Popularly known for his controversial America poem “Howl” (among his other side hobbies), we’re thinking “Sunflower Sutra” is a better fit for today’s celebration of Allen Ginsberg’s 86th birthday.
“We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not our dread/ bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we’re all/beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we’re blessed/ by our own seed & golden hairy naked/ accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black/ formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our/ eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive/ riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening/ sitdown vision.”
Ginsberg’s visionary, among many of the Beat Poets, was anti-militant, anti-materialistic, and anti homophobic; when giving poetry readings Ginsberg’s words moved audiences to the darker truths of the over-glorified America we all find ourselves (still) living under.
Described by literary critic Helen Vendler as “tirelessly persistent in protesting censorship, imperial politics, and persecution of the powerless,” Ginsberg’s Buddhist beliefs and religious background lead him to write some of the most profound (and disturbing) poems ever created, not to mention going on to start The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with fellow poet Anne Waldman.
Ginsberg’s achievements have been recognized all over the world and his willingness to openly address taboo topics in society contributed to the breakthroughs of gay rights, The North American Man/Boy Love Association, and some of the most inspirational poetry of the Beat Generation whose style is still adopted to this very day.
Happy 86th Birthday, Allen Ginsberg.
(source: The San Francisco Beat Museum; photo via eNothing)