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In celebration of National Poetry Month, every day we're posting a new poem from the spoken-word album Poetic License, a three-CD set that features one hundred performers of stage and screen reading one hundred poems selected by the actors themselves. From Shakespeare and Dickinson to Lucille Clifton and Allen Ginsberg, the lineup spans contemporary American poetry and classics of the Western canon.
Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) counted among his influences William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, and Edgar Allan Poe. A contemporary to Beat writers William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac, Ginsberg set a landmark in literary history when his poem "Howl" overcame charges of obscenity to gain protection under the First Amendment. He died on this day thirteen years ago.
Michael Rupert is an actor and composer of the Broadway and off-Broadway stage. He has appeared in productions including Pippin, Ragtime, and Legally Blonde.
"A Supermarket in California" by Allen Ginsberg, from Poetic License produced by Glen Roven. Copyright © 2010 by GPR Records. Used with permission of GPR Records.