America by Allen Ginsberg - Beat generation poet;

Stream of Consciousness - ramblings - raw - grotesque - unrefined

hoped to get out not narrative or beauty but spontaneity, human expression, and reaction

America is personified

Analysis (of sorts)

Sentences often run on without punctuation and the poem skips from subject to subject with little relation to each other

non-sequitur; run-off sentences

America - an ex lover discovering that much of himself is America and finally moving towards ridiculing and taunting this personified America for its militaristic culture, its vapid media, and its paranoid politics

anti-war and anti-militarism (atom bomb) talks about the red scare (mentions of Trotskyites, him not being sorry for being a communist previously) talks about censorship (his books were banned) talks about the government how he does things deemed illegal (marijuana) or immoral (Chinatown)

critizes America for not just seeing all events through the lens of the media but letting media (Time) affect its emotional life

”I am America” “I am talking to myself again”

says all he has is two joints of marijuana, millions of genitals, an unpublishable private literature

asks to free Tom Mooney (falsely charged), save Spanish Loyalists (who fought against fascism), and Sacco & Vanzetti must not die (two anarchists who were killed without due process)

names pacifist leaders and figures

uses all of these historical examples to demonstrate to America that is is not the country that it presents itself to be

then mocks unthinking patriotism and unjust treatment of minority racial and political groups by America


confessional politics self-deprecating humor (not getting laid in Chinatown, for eg) psychedelic usage treatment towards minorities communism anti-consumerism inequality nuclear warfare foreign policy paranoia (red scare and “everybody is a spy”)

see also - beat generation red scare McCarthyism