream against the intolerance. Yes, we can do it, we can make a better world with the ashes of these lonely people who suffered the most horrible crime… we can find an new illusion in this desperate poem, a new hope for lost souls, a new beginning… again and again. We find the losers in the cities, losers lost in cars and highways and copulating minds closed into their own wastes. There’s the greatness of literature constructing new hopes new worlds new old people. Let’s dream again, let’s howl for the first time.
Let’s listen it slowly, let’s listen it clear and fast. And here it is his cruelest howl.
America, America and this America he’s given you all and now he’s nothing. America is the wasted song for he wasted land of losers. 1957, a time to lose and a time to remember, a time for America. Isn’t it obvious? The aim of communism and the capitalists fighting versus absurd minds and ancient ideas of peace. There’s a poet behind, there’s a poet calling for America back, calling for its destructions, calling for our renaissance. It’s time to forget gods and past, it’s time to remember we are now nothing but smoke. America for the Americans and America for none, dreamers lost in their own dreams of greatness and films and women and smiles and, finally, the cruel deception for the dream. Here it is Ginsberg’s lost dream. Here it is… America.