Saturday, February 16, 2008

First Recording of 'Howl' by Allen Ginsburg Found

Allen Ginsburg in 1956

In February 1956, during a hitch-hiking trip from Berkeley to the Pacific Northwest with fellow-poet Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg gave a poetry reading at Reed College, Portland, Oregon at which he read “Howl” and seven other poems. Ginsberg and Synder were on campus for two nights, February 13 and 14; the recording unearthed recently in the Reed archives includes Ginsberg's “Howl Part I,” the longest section of the poem published six months later by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books with the initial title “Howl for Carl Solomon.” The reel-to-reel tape held by Special Collections at Reed's Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library is the earliest-known recording of Ginsberg reading “Howl.” The recording is of high quality, and does not include the entire poem, as Ginsberg stopped reading soon after concluding Part I of “Howl.”

Listen to the Recording

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