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The Gazette: History marked by ebb and flow of amphetamines

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Published: 2May2010

(Chemistry professor Joe Schwarcz): It was the '60s. I don't remember the exact year, but I sure remember the event. It was a "poetry reading" in the McGill Student Union. Poetry wasn't my thing, but I'd heard this particular poet might generate some sparks - and sparks I was into. But the only ones came from my shoes striking the floor as I made a beeline for the door after half an hour. What drivel, I thought. This guy must be on drugs! As I was to learn, he probably was. I didn't know it at the time, but I had just listened to one of the leading figures of the beat generation, Allen Ginsburg, reading his most famous poem, Howl.