Allen Ginsberg is an American poet who lived from 1926 to 1997, and was at the forefront of the Beat Generation of poets in the 50s. He was also homosexual, and is well known for his poetry that contains homosexual themes that related to his own life.
Ginsberg was born to a Jewish family in New Jersey, and he grew up well educated both in school, and about a variety of social issues. He graduated high school and ended up at Columbia University, where he began to develop his poetry alongside classmates he met. He befriended William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac in his time there, all of whom were to be prominent names in the Beat Generation. The group together defined what they called a “New Vision,” which Ginsberg described as
“Since art is merely and ultimately self-expressive, we conclude that the fullest art, the most individual, uninfluenced, unrepressed, uninhibited expression of art is true expression and the true art.”
Ginsberg also began drug use in college. He and his group of friends began to toe the line into immorality, and after hiding stolen belongings in his dorm for a friend, Ginsberg was committed to an insane asylum briefly after pleading insanity.
After being released, he made his way to San Francisco, and there continued with the development of the Beat Movement alongside other writers.
He attained his fame with the publication of “Howl” in 1956. “Howl” is described as, “an outcry of rage and despair against a destructive, abusive society,” and features graphic descriptions of heterosexual and homosexual sex, in a time where sodomy was still illegal. It was seized and declared obscene, though through a widespread effort, the poem was redeemed in court and became the centerpiece of the Beat Movement.
Aside from his literary triumphs, Ginsberg was also a figure in the Gay Rights Movement. His open homosexuality and relationship with his lifelong partner Peter Orlovsky aided in helping gay authors and poets find a new voice. His stance on obscenity also aided them in being able to speak frankly about what was before only referenced in whispers.
– Staff: Anna R. 1410
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EDIT: It has been brought to our attention that Allen Ginsberg was a known pedophile. Although he did a lot for the counterculture movement at the time, it’s important to remember that he was a member of NAMBLA and promoted the exploitation of minors. We apologize for posting about him as a good example of LGBTQIA+ people who influenced STEM.