Daniel Radcliffe Reading from Howl (“Purgatoried”)

Daniel Radcliffe is interviewed and reads some lines (the opening lines, of course!) from Allen’s epic “Howl”

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…” (which is Lucien Carr, by the way, he was the original “angelheaded hipster”) …burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night”… There’s one phrase I love that comes up in a minute… “who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos..” – “purgatoried their torsos” is a wonderful phrase – “purgatoried“..is. I mean, that’s confidence as a writer is when you’re making verbs out of nouns, that’s confidence!

The interviewer goes on to present Daniel with the poem, “Anatomy”, the 2008 winner for Columbia’s Alfred J Kilmer Memorial “Bad Poetry” Contest – by Stephen Blair  – “The girl who sits in front of me/in Intro to Anatomy..” – Radcliffe: “There’s much worse poems than this in the world. I don’t think this is bad at all. I think this is too funny to be bad. Well done Stephen Blair. I think you’ve unfairly been given the “worst poetry” award. I think it’s great”

In the accompanying article, he is asked:  “What intrigued you most about Allen Ginsberg?”

“What I find interesting about him is that his confidence is so much intellectual and internal. I his inner life, he’s so fucking confident and so smart, and he is that, but that doesn’t translate into his outer life, into his interactions with people socially. So when he sees Lucian, here’s this charismatic – beautiful, obviously – but charismatic and charming, funny, can relate to anyone, can talk to anyone, isn’t intimidated by any social situation, and just falls for him. Because you often, I think, fall in love with characteristics in people that you don’t have in yourself or that you want in yourself, and that’s who he was.

In addition, he’s asked: “Any modern poetry you’re into?”

“There’s a great line in a Hold Steady song called “Banging Camp” that I love where he says, “I saw her at a party pit, she was shaky but still trying to shake it./ Half naked and three-quarters wasted, she was completely alone.” – And then it’s, “I saw him at the river banks/he was breaking bread and giving thanks/with crosses made of pipes and planks/leaned up against the nitrous tanks“. I was listening to Eminem recently, and I can’t think of an American poet I like more from the last 50 years. And the great thing about his stuff is that you can just read it. You can just look up the lyrics and read it as a fuckin’ awesome, hard-core, poem. The levels of word play, frankly, is stuff that poetry professors couldn’t dream of. I think it’s valid, it will become valid. Just as “Howl” did. There was no way that that was taught in schools in the 1950’s, but now it is.”

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