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Lecture 15

Lecture 15- Beat and Black Mountain.docx

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English (Arts)
ENGL 226
Kait Pinder

Lecture 15: Beat and Black Mountain Ginsberg, Beat, and the Return of Lyric • poetry after WWII • lyric poetry • beat poetry ◦ "implies a feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and, ultimately, of soul; a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness" --"This is the Beat Generation" (1952), Holmes • Moloch • Walt Whitman • hard to pinpoint the moment of postmodernism • has a subjective, or lyrical "I" in it • depending on how you define modernism, you will be forced to define postmodernism differently • shifts in culture that followed the Second World War • atomic bomb brought human destruction into a new register • poetry changed along with the world post-war • US economic superpower • poetic openness to the world • critique the conventional status quo ◦ modernists by appealing to elite, educated reader ◦ postmodernists by going out into the street, using popular culture and common references • speaker closely related to the poet ◦ but not reading a diary ◦ not encountering the poet themselves ▪ like the persona of a person manipulated for a reality tv show • Ginsberg became voice of his generation ◦ sacrificed bourgeois conventions • America as the new superpower • post-WWI "lost generation" ◦ described as "sacrificed" in Section 2 of Howl • used his public status to market and find an audience for his poetry • also interested in the visionary possibilities of hallucinatory drugs like LSD • incorporated autobiographical details into their poems ◦ sometimes read as stream of consciousness that is personal and emotional • Howl Section 1 is all one sentence ◦ intensity of the long line ◦ images of destruction and madness ◦ the ING (dragging, burning, smoking…) ◦ repetition of "who" as an expansion • lines 86-90 from Howl ◦ "Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs! They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us! Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river! • Supermarket in California ◦ about Whitman ▪ imagines him working in a supermarket late night ▪ Whitman celebrates not the Ame
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