With pioneering poems like "Howl" and "Kaddish," Allen Ginsberg, the visionary poet and founding father of the Beat movement, influenced the American counterculture of the second half of the twentieth century. He was seen as a spiritually and sexually free spokesman for tolerance and...
Allen Ginsberg is regarded as one of the most important poets of the 20th century. The New York Times described him as "the most prominent voice of the San Francisco Renaissance" and his work has been influential in the counterculture and LGBT+ movements.
Ginsberg was born on January 4, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Austria. When he was six years old, they moved to Canada where his father took a job at Columbia University. However, due to financial difficulties, they had to return to America where his father worked as a gardener and cook at a private family residence in Greenwich Village. This experience inspired Ginsberg to write about social class differences in his poetry.
In 1943, when Ginsberg was 16 years old, his mother died during surgery. After this tragic event, his father decided to move again, this time to Patagonia, a region in South America. Here, Ginsberg would later say that he "grew up in deserts". After high school, he traveled throughout Europe for several months before returning to America and enrolling at Harvard University.
Allen Ginsberg died on April 5, 1997.
Allen Ginsberg (born June 3, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, United States—died April 5, 1997 in New York, New York), American poet whose epic poem Howl (1956) is regarded as one of the most significant productions of the Beat movement.
Allen Ginsberg, a gay poet who fought society's heteronormative ideas by drawing parallels between the Beats and the Ancient Greeks and utilizing religious grammar to depict prohibited notions, was at the vanguard of this movement....
He began his career as a Beat poet in New York City, where he worked with other prominent members of the scene such as Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. In 1955, Ginsberg traveled to India, where he received Buddhist teachings from several monks including Swami Pranavananda. Upon returning home, he wrote poems about his experiences, which led to greater public awareness of the Beats and their unconventional lifestyles.
Ginsberg also encouraged others to break away from traditional society by writing their own poetry and painting pictures. He put forth the idea that anything was possible if one wanted it bad enough. For example, he said that someone could write a poem so beautiful that people would die when reading it.
In addition to being a poet, Ginsberg was also involved in social issues such as the Vietnam War and drug use. In 1964, he traveled to North Vietnam where he met up with several American poets including Robert Lowell at what is now known as the Paris Peace Talks. The goal was to promote understanding between the United States and North Vietnam by having them exchange ideas through poems and paintings.