1926-97 American writer, the Poet Laureate of the Beat generation.
In his lifetime, he wrote hundreds of poems and then travelled all over the world performing them.
In 1943, he was attending Columbia University in Manhattan. Allen was walking down the hall and heard music from one of the rooms, he knocked on the door and introduced himself to Lucien Carr. His new friend took him over to Greenwich Village for the first time. He went on to introduce him to Jack Kerouac and also the much older William S. Burroughs. Through them he met Neal Cassady and Herbert Huncke
In 1956 he published his first work, "Howl and Other Poems" , helped inspire the San Francisco Renaissance and defined the generation of the '50s. There he met Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Patchen and Ken Kesey. This was the nucleus of the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. In included Michael McClure, Gary Synder, Philip Whalen, Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Josephine Miles, James Broughton and Philip Lamantia. In October 1955, Rexroth hosted a reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco; the poets who read that evening included Synder, Whalen, McClure, Lamantia and Ginsberg in what would be his poetry-reading debut. Cheered on by Kerouac, Ginsberg gave an inspired, first ever reading of "Howl." Due to his association with this group, Ginsberg would go from being virtually unknown to being nationally and internationally famous; to become a literary figure. After this he was able to travel through all manner of avant-garde circles throughout the globe.
In 1957, after years of planning, he and Peter Orlovsky finally made their way to Tangiers for a rendezvous with Burroughs. Kerouac was there, but leaving soon. Allen spent months working over the manuscript of Naked Lunch. Rent, food, everything was very inexpensive. They then moved on to a European tour.
During the decade of the 60's and 70's, he studied under various gurus. Eventually, he co-founded and directed the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.
Raged against material values. Friend of Gregory Corso, John Clellon Holmes and William Carlos Williams
He received the National Book Award in 1974 for "The Fall of America".
Gruen, John, "The New Bohemia", a capella books, Chicago, 1990.
Miles, Barry, "Allen Ginsberg: A Biography", Simon and Schuster., New York, 1989
Miles, Barry, "Jack Kerouac, King of the Beats", Henry Holt and Co., New York, 1998
Last Updated 07.05.03