A considerable amount of critical commentary about Allen Ginsberg has focused on his public persona and on his relationship with the Beat Generation. This focus runs counter to Ginsberg’s own wishes, as he wished to be studied as a poet first, a serious poet, and a poet speaking for a new American voice. By focusing on the poetry and on Ginsberg’s extensive amount of self-analysis, this paper details the main strategies and techniques Ginsberg employed in his poetics, and how he used those techniques to form a modern American voice in poetry.
The paper specifically looks at Ginsberg’s relationship to the imagists, his use of meditation and drug use, his focus on the natural breath and its role in the line, his use of melopoeia, logopoeia, and phanopoeia, his reliance on repetition and meter, the concept of juxtaposed imagery and gaps in consciousness, and the ways in which his poetry is phenomenological. The paper also includes analysis of Ginsberg’s poetry after the “Howl” era, as it argues that Ginsberg should not be defined by one poem or by his role in one social movement; instead, the whole of his work should be looked at as a supreme example of a modern American voice.
Date of publication
Anett Jessop, Ph.D., Anne Beebe, Ph.D., Stephanie Odom, Ph.D.
Master of Arts in English
Karwin, Joseph, "The Phenomenological Beat: Allen Ginsberg's Many Multitudes" (2018). English Department Theses. Paper 17.