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A Supermarket in California

A Supermarket in California

by Allen Ginsberg

A Supermarket in California Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Much like his idol, Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg usually writes in free verse. His poems aren't structured by a traditional form, like a sonnet or ballad. However, this doesn't mean that his poetry...

Speaker

Though we don't want to come out and say that the speaker and Allen Ginsberg are the exact same person (a speaker in a poem is always at least a little fictitious), the two are remarkably similar....

Setting

While the poem may be called "A Supermarket in California," only about half of the action in the poem takes place in the "neon" food store, where there are families, old ghostly poets, and lots of...

Sound Check

This poem has a whole bunch of exclamation points in the first few lines. When you read the poem out loud, you can't help but feel some excitement, even some jubilation, at first. There are so many...

What's Up With the Title?

Much of the poem takes place in a supermarket in California, so it's not like the title comes out of left field. But still, Shmoop wants to go deeper. The poem could be called, say, "Walt Whitman,...

Calling Card

Like his literary idol Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg is known for his super-long free verse lines. His poems many not be organized by traditional rhymes or meter, but they are held together by these...

Tough-o-Meter

"A Supermarket in California" assumes that you're a pretty smart reader—that you know your Greek mythology and your poetry history. The speaker isn't going to waste time telling you who Whitman a...

Trivia

Ginsberg was a lifelong Buddhist and taught many classes on the topic. The best part is, even though he's gone, we can still read his teachings, like this transcript of one of his classes. Take som...

Steaminess Rating

"A Supermarket in California" doesn't have too much sex in it, but there is some innuendo. Walt Whitman casts some saucy glances and asks some suggestive questions at the grocery boys, but that's a...

Allusions

Walt Whitman (throughout) Federico Garcia Lorca (3)
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