Today is a special day: the birthday of the Beat poet Alan Ginsberg.
He was something.
Click here to read his poem. Better yet, click here to listen to Alan read his own poem, and to get a perspective on the poem.
Click here for some biographical information about the poet.
If you ever wonder what poetry would be like today without this pioneer, think about all he puts in this one poem: the cultural references, the slang, the profanity, the startlingly unsafe images. Think about the risks he took half a century ago, not just writing but publishing a poem that was banned as obscenity. Think of what was happening in that time, how risk was avoided out of self-preservation.
You don't have to like the poem — at times, I'm not sure I do — but you have to respect a man who would risk it all for poetry. And that I do.