Political Statements And Forms Of Expression: Poetry And Painting Term Paper


Art "Howl" and "Guernica" Outline

The paper demonstrates the ways in which both pieces of art contemplate and express multiple themes, including those of religion, morality, happiness, life-affirmation, and freedom.

"Howl" is a poem that is both a mourning and a celebration of life.

"Guernica" is an expression of pain and war.

Both works of art have many themes and many of the same themes.

Ginserb, the 1950s, and "Howl"

He composed the poem in the middle of the 1950s, one of the greatest decades in history for mainstream America.

He is heavily influenced by previous poets and by his own lived experiences.

Howl" shows readers how they can be connected to spirituality, religion, and what is sarcred or holy with, and without the use of the formal church.

Poetry is another form of storytelling that is best when read/performed aloud.

Howling, Expression, and Jazz

A. If we are howling, either out of pain or out of pleasure, we are alive and we are having strong feelings.

B. Poetry is a form of creative expression; this poem is a howl of words.

C. He is howling for his whole generation, not only himself.

D. The poem is an individual expression and a communal expression.

E. "Howl" is a form of verbal jazz.

F. Jazz heavily influences the poem just as much as other authors and contemporary experience.

G. "Howl" is a signal of change.

IV. Picasso, Horror, and Pain

A. The painting is of war, which is an alert to themes of morality and freedom.

B. The word "horror" refers to the emotional and psychological content of the piece, though it is literally a horror the viewer beholds.

C. The painting is a cubist expression of a negative reality -- art is imitating life.

D. The content of the painting shows the horrors of war on the average citizen's everyday reality.

V. Color, Perspective, & The Purpose of Art

A. The painting is in black and white because that is how Picasso sees the issues of war in his country.

B. The painting became a symbol of the horrors of war around the world.

C. On the subject of "Guernica," Picasso once wrote, "Painting is not done to decorate apartments; it is an instrument of war."

D. Art is wild and art is a weapon, as much as it is a tool for communication.

VI. Conclusion

"Howl" and "Guernica" are pieces of that are political statements that express several themes. Some of the themes in these works included life affirmation, religion, freedom, happiness and morality. Poets have the ability to paint with words, and painters have the ability to make pictures "worth a thousand words."

Paper Summary

The paper analyzes two pieces of art. One is a painting and one is a poem. Art analysis is very challenging. Analyzing poetry is a significant challenge, which the paper attempts to perform. Painting is also challenging, but it is an art form people are more accustomed to analyzing, or can do so, generally, with greater ease. The paper analyzes "Howl" and "Guernica" by looking closely at where and when they were created. The paper also analyzies them by looking closely at the authors themselves, as well as their chosen expression of art.

The paper's first section is about "Howl." This is a poem that is several decades old. Even so, this poem is still relevant today. The analysis begins with a description about the environment in which the poem was written. The paper also pays close attention to the oral tradition that is a part of poetry because Ginsberg is very aware of the poem as a piece of writing, the poem as a story to be told, and an experience that is supposed to be lived out in the real world.

The paper continues on with the analysis and description of "Guernica" by Picasso. This is a very famous painting about war. The paper explains why this is true and there are several reasons. The political nature of the painting is very prominent. The paper explains how the painting is more than a painting, and more than a political statement about war -- it is also a statement about the function of all pieces of art. The painting and the artist are an argument for peace, happiness, and morality -- themes also shared by "Howl."

The paper concludes with somewhat of a philosophical reflection upon art, writing on art, and the intentions of art overall.


Some of the greatest and most famous works of art are those that have direct relationships with experienced reality, with other artworks, and with other events in the present. The artworks to be examined in this paper are two such examples of well-crafted art, though of different genres and different forms. The paper will identify themes in two works of art. One work of art to be discussed is the poem "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. The other work of art to be discussed is a painting called "Guernica," by Pablo Picasso. The paper will provide some context within which the artworks were produced and are analyzed. "Howl" is a poem that is both a mourning and a celebration of life. This is a poem that is life-affirming, claiming that there are so many reasons to be grateful and so many places in which people may find religion without an institution such as church. "Guernica" is an expression of pain and war, which was happening in Spain at the time Picasso painted this image. The paper demonstrates the ways in which both pieces of art contemplate and express multiple themes, including those of religion, morality, happiness, life-affirmation, and freedom.
Poet Allen Ginsberg composed "Howl" in 1955 and it was published by City Lights Books of San Francisco, CA the following year. He composed the poem in the middle of the 1950s, one of the greatest decades in history for mainstream America. It had been a decade since the American and Allied victory in the second world war. Numerous American men returned home to a country in much better shape than expected, with many women having entered the workforce to keep the economy and industry alive in their absence. The spoils of war were great and America saw a great era of prosperity and domestic, suburban bliss. More interstate highways were constructed. Many more cars were produced and bought. It was a classic era for mainstream American culture in the 1950s. Yet in the haze of the suburbs, expansion of television, growth of Hollywood, and cars, present here were the seeds of rebellion and counterculture that was more indicative of the following decade, 1960s. One such seed is the poem in question, "Howl."

Certainly, the medium of "Howl" is writing -- it is the written word. Ginsberg sat at his typewriter and typed the words onto paper, assembled the papers together, and published the collection of words as a book. Therefore, his medium is writing in the form of poetry. Poetry though, as known throughout history, is meant to be more than just read from a book. Poetry is meant to be lived as often the best and most memorable poetry comes directly from lived experience.

"Howl" shows readers how they can be connected to spirituality, religion, and what is sarcred or holy with, and without the use of the formal church. In the final section of the poem, Ginsberg declares the holiness of everyday and everyone, even his unstable mother who died from lobotomy surgery in a mental institution. (Ginsberg, 1956) Bringing a keen sense of the sacred and the holy to everyday life is inspiring and somewhat religious in of itself. Thus, there is a vivacity in the poetry that begs to be lived out through the experiences of the people who were touched or inspired by "Howl." His energy to love everything and appreciate the sacred in the everyday contributes to the theme of life affirmation.

Poetry is meant to be read aloud. The poem is meant to be heard. Poetry is as much a part of the written tradition as it is a part of the oral tradition. Poetry is another form of storytelling and "Howl" certainly is a story that Ginsberg is bursting to tell. Ginsberg read the poem to small audiences in San Francisco prior to the publishing, as well as after it, when the piece gained attention and notoriety. (Ginsberg, 1956)

Part of the power and impact of "Howl" are the sounds and the transmission of vigor and excitement from the writer to the reader when the words are spoken or heard aloud. The title of the piece is "Howl," which already calls to mind the auditory and the sense of hearing. Howls are meant to be read; howls are meant to be heard. Howls can additionally be a symbol or act of freedom from a restriction or when a goal has been achieved. This is another way that "Howl" expresses themes of freedom and happiness.

Many people associate the sound of a howl or the act of a howl with a wolf or a dog. Many…

Sources Used in Documents:


1. Raento, P., & Watson, C.J. "Gernika, Guernica, Guernica?: Contested meanings of a Basque place." Political Geography, Vol. 19, Pgs 707 -- 736, 2000.

The authors discuss the many ways to interpret "Guernica." The authors focus upon why and how Picasso created such a dense work of art. The authorts furthermore explore and offer various ways for readers to interpret the painting from a historical and contemporary perspective.

2. Ginsberg, Allen. Howl. City Lights Books: San Francisco. 1956. Print.

This is the entirety of the poem. There is a foreword, preface, and afterword. The majority of the book consists of the poem "Howl," although there are other poems. Some of the other poems in the book are directly related to "Howl" in subject and style, and some are more obtusely related to the title poem.

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