PLEDGE NOW
Beat Epic: Allen Ginsberg's "Howl"

We talk with the directors of a new film celebrating Allen Ginsberg’s epic beat generation poem “Howl.”

A crowd listens to Allen Ginsberg give a reading of uncensored poetry at New York City's Washinton Square park, 1966. (AP)

Poet-rebel Allen Ginsberg wrote “Howl” in the heart of the 1950s, but his epic poem was anything but “Happy Days” and hot cars. It was a long, free, wild cry of the heart that broke open the Beat Generation and ended up in court on obscenity charges. 

The case drew new boundaries for freedom of speech in America. The poem drew new boundaries for life, wide open boundaries. 

A new film, “Howl”, brings back the poet, the era and the epic court battle. We speak with directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, on Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and their own.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, writers, directors, and producers new film “Howl.” They are both recipients of Academy Awards and Emmy Awards. Epstein previously directed “The Times of Harvey Milk.”

John Tytell, a scholar of Beat Generation literature who has has taught at Queens College for more than 35 years. His books include “Naked Angels: Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs” and “Paradise Outlaws: Remembering the Beats.” Read his recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education “Howl’s Echoes.”

Read the full text of “Howl” and see the trailer for the new film:

Below are some pictures of the real-life Ginsberg:

Allen Ginsberg at a protest rally in Berkley, Ca., 1965. (AP)

From left to right: Larry Rivers, Jack Kerouac, David Amram, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, mid-1950s (John Cohen/Hulton Archive)

Allen Ginsberg, left, and writer William Burroughs (AP)

Allen Ginsberg, left, and Rev. Ralph David Abernathy in Miami Beach Fla. where they stayed in tents during the Democratic National Convention in July 1972. (AP)

Poet Allen Ginsberg reads his poem "Howl" outside the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, 1994. (AP)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 5, 2015
raqi security forces and allied Shiite militiamen prepare to attack Islamic State extremists in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  (AP)

Fresh upheaval in Iraq. Millions now displaced. Warnings of crisis and worse to come.

May 5, 2015
One of the main characters in Anthony Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See" spends part of her childhood in the Paris Museum of Natural History (WikiCommons)

Anthony Doerr just won the Pulitzer Prize for his bestselling book “All the Light We Cannot See.” He joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 4, 2015
In this March 26, 2015 photo, Yvonne DeCory, a suicide-prevention outreach worker, stands in her small office in the basement of the Post Office in Pine Ridge, S.D. Nearly 1,000 suicide attempts were recorded on the reservation between 2004 and 2013. DeCory said few weeks go by with a suicide. (AP)

After clusters of high school suicides in California, Virginia, and Massachusetts, we look at the pressure parents put on teenagers to succeed.

 
May 4, 2015
Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore state's attorney, speaks during a media availability, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Baltimore. Mosby announced criminal charges against all six officers suspended after Freddie Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. (AP)

Second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, assault and more. We’ll look at the charges announced for six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: May 01, 2015
Friday, May 1, 2015

What happens when we change show topics last minute, and also what happens when a New York Times headline seems to accuse Kristie Alley of being responsible for the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures.

More »
4 Comments
 
How To Help The Survivors Of Nepal’s Devastating Earthquake
Friday, May 1, 2015

Where and how to contribute aid to the relief effort in Nepal.

More »
5 Comments
 
Your Favorite Musical Memories Of Rain
Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015

When we say ‘rain,’ you say ‘…?’ (Here’s what you really said when we said ‘rain.’)

More »
6 Comments