Emily Wilson

Independent Reporter/Producer
Creative Commons Flickr

In 1956, Lawrence Ferlinghetti decided to publish Allen Ginsberg’s "Howl" in 1956. The seminal poem broke social taboos by talking about drugs and race.

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical, naked dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,” the poem reads.

In an era characterized by conformity, “Howl” was a call to self-expression. But history notes that “Howl” became more. In 1957, Ferlinghetti was put on trial for publishing obscene materials. That trial became the center of the free speech movement, and it brought the Beat generation, Ferlinghetti’s bookstore, City Lights, and this wild poem to the world stage.

Courtesy of cuttingball.com

San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood can be a difficult place to live. Almost a quarter of the neighborhood’s residents live below the poverty line. According to the police department, the Tenderloin accounts for more than a third of the city’s drug-related offenses.

The true art of storytelling is in bringing stories to life, either as comedy, a compelling radio piece, or a movie. But what happens when what you want to bring to life is a piece of art in itself? Like making a movie about a poem?