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A Supermarket in California

A Supermarket in California

by Allen Ginsberg

Literature and Writing Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon. (1)

The poem begins with an apostrophe (or a direct address) to Whitman himself. The whole poem is spoken to him. It sounds like the speaker's got a pretty awesomely poetic imaginary friend.

Quote #2

In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! (2)

Whitman was known for his enumerations—his long lists, or catalogues of things. In this way, Ginsberg's poems are a lot like Whitman's. A lot of his poems catalogue the world around him, and "Supermarket" is no exception.

Quote #3

What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons? (3)

Garcia Lorca was an early 20th-century Spanish poet and playwright. It seems like Ginsberg's got his eye on more than one poetic father. But what is it about Lorca that he admires or relates to? You might want to do a little digging to get the scoop on this famous Spanish poet.

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