In the decade before his death, Allen Ginsberg assembled the original typescripts of his prophetic masterpiece Howl, along with revisions and later drafts of each section of the poem; they are reproduced here in facsimile with facing-page transcriptions and notes. Following, and at the heart of this volume, are the poet's meticulous annotations of each verse of the successive drafts of Howl. A treasure trove of literary allusions, anecdotes, techniques of composition, as well as a veritable social history of the 1950s, the annotations offer a fascinating and unique insight into the material with which Ginsberg worked and the process by which his poem evolved. A selection of contemporaneous correspondence from the mid-1950s reveals the variety of responses to Howl in all its newness and offers a glimpse of the lively literary comradeship among Beat Generation writers. Hitherto unpublished material from a wide range of poets and critics who were involved with the poem--Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Richard Eberhart, John Clellon Holmes, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Carl Solomon, Louis Simpson, Philip Lamantia, Tuli Kupferberg, Lionel Trilling, and Gregory Corso--reads like a rich and exuberant tale of the tribe. A complete bibliography of editions, translations, and recordings; first person accounts of the Howl trial and its first public reading, along with a series of remarkable photographs from the period complete the monumental exposition of Ginsberg's most celebrated poem. Ferlinghetti's new introduction highlights the impact of Howl on American First Amendment protections as well as the place of the poem as a democratic catalyst of the many movements for peace and inclusiveness that grew in the following decades. --City Lights Publishers.