HOWLing in Tompkins Square

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl is now 50 years old. When Lawrence Ferlinghetti published and tried to distribute the epic poem, it was seized by U.S. Customs authorities as obscene. The courts eventually found that the poem (laden with words that still have the power to shock) was not obscene, but the headline-making trial brought Ginsberg fame, notoriety and a permanent place in the pantheon of hipsters.

In honor of Ginsberg’s contributions to “the countercultural heritage of the East Village/Lower East Side”, The Federation of East Village Artists named their annual arts festival the HOWL! Festival of East Village Arts. This year, to commemorate its 50th anniversary, the third annual Howl Festival is hosting a celebration of the poem.

From the official festival listing:
Tompkins Square Park – FREE
FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2005, 6:00 PM
50th Anniversary of the HOWL! Poem
The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Festival celebrates the spirit of the renowned poet, world traveler, spiritual seeker, founding-member of the Beats, champion of human and civil rights, photographer, songwriter, community activist, teacher, and co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Featuring Anne Waldman, Antler, John S. Hall, and Ed Sanders; HOWL will be read in seven languages and 16 voices.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked …

Ed Sanders reading an excerpt from Howl! Posted by Picasa

Reading Howl from a copy of Beat Voices Posted by Picasa

Anne Waldman reading: “Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch!”nbsp;Posted by Picasa

Antler reading Howl in a Walt Whitman t-shirt Posted by Picasa

Reading Howl  Posted by Picasa

Singing Footnote to Howl: “Everyman’s an angel!” Posted by Picasa

John Hall reading a portion of Howl Posted by Picasa

Playing music inspired by Howl Posted by Picasa

  • The Federation of East Village Artists
  • Howl Festival
  • Howl
  • Footnote to Howl
  • Wikipedia entry for Howl
  • New York Times Book Review special section on Allen Ginsberg
  • Literary History entry for Allen Ginsberg
  • The Beat Page entry for Allen Ginsberg
  • Interview with Lawrence Ferlinghetti on Howl’s 45th anniversary
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti Speaks on Howl and Banned Books (click the link under his photo)
  • Ed Sanders
  • Anne Waldman
  • John S. Hall
  • Steven Van Zandt
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