Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsburg
"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes
“ANGELHEADED HIPSTERS BURNING FOR THE ANCIENT HEAVENLY CONNECTION”
In Howl, the Ur-poem of the Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg wrote so explicitly of urban gay life that the work was condemned as obscene and City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti was brought to trial. Verses no less erotic flowed from the pen of Amy Lowell, whose 1919 collection Pictures of the Floating World spoke of her passion for her lover, the actress Ada Dwyer Russell. The Bay Area’s own long and rich poetic tradition includes Elsa Gidlow and Robert Duncan, June Jordan and Justin Chin. Some poets have written explicitly about their desires, while others have needed to encode their intimate emotional experiences.
Queer-y: How does lesbian poetry differ from gay male poetry? Compare Amy Lowell’s poems from 1919 with Thom Gunn’s from 1992.