Although we think of a poem as something read from a book, poet Allen Ginsberg knew that poetry’s power did not depend upon print, and he drew on the traditions of religious and ritual communities in writing verse that would elevate the spirit, knit together community and even, when necessary, soothe and console the mourner. Joined by rock star Bono, former United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, and by a chorus of clergy and religious practitioners, in this episode we read two of Ginsberg’s most emotionally transporting poems, the “Hymmnn” from Kaddish, and the anti-war chant “Hum Bom!”
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Hymmnn [from Kaddish]
In the world which He has created according to his will Blessed Praised
Magnified Lauded Exalted the Name of the Holy One Blessed is He!
In the house in Newark Blessed is He! In the madhouse Blessed is He! In the
house of Death Blessed is He!
Blessed be He in homosexuality! Blessed be He in Paranoia! Blessed be He in
the city! Blessed be He in the Book!
Copyright © Allen Ginsberg LLC, used by permission of The Wylie Agency LLC