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Unformatted text preview: Ginsberg pursues his signature tumbling style in "Sunflower Sutra," a pseudo-religious poem written in 1956 following a vision of William Blake reciting "Ah! Sunflower." The text, which reads with the honesty of a diary entry, opens on somber lament. Alongside friend Kerouac, the grieving poet obsesses over polluted streams devoid of fish and rusted machinery until Jack points out one hopeful entity, a sunflower. In technically powerful lines enlivened with similes, the poet summarizes America's downhill slide. In alliterated monosyllables, he decries "the smut and smog and smoke" of trains. Dramatically, powerfully, the poem rises to an intense melancholy in line 9: "O my soul, I loved you then." Ginsberg seems overwhelmed with the violation of technology, which he characterizes as "artificial worse-than-dirt." Continuing in a flood of alliterated pairings, he humanizes the wreckage around him worse-than-dirt....
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- Fall '08
- Style, Ginsberg, Sunflower Sutra, internal sunflower beauty, slang anatomical terms., selfconscious national evaluation