National Poetry Month 2017: Allen Ginsberg

Finding a poet or poem to celebrate for National Poetry Month today was difficult for me. Like I said last year, I’m not really a fan of poetry.

The rare exception is Beat poets. I was born perpetually looking backwards, always joking I’d been born thirty years too late. (And then the universe saw fit to grant me that poorly-expressed wish on November 9 last year.) From a young age I was fixated on hippie counterculture, as well as its predecessor: The Beats. One of my self-directed research projects at school was on Allen Ginsberg. I don’t remember where or when I first read “Howl“, but there was something so new and so weird and so arresting about it that I wanted more. Tragically, I’m separated from my Ginsberg collection—Planet News, Collected Poems, and his journals—but I can direct you to some of my favorites.

I think my all-time favorite is actually “Sunflower Sutra“:

We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our own eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision.

America” feels apropos, even today.

If you have the time, you can also listen to him read “Kaddish.”

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