I have to admit, I loathe most poetry and liken it to literary masturbation. Not that I have anything against masturbation, quite the opposite, but I don’t want to watch you do it nor see the aftermath. I do have a few favourite poets like e.e. Cummings but for the most part I find it quite painful and aggravating to read poetry. I’m rather self-conscious about what I read because on some level I feel that you can tell a lot about a person by what they enjoy reading. Before I met Her, my exposure to literature was shockingly minimal (hello Clive Cussler - and yes, that's "literature" and "Cussler" in the same sentence dear) but in the last 8 years I’ve spread my literary wings somewhat and have discovered a whole new world; however, poetry remains to me… distasteful. Of course back in the day, I, like every other depressed alcoholic in University wrote up a storm of metronomic heartfelt angst, but c’mon, that shit is timeless! Ahem.
Had you asked me two weeks ago who Allan Ginsberg was I’d have guessed that he was a lawyer. For those of you (all of you I suspect) who know his name I’m sure you’re shaking your head right now – either that or clicking on the first link that will get you out of here and deleting my RSS feed. Since then I’ve read Howl. Wow. It has sucked me back into that white pearlescent world of poetry. Don’t worry, I have no intention of getting back into writing it but I will be making an effort to read more of it (although there’s a certain arithmetic beauty to haikus that does appeal to me). Something about Howl is very real and tangible. It speaks of a world that was tolerated so long as it was mostly out of sight; a marginalized people. The very publication of the book resulted in charges being brought against the publisher for disseminating obscene material. A trial (quite entertaining in and of itself) ensued that resulted in a not-guilty verdict thus ushering in a new era in poetry and literature. It would be easy to enjoy Howl simply for what it did for literature but that would be to dismiss the work itself. I don’t have the vocabulary or literary-chops to delve into this poem and deconstruct it; hell I’m having a hard time describing why I love it, and I'm sure there have been more than a couple of dissertations on the topic already, so I'll leave that to better minds. The best I can do is say I’m feeling it.
So, what *does* this say about me? Oy vey. I’m pretty sure I’m not a disenfranchised, homosexual, Jewish poet who caught a wave that was later to crest and crash and become the free-wheeling 60s. Perhaps I’m a voyeur, safely peering into a world I could never hope to fear? Maybe I just love original poetry… but, really, who cares? Do you? I know I shouldn’t…