Tuesday, January 11, 2011


A contest for
the best minds of my generation

Howl, the motion picture by Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, starring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg, a film that I have called both “a wonderful motion picture” and “the best exposition of a poem in a major motion picture,” is now available on DVD & Blue-Ray. You no longer need live within driving distance of a major urban center or a good college art house film scene in order to view it. And view it you should. Franco as the young Ginsberg is fantastic. The DVD also has extra features not previously available and comes with English & French subtitle options.

The film was nominated for a Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Berlin Bear prize at the Berlin Film Festival. Carter Burwell was nominated for film composer of the year award for this and four other films at the World Soundtrack Awards. Howl won the Freedom of Expression Award from the National Board of Review.

I have a copy of the new DVD of Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman’s motion picture Howl, starring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg, for the first three readers of this blog who correctly answer the following two questions:

Who actually spent time in jail when the SFPD “busted” Howl?

Who played this person in the film?

Members of my family, immediate & extended, and regular contributors to this blog are not eligible. Neither are current or former employees of City Lights nor residents of Nowhere Zen, New Jersey. Send your entries via email to Silliman AT gmail DOT com. You must put HOWL CONTEST in the headline.

Here is Ginsberg at Reed College in February, 1956, giving the earliest recorded reading of Howl. This may be the only recording of the poem where an audience has never before actually read the text. Ginsberg was hitch-hiking around the Northwest with Gary Snyder at the time, and reads only the first part of the poem. Interesting to note where (and how nervously) the laughter falls.

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