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The poem "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg (which can be read online) is partly a savage general commentary on society and partly an expression of solidarity for the institutionalised fellow writer Carl Solomon.

Part I of the poem describes many writers and artists of the time, with whom Ginsberg was acquainted - including, but not only, Carl Solomon. Part II is a dark vision of society - a rant about the evil and despair Ginsberg saw all around him. Part III is entirely addressed to Carl Solomon, every line beginning with "I’m with you in Rockland" (Rockland being a mental asylum where Solomon was kept).

My question is: why was Solomon so special to Ginsberg? Obviously they knew each other and Ginsberg sympathised with Solomon's plight, but he also knew many of the other unfortunate suffering souls referred to in Part I - what made this particular one more worthy of an ode than the rest?

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