Paul Hughes: ‘Howl’ is just bad poetry | SteamboatToday.com

Paul Hughes: ‘Howl’ is just bad poetry

I read with interest the article about the controversy over a Steamboat Springs High School teacher assigning Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl and Other Poems.” I taught English in college for nearly 20 years, and I never assigned Ginsberg’s work in classes where poetry was on the syllabus. But my reason was not that it was vulgarity-as-poetry intended to shock and offend; I simply thought that is was just bad poetry.

After you got past “Ooo, can he say that?,” there was nothing left worth reading. Ginsberg will be a footnote to the history of American poetry — a minor poet whose reputation would rest solely on his daring to use language that other poets found beneath them.

In an era when Ginsberg was a hot item for college sophomores, there were so many better poets that he simply couldn’t make the cut in my courses. To paraphrase a popular saying, life’s too short to drink bad wine or read bad poetry. 

Paul Hughes

Support Local Journalism


Steamboat Springs


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

 


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.