Allen Ginsberg

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Ginsberg, Allen

(gĭnz`bûrg), 1926–97, American poet, b. Paterson, N.J., grad. Columbia, 1949. An outspoken member of the beat generationbeat generation,
term applied to certain American artists and writers who were popular during the 1950s. Essentially anarchic, members of the beat generation rejected traditional social and artistic forms.
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, Ginsberg is best known for Howl (1956), a long poem attacking American values in the 1950s. The prose of Jack KerouacKerouac, Jack
(John Kerouac) , 1922–69, American novelist, b. Lowell, Mass., studied at Columbia. One of the leaders of the beat generation, a term he is said to have coined, he was the author of the largely autobiographical novel On the Road
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, the insights of Zen BuddhismZen Buddhism,
Buddhist sect of China and Japan. The name of the sect (Chin. Ch'an, Jap. Zen) derives from the Sanskrit dhyana [meditation]. In China the school early became known for making its central tenet the practice of meditation, rather than adherence
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, and the free verse of Walt WhitmanWhitman, Walt
(Walter Whitman), 1819–92, American poet, b. West Hills, N.Y. Considered by many to be the greatest of all American poets, Walt Whitman celebrated the freedom and dignity of the individual and sang the praises of democracy and the brotherhood of man.
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 were some of the sources for Ginsberg's quest to glorify everyday experience, embrace the ecstatic moment, and promote sponteneity and freedom of expression. His volumes of poetry include Kaddish and Other Poems, 1958–60 (1961), Collected Poems, 1947–1980 (1984), and White Shroud: Poems 1980–85 (1986). His Collected Poems: 1947–1997 was published in 2006. Allen Verbatim (1974) is a collection of lectures, and Deliberate Prose (2000) a selection of essays.


See his The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beats (2017, compiled and ed. by B. Morgan); his journals (5 vol., 1971–96); collected correspondence (5 vol., 1976–2001), M. Schumacher, ed., Family Business: Selected Letters between a Father and Son (2001), B. Morgan, ed., The Letters of Allen Ginsberg (2008) and The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder (2008), and B. Morgan and D. Stanford, ed., Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters (2010); D. Carter, ed., Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews, 1958–1996 (2001); S. Greenough, Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (2010, museum catalog); biographies by B. Miles (1989), M. Schumacher (1992), and B. Morgan (2006); studies by L. Hyde, ed. (1984), T. F. Merrill (1988), B. Miles (1993), and B. Morgan (2010); bibliographies ed. by G. Dowden (1971), M. P. Kraus (1980), and B. Morgan (1995).

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Ginsberg, Allen

(1926–  ) poet; born in Newark, N.J. After studying at Columbia University (B.A. 1948), he held numerous jobs, traveled widely, lived in the Far East (1962–63), but resided mainly in New York City. He was personally associated with Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and others in founding the Beat movement in New York and San Francisco (1950s and 1960s); his best known work was published in Howl and Other Poems (1956). In 1971 he became a director of the Committee on Poetry Foundation, N.Y., and the Kerouac School of Poetics, Colo. In later years he assumed the mantle of a gentle guru through his many lectures and as a practitioner of Eastern meditation.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Merrill's Allen Ginsberg (1969), which connects Ginsberg to the poetic canon; Paul Portuges's The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg (1978), which places Ginsberg's verse in the mystic tradition; On the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg (1984), edited by Lewis Hyde, which collects the competing voices debating Ginsberg's aesthetic value; Jonah Raskin's American Scream: Allen Ginsberg s Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation (2004), which provides a cultural context for Ginsberg's most famous poem; and Tony Trigilio's Allen Ginsberg's Buddhist Poetics, which studies questions of poetics, religious authenticity, and political efficacy in Ginsberg's poetry.
"I hadn't particularly been interested in the Beat poets but I became a fan of the character of Allen Ginsberg in the script because he was the most vulnerable and innocent going into it all."
In a performance outre enough to banish any semblance of Harry Potter from the screen, Daniel Radcliffe brings a solid physical likeness and a naturally sympathetic bearing to the role of the young Allen Ginsberg, portrayed here in his formative years as a sensitive and promising poet embarking on his freshman year at Columbia in 1944.
TERRIFIC: James Franco plays beat poet Allen Ginsberg
Bruce McKinney, local gay rights activist and poet, reads three poems by Allen Ginsberg written while the famous beat legend was visiting Wichita.
When Allen Ginsberg died, one of the world's largest churches, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, was filled with mourners.
Toklas, Saul Bellow, Michael Chabon, Everything is Illuminated, "Gimpel the Fool," Allen Ginsberg, Joseph Heller, Erica Jong, Denise Levertov, Norman Mailer, Bernard Malamud, Maus, Arthur Miller, The Natural, Tillie Olsen, Cynthia Ozick, Dorothy Parker, Chaim Potok, Ragtime, Philip Roth, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Susan Sontag, Elie Wiesel, and more.
The pub is no pushover: It has published works by Allen Ginsberg, the beat poet, and the original gonzo journalist, Hunter S.
One seminal event was the reading of a poem by Allen Ginsberg at an art gallery in San Francisco.
The young lovers moved in together, sharing an apartment with the future wife of William Burroughs, and began lifetime friendships with Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and others.
--Allen Ginsberg, quoted in Great Poets Howl: A Study of Allen Ginsberg's Poetry, 1943-1955