Bob Baker: ‘Howl’ is a literary classic |

Bob Baker: ‘Howl’ is a literary classic

In 1959, I drove from rural Illinois with several friends to downtown Chicago, where the Shaw Poet Society was sponsoring a reading of “Howl” by Alan Ginsberg. The Shaw Society was composed of fusty old women who had no idea whom they had invited, and as Ginsberg, accompanied by the poet Gregory Corso, proceeded to read “Howl,” the women, in disgust, left the room, so at the end, there was just the poets and a small group of young people.  

Since that time, the poem “Howl,” as Jason Shinder pointed out in his book “The Poem that Changed America,” “… has never been out of print, translated into two dozen languages, is anthologized in high school and college textbooks worldwide and by most standards is considered a literary classic.” It is refreshing to see that Mr. Mauldin is emulating the fusty old women of the Shaw Society, and I would nominate him for the “fustiness” award of 2019.

Bob Baker


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