“Howl”: a lesson in unrestrained creativity and freedom of speech by Misha Lyuve

Jan 17, 2011

I planned to finally see “Social Network” at Crosby hotel’s Sunday movie night, but all of a sudden they changed it to “HOWL”, a movie about Allen Ginsberg, an esoteric American poet that I knew little about. From one extreme to another, I thought, and went along. I couldn’t even expect what a treat I was offered.

I discovered passionate verses of Ginsberg that rhythmically flow like a song, their expressiveness sounds like a dance, and their aliveness refreshes you as a mountain waterfall. I was given a lesson in losing boundaries in self-expression, extracting inspiration from everything and staying true to oneself.

The movie itself is word-to-word based on Ginsberg’s interviews, his poetry and transcripts from the legal proceedings against the publisher of “HOWL” (after publishing “HOWL” Lawrence Ferlinghetti  was arrested and charged with publication of obscenity in 1957 in San Francisco) – every word is history. The combination of the original footage, black-and-white shots as well as animation to take us in the depths of Ginsburg’s vision created an excellent medium to present “Howl” and its story.

I was blown away, inspired and grateful that I got to see something I would unlikely to stumble upon on my own.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by

      madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn

      looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly

      connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-

      ery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat

      up smoking in the supernatural darkness of

      cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities

      contemplating jazz...

     --"HOWL" by Alan Ginsberg

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  1. Scott Hogan

    I’ve been meaning to see this movie. It’s so great to be surprised. Allen was a titan of the Word and he knew greatness when he saw it. He humbled himself to study with the Tibetan Vidhyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Many don’t know that. Trungpa loved Allen and Allen brought all his friends to study and teach out to Naropa University in Boulder, CO. The Crazy Wisdom minds were gathering together then and it was an atomic time in the history of art, literature, and Buddhism in America. I KNOW would have have gone out there if I was old enough then.
    My kind of guys. xO

    • Misha Lyuve Ru

      That’s great to know. I was so overwhelmed from connecting to this circle of people. Watch the movie, definitely!