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 29, 2015
Residents are evacuated by members of the Houston Fire Department from floodwaters surrounding their homes in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP)

Texas floods. Soccer scandal. Nebraska outlaws the death penalty. Identity theft at the IRS. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 29, 2015
In this March 24, 2002 file photo, John Nash, left, and his wife Alicia, arrive at the 74th annual Academy Awards, in Los Angeles. Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind,” died in a car crash along with his wife in New Jersey on Saturday, May 23, 2015, police said. (AP)

Remembering a beautiful mind: Nobel –prize winning game theorist John Nash . We’ll look at his game theory. His schizophrenia. His genius.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 28, 2015
Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi raises his hands as he sits behind glass in a courtroom, in a converted lecture hall in the national police academy in an eastern Cairo suburb, Egypt, Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP)

Sentenced to death in Egypt for espionage, respected academic Emad Shahin joins us with a big take on Egypt, ISIS and America’s response.

 
May 28, 2015
Protesters congregate in front of city hall Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Cleveland. Members of about 40 churches are protesting the acquittal of a white patrolman charged in the deaths of two unarmed black motorists with a march through downtown Cleveland. (AP)

The new Cleveland standard of American policing. Will it stop abuse? Will it get the job done?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment