Thursday, July 13, 2006

Howl (How!)

There's been some articles about "Howl" and its effect on poetry and society. I think it's obvious that "Howl" did influence many poets to open themselves up stylistically and in subject matter. It represented a changing of the guard in poetry, and it also was part of the trend where a work of literature became more known for its "celebrity," such as the trial surrounding it, than the actual work itself. But society? I don't think as much. "Howl" was a symptom, not a cause, of changes in society that led to movements that flowered during the 60s. With U.S. on top economically (meaning more kids going to college, more room and wealth for liberalism to grow), and technological breakthroughs such as the pill and TV, it was only a matter of time that stuff like free love, women's rights, etc. would come about. "Howl" and the Beats were just reactions to events that was sweeping everything forward. But now, in these times, now that pop culture has swallowed everything whole, it's impossible to find a way to make an impact even just culturally with literature. Even rap, a form of poetry, has now had its radicalism tamed by big record companies. Outrage, political or otherwise, is just another TV show or Internet video. Fifteen minutes later and on to the next sensation. The real key to me seems to be to foster a community, groups of people who unite with common interests. But that can be a double edged sword; and what's the difference between Star Trek fan clubs and poetry communities to the general public, anyway? Maybe not as much as we'd like to think.


Blogger J Martin said...

Yeah, I know. The chicken and the egg.

7:49 AM  

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