While reading Howl On Trial: The Battle for Free Expression and The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States, consider the following questions:
1. How does Ginsberg describe his generation?
2. In the poem "Howl" Ginsberg howls against Moloch. What does the Phoenician god, requiring appalling sacrifices, signify for him in the 1950s?
3. The structure of "Howl" relies on word repetition and parallel constructions to establish its incantatory rhythm, as in a prayer or a musical piece. What do you believe is the poet's intention in emphasizing this rhythm?
4. Do you think that Ginsberg's poetry was censored for its obscenity or for other reasons as well? If there were other reasons, what do you think they were?
5. According to the Chronology at the beginning of the Howl On Trial: The Battle for Free Expression anthology, what are the lessons of the past regarding censorship and how can we guard against them in the present?
6. What role does the correspondence between Ginsberg and others play in this anthology?
7. Does the trial transcript clarify the rule of law regarding our First Amendment rights?
8. After reading the trial decision by Judge Clayton W. Horn, do you still find difficulties in the definition of obscenity as it relates to free speech? What are the most salient concepts involved in his decision?