Title

Representations of Counterculture in the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg and Amiri Baraka

Streaming Media

Type of Proposal

Oral presentation

Start Date

29-3-2016 1:00 PM

End Date

29-3-2016 2:20 PM

Faculty

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Lancer's Lair

1

Abstract

How do poets criticize their societies and represent the counter-cultures of their eras? In what ways do lived experience, form and content reflect the values that each poet possesses? In this paper I compare and contrast the differences and similarities between the representations of counter-culture in Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" and Amiri Baraka's "Somebody Blew up America." Ginsberg focuses on the tragic youth of post World War 2 America, who have been trapped by outdated ideals, and he encourages rebellion and individual expression, particularly in terms of sexuality in a very heteronormative world. Baraka criticizes the hypocrisy of the American government in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombings, asking the reader to critically consider the American government's own corruption and inhumane actions both on American soil and abroad, while reiterating the importance of individual pursuit of the truth. While these authors have very different lived experiences, counter-culture association and a 42-year gap in between their poems, both represent resistance through poetry and bring to attention the severe need for reform in their respective societies by criticizing the dominant culture and government failure.

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Mar 29th, 1:00 PM Mar 29th, 2:20 PM

Representations of Counterculture in the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg and Amiri Baraka

How do poets criticize their societies and represent the counter-cultures of their eras? In what ways do lived experience, form and content reflect the values that each poet possesses? In this paper I compare and contrast the differences and similarities between the representations of counter-culture in Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" and Amiri Baraka's "Somebody Blew up America." Ginsberg focuses on the tragic youth of post World War 2 America, who have been trapped by outdated ideals, and he encourages rebellion and individual expression, particularly in terms of sexuality in a very heteronormative world. Baraka criticizes the hypocrisy of the American government in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombings, asking the reader to critically consider the American government's own corruption and inhumane actions both on American soil and abroad, while reiterating the importance of individual pursuit of the truth. While these authors have very different lived experiences, counter-culture association and a 42-year gap in between their poems, both represent resistance through poetry and bring to attention the severe need for reform in their respective societies by criticizing the dominant culture and government failure.