Fiftieth Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ Marked at Brooklyn College

Brooklyn, NY — Brooklyn College will be hosting a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s landmark poem “Howl” on October 31st in the Library’s Woody Tanger Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. Ginsberg taught poetry for eighteen years in the English Department at Brooklyn College, where he held the title of Distinguished Professor at the time of his death in 1997.

Allen Ginsberg

“Howl” was first performed on October 7, 1955, at the famous Six Gallery in San Francisco. In the fall of 1956 it was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran City Lights Bookstore and the City Lights Press. It is noted for relating stories and experiences of Ginsberg’s friends and contemporaries, its tumbling hallucinatory style, and the subsequent obscenity trial that it provoked. It is dedicated to Ginsberg’s friend Carl Solomon, a onetime Brooklyn College student he met while visiting a mental institution. Carl Solomon (1928-1993) is addressed by name throughout the poem, which also includes references to many other Beat figures, including Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Peter Orlovsky, Lucien Carr, and Herbert Huncke.

On October 31, graduate students in the Theater Department will perform a dramatic reading of “Howl” and speakers Bill Morgan and Kurt Brown will provide biographical and historical background. In connection with this event, the display cases outside the Special Collections Division will house an exhibit devoted to “Howl” and to Allen Ginsberg’s connection with Brookllyn College. Finally, a series of films on Ginsberg and the Beat Generation will be shown: The Source (Oct. 26, 1:30 p.m. Room 242), The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg (Oct. 31, 5:00 p.m. Woody Tanger Auditorium), and a double feature Allen Ginsberg at Brooklyn College and the Lannan Foundation’s production of Allen Ginsberg (Nov. 2, 1:30 p.m., Room 242). Reception and book signing to follow. For more information contact William Gargan (bgargan@brooklyn.cuny.edu) or Robert Cohen (rcohen@brooklyn.cuny.edu).