Sunday, November 19, 2006

Someone Should Write Another HOWL

How often we hear that! It's been the great cliche of the Howl Fifty corporate buckfest, the embers of which still seem to be glowing here and there in America, if nowhere else. It seems every time you get five balding men in suits into an auditorium and Allen Ginsberg is mentioned, you'll hear it: "Somebody should write another Howl." These representatives of the liberalish wing of the literary Establishment apparently bemoaning the absence of some radical screed that will put an end to the infamies of everyone but them.

Leave aside the question of whether Howl was even the Howl it has come to be, with nostalgia and the obscurations of memory and the sentimentality of old men. There is an incredible, vital poetry scene in America and across the world today, full of angry or flip or drunken or stoned or philosophic or spiritual or existential or crazy men and women , and some of what they're producing is magnificent, maybe even better than Howl at times, and certainly better than the majority of Ginsberg's output. But if you take your literature from Harper-Collins or the inside of a university auditorium with panel-mates hand-picked by the terminally uninformed, you're going to miss the whole thing..

Someone should write another Howl? Idiots! Read Norbert Blei, read Ronald Baatz, read Christopher Wunderlee, read Delphine Lecompte, read Glenn Cooper, read Dave Church, read Gerald Nicosia, just bloody wake up and smell the poetical coffee. There is music in the cafes again, and revolution in the air, as another great and still just-about-living bard once said.

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