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Allen Ginsberg

The Trembling of the Veil

Ginsberg readers will recognize this poem as a working version of “Transcription of Organ Music,” from Howl & Other Poems (1956). This should not be confused with Ginsberg’s 1948 poem “The Trembling of the Veil,” published in Empty Mirror (1961). Both poems describe a similar experience of numinous reality.

The published version of “Transcription of Organ Music” carries the date September 8, 1955, but it is clear from this reading that the poem was still under construction as late as winter 1956, with more than a dozen phrases and lines later deleted.

February 1956
Reed College