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(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.
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  • 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?

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