Saturday, October 1, 2011

Howl and Other Poems

I just finished watching Howl.  Dear invisible readers, it made me cry.  I picked up Howl and Other Poems when I was 15, if not younger.  My exposure to reading had, up until this book of poetry, consisted of used fantasy/sci-fi from Nancy's Trade-a-Book and $1 Dover Thrift books.  I was already in love with Byron and Matsuo Basho, but I hadn't read anything like anything like anything like it.  I read it over and over.  I didn't understand it, but it struck me numb.  It changed the way I viewed words.  It pushed me down and made me look again.  I think I saw the name and thought of the kindly old man in a movie that made me cry, so I just got it on impulse.

Later, I picked up On The Road and realized that I could love an entire book based on a simple sentence.  Even if the rest of it was drug-induced, self-indulgent masturbation.  I began looking for new poetry and I found Ogden Nash and weird zines filled with strange things and new words and new images.  I decided that my pipe-dream was to go to the University that Allen Ginsberg taught at- and cried all night when he died.

I think this movie did an incredible job of relaying the irreverent humor and innate humanity that really pulled me into his work.  In retrospect, I think his naked queerness gave me a voice for accepting myself, too.

I mean, I can't really express how much he and his work meant to me.  I love him, dearly.