(Napkin Drawing by Kristen Wetterhahn)
As a poet, Lawrence was inducted into the poetic pantheon after the publication in 1958 of A Coney Island of the Mind, one of this century’s best-selling books of poetry and a work which helped establish Lawrence as one of America’s pre-eminent poets. A Coney Island of the Mind, in fact, soon began to rival Allen Ginsberg’s Howl as one of the Beat anthems which helped set succeeding generations free. Free from what? Free from the Victorian mouth muffles, from the verbal chastity belts, from the figurative fig leafs, from the prehistoric attitudes and from the other mental tethers which still lingered to suppress thought, sexual and other expression in our literature and in our public discussions during America’s Eisenhower era.
COLUMN TWENTY-SEVEN, NOVEMBER 1, 1997
(Copyright (c) 1997 Al Aronowitz)