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A Very Brief Look At Allen Ginsberg
The Beat writers that proliferated poetry and
writing during the golden age of Beat writings
have several names that can be thought of, but
perhaps one of the most celebrated is none
other than Allen Ginsberg. He was born in New
Jersey in 1926 and lived through several of
history’s most iconic moments. His early life
was filled with issues due in large part to the
fact that his mother had a serious psychological
problem and troubles plagued her. However, he
would come into his own during the collegiate
years where he would team up with some of the
most iconic names in American writing,
especially the Beat era.
The Forming of Beat Writing
1943 was the year that things came together for Ginsberg as a writer. He went to Columbia
University and there he was friends with Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs. These three
are the biggest names in the movement of Beat writing. The name has stuck and it’s one of
the foremost arenas of literature studied by students today. The three were known for
experimenting with drugs, petty larceny, and for Ginsberg a stint inside an insane asylum. It
was in the early 1950s that he would leave New York City for the west coast, San Francisco
The Beginning of Acknowledgment
Ginsberg didn’t get major recognition for his work until the late 1950s. He would publish
“Howl and Other Poems” and it was specifically the main poem that got him a great deal of
praise in the poetry world. Reviews would cite the poem as being a major breakthrough in
writing against oppressive societies. The impact of that allowed him to create serious writing
and gain notoriety, even though not everyone was a fan.
Creating Good Work
Even though Ginsberg had his critics, he would still go forward with creating more and more
writing, including “Kaddish and Other Poems” which had a religious tinge to it. This would
continue in his work, as well as touching on politics, economy, and more. He would study
Eastern religion, and continue to create works with several Beat poets as inspiration and
conspirators in writing.
Through the 90s he would find himself gaining fame and notoriety, and in 1993 received the
Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, a prestigious award from the French minister of culture. All
in all, he has been a main influence in literature and stands among the best of the Beat
writers. He died in 1997, but the legacy of his work stands through a great deal of poetry,
books, and more.