Howl Draft Found/Globe Reopens With Ovid Play – Poetry News Roundup March 29th

We begin the week with a look at articles about a poem that birthed a poetry renaissance, and the new play based on the works of Ovid that will be performed when The Globe reopens.

Draft Copy of Howl Found

An early draft copy of the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg has been found. This seminal poem gives an insight into how the great poet worked. It has been put up for sale at a price of $425,000.

The draft, which is a carbon copy was found by a member of Ginsberg’s family amongst papers belonging to Annie Ruff, the arts Patron who hosted many poets and artists at her home over the years. The family believed that what they had found was an early version of the poem and contacted a specialist for authentication. It was then that it was discovered to be a carbon copy that had been typed by Ginsberg and is believed to date to 1956, late January to early February.

Ginsberg first read parts of the poem out loud in October 1955; an occasion described by fellow Beat’s poet Jack Kerouac as “the night of the birth of the San Francisco poetry renaissance”. However, the poem was not actually published until some point in the autumn of 1956. The late Lawrence Ferlinghetti was arrested and charged followings its publication on charges of obscenity and it was this trial that was the catalyst for Ginsberg’s career.

The draft, which is 11 pages in length, has been put up for sale at Type Punch Matrix for a fixed price of $425,000 (approximately £308,000). Experts say that the draft is a very important step in the life cycle of the poem, as a carbon copy rather than a top copy some of the revisions that Ginsberg made can be clearly seen. These are changes that might overwise never have been seen. This carbon copy is only the only copy that contains an entire page of the poem which the poet chose not to use; he revised and rewrote it completely for the completed version. The parts that were contained in this page were, however, known about as Ginsberg read them on a recording that was made in 1956 at Reed College.

Howl is considered to be one of the most important American poems of the 20th century, and for a draft of such a major work to not be known about for such a considerable time is highly unusual.

Shakespeare’s Globe to Reopen on 19th May

The Globe Theatre has confirmed that it is planning to reopen on 19th May for a program of socially distanced performances. These will include a number of Shakespeare’s plays; Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. King Lear which had been planned for this year will now take place in 2022.

They also confirmed that later in the year they are hoping to put on Metamorphoses. This is a new play that is inspired by Ovid the Roman poet. It is believed that Ovid was a major influence on the Bard himself. The play is scheduled to open at the end of September.

In making the announcement the Artistic Director of the theatre said that he was delighted the theatre was getting closer to being able to do the thing that they love best and that The Globe was created for.



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