© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Allen Ginsberg

Howl Visions of America Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (line)

Quote #1

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked (line 1)

It's important to remember that Ginsberg did not conceive of Howl as a poem about misfits and degenerates. He strongly believed that his friends and associates represented the best America had to offer.

Quote #2

Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind (line 13)

Here the speaker presents America as a collection of places to get drunk and high.

Quote #3

who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight street light smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa (lines 26-27)

Unlike some New York intellectuals, Ginsberg did not view the middle of America as "flyover country." He took the time to explore smaller American cities like Houston and Denver.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...