Over the years, I refer back to Ginsberg — and most important? “Howl” (and other poems), well, plus City Light Bookstore.

Shift to another art form: Opera. One of the most useful texts for my understanding and appreciation of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle?” A comic book. Rather, a ”graphic novel” interpretation of the cycle. Lurid colors, and frankly overly sexualized female forms, impossible, gravity-defying germanic, nordic goddesses. As one might expect? Perfect for the late 80’s newly exalted medium of “graphic novels,” and it was a DC Comics artist. Good stuff, and while not exhaustive, or nuanced? It clearly etched the outline of the story, with lovely graphic details. Dragons, ogres, straight off the page and into imagination. Pure fantasy. As only the Nordic Myth’s can be.

In June, there’s always Bloom’s Day. Another partial graphic novel that helped with the real novel, Ulysses. Think that was an app, more than a “graphic novel,” not that literature, in whatever guise, can be adapted to new forms.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night

The phrase, “angelheaded hipsters” resonates across fifty-plus years of time, as does other phrasing. The idea of a comic book, though, excuse me, “graphic novel” format, as a way to illustrate and present the poem? As an adjunct to the original text, or the auditory versions? Sure.

Poems, poetry, plays, they are meant to be presented, performed.

Listening to some Shakespeare, over and over, I get to hear language dance. The way the “graphic novel” presents the poem, broken in smaller stanzas, allowing images — one interpretation — to help convey possible intended meaning?

who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
with flame under the tubercular sky
surrounded by orange crates of theology

Just words that make music and paint images, then, in the new format, some images are painted, themselves — “crowned with flame under the tubercular sky…”


There was an image in the book, a man, a figure, wearing spectacles, sitting at a typewriter, poised in action, a cigarette’s smoke curling up from a dangling lip, and the image itself is highly evocative of old Hunter Thompson picture. More ways than one.

My cover image for Howl. Much older image for Ginsberg poetry.

“I’m with you in Rockland where we are great
writers not the same dreadful typewriter”


Looking directly at a Midterm Millennial, I used the phrase, “angel-headed hipster,” and the quick response?

“I like that,” closely followed with a genuine smile.


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© 1994 – 2021 Kramer Wetzel for

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