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A Supermarket in California
A Supermarket in California
by Allen Ginsberg

Tough-O-Meter

We’ve got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you’ll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(3) Base Camp

"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 and Garcia Lorca are. That being said, once you understand the references (you can check out our "Summary" for help on this) the poem isn't too difficult. Though, we have to admit, that last line of the poem is a tough one, even if you know all about Charon and Lethe.

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