Friday, September 10, 2010

Ginsberg's "Howl" goes from page to screen

"Howl" gets graphic

These days it is difficult to imagine the shock waves created in 1956 at the first publication of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." Censorship issues, an obscenity trial, and an outright ban were hallmarks of the poem's public reception. Even more astounding is how different the world of poetry and personal expression would be today without the poem's scandalous history: eventually, the City Lights Pocket Poets series issue of
Howl and Other Poems created a universe of free expression that now seems wholly natural but which required a long struggle testing America's concepts of freedom and its meaning for the individual rights of the artist.

The Allen Ginsberg Project posts that "Howl" is now receiving a graphic treatment by Eric Drooker, whose work will also figure in the fall's upcoming film version of Howl featuring James Franco and centering around the poem's obscenity trial.

From the Ginsberg Project website: "We're happy to see all the good press covering Eric Drooker's graphic novel for
Howl. The New Yorker's The Book Bench gives it a positive sweet mention, there's a feature in Nowness, an interview in 7x7, and Comics Alliance have a full spread of images. Eric Drooker's posted his introduction from the book on his own site as well as some useful press info there. The book is a tie-in with the upcoming Howl film, one quarter of which is motion-animation of Drooker's work set to the poem. It only made sense to have a companion book that included stills."

It's worth mentioning, too, this weekend's HOWL! festival kicks off tonight in NY's Tompkins Square Park. There will be appearances by Anne Waldman, John Giorno and a host of others over the three-day event, which will continue with readings and other public gatherings through September.

Thomas Guinzburg (1926-2010)

Thomas Guinzburg, seated at right, with George Plimpton, William Pène du Bois and Donald Hall, in 1965. (Photo from The Paris Review)

One of the founding members of The Paris Review died on Wednesday at the age of 84.

Thomas Guinzburg helped create the magazine in Paris in 1953.
The Paris Review became a journal of American writers unable to find acceptance at home; as Times writer Bruce Weber notes in today's obituary, William Styron, Jack Kerouac, Phillip Roth, V.S. Naipaul (and later, T. Coraghessan Boyle) were among many to be published and interviewed in its pages.

From Mr. Weber's article: "Mr. Guinzburg had a robust sense of humor and may be best known for engineering one of publishing’s most legendary stunts. On the occasion of Mr. Pynchon’s receiving the National Book Award, Mr. Guinzburg arranged for the comic actor Professor Irwin Corey to accept the award for the famously reclusive author. Mr. Corey’s speech, a lunatic and somewhat inspired ramble — he referred to Mr. Pynchon as Richard Python — was received with astonished guffaws, as he dealt mostly with American politics, though at one point he thanked Mr. Guinzburg, saying that he had “made it possible for you people to be here this evening to enjoy the Friction Citation.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very cool ... One of the greatest poems...