"Allen Ginsberg's Howl & Other Poems was originally published by City Lights Books in the fall of 1956. Subsequently seized by U.S. Customs and the San Francisco police, it was the subject of a long court trial at which a series of poets and professors persuaded the court that the book was not obscene.
Allen Ginsberg was born June 3, 1926, the son of Naomi Ginsberg, Russian emigre, and Louis Ginsberg, lyric poet and schoolteacher, in Paterson, New Jersey. To these facts Ginsberg adds: High school in Paterson till 17, Columbia College, merchant marine, Texas and Denver copyboy, Times Square, amigos in jail, dishwashing, book reviews, Mexico City, market research, Satori in Harlem, Yucatan and Chiapas 1954, West Coast 3 years. Later Arctic Sea trip, Tangier, Venice, Amsterdam, Paris, read at Oxford Harvard Columbia Chicago, quit, wrote Kaddish 1959, made tape to leave behind & fade in Orient awhile. Carl Solomon to whom Howl is addressed, is a intuitive Bronx dadaist and prose-poet.
NYT: The Poem That Changed America- "Howl Fifty Years Later"
Goodreads: Howl by Allen Ginsberg
Let's set the scene...
In an ill-advised gesture of welcome, Lorelai invites Jess and Luke over for dinner.
Jess: Hey. [walks into Rory's room]
Rory: I'm Rory.
Jess: Yeah, I figured.
Rory: Nice to meet you.
Jess: [looking at bookshelf] Wow, aren't we hooked on phonics.
Rory: Oh, I read a lot. Do you read?
Jess: Not much. [takes a book off the shelf]
Rory: I could loan you that if you want. It's great.
Jess: No thanks. [puts it down]
Rory: Well, if you change your mind…
~~~and a few days later~~~
Jess: Okay, then I'll leave you this last little trick. [hands her a book]
Rory: You bought a copy? I told you I'd lend you mine.
Jess: It is yours.
Rory: You stole my book.
Jess: Nope, borrowed it.
Rory: Okay, that's not called a trick, that's called a felony.
Jess: I just wanted to put some notes in the margins for you.
Rory: What? [looks through the book] You've read this before.
Jess: About forty times.
Rory: I thought you said you didn't read much.
Jess: Well, what is much?
Posting my review of this book on Bloomsday just seems too appropriate, given Howl's own time in court for obscenity. Ulysses and this little book published by City Lights Books have that in common.
While it's a little cliched that Jess' first impact on Rory's life would be his commentary on the work of a famous Beat poet (let's just say I'm surprised he went to Venice instead of Denver), the way Amy Sherman-Palladino introduces him says so much more. Jess brought a bit of darkness into Rory's life... darkness that she didn't yet realize she needed as a way to gain further clarity on who she is outside of Lorelai and all the people of Stars Hollow. Ginsberg's poems bring to mind a dark room- lit by a single, dingy lightbulb dangling from the center of the ceiling. So much goes unseen in the corners of that room... but that seemingly useless light bulb puts regular, every day objects into an unexpected and revealing light. Jess shed that light on Rory's life... and therefore, him sharing his thoughts on Ginsberg in the form of marginalia is a perfect introduction to what their relationship will end up meaning in the story of Rory's life.
And it was even better that he essentially stole it from her... the little punk!
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?
Yeah, I know... too easy. But too true.