Today on the Scrapbook I posted a poem by Allen Ginsberg. In choosing this poem there were two things I wanted to accomplish.
First. This is my little awkward and inside way of announcing that over the course of the upcoming month (or two) I will focus my poetry posts on Walt Whitman. I have never really read (let alone grokked) any Whitman. As someone who studied poetry writing in college I feel that it is a little strange that I haven’t explored Whitman in depth, but as I’ve always meant to I feel that this is progress… but I digress. What more, Whitman’s name and words and ideas keep showing up more and more in my recent life. So at the charge of these synchronicities I say hello to Walt in the only way I know how — through Allen Ginsberg.
Second. My early high school extra-curricular reading lead in a path directly from Hemingway to Heller’s Catch-22 and to Jack Kerouac and the beats. Being the first to this adolescent trope in my school gave me a certain sort of ownership over the meme. In some ways, I guess I was the resident scholar on all things beat and although there wasn’t really much of a following I researched the names and the events of ‘The Beat Generation’ with a passion that brings me discomfort to this day. That all said, through my initial interest in Kerouac and his universe I came across Allen Ginsberg who — in addition to Elliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock‘ — gave me the idea that I could actually write poetry as a calling.
Tying these two points together. In my studies of Ginsberg I know that Whitman was a huge influence on — if not the patron saint of — Allen Ginsberg. So when I sat down to start reading Whitman my mind naturally wandered to Ginsberg and to scratch that dormant curiosity I opened up my copy of ‘Collected Poems‘ for the first time in five years.
I chose the poem that I did because its shortish, not too frenetic and because it reminds me of the first poem I ever formally wrote:
near the marina
amongst the bushes
above the shore
i found a little white flower
i dont know if its a daisy
i think its a daisy, but i dont know if its a daisy
on this flowerette i found
this lady this flower
this delicate quiet star
a purple white heart
defined by the lines
white lines of white
what to do with this treasure of mine
i ll eat it for supp
white little violet little
sunset for me