Allen Ginsberg:Transcendentalist?

Warning: The videos, and some of the text may be considered obscene:

Image result for allen ginsbergAllen Ginsberg was a poet who bared his mind in the 1950’s. His poem Howl, made him famous, or infamous for it’s somewhat candid and sometimes obscene language and content.

Image result for howl definition

In Part II of Howl, Ginsberg equates capitalist society with the God Moloch, who was a God that the early Hebrews and others sacrificed their children.

“What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?” Ginsberg is saying here that cities, society has taken away any chance of those who inhabit them, of having imagination, of being able to think for themselves,

“Moloch, Moloch, Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasures! blind capitals! demonic industries!spectral nations! invincible madhouses!granite cocks! Monstorous bombs!” Everything is the same with houses, there is no imagination in design. These spaces are there not to be beautiful, but to have a purpose; to fit as many bodies in as little as space as possible. The treasures we build for ourselves and for our companies in this world of corporate greed, do not come without a cost, Many lives are lost, wasted with empty heads, empty brains unable to think for themselves. Invincible madhouses, are invincible because once someone is labelled as mad, that label follows them around, and nothing they say is taken serious from then on, People are defeated. Granite Cocks are the monolithic phallic symbols. Skyscrapers really are a phallic symbol, corporations saying, look how big and powerful am I. And Monstorous bombs refers to actual bombs, nuclear or otherwise that have the capability of destroying millions of lives in one push of a red button.

Why did Ginsberg call his poem Howl? A howl is defined as a mournful cry of perhaps a dog or other animal. Ginsberg may have thought himself a dog, but the emphasis should be placed on the sound, not what makes it. Howl is a mournful cry. Sometimes the cry is made in anger, sometimes in pain, but mostly in a sadness that eats you right to the bones. Ginsberg was expressing the sadness he feels when he think of the world that has lost it’s way. Of a world that has forgotten nature.

Ginsberg reflects on friends left behind, in particular, Carl Solomon, whom he met in a mental asylum and whom remained there as Ginsberg was released. He mentions over and again Rockland, which is a mental asylum but not the one in which Ginsberg met Solomon.

in Footnote, Ginsberg reflects on people and places and things which have influenced his life and his writing. He calls these “Holy”. To him, the people that Ginsberg met and received understanding from, and had an influence in his life, were sacred. People to be revered or idolised.

This is one work that deals with the emotions in such a diverse way. It is a spiritual moment. Once heard, one can never unhear the words in the poem. Once heard, this poem will surely affect your view on socialism, capitalism and what is important to you, and the world.

I have called Ginsberg a modern day transcendentalist. I think that is accurate. Here is a man who walks his own path, one less traveled. Here is a man who has rejected society and become the utter non-conformist. Here is a man who is self reliant, poor he may be but self reliant in terms of not accepting another’s thoughts or ideas without first discovering and telling his own.

Genius or madman? Don’t let me or anyone else sway your judgement. Make up your own mind. Its what a true transcendentalist would do.



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Peer Review: Mahdi, Huck Finn

This is a good entry about the ending of the book. I would ask that you look at your spelling in the last two paragraphs of your review. I am sure the word should read philosophy. Also the tense of the word haven’t should be past so should read hadn’t. Blessings. Dave

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Peer Review: Audrey, David Malouf

Perhaps Fergus is watching all from a bush somewhere close. Perhaps Fergus didn’t want to be found. Although we do have an account of his death in the book… but I could imagine him, or some other bushrangers looking on the whole setting, seeing if an ambush were possible for the freeing of a comrade.

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Peer Review:Mahdi, The colour line

Hi Mahdi,
I don’t really understand this line “That the colour-line a long as it exists there will white people will continue to be inferior and more dominant than those of colour.” There are also some spelling and grammatical errors in this post.
I agree with the sentiment though. It is sad that throughout history, it is white man who feels he is superior to anyone else. Its Ironical that a tan was sought after by many of the white people ( me included) because the darker skin represented health and vitality. There always has been a divide between not only white and black, but wherever the dominant race or religion sees someone who is different. I am sure it is fear of the unknown. White people, and other majorities need to educate themselves about other people, and not just say that “because there are more of us, we are right, and everyone else is wrong”. After all “we all bleed red”..

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Peer Review: Mahdi

The picture reminds me more of Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy than this Robert Frost poem. weird eh. the picture is of course very appropriate for the poem. The man in this poem had come out to kill himself and then decided against it. In Master and Man, Vasili killed himself by his mere stupidity. I have looked at the phenomena of deep snow… It acts as an absorber of sound…similar to soundproofing in a music studio. Much like space… in the snow, nobody can hear you scream.

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Peer Review: Linda

Such a well researched and written piece on these two men. I found it interesting ( I shared with you earlier) that these men were a couple, it was well known, but still they were allowed and welcomed into St Paul’s Castle Hill, which is in the conservative Sydney Anglican Diocese. So interesting that you found out about the last years of Manoly’s life being spent in a Nursing home that was indeed Patrick White’s childhood home.
Linda your research and writing into homosexual history is astounding. You never fail to amaze me. Thank you for your continued support, affirmation and interest in the welfare of gay Australians.

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Peer Review Audrey

Thank you for sharing that you, like me have difficulty understanding what it is Francis was trying to say, to make sense of the words on the page. I think it was Michael who said in class “We know when we have a spiritual experience, we sometimes cannot put it into words, but we know it”. Michael equated it to hearing a Beethoven Symphony or seeing a profound Artwork. It leaves you breathless, awestruck…Leaving you saying to yourself and others “What just happened” . The answer is, I don’t know but it really did happen. You have done well in this course. It is always a pleasure to be in class with you.

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