Howl and Other Poems
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- Sales Rank:775,298
- Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
- Media:Library Binding
- Shipping Weight (lbs):0.3
- Dimensions (in):6.3 x 5 x 0.4
- Publication Date:October 15, 2008
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The prophetic poem that launched a generation when it was first published in 1965 is here presented in a commemorative fortieth Anniversary Edition.
When the book arrived from its British printers, it was seized almost immediately by U.S. Customs, and shortly thereafter the San Francisco police arrested its publisher and editor, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, together with City Lights Bookstore manager Shigeyoshi Murao. The two of them were charged with disseminating obscene literature, and the case went to trial in the municipal court of Judge Clayton Horn. A parade of distinguished literary and academic witnesses persuaded the judge that the title poem was indeed not obscene and that it had “redeeming social significance.”
Thus was Howl & Other Poems freed to become the single most influential poetic work of the post-World War II era, with over 900,000 copies now in print."
The epigraph for Howl is from Walt Whitman: "Unscrew the locks from the doors!/Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!" Announcing his intentions with this ringing motto, Allen Ginsberg published a volume of poetry which broke so many social taboos that copies were impounded as obscene, and the publisher, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was arrested. The court case that followed found for Ginsberg and his publisher, and the publicity made both the poet and the book famous. Ginsberg went on from this beginning to become a cultural icon of sixties radicalism. This works seminal place in the culture is indicated in Czeslaw Milosz's poetic tribute to Ginsberg: "Your blasphemous howl still resounds in a neon desert where the human tribe wanders, sentenced to unreality".
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