After watching trailer for Howl starring James Franco as the famous beat poet Allen Ginsberg, I found myself becoming increasingly excited for its upcoming September 24, 2010 release date. The genre-bending biopic of one of America’s most important and influential poets consists of three different aspects that are interwoven together: Ginsberg’s early life in New York City, the obscenity trial that resulted from the publishing of his epic poem Howl, and an animated re-imagining of that poem.
Eric Drooker, painter, graphic novelist, and cover artist for The New Yorker, served as Animation Designer for the re-imagining of Howl. No stranger to Ginsberg’s work, Drooker collaborated with the famous poet on the book Illuminated Poems, providing illustrations to accompany pieces. Inspired by his work on the film Howl, Drooker appropriately felt that the Epic Poem would make a beautiful graphic novel.
Howl: A Graphic Novel provides students a visualization of the poem, stanza by stanza, drawing inspiration from storyboards and animations created during the film’s production. This artistic interpretation makes Ginsberg’s prophetic masterpiece—which rages against dehumanizing society—perhaps the most accessible it has ever been.
Looking for more ways to use Ginsberg’s work in a classroom? Check out WebEnglishTeacher’s resources. Also, listen to Howl straight from the mouth of Ginsberg himself! There is also an official website for Howl, providing more information on the film.
If you would like to consider Howl: A Graphic Novel for one of your classes, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to require this book, please request a desk copy.