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Allen Ginsberg

(3 June 1926 – 5 April 1997 / Newark, New Jersey)

Allen Ginsberg
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Irwin Allen Ginsber was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression. Ginsberg is best known for his epic poem "Howl", in which he celebrated his fellow "angel-headed hipsters" and harshly denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. This poem is one of the classic poems of the Beat Generation. The poem, which was dedicated to writer Carl Solomon, opens:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
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  • ''who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish.''
    Allen Ginsberg (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Howl (l. 51). . . Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems 1947-1980 (1984) Harper and Row.
  • Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes!
    the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof! to
    solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! i...
    Allen Ginsberg (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Howl (l. 93). . . Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems 1947-1980 (1984) Harper and Row.
  • ''who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tailborscht & tortillas
    dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom,''
    Allen Ginsberg (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Howl (l. 52). . . Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems 1947-1980 (1984) Harper and Row.
  • ''angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to
    the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,''
    Allen Ginsberg (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Howl (l. 3. . . Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems 1947-1980 (1984) Harper and Row.
  • who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery
    to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children
    brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and batt...
    Allen Ginsberg (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Howl (l. 14. . . Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems 1947-1980 (1984) Harper and Row.
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Comments about Allen Ginsberg

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  • Douglas Scotney (6/3/2014 10:11:00 PM)

    can you call someone a visionary who wishes to restore the past?

  • Rapixal@gmail.com Mcintyre (12/7/2013 11:07:00 AM)

    Where is Howl? I was hoping for a more enlightened web page.

  • Rick Flores (11/6/2013 8:59:00 PM)

    I agree that Ginsberg was an underwhelming poet, and I do not think that it has anything to do with not understanding poetry. I'm not going to pretend to see the Emperors New Clothes, or Ginsberg's Good Poetry, as it were. I, too, tried to like him because I am a big fan or some of his buddies; Kerouac, Burroughs, and Kesey (not sure how chummy he was with Kesey, but you get the idea) . I was disappointed to say the least. I admit to having kind of a preconceived notion about what his poetry might be like, according to the company he kept. You can definitely tell that he was friends with Burroughs from the bizarre and gritty gayness in his poems. Definitely reminds me of Burroughs' Naked Lunch. But that's where the similarities end.

  • Blaine Child (5/10/2013 4:40:00 PM)

    i love the irreverence

  • Kelly Childs (3/4/2013 10:40:00 PM)

    Why is Howl not part of his poems on this website, since it is actually his most famous poem?

  • Chris Lind (1/23/2013 7:57:00 PM)

    @Ray Davis You know? I think this a good point. I enjoyed Howl and for the better part of month or so I've been trying to like Ginsberg, I wanted to, but I honestly feel like its laughably adolescent gibberish. Too many times I finish one of his poems and think...ooooook...great. Whatever.

  • Sayeed Abubakar (5/21/2012 11:25:00 PM)

    He wrote a poem on our Liberation War 1971 standing on the street of my city Jessore. I feel proud of it.

  • Ray Davis (2/13/2012 5:09:00 AM)

    @Debbie Fein he was just a regular guy... He was a pederast and a member of the National Man Boy Love Association; a group that wants to eliminate the age of consent for sex with minors.
    (In their case minor boys) .
    Nothing regular about him and his poetry was laughably adolescent gibberish.

  • Debbie Fein (1/22/2012 3:56:00 PM)

    Hamish Morcom -his poems were wonderful. I dont think you understand poetry

  • Debbie Fein (1/22/2012 3:54:00 PM)

    I knew Allen up until around the time he passed away. My Uncle was his cousin and Allen would come over many times to my aunt and uncles house. Allen was so nice and down to earth. He never spoke about his poems - he was just a regular guy.

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