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Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems - Allen Ginsberg [a:Allen Ginsberg|4261|Allen Ginsberg|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1206649831p2/4261.jpg] is part of the Beat Poet Generation, a famous group of vagabond writers that had [a:Jack Kerouac|1742|Jack Kerouac|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1287257192p2/1742.jpg] as prosaic flagbearer. You know, the guy from [b:On the Road|70401|On the Road|Jack Kerouac|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1355224265s/70401.jpg|1701188]. Ginsberg, on the other hand, is probably the most important poetic figure of the whole movement.

His poetry is wild, intense, raw and often difficult to read. Common themes include death, literature, decay of the human mind and political issues. Most of what he writes is marked my a rambling rhythm, reinforced by a lack or an abundance of punctuation. This all makes Ginsberg's poetry some intense, dark and challenging stuff.

'Howl' is a sort of lament of society. Often cited as one of the defining poems of American Literature, it's an all-out attack on hypocrisy, egotism, sexualism and the desire of trascendence. Again, very intense, but all the more memorable. 'Kaddish' is about his own mother, Naomi, who is institutionalized. Ginsberg describes her seizures, her bursts of insanity and how the family and himself are affected by this. Fragmented writing here, but it's one of his more readable poems, and rightfully a classic. The so called 'Other Poems' aren't just filling though. There's some very intricate work in the rest of the book. 'Mescaline' in particular is a very open-hearted poem about aging and preparing for death.

Overall, one couldn't ask for a better introduction to Beat Poetry. As it is so very intense and raw (think abundant genitalia) this isn't a style that will suit a lot of people. It's probably more masculin. But for those who can handle it, and especially those who enjoyed any of [a:Jack Kerouac|1742|Jack Kerouac|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1287257192p2/1742.jpg]'s work, this should be a treat.