- Allen Ginsberg nasceu em 3 de Junho de 1926, em Newark. “Foi uma criança complicada e tímida, dominada pelos estranhos e assustadores episódios de sua mãe, uma mulher completamente paranóica, que acreditava que o mundo conspirava contra ela. Ao mesmo tempo, Allen teve que lutar para compreender o que estava acontecendo dentro dele, já que era consumido pela luxúria de outros meninos de sua idade.
Na escola secundária, descobriu a poesia, mas logo ao ingressar na Universidade de Columbia, fez amizade com um grupo de jovens delinquentes, filósofos de almas selvagens (entre eles Jack Kerouac), obcecados igualmente por drogas, sexo e literatura. Ao mesmo tempo em que ajudava os amigos a desenvolverem os seus talentos literários, Allen perdia de vez a sua ingenuidade, experimentando drogas, freqüentando bares gays em Greenwich Village e vivendo seus affairs homossexuais. Assumindo um estilo de vida bizarro, como se procurasse em si mesmo a face da loucura de sua mãe, Ginsberg acabou em tratamento psiquiátrico”. (Wikipédia em português)
- “Ler Ginsberg (...) é uma experiência tensa, difícil e por vezes traumática. Contudo, a leitura final desse livro reitera o amor como princípio e fim de tudo. E a inquietude como uma virtude para não sucumbir à opressão e à mediocridade.” (Leonardo Vinhas, do “Scream and Yell”)
- “Traduzir Ginsberg é enfrentar sua prosódia e ritmo, usando a riqueza sonora da fala americana, nisso baseando-se consideravelmente em Williams. É uma poesia sonora, para ser lida também em voz alta. A métrica tradicional é substituída por recursos rítmicos, tais como o contraste entre vogais abertas e fechadas, longas e curtas, como em and battered bleak of brain all drained of briliance (o despovoado deserto do cérebro esvaziado de qualquer brilho) ou em and kind king light of mind, que traduzi como e a suave soberana luz da mente. Procurei manter esses valores sonoros, e o ritmo das suas frases, recorrendo a aliterações e rimas internas.” (Cláudio Willer, tradutor da edição brasileira de “Uivo e Outros Poemas”)
- “Creio que a obra ''beat'' é tão forte que já pode ser tomada como referência literária. Nós tocamos em questões permanentes: o império americano, ecologia, revolução sexual, censura. Também há a questão do ''terceiro caminho'', nem comunismo nem capitalismo, que pregávamos enquanto os intelectuais procuravam extremos do marxismo ou do anticomunismo. Nossa preocupação é alterar estados de consciência e achar soluções ecológicas, não ideológicas.” (o próprio Ginsberg, em entrevista para a Folha em 1994)
- Faleceu em Nova York, aos 70 anos, em 5 de Abril de 1997.
- “Allen Ginsberg wrote the poem "Howl" in the summer of 1955, purportedly at a coffeehouse known today as the Caffe Mediterraneum in Berkeley, California. Many factors went into the creation of the poem. A short time before the composition of "Howl," Ginsberg's therapist, Dr. Philip Hicks, encouraged him to quit his job and pursue poetry full time. (…)He was under the immense influence of William Carlos Williams and Jack Kerouac and attempted to speak with his own voice spontaneously. (…)The first draft contained what would later become Part I and Part III. It is noted for relating stories and experiences of Ginsberg's friends and contemporaries, its tumbling, hallucinatory style, and the frank address of sexuality, specifically homosexuality, which subsequently provoked an obscenity trial. (…)the primary emotional drive was his sympathy for Carl Solomon, to whom it was dedicated; he met Solomon in a mental institution and became friends with him. Ginsberg admitted later this sympathy for Solomon was connected to bottled-up guilt and sympathy for his mother's schizophrenia (she had been lobotomized), an issue he was not yet ready to address directly.”
-> Part I
Called by Ginsberg, "a lament for the Lamb in America with instances of remarkable lamb-like youths," Part I is the best known, and communicates scenes, characters, and situations drawn from Ginsberg's personal experience as well as from the community of poets, artists, political radicals, jazz musicians, drug addicts, and psychiatric patients whom he encountered in the late 1940s and early 50's. These people represent what he considers "the best minds of my generation," an ironic declaration since, in what members of the Beat Generation considered the oppressively conformist and materialistic 50's, those Ginsberg called "best minds" were unrepresented outcasts. The shocking aspect of the poem was further enhanced by Ginsberg's frank descriptions of sexual, often homosexual, acts. Most lines in this section contain the fixed base "who". In "Notes Written on Finally Recording Howl," Ginsberg writes, "I depended on the word 'who' to keep the beat, a base to keep measure, return to and take off from again onto another streak of invention."
-> Part II
Ginsberg says that Part II, in relation to Part I, "names the monster of mental consciousness that preys on the Lamb." Part II is a rant about the state of industrial civilization, characterized in the poem as "Moloch". Ginsberg was inspired to write Part II during a period of peyote-induced visionary consciousness in which he saw a hotel façade as a monstrous and horrible visage which he identified with that of Moloch, the Biblical idol in Leviticus to whom the Canaanites sacrificed children. Ginsberg intends that the characters he portrays in Part I be understood to have been sacrificed to this idol. Moloch is also the name of an industrial, demonic figure in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, a film that Ginsberg credits with influencing "Howl, Part II" in his annotations for the poem (see especially Howl: Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript & Variant Versions). Most lines in this section contain the fixed base "Moloch". Ginsberg says of Part II, "Here the long line is used as a stanza form broken into exclamatory units punctuated by a base repetition, Moloch."
-> Part III
Part III, in relation to Parts I, II, and IV is "a litany of affirmation of the Lamb in its glory," according to Ginsberg. It is directly addressed to Carl Solomon, whom Ginsberg met during a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital in 1949; called "Rockland" in the poem, it was actually Columbia Presbyterian Psychological Institute. This section is notable for its refrain, "I'm with you in Rockland," and represents something of a turning point away from the grim tone of the "Moloch"-section. Of the structure, Ginsberg says Part III is, "pyramidal, with a graduated longer response to the fixed base."
The closing section of the poem is the "Footnote", characterized by its repetitive "Holy!" mantra, an ecstatic assertion that everything is holy. Ginsberg says, "I remembered the archetypal rhythm of Holy Holy Holy weeping in a bus on Kearny Street, and wrote most of it down in notebook there ... I set it as 'Footnote to Howl' because it was an extra variation of the form of Part II."
The frequently quoted (and often parodied) opening lines set the theme and rhythm for the poem:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix;
Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.
Ginsberg's own commentary discusses the work as an experiment with the "long line". For example, Part I is structured as a single run-on sentence with a repetitive refrain dividing it up into breaths. Ginsberg said, "Ideally each line of 'Howl' is a single breath unit. My breath is long — that's the measure, one physical-mental inspiration of thought contained in the elastic of a breath."
On another occasion, he explained: "the line length ... you'll notice that they're all built on bop — you might think of them as a bop refrain —chorus after chorus after chorus — the ideal being, say, Lester Young in Kansas City in 1938, blowing 72 choruses of 'The Man I Love' until everyone in the hall was out of his head..."
->Trial: "Howl" contains many references to illicit drugs and sexual practices, both heterosexual and homosexual. On the basis of one line in particular
"who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy"
customs officials seized 520 copies of the poem on March 25, 1957, being imported from the printer in London.
A subsequent obscenity trial was brought against Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran City Lights Bookstore, the poem's new domestic publisher. Nine literary experts testified on the poem's behalf. Supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Ferlinghetti won the case when Judge Clayton Horn decided that the poem was of "redeeming social importance". The case was widely publicized (articles appeared in both Time and Life magazines).” (Wikipédia em inglês)
- “Ginsberg tinha muitos fãs, entre eles Jim Morrison, do grupo The Doors. Morrison era tão viciado nas poesias e obras dele que dizia escrever suas músicas após ter lido algum de seus poemas. Sabe-se que Ginsberg e a banda The Clash eram fãs recíprocos. O poeta fez uma participação especial na música Ghetto Defendant, cantando ao lado de Joe Strummer trechos de um de seus poemas. Ian Astbury, lider da banda The Cult e amigo pessoal dos músicos dos The Clash, que recitava Howl (Uivo) no inicio dos shows, é um grande propagador da obra de Ginsberg, ao qual dedicou a música Bodihsatwa, do seu album solo Cream, que fala sobre zen-budismo e poetas beat.” (Wikipédia em português)
- Influenciados: “Bob Dylan, Wavy Gravy, LeRoi Jones, Robert Lowell, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Andrei Codrescu, Saul Williams, Hunter S. Thompson, Rage Against the Machine, Beau Sia, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, John S. Hall” (Wikipédia em inglês)