Litkicks Message Board Archive

True, though he struggled

Posted to Poetry and Politics




It's easy to find pictures of Ginz smoking cigarettes but it's true, he was deeply against the tobacco habit and industry and struggled with his own addiction for decades, often quitting for years and then smoking again and then stopping, etc. I think some of his loathing of the tobacco industry must have had to do with his deep antipathy for Jesse Helms, a staunch supporter of the tobacco lobby.

Of course there's his great & hilarious poem "Put Down Your Cigarette Rag" which was amazing to see him read, his fake coughing theatrics and animated delivery a real audience shaker.

And the terrific line from "Howl":


"who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting
the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism..."