Though formally and thematically, “Song” is the simplest of the poems I have looked at, its concision encapsulates allusive sophistication and its message is one of fortitude and power, summarizing the essence of Ginsberg’s spiritual conscience, which draws out strength from images of delicate beauty. Much of its continual relevance emerges in more recent critical discussions. The splendour of “inner moonlight” can shine only when social obligations, structures and rhythms have been stripped away, a revelation boldly put forward in “Howl” whose legacy cannot be underestimated. Lee, A. Robert, Modern American Counter Writing: Beats, Outriders, Ethnics (New York: Routledge, 2010). [Allen Ginsberg in 1959 - Photograph by Joe Rosenthal for the San Francisco Chronicle] "Baby-faced Allen Ginsberg revealed" is the headline. He was born in Newark, New Jersey, on this day in 1926. Yet within the framing of an unpremeditated outburst which defies the regimentation of poetic convention arises something far more lucid and careful, enabling a spiritually enlightened voice to override the poem’s outward effect of chaos. Yet as the spiritual consciousness presented in Ginsberg’s poetry colludes Abrahamic and Eastern doctrine, it also gives insight into something far beyond these scriptures and traditions — a truly universal vision grounded in the feeling of what it means to be meaningfully connected rather than in any concrete doctrinal formulation, and is thus accessible and impactful even to atheistic readers. While the speaker in this song is physically beaten down by the exhaustion of staying awake to play music, his “senses stripped” and “toes too numb to step”26 much like the “angel-headed hipsters” portrayed in Ginsberg’s “Howl,” it is only in this state of physical dejection that he is reduced to the simplicity of creative flow and hence “ready to go anywhere.”27. Lysergic Acid. In dissecting the relationship between Walt Whitman and the writing of Ginsberg, Wills asserts: Whitman’s American vision was one of criticism yet optimism, rather than the Beat philosophy of laying back and making their own little space in an essentially doomed society, while looking back to the past and lamenting the losses of freedoms and the rolling tide of development that led to the crushing weight of an uncaring world.48. Unlike Kerouac, Ginsberg does not propose running across the continent, but rather turning to the inner self to unearth spiritual truth. The lines “and so must rest/ in the arms of love/ at last,/ must rest in the arms/ of love” seem particularly attuned with the melodic implications of the poem’s title, conveying a lullaby-like rhythm through repetition. In universalizing spirituality, Ginsberg ensures that no reader is excluded, offering insight to all in a mood of open-armed inclusiveness. Allen Ginsberg has 271 books on Goodreads with 390751 ratings. PDF. Indeed, he implies that spiritual revelation is not the reception of commonly-accepted wisdom but an active quest intimately linked with human vitality. 51 Ibid., pp. .America when will we end the human war/Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb. 32 Muñoz, José Esteban, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (Sexual Cultures), (New York: NYU Press, 2099) p. 25. ― Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems. It re-ignites the eternal spark within us, fostering the seeds to make room for light and authentic connection over darkness, or apparent bleakness of inner conflicts, political gloom or other disillusioning factors in our surroundings. The union of religious institution with homosexuality makes a bold claim, the format of “HYMMNN” echoing a biblical passage through the words “exalted,” “blessed” and “He.”, On the one hand, this link appears radically ahead of Ginsberg’s time and could even continue to elicit controversy in a twenty-first century context, as the Church remains one of the few institutions in the modern Western world which remains actively opposed to homosexuality. This is a deeply unnerving realisation: a reality commonly obscured by social narratives for the sake of comfort and encouragement of subservience to the mythic constructs which underpin the functioning of Western civilisation. .” The author's sense of resentment toward nuclear testing and America’s bloody destruction of Hiroshima reveals his more liberal view of peace in the wake of war. 49 Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems, p. 14. Wikipedia article about Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg, Allen, The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice [First Journals and Poems, 1937-52], eds. This “king kind light of mind”59 which flashes to the forefront across the darker themes raised in “Howl,” “Kaddish,” “Sunflower Sutra,” “A Supermarket in California” and “Song” is a signal of victory against all in the world which is contrived, prescribed and stifling: elements of our existence which mar the fulfilment of connecting with the higher self, in which state we are at our most authentic. “First thought, best thought” was how central Beat poet Allen Ginsberg described their method of spontaneous writing. “Song” “No. 19 Ginsberg, Allen, “Spiritual Poetics – 7”, The Allen Ginsberg Project, (8 August 2011) [accessed 25 October 2018]. They became known as the Beat Poets––a name that evokes weariness, down-and-outness, the beat under a piece of music, and beatific spirituality. Ariel, Yakov, “From a Jewish Communist to a Jewish Buddhist: Allen Ginsberg as a Forerunner of a New American Jew,” Religions 10(2), 100 (2019) . On one hand, such obstructions to direct engagement with spirituality are symptomatic of all human life: the interventions of worry imposed by our thinking mind onto experience, limiting our capacity to live in its flow; the emotional disappointments that we uncover in finding our relationships flawed and ourselves at times falling short of how we would wish to be; the conflict between individual desires and instincts against the pressures, expectations and structures of our governing societies. An example of this is in the exclamation “what peaches and what penumbras!”50; a peach, something tangible and sensory, is placed beside a far more abstract concept, a “penumbra” – the area of partial shade cast by an opaque object, a term used in relation to lunar eclipses. Share this quote: Like Quote. 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