I have a terrible habit of reading several books at once. Last week I was reading The Poem that Changed America: Howl Fifty Years Later. I last read Howl when I was in high school; my mind was on other writers at that time and the impact of Ginsberg's poem did not hit me until now. Now it hits me with the explosive force of a bomb, something that changes everything I ever thought I knew, everything I've ever felt about language and literature and poetry. Every once in a while something comes along that totally, completely shatters everything you thought you knew about love or life or literature or yourself and you have to build yourself up again from the beginning. Howl is one of those things.