Whitman’s Birthday Weekend, and Shopping with Ginsberg

Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

Well, Mr. Whitman’s birthday was on Thursday the 31st, and I had vowed to continue celebrating throughout the weekend. My birthday post for my Daddy/Uncle didn’t make it online until a little after midnight in the wee hours of Friday morning, and you can check that out here.

I was thinking of bringing you another reading, or a reading by a new friend, but since I have decided that I want to do some more thorough study of Whitman here on the Dad Poet in the not too distant future, I decided it would be fun bring you a poem written not by him, but “for” him, a poem called “Supermarket in California,” by Allen Ginsberg who just so happened to have been born on this day, June 3rd, 1926. (Honestly, I didn’t plan that. I just found out and came back here to edit this almost an hour later!) This is one of those innovative presentations I spoke of  before, apparently done as a poetry project by students. The voice used was Ginsberg’s.

As a side note, I was puzzled by some of the comments about the music and images. I thought they were wonderful, so I made a response of my own. You can click to watch it on YouTube if you want to see that discussion. I can be such a bull dog when responding to what I think is a bullheaded, unnecessary, or arrogant comment. That’s not really a warning, but maybe now that I’ve written it. . . 😉

10 Replies to “Whitman’s Birthday Weekend, and Shopping with Ginsberg”

    1. Thanks for the info, Steven. I didn’t realize that this was Ginsberg’s birthday until you posted this. I’ll be sure to check your Ginsberg blog out. Please don’t be a stranger.


  1. One of my favorite Ginsberg poems. I first read it when I was thirteen; it was in my mom’s American lit anthology. I could never think of WW without the line “What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman…”


  2. very cool…love that poem…ginsberg is awesome…all that beat poets were quite the revolutionaries in a way…and hey…nice to meet you…i love red wine and black coffee as well…smiles


  3. Oh, this video is delightful. It brings out the playfulness of Ginsberg’s poem that I hadn’t appreciated before. And I totally dig how the beard on the Ginsberg character looks like the pelt of a wolverine! Great fun.


    1. Yes! This is just what I was telling Brian! Well, not the wolverine part, but the rest, the playfulness. Just the right balance between the playful images, and the contemplative music. I thought it was very well done. In fact it made me jealous, wishing I had made it! That would be Billy Collins’ formula for knowing if something is really good; it makes you jealous. 🙂 Thanks for responding!


  4. A Supermaket in California will always be -I think- one of my favorites. I say this because I had an experience in a market once where I (white caucasian male and native English speaker) was in the minority. Some people become frightened when they become a minority if they are not accusomted to be ing one. But this was wonderful. I was surrounded by colorful dress, bright foods and a warmth and frisson in the people that was unmatchable. And all I could think of, apart from being joyful, was Ginsberg’s poem.


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