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A Supermarket In America

6 Pages 1563 Words

Allen Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket in America”

In “A Supermarket in America” Allen Ginsberg, laments upon the decline of American in a hale of imagery, allusion, and voice that imparts upon the reader a deeper understand of the poem, than the impressions left by W.D. Snodgrass’s decomposition “A produce market in California” which fails to capture the underlining meaning and purpose of the original poem.
The poem begins with the opening line, “What thoughts I have…” (line 1-3), which sets the tone for the remainder of the poem, by immediately thrusting the reader into the imaginary world of the poets own mind, which is the landscape for this poem. This is accomplished by the Ginsberg telling in the first line his location, “walking down side streets” (line 1-2), and his state of mind, “self-conscious looking at the moon”(line 2), which implies a daydreaming state, which is verified by the poet speaking to Walt Whitman a long dead poet who was known as the American poet-laureate to of the 19th century. This is important because it tells the careful reader that the poem is a introspective look at poetry, and by invoking the “American poet” of the previous century, the reader can deduce that this poem will at least explain the poets own views on contemporary poetry. To cement, and reiterate to the reader that this poem is a vision Ginsberg sets it in a “neon fruit supermarket”(line 4-5), which can not exists in the real world, because fruit are not neon, nor are supermarkets made in the shape of fruit. He goes on in this line to reiterate to the reader that this will be a look at poetry, by “dreaming of your enumerations” which is a reference to Whitman’s Poetry. Enumerations is commonly defined as “to count off or name”(Merriam-Webster) but, Ginsberg uses a lesser know meaning that of “a detailed account, in which each thing is specially noticed”(Merriam-Webster), which is essent...

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