Howl. Text and audio of the Shaw Festival Reading of the 1955 poem.
Allen Ginsberg. © Allen Ginsberg, LLC. used by permission of The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited.
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation of
the 1950s. A practicing Buddhist, he densely fought for freedom and equality,
opposing militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression, and
participating in non-violent political protest against many existential
political and social issues of his times.
The VENICE INTERNATIONAL
PERFORMANCE ART WEEK presents text and audio of the Shaw Festival Reading of
the 1955 poem Howl by Allen
Ginsberg, first published as part of his 1956 collection of poetry titled Howl and Other Poems. Howl served as a manifesto for the Beat
Generation and many more to come, as Ginsberg denounced what he saw as the
destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. Through the
obscenity trial that the poem’s publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti faced in 1957, Howl became a representation of freedom
of the press and speech and hence uncensored literary expression. The poem contains
references to illicit drugs and heterosexual and homosexual sexual practices,
at a time when sodomy laws made homosexual acts a crime in every U.S. state.
This crucial case was positively
resolved when California State Superior Court Judge
Clayton Horn decided that the poem was of "redeeming social importance".
Copyright © Allen Ginsberg, 1984, 1995, used by permission of The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited.
© Venice International Performance Art Week 2012-2014