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allen ginsberg // howl

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lisa brown

on 28 March 2013

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Transcript of allen ginsberg // howl

ALLEN GINSBERG's howl an introduction "Ginsberg is both tragic and dynamic, a lyrical genius, con man extraordinaire, and probably the single greatest influence on American poetical voice since Whitman." —bob dylan "My protest against the verbal, the rational and the acceptable took the form of disruption of a critical discussion of Mallarmé and other neo-dada clowning, which resulted in my incarceration in a psychiatric hospital in Manhattan. Where I encountered Allen Ginsberg, a fellow patient who was intrigued by my collection of Paris-acquired books. Among the Artaud, Genêt, Michaux, Miller, and Lautréamont was Isou's _Nouvelle Poésie et une Nouvelle Musique_. We discussed all of these things by way of laying the groundwork for Allen's eventual publication of 'Howl' in 1956." —carl solomon "Early in the [insulin shock-therapy] treatment, which consists of fifty hypoglycemic comas, I reacted in a highly paranoid manner and mocked the doctors by accusing them of 'amputating' my brain. Of course, my illness was such that I was perpetually joking (having presented myself to the hospital upon reaching my majority, I had requested immediate electrocution since I was now of age—how serious was this request, I have no way of knowing—and was discharged as cured exactly nine months later, the day before Christmas. ... The coma soon confirms all of the patient's fears. What began as a drugged sleep soon changes organically adn becomes one of the millions of psycho-physical universes through which he must pass, before being awakened by his dose of glucose. ... Lacking a time-sense and inhabiting all of thse universes at one and the same time, my condition was one of omnipresence, of being everywhere at no time. Hence, of being nowhere. Hence, of inhabiting that Void of which Antonin Artaud had screamed (I had been conditioned in my illness by classical surrealism)." —from "Report from the Asylum: Afterthoughts of a Shock Patient" by Carl Goy (aka carl solomon) I am striding up and down in front of him taking control of the situation, "Look, there are reporters outside waiting to come up and cast the image again, let's do it now, let's together make a break, escape the Names, escape our minds, escape their minds, escape the words, break through ourselves, Cut out! Cut out!"

"But how?" he says looking at me unhappily from the couch—

"Don't you see?" I said—"it's out feelings, our feelings who we are—that's our identity not all these thoughts and ideas and angrys"—

He falls back in the chair, his face turns even redder—I am afraid he'll strike me, "But I was depending on you, you let me down, you still don't realize my—"

He begins slapping his palm to his red square Frankenstein forehead—hard, hard slaps—as if hitting a solid bone red object— I get frightened—have I misunderstood?—have all things been mixed so now I am lost and he's damaged:

He: "My feelings always been the trouble, I am split in that organically by the shock"—he points to his freak grotesque sponge swollen doctored body—"How can this ...?"

I am desperate, I break down, I think how can I now love this body with my body, how can I touch him and isn't that what he wants and I wanted that we touch with love at last in the end and I cry.

"O Carl!" weeping to him not to desert me, "O Carl! I need you! O Carl! O Carl! O Carl!" broken down as he gazes at me at last, but I am hopeless like a baby with him wanting him to hold me, "O Carl! O Carl! O Carl!" and wake. —from "'O Carl!' A Dream: 1963," allen ginsberg eric drooker
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