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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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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
..... Click the link for more information. , 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
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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).