Ginsberg, Milosz

Allen Ginsberg Pictures
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Czeslaw Milosz Pictures

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Cezanne's Ports

In the foreground we see time and life swept in a race toward the left hand side of the picture where shore meets shore.But that meeting place isn't represented; it doesn't occur on the canvas.For the other side of the bay is Heaven and Eternity, with a bleak white haze over its mountains.And the immense water of L'Estaque is a go-between for minute rowboats.
Allen Ginsberg
Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010
Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

Allen Ginsberg

-Born in 1926
- Renowned poet, world traveler, spiritual seeker, founder of a major literary movement, champion of human and civil rights, teacher, and political gadfly.
- Foundation of Ginsberg’s work was the notion that one’s individual thoughts and experiences resonated among the masses.
-June 1937
A young Ginsberg begins to write
Eleven-year-old Allen Ginsberg starts capturing his thoughts in his first personal journal.
June 24th, 1937

Mother Naomi attempts suicide

Naomi Ginsberg is found bleeding after father Louis breaks down the bathroom door and interupts her suicide attempt. Naomi is returned to Greystone State Mental Hospital for a two-year absence from the family.

(See early journals excerpt pg 1.)
As a poet, he will probably be remembered most for two lengthy masterworks: “Howl”, with its famous opening line (“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”) and relentless, rhythmic litany of lines devoted to the celebration of those minds, and “Kaddish” the powerful, heartbreaking biography of his mother, Naomi Ginsberg, who spent most of her adult life in a state of mental torment.
September 1941

Ginsberg discovers Walt Whitman

Ginsberg is inspired by his first exposure to Walt Whitman through his teacher, Francis Durbin, after a switch to Paterson's East Side High from Central.
November 1947

Mother Naomi has a lobotomy

Allen receives a letter from Doctors at Pilgrim State Hospital, where Naomi had been residing, recommending his mother receive a frontal lobotomy. Since Louis had divorced her, the legal responsibility fell to her sons; Allen signs the papers.

Czeslaw Milosz Bio


Miłosz emphasized his identity with the multi-ethnic Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a stance that led to ongoing controversies; he refused to categorically identify himself as either a Pole or a Lithuanian. He once said of himself: "I am a Lithuanian to whom it was not given to be a Lithuanian." Milosz was fluent in Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, English and French.

Miłosz spent World War II in Warsaw, under Nazi Germany's "General Government," where, among other things, he attended underground lectures by Polish philosopher and historian of philosophy and aesthetics, Władysław Tatarkiewicz. He did not participate in the Warsaw Uprising due to residing outside Warsaw proper.

After World War II, Miłosz served as cultural attaché of the communist People's Republic of Poland in Paris. In 1951 he defected and obtained political asylum in France. In 1953 he received the Prix Littéraire Européen (European Literary Prize).

In 1960 Miłosz emigrated to the United States, and in 1970 he became a U.S. citizen. In 1961 he began a professorship in Polish literature in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1978 he received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He retired that same year, but continued teaching at Berkeley.

In 1980 Miłosz received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Since his works had been banned in Poland by the communist government, this was the first time that many Poles became aware of him.

The Captive Mind has been described as one of the finest studies of the behavior of intellectuals under a repressive regime. Miłosz observed that those who became dissidents were not necessarily those with the strongest minds, but rather those with the weakest stomachs; the mind can rationalize anything, he said, but the stomach can take only so much.

Miłosz memorialized his Lithuanian childhood in a 1981 novel, The Issa Valley, and in the 1959 memoir Native Realm. After graduating from Sigismund Augustus Gymnasium in Vilnius, he studied law at Stefan Batory University and in 1931 he traveled to Paris, where he was influenced by his distant cousin Oscar Milosz, a French poet of Lithuanian descent and a Swedenborgian. His first volume of poetry was published in 1934. After receiving his law degree that year, he again spent a year in Paris on a fellowship. Upon returning, he worked as a commentator at Radio Wilno, but was dismissed for his leftist views. Miłosz wrote all his poetry, fiction and essays in Polish and translated the Old Testament Psalms into Polish.

Czeslaw Milozs Literary Context

Czeslaw Milosz wrote most of his works about World War II and the events after it. As an adult, he left Poland due to the oppressive Communist regime that came to power following World War II and has lived in the United States since 1960. Milosz's poems, novels, essays, and other works are written in his native Polish and translated by the author and others into English. Having lived under the two great totalitarian systems of modern history, national socialism and communism, Milosz writes of the past in a tragic, ironic style that nonetheless affirms the value of human life. While the faith of his Roman Catholic upbringing has been severely tested, it has remained intact. When the war began in 1939, and Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, Milosz worked with the underground Resistance movement in Warsaw, writing and editing several books published clandestinely during the occupation. One of these books, a collection titled Wiersze, was published under the pseudonym J. Syruc. After the war, Milosz became a member of the new communist government's diplomatic service and was stationed in Paris, France, as a cultural attache. In 1951, he left this post and defected to the West. The Captive Mind explains Milosz's reasons for defecting from Poland and examines the life of the artist under a communist regime. The Seizure of Power "is a novel on how to live when power changes hands. His first works were written about post-World War II events that affected Milosz the most. He wrote about his time in Poland and his time in exile when he lived in the United States of America. While living in America he wrote about his new home in San Francisco. He would compare his new home with his home in Poland. Then he would contrast the society of the West compared to his society in the East. His work later helped and motivated the people of Poland to fight against the communist government.

Allen Ginsberg Literary Context

Ginsberg first came to public attention in 1956 with the publication ofHowl and Other Poems.Howl,” a long-lined poem in the tradition of Walt Whitman, is an outcry of rage and despair against a destructive, abusive society. It received a variety of reviews, most were bad. However the ones who though it was good said it was a powerful poem and addressed an important issue with dynamic meaning. San Francisco arrest the publisher saying it was so obscene and would not allow it. This work was considered the platform for the Beat movement. The Beat talks with street language and wrote about topics that were forbidden to write about. He later would write about his mother and was influenced by many of his friends. He would write against militarism and the abuse by the government. He would also write about gay rights not only in America but in countries in Europe. Ginsberg's study of Eastern religions was spurred on by his discovery of mantras, rhythmic chants used for spiritual effects. Their use of rhythm, breath, and elemental sounds seemed to him a kind of poetry. In a number of poems he incorporated mantras into the body of the text, transforming the work into a kind of poetic prayer. During poetry readings he often began by chanting a mantra in order to set the proper mood. His interest in Eastern religions eventually led him to the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, a Buddhist abbot from Tibet who had a strong influence on Ginsberg's writing. Allen would write about the problems of wars. He got inspiration from the Vietnam War and the Bangladeshi Liberation War.

Allen Ginsberg criticism

Ginsberg's “Howl” became one of the most widely read poems of the second half of the twentieth century. In part this was due to Ginsberg's role as a 1950s champion of causes later embraced by the 1960s counterculture: freedom from sexual repression and traditional behavior; freedom to engage in recreational drug use; rejection of authority and censorship; rejection of the military-industrial complex. The poem assumed the status of gospel to those who found in it a voice that expressed their youthful angst and disillusionment.
Although they generally underestimated its eventual influence and often disliked its form, subject matter, and graphic language, early reviewers predicted that “Howl” would achieve a certain landmark status as a touchstone of the Beat movement's poetic expression. Critic John Hollander, while characterizing Howl and Other Poems in 1957 as a “dreadful little volume” and a “very tiresome book,” acknowledged that Ginsberg's “hopped-up and improvised tone” would be likely to enjoy a degree of celebrity. The same year, M. L. Rosenthal wrote of Ginsberg's “Howl”: “He has brought a terrible psychological reality to the surface with enough originality to blast American verse a hair's-breadth forward in the process … very simply, this is poetry of genuine suffering.”
Critical opinion of the work has evolved in the decades since it challenged the sensibilities of mainstream literary critics. In 1957, Michael Rumaker characterized “Howl” as being the victim of “hysterical language” and “nonexact vocabulary.” In 1983, Rumaker reconsidered his initial assessment and acknowledged that he had written “largely out of resistance to this new, shrill and unknown voice howling outloud what I, and many others of the time, only mentioned in oblique and cynical whispers.” Perhaps the most lucid early commentary on the poem, which also served as a testament to its right to be considered a valid contribution to contemporary American literature, came not from a literary critic but from Judge Clayton Horn, who made the determination that “Howl” should not be categorized as obscene. Horn wrote, “‘Howl’ presents a picture of a nightmare world; the second part is an indictment of those elements in modern society destructive of the best qualities of human nature. … The third part presents a picture of an individual who is a specific representation of what the author conceives as a general condition. … ‘Footnote to “Howl”’ seems to be a declaration that everything in the world is holy, including parts of the body by name. It ends in a plea for holy living. …”

Czeslaw Milosz Criticism

In any case, as I started reading, I realized I wasn’t going to get what I was looking for. Milosz describes the attractions of Communism; the hard questions that any all-embracing philosophy spares a person from answering for herself; and the strange sort of dissembling life produced in a society of informants. There were oblique analogies here to American life, but nothing direct. Everything was beautifully written, and clearly the product of an incisive mind, but it felt like a book that no one would much care to read fifty years from now.

And then, a few chapters in, Milosz starts writing a different sort of book. He produces four character sketches of artists known to him who, in some form of another, decided to bend their art to the demands of the state. He doesn’t name any of these people, but each can be said to conform to a certain artistic type; the names of the chapters are Alpha, the Moralist; Beta, the Disappointed Lover, and so on. Each one is enthralling. It is one of the most beautiful acts of identification I have ever come across. Novelists are continually writing about artists – painters, musicians, other writers – but I have never come across another book that I felt had such insight into the different varieties of the artistic temperament.

Milosz does not attempt any generalizations; the sketches, in addition to being a history of life in Poland during the Nazi years, are attempts to see what made these specific writers decide to alter their art to the dictates of socialist realism. Milosz describes their life and temperament, he reads everything they have written; and slowly, he brings out some element of their outlook that keeps emerging through their life and work, something that makes them willing to settle, in the end, for untruth.

Most Western artists no longer have to worry about the demands of the state, but the traits that make a person susceptible to one capitulation will always leave him open to others, and modern society has no end of compromises that it encourages artists to make. Forget modern society—life encourages compromises. It is always easier to take your cues from convention, give up before something is quite right—or, for that matter, just leave the damn page blank and go to bed.

There are a few books that I feel like I need to read every few years to steady myself somehow. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion is one; I think this will become another. I encourage everyone to read it.

Allen Ginsberg literary analysis on Howl

Howl is a performance piece written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955 and was published a year later in his collection of poetry entitled "Howl and Other Poems". On its release, it was condemned as obscene literature and the publisher and distributor were arrested; however in 1957, Howl was ruled not to be obscene and was re-released. This only increased the popularity of the piece.

Howl is split into three parts and is accompanied by a follow up footnote. Each part is separate and written individually of the others. Each part also carries different points and is written in varying styles. Here is a quick summary of each part.
Part One
Part one is made up of two hundred and twenty two verses and shows scenes from the lifestyles of the poet and his peers. Each line is spread out into a long breath which produces a stream of consciousness style to the poem. Howl does not use traditional meter or rhythm, relying on the word "Who" to give pace. Part one starts by describing "The Best Minds of My Generation", who are the Beat Generation, who are Ginsberg’s peers. Part one continues by interweaving Ginsberg’s experiences with crazy moments and situations from his friend's lives.
Part Two
Part two was written individually and away from part one, but at about the same time. Part two is much more metaphorical and discusses in depth political and social issues, choosing to refer to them by the name "Moloch". Moloch is deemed to be the cause of the suffering of the "Best Minds" and is noted as a force powerful enough to destroy the world.
Part Three
Part three is directly addressed to Carl Solomon, whom Ginsberg met in a Psychological Institute years earlier. This part builds towards a crescendo, journeying along Carl Solomon's descent into madness. The part starts as an empathetic look at the subject, but moves closer and allows the listener to feel the same emotions by the simply trick of changing the word "You" into the word "we" part way through.
Footnote to Howl
This was an experiment to reuse the long line style that Ginsberg had used before in previous parts. This part offers a hope of salvation from Moloch and displays the holiness in Man. Whereas in previous parts the author had honoured certain individuals, in this part Ginsberg attributes holiness to all his fellow Beat Generation and glorifies the sacrifice of sanity as the way to being saved.
The court case considering the obscenity of Howl was made into a film in 2010, written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. The film was received well and brought the poem to another generation. Alongside William S Burroughs's Naked Lunch, Howl is considered a prime example of Beat Generation Poetry and truly is Ginsberg's masterpiece.

Czeslaw Milosz literary analysis on the captive mind

Milosz starts off his masterpiece with a quote of warning: “Whoever says he’s 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.” Basically, he’s saying, look for the person or the party or the state that claims to be absolutely right, and you’ll likely find that person or institution trying to assert control over others. That’s just the way it works.

During the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Milosz joined up with the Polish underground. He then saw what the Soviet Union did to Ukraine, Hungary and Poland in the post-war period. Suffice it to say that Milosz has some insight into the mechanisms of totalitarian control. Milosz’ words were purified in the fires of tyranny and violence, until the written word became his weapon of choice in combating tyranny. On writing during Hitler’s occupation, Milosz puts it this way: “We had to write; it was our only defense against despair.”

In “The Captive Mind” Milosz tells the stories of other artists and writers and how they turned from freedom fighters during WWII into supporters of Soviet repression. Calling them Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, Milosz tries to understand how anti-fascist intellectuals morphed into apologists for (big-C) Communist control. In every time, in every war, in every society, there are members of the “intelligentsia” who turn their backs on civil liberties in favor of the wishes of the powerful. Milosz gives some great examples of how this works, how agitators surrender their greatest weapons to the service of power. “In rebelling,” he writes, “I believe I protect the fruits of tomorrow better than my friend who keeps silent.”

Famous Allen Ginsberg Poems

Kissass is the Part of PeaceAmerica will have to Kissass Mother EarthWhites have to Kissass blacks, for Peace & Pleasure, Only Pathway to Peace, Kissass.

Allen Ginsberg

Submitted: Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Edited: Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cezanne's Ports

In the foreground we see time and lifeswept in a racetoward the left hand side of the picturewhere shore meets shore.But that meeting placeisn't represented;it doesn't occur on the canvas.For the other side of the bayis Heaven and Eternity,with a bleak white haze over its mountains.And the immense water of L'Estaque is a go-betweenfor minute rowboats.

Allen Ginsberg

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

Making The Lion For All It's Got -- A Ballad

I came home and found a lion in my room...[First draft of "The Lion for Real" CP 174-175]A lion met Americain the roadthey stared at each othertwo figures on the crossroads in the desert.America screamedThe lion roaredThey leaped at each otherAmerica desperate to winFighting with bombs, flamethrowers,knives forks submarines.The lion ate America, bit off her headand loped off to the golden hillsthat's all there is to sayabout america except that now she's lionshit all over the desert.

Allen Ginsberg

Famous Czeslaw Milosz Poems

A Hall
The road led straight to the temple.

Notre Dame, though not Gothic at all.

The huge doors were closed. I chose one on the side,

Not to the main building-to its left wing,

The one in green copper, worn into gaps below.

I pushed. Then it was revealed:

An astonishing large hall, in warm light.

Great statues of sitting women-goddesses,

In draped robes, marked it with a rhythm.

Color embraced me like the interior of a purple-brown flower

Of unheard-of size. I walked, liberated

From worries, pangs of conscience, and fears.

I knew I was there as one day I would be.

I woke up serene, thinking that this dream

Answers my question, often asked:

How is it when one passes the last threshold?
Czeslaw Milosz
Submitted: Thursday, January 08, 2004
A Task
In fear and trembling, I think I would fulfill my life

Only if I brought myself to make a public confession

Revealing a sham, my own and of my epoch:

We were permitted to shriek in the tongue of dwarfs and


But pure and generous words were forbidden

Under so stiff a penalty that whoever dared to pronounce one

Considered himself as a lost man.
Czeslaw Milosz
Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Earth Again
They are incomprehensible, the things of this earth.

The lure of waters. The lure of fruits.

Lure of two breasts and the long hair of a maiden.

In rouge, in vermillion, in that color of ponds

Found only in the Green Lakes near Wilno.

An ungraspable multitudes swarm, come together

In the crinkles of tree bark, in the telescope's eye,

For an endless wedding,

For the kindling of eyes, for a sweet dance

In the elements of air, sea, earth, and subterranean caves,

So that for a short moment there is no death

And time does not unreel like a skein of yarn

Thrown into an abyss.
Czeslaw Milosz
Submitted: Friday, March 23, 2012
In Black Despair
In grayish doubt and black despair,

I drafted hymns to the earth and the air,

pretending to joy, although I lacked it.

The age had made lament redundant.

So here's the question -- who can answer it --

Was he a brave man or a hypocrite?
Czeslaw Milosz
Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Representative poems of Allen Ginsberg

A Brief Guide to the Beat Poets

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical


dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry

dynamo in the machinery of night . . .

--Allen Ginsberg, "Howl"
-Howl is Allen Ginsberg most famous poem.

Representative poems of Czeslaw Milosz

A Magic Mountain
I don’t remember exactly when Budberg died, it was either two years

ago or three.

The same with Chen. Whether last year or the one before.

Soon after our arrival, Budberg, gently pensive,

Said that in the beginning it is hard to get accustomed,

For here there is no spring or summer, no winter or fall.

“I kept dreaming of snow and birch forests.

Where so little changes you hardly notice how time goes by.

This is, you will see, a magic mountain.”

Budberg: a familiar name in my childhood.

They were prominent in our region,

This Russian family, descendants of German Balts.

I read none of his works, too specialized.

And Chen, I have heard, was an exquisite poet,

Which I must take on faith, for he wrote in Chinese.

Sultry Octobers, cool Julys, trees blossom in February.

Here the nuptial flight of hummingbirds does not forecast spring.

Only the faithful maple sheds its leaves every year.

For no reason, its ancestors simply learned it that way.

I sensed Budberg was right and I rebelled.

So I won’t have power, won’t save the world?

Fame will pass me by, no tiara, no crown?

Did I then train myself, myself the Unique,

To compose stanzas for gulls and sea haze,

To listen to the foghorns blaring down below?

Until it passed. What passed? Life.

Now I am not ashamed of my defeat.

One murky island with its barking seals

Or a parched desert is enough

To make us say: yes, oui, si.

'Even asleep we partake in the becoming of the world.”

Endurance comes only from enduring.

With a flick of the wrist I fashioned an invisible rope,

And climbed it and it held me.

What a procession! Quelles délices!

What caps and hooded gowns!

Most respected Professor Budberg,

Most distinguished Professor Chen,

Wrong Honorable Professor Milosz

Who wrote poems in some unheard-of tongue.

Who will count them anyway. And here sunlight.

So that the flames of their tall candles fade.

And how many generations of hummingbirds keep them company

As they walk on. Across the magic mountain.

And the fog from the ocean is cool, for once again it is July.

Czeslaw Milosz

Allen Ginsberg Inspiration

Allen Ginsberg was born in Newark, New Jersey on June 3, 1926. As a boy he was a close witness to his mother’s mental illness, as she lived both in and out of institutions. His father, Louis Ginsberg was a well-known traditional poet. After graduating from high school, Ginsberg attended Columbia University, where he planned to study law. There he became friends with Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Together the three would change the face of American writing forever. With an interest in the street life of the city, Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs found inspiration in jazz music and the culture that surrounded it. They encouraged a break from traditional values, supporting drug-use as a means of enlightenment. To many, their shabby dress and "hip" language seemed irresponsible, but in their actions could be found the seeds of a revolution that was meant to cast off the shackles of the calm and boring social life of the post-war era. While a nation tried desperately to keep from rocking the boat, Allen Ginsberg and the Beats saw the need for a more vibrant and daring society.

Ginsberg writing style was one of emotion and feeling. Involving many aspects on drugs and sexuality due to Ginsberg not know if he was homosexual or not as a child.

Inspiration of Czeslaw Milosz

Czesław Miłosz was born on June 30, 1911 in the village of Szetejnie, Kaunas Governorate, Russian Empire on the border between two Lithuanian historical regions of Samogitia and Aukštaitija in central Lithuania. Miłosz was raised Catholic in rural Lithuania and emphasized his identity with the multi-ethnic Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In his youth, Miłosz came to adopt, as he put it, a "scientific, atheistic position mostly", though he was later to return to the Catholic faith. After graduating from Sigismund AugustusGymnasium in Vilnius, he studied law at Stefan Batory University and in 1931 he travelled to Paris, where he was influenced by his distant cousin Oscar Milosz, a French poet of Lithuanian descent and a Swedenborgian. In 1931, he formed the poetic group Żagary together with the young poets Jerzy Zagórski, Teodor Bujnicki, Aleksander Rymkiewicz, Jerzy Putrament and Józef Maśliński.. Also he attended underground lectures in Warshaw during World War II.

Having lived under the two great totalitarian systems of modern history, national socialism and communism, Milosz writes of the past in a tragic, ironic style that nonetheless affirms the value of human life. While the faith of his Roman Catholic upbringing has been severely tested, it has remained intact.Milosz writes of the past in tragic, ironic, style that nonetheless affirms the value of human life. While the faith of Roman Catholic upbringing has been severely tested, it has remained intact.

Annotation of Kissass by Allen Ginsberg

Being a kiss ass creates peace
America has to kiss mother earth’s ass
Different races have to kissass, to avoid racism and stereotypes
The only way to have peace is to be a kissass

I believe this poem is stating a very simple idea. If we become a kissass to all the people around us their will be peace for us. This is because we will be making everyone happy so there is no need to argue or get mad. Unfortunately this is not how the world works and that is why fights and arguments happen.

Annotation of Black Despair by Czeslaw Milosz

In the darkness of despair
I sang songs to the earth
Pretending to be happy, even though I wasn’t
There was no reason to lament
So here is the question, answer if you can
Was he brave or being a hypocrite

I believe this poem is giving the impression of someone who is going through depression or a time of despair. This person tries to mask their sorrows by singing and pretending to be happy. The question is are they a hypocrite for singing to be happy when they are really sad, or just being strong for others. I personally believe they are being brave, they are only masking their sorrow to keep others from worrying about their situation. I believe that pretending to be happy when your not is not always a good thing to do, but to do it shows the essence of bravery and strength.