Howl and Other Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets) (Paperback)
The landmark, original publication of Allen Ginsberg's HOWL & Other Poems
HOWL & Other Poems, the prophetic book that launched the Beat Generation, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights Books in 1956. Considered the single most influential work of post-WWII United States poetry, the City Lights edition of HOWL has remained in print for more than 60 years, with well over 1,000,000 copies in print.
A strident critique of middle-class complacency, consumerism, and capitalist militarism, HOWL also celebrates the pleasures and freedoms of the physical world, including a tribute to homosexual love. In addition to "Howl," poems in the book include: "A Supermarket in California," "Sunflower Sutra," "America," "In the Baggage Room at Greyhound," "Transcription of Organ Music," and "Wild Orphan," among others.
A History of HOWL:
City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti first heard Allen Ginsberg read "Howl" at the Six Gallery event in San Francisco, 1955, which featured writers Philip Lamantia, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Michael McClure, introduced by poet Kenneth Rexroth. Jack Kerouac was present, but did not read, encouraging and cheering the other poets on. Ferlinghetti was so impressed by Ginsberg's performance, he immediately telegrammed him, referencing Ralph Waldo Emerson's response to Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, "I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?"
When the first edition of HOWL arrived from its British printers, it was seized almost immediately by U.S. Customs, and shortly thereafter the San Francisco police arrested its publisher and editor, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, together with the City Lights Bookstore manager, Shigeyoshi Murao. The two were charged with disseminating obscene literature, and the case was sent to trial. Ferlinghetti partnered with the ACLU to launch a defense of HOWL, and a parade of distinguished literary and academic witnesses appeared in court to persuade the judge of its merits. In the end, famously conservative Judge Clayton Horn ruled that the poem was not obscene, but rather, as he stated emphatically, HOWL was a work of "redeeming social significance."
The landmark decision signaled a sea change in American culture, and the City Lights edition of HOWL became a vital cornerstone in the ongoing struggle for free expression and representation. It continues to attract generation after generation of readers.
"It is the poet, Allen Ginsberg, who has gone, in his own body, through the horrifying experiences described from life in these pages."--William Carlos Williams
"Ginsberg is both tragic and dynamic, a lyrical genius . . . probably the single greatest influence on American poetical voice since Whitman."--Bob Dylan
"Not only did he give us love and poetry, he reminded us of our civic duty to use our voice."--Patti Smith
"Howl was Allen's metamorphosis from quiet, brilliant, burning bohemian scholar trapped by his flames and repressions to epic vocal bard."--Michael McClure
The Inaugural Santa Fe Literary Festival was a huge success!
Collected Works was very proud to have been on-site all weekend as the official bookstore of the Santa Fe Festival. Bestselling, prizewinning authors and literary legends like Margaret Atwood, Joy Harjo, Colson Whitehead, Sandra Cisneros, Jon Krakauer, amongst others, spent time in our mini-bookstore in the lobby of the Convention Center and signed hundreds of books, which we now have in stock. So if you missed the festival but are looking for a signed copy of one of their books, please call us or come in to browse.
Purchase your books by festival authors directly from CW below:
Margaret Atwood; Freddie Bitsoie; Sandra Cisneros; Lynn Cline; William deBuys; Ashley Ford; John Grisham; Roshi Joan Halifax; Joy Harjo; Anne Hillerman; Cheryl Alters Jamison; Craig Johnson; Asma Khan; Phil Klay; Jon Krakauer; Valeria Luiselli; Deborah Madison; Emily St. John Mandel; George R. R. Martin; James McGrath Morris; Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co.; Carmella Padilla Douglas Preston; Kirstin Valdez Quade; Bob Shacochis; Henry Shukman; Hampton Sides; Bryant Terry; Darryl Lorenzo Wellington; Colson Whitehead; Don Winslow; Lawrence Wright