Elit 48 c class 35 post qhq
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  • 1.  Chair Poet?  'Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.’ Carl Sandburg
  • 2.  Howl Themes, Forms, and Devices QHQ Discussion Author Introduction: Gloria Anzuldua AGENDA
  • 3. …was a turning point in American literary history. Ginsberg created a new, radically different, space and style for writing, and he pushed back against the narrow modes of expression acknowledged by the literary establishment. Ginsberg’s poem, which must be heard to truly be appreciated and understood, reclaimed the strength and influence of the poet’s singing voice; it denied those who insisted poetry in print was most important. Ginsberg used chants to modulate moods and build rhythmic power through systems of sound, compelling audience participation. Allen Ginsberg’s first public performance of “Howl” (1955)
  • 4. “Howl” represents the birth of the 1960’s counterculture, endeavoring to extoll its ethics explain its meaning, celebrate its beauty, and defend its ostensibly aberrant and rebellious behavior. The driving force of the poem is the message of community and tolerance as parts of an ideal America. He is one of the first to acknowledge sexual “deviants,” radical activists, extraordinary, unconventional artists, and experimenters with forbidden substances. Ginsberg wanted a country that accepted eccentricity and individualism. He wanted to redeem the society he saw as built of greed and materialism. Themes
  • 5.  Postmodern Aspects • A collapse of the distinctions between high and low culture. • Consider the lines: “Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated” and “angel headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo.” Ginsberg fuses the high imagery of the angelic and celestial with the ramshackle tenement rooftop, with beat slang and pop language. • A fragmentation of the self: a de-centering of the individual as subject. • Whilst Part I begins with an affirmation of the subject – “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed” – the “I” is soon dissolved in favor of the “who.” Each descriptive line is no longer the sole possession of the subject. They all occupy a general, rather than individual space. After only a few lines of the poem, the self is completely consumed by the descriptive ‘other’: there is no anchored ‘I’, no centered subject.
  • 6. • Altered states of consciousness: Part II of Howl was written under the influence of peyote. • Many of the effects of the new drugs of the post-war period could be seen as ‘de-centering’ the subject (through hallucination or otherwise) in a postmodern way. • Pastiche: One good example of pastiche is the channel-flipping viewer: a successive chain of images appear onscreen but are not connected by any meaningful narrative; rather it is the sensations of the surface images that the viewer consumes. • If we read “Howl” looking for the sensations created by the language, we can see the disruption of the grand narrative. Ginsberg flips through images so fast we can barely collect them much less understand them. He also uses shocking scenes and offensive language to drive us from moment to moment. This pushes individuality and eccentricism across or beyond the modernist grand narrative and disrupts our understanding of the world.
  • 7. Discuss “ Discuss “Howl” in groups for five minutes
  • 8.   Q: If style is just and extension of content, how is the poem “Howl” presented, and how is this style influencing the reader?  Q: Is “Howl” a work of metapoetry?  Q: Does this poem’s unconventional style force readers to examine it more closely, or push them away?  What is the significance and repetition of the word “holy?”  Q: Why is the Footnote to Howl separate from the rest of the poem? Form and Style
  • 9.   Q: Who did Ginsberg write Howl for?  Q: In Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” how does the narrator fit in with the facts and exaggerations he speaks of?  Q: Why does Allen Ginsberg repeatedly use the image of Moloch in Part II of Howl? Purpose
  • 10.   Q: Why would Ginsberg pick the title of the poem to be “Howl” instead of any other title?  Q: with the discussion in class about the author attacking capitalism and such, could he be taking shots at the church and religion as well? as part of capitalism?  “Howl” speaks in strong opposition to the society that surrounded it, but does Ginsberg offer any alternatives?  Q: Why don’t Ginsberg’s greatest minds include anyone who holds a typically valued role in society?  Are all the people Ginsberg mentions fuck ups? Meaning
  • 11.   Q: Why is there such an emphasis on insanity and obscenity in Howl?  Is Ginsberg trying to argue that the marginalized are forced into insanity by society? Madness
  • 12.   How does Ginsberg portray his version of “The Invisible Man”?  Q: How are Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” and Hunter Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” alike? Different?  Q: Does “Howl” fit into the “hippie” category? Comparisons
  • 13.   Gloria Anzaldua was born in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas in 1942. She described herself as a Chicana/Tejana/lesbian/ dyke/feminist/writer/po et/cultural theorist, and these identities were just the beginning of the ideas she explored in her work. She died in 2004 of complications related to diabetes. Gloria Anzuldua
  • 14. Gloria Anzaldua moved to California in 1977, where she devoted herself to writing. She continued to participate in political activism, consciousness-raising, and groups such as the Feminist Writers Guild. She also looked for ways to build a multicultural, inclusive feminist movement. Much to her dissatisfaction, she discovered there were very few writings either by or about women of color. Some readers have struggled with the multiple languages in her writings – English and Spanish, but also variations of those languages. According to Gloria Anzaldua, when the reader does the work of piecing together fragments of language and narrative, it mirrors the way feminists must struggle to have their ideas heard in a patriarchal society.
  • 15.   Read Gloria Anzuldua pp. 837-38 La conciencia de la mestiza/ Towards a New Consciousness pp. 838-49 and “El Sonavabitche” pp. 858-62  Post #33: Choose one  QHQ: La conciencia  Discuss themes or meaning in “El Sonavabitche”  Discuss Postmodernism, or Feminist Theory, or Minority Theory in terms of Anzuldua HOMEWORK