When South Windsor High School suspended a teacher for reading an Allen Ginsberg poem to his students, claiming it was "highly inappropriate" for its sexually explicit content, the staff probably wasn't expecting to make national news, but that's exactly what happened. According to NBC Connecticut, English teacher David Olio asked students to read Ginsberg's "Please Master" in class, after which students and parents took to social media to express their discomfort with the assignment. By Monday morning, Olio, who has taught literature at South Windsor since 1996, received a suspension from the school while the South Windsor Board of Education "investigate[s] the concerns that have been brought to our attention," assistant superintendent Colin J. McNamara wrote in Olio's suspension letter.According to Cosmopolitan, officials wrote an email to parents stating that they "do not tolerate the use of inappropriate materials in classroom settings." Olio, who graduated from Trinity College, is not facing any criminal charges; instead, he is on paid administrative leave, meaning that he is prohibited from setting foot on school grounds or contacting students while he's under investigation. However, this hasn't stopped people from taking to Twitter to voice their displeasure with Olio's suspension, claiming that it promotes censorship.
Although, as always, there's at least one homophobe who has to make an appearance.
If you're unfamiliar with Ginsberg's body of work, chances are you're wondering what makes one teacher's suspension so divisive. The answer lies in the subject matter of "Please Master," which depicts sex between two men. Ginsberg, an acclaimed Beat poet who was the recipient of many awards in his life time, including the Robert Frost Medal, Lifetime Literary Achievement Award, and National Book Award for Poetry, is known for his Walt Whitman-esque poetry and sexually explicit content. In fact, his seminal work Howl and Other Poems was so shocking for the time that the San Francisco Police Department arrested the publisher upon its publication in the 1950s, according to the Poetry Foundation.
In light of all this, it probably won't come as a surprise that "Please Master" is a very explicit description of sex between men. Here it is in full, via the World's Poetry Archive.
Please master can I touch your cheekplease master can I kneel at your feetplease master can I loosen your blue pantsplease master can I gaze at your golden haired bellyplease master can I gently take down your shortsplease master can I have your thighs bare to my eyesplease master can I take off your clothes below your chairplease master can I kiss your ankles and soulplease master can I touch lips to your muscle hairless thighplease master can I lay my ear pressed to your stomachplease master can I wrap my arms around your white ****please master can I lick your groin curled with soft blond furplease master can I touch my tongue to your rosy ****please master may I pass my face to your balls,please master, please look into my eyes,please master order me down on the floor,please master tell me to lick your thick shaftplease master put your rough hands on my bald hairy skullplease master press my mouth to your prick-heartplease master press my face into your belly, pull me slowly strong thumbedtill your dumb hardness fills my throat to the basetill I swallow and taste your delicate flesh-hot prick barrel veined PleaseMaster push my shoulders away and stare into my eye, & make me bend over the tableplease master grab my thighs and lift my **** to your waistplease master your rough hand's stroke on my neck your palm down my backsideplease master push me up, my feet on chairs, till my hole feels the breath of your spit and your thumb strokeplease master make me say Please Master **** me now PleaseMaster grease my balls and hairmouth with sweet vaselinesplease master stroke your shaft with white creamsplease master touch your cock head to my wrinkled self-holeplease master push it in gently, your elbows enwrapped around my breastyour arms passing down to my belly, my penis you touch w/ your little fingersplease master shove it in me a little, a little, a little,please master sink your droor thing down my behind& please master make me wiggle my rear to eat up the prick trunktill my asshalfs cuddle your thighs, my back bent overtill I'm alone sticking out your sword stuck throbbing in meplease master pull out and slowly roll into the bottomplease master lunge it again, and withdraw to the tipplease please master **** me again with your self, please **** me Please Master drive it down till it hurts me the softness theSoftness please master make love to my ****, give body to center & **** me for good like a girl,tenderly clasp me please master I take me to thee,& drive in my belly your selfsame sweet heat-roodyour fingered in solitude Denver or Brooklyn or ****ed in a maiden in Paris carlotsplease master drive me thy vehicle, body of love drops, sweat ****body of tenderness, Give me your dog **** fasterplease master make me go moan on the tableGo moan O please master do **** me like thatin your rhythm thrill-plunge and pull-back bounce & push downtill I loosen my **** a dog on the table yelping with terror delight to be lovedPlease master call me a dog, an **** beast, a wet ****& **** me more violent, my eyes hid with your palms round my skull& plunge down in a brutal hard lash thru soft drip-fish& throb thru five seconds to spurt out your semen heatover & over, bamming it in while I cry out your name I do love youplease Master.
It's explicit, but not necessarily moreso than The Color Purple or, well, most of e.e. cumming's work, both of which are still taught in most high schools last time I checked. It's also much less disturbing than the ultra-violent opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, which was shown to 10th grade history students every year in my high school, or Lord of the Flies, which traumatized my 11-year-old self for life.
<img alt="" src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m9g391XS2F1rvc1g2.gif" class="article-body-image"/>However, it's up to the South Windsor Board of Education to decide what is and isn't appropriate for students, and currently the investigation is ongoing. According to NBC Connecticut, Olio is unavailable for comment, but we'll see whether the outrage on Twitter has any effect on the verdict.Image: whatiwishicould/Tumblr