Recorded in San Francisco, California in 1959.
Personnel: Allen Ginsberg (vocals).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
Liner Note Authors: Anne Waldman; Allen Ginsberg.
Recording information: Big Table Reading, Shaw Festival, Chicago, IL (01/1959-06/1959); Fantasy Stuidos, Natoma Street, San Francisco, CA (01/1959-06/1959).
Photographer: Peter Orlovsky.
Allen Ginsberg was the poet laureate of the beat generation and a figurehead of the counter-cultural movement of the '50s and '60s. He was as much--if not more--a social force (whose causes included gay liberation, the legalization of drugs, and the general protestation of any obstacles to the freeing of the human spirit) as he was a literary figure. Ginsberg travelled tirelessly in his crusade for higher consciousness, leading talks, hosting happenings, and giving readings.
This collection, recorded in 1959, is the definitive beat poetry document. HOWL gathers some of Ginsberg's best and best-known poetry (characterized by long strophes and associative imagery)--covering pieces as celebrated as "America," "A Supermarket In California," and "Howl" itself, the poem that came to define a generation. Throughout, Ginsberg's wry tenor invests his works with alternately stentorian, tortured, hushed, and good-naturedly humorous slants. A portrait of Ginsberg, the man, emerges alongside that of Ginsberg, the artist. To his immortal credit, Ginsberg went to great lengths to merge the two, and HOWL is a riveting, historically significant, and enduring testament to his rare gift.