Sunday, April 17, 2011

angelheaded hipsters

Last night I went to a poetry reading, the Bang Out series, in the Mission district of San Francisco. The theme of the reading was social media disasters. The topic had such potential to be quite rich but I was a bit disappointed. There were a few very talented poets, one in particular who had been pals with Allen Ginsberg.
As I tried to explain to a friend the complicated and wild adventures of the Beat generation, I realized how much I revere that group of artists. So, I naturally went home to read some Kerouac and sent my friend a barrage of Ginsberg poems with my own literary criticism, marking brilliant passages. I then turned to Rob Epstein's movie "Howl" with James Franco and again fell in love with the newness and originality of this period of poetry. (Not to mention James Franco..mmm)
What will be the next poetic revolution?
How can we, as artists, "make it new"? (As Ezra Pound would stress as imperative)
These are questions that I ask myself when I am writing my own poetry and hope to answer or see the answer in my lifetime!

The poem "Howl" is very long but this is my favorite excerpt, incidentally it is how the poem begins:

by Allen Ginsberg
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated
-taken from the poetry foundation
And I am now signed up for a Gender and Modernism class in the Fall!
And am applying for a job at City Lights romantic...

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