Read the first quarter of Ginsburg’s Howl last night and really liked it. The energy of it, the barely-making-sense freewheeling associative rapid-fireness of it was exciting and felt very familiar. I think I know why. I think it’s because that kind of poetry went, pretty quickly over the course of the past five-six decades, from barely-making-sense to not-making-sense. Or, rather, it went from pretty good to pretty bad. I also think that this kind of poetry, the kind that Howl inspired, is what people who dislike poetry think of when they think of poetry.
That said, the jazz in Howl, the music of it, the imagery, the mixing of real and unreal, is really something. I can see how, in the mid-50s, this would have been a very cool drink on a very hot day.