Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997

Alternative names
Birth 1926-06-03
Death 1997-04-05
English, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese

Biographical notes:

Irwin Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey to Louis and Naomi (Levy) Ginsberg. American poet, author, lecturer, and teacher who was one of the core members of the Beat Generation of American author's in the 1950's and early 1960's along with Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cassady. He died of complications of liver cancer on April 6, 1997.

From the description of Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 462019390

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was an American poet and -- with William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac -- a seminal member of the Beat Generation. Ginsberg is best known for the poem Howl (1956), celebrating his fellow Beats and attacking what he saw as the destructive forces of materialism and conformity in the United States at the time.

From the guide to the Allen Ginsberg Collection, 1962-1997, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

The donor was a student at William and Mary College at the time of Ginsberg's visit. Allen stayed at the shared-student house with them and invited the group to improvise with him. John Bria was on the flute and Deac Manross was on the strumming guitar.

From the description of Song-playing and talk with some William and Mary college students [sound recording], 1972. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754864373

Bill Morgan, 1949-, bibliographer of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, collector of material by, about and related to Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg.

From the description of Interviews in Bengali, Hindi and Urdu. 1962-1992 (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 62500361

From the description of The Living Theatre. 1971 (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 63200864


From the description of Manuscript poems, 1975-1976. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 191675716

Originally collected by Jerry Aronson.

From the description of Film and video archive, 1938-2001. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122565794

American poet and peace activist.

From the description of Allen Ginsberg Collection, 1944-1979. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122545931

Photocopies collected by Allen Ginsberg to document the appearance of translations of his works in Japanese periodicals.

From the description of Japanese translations of works by Allen Ginsberg. 1987-1988. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 71756647

Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and political activist, best known for the quintessential Beat poem, Howl. Born into a Jewish family in New Jersey, he was introduced to poetry by his father, and honed his interest in talks with William Carlos Williams. He met the core of what became the Beat Movement at Columbia; the movement became a reality after Ginsberg moved to San Francisco. He published Howl and Other Poems in 1956, to much notoriety, which led to a landmark obscenity trial. In addition to writing poetry, Ginsberg was active on social and political fronts, including issues such as recreational drug use, the Viet Nam war, and gay rights.

From the description of Allen Ginsberg poem and galley proofs, circa 1967-1973. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 310123028

One autograph letter signed (ALS), on the back of a picture postcard, from Allen Ginsberg to Cid Corman, mostly about poet W.S. Merwin, Naropa Institute, and fellow author Tom Clark, who had interviewed Ginsberg. Lake Louise [Canada], 7 May 1980.

From the description of Allen Ginsberg Letter, 1980. (University of California, Santa Barbara). WorldCat record id: 60495649

Donald Allen of Grey Fox Press edited and published Composed on the tongue by Allen Ginsberg (Bolinas, Calif. : Grey Fox Press, 1980).

From the description of Composed on the tongue archive. 1977-1981. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 68042247

Allen Ginsberg, American poet, was born in New Jersey and educated at Columbia University. He dropped out of academic life to pursue a bohemian lifestyle with his mentors Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. His first collection, Howl and other poems (1956), established him as a major contemporary poet. Along with Kerouac and Burroughs he became leader of The Beats. Ginsberg is a prolific writer and has published more than ten collections of poems.

From the description of Last will and testament, 1973. (Temple University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 122541788

Photocopies collected by Allen Ginsberg to document the appearance of translations of his works in Chinese periodicals.

From the description of Chinese translations of poems by Allen Ginsberg. 1984-1988. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 71756054

American poet; leading poet of the beat generation.

From the description of Correspondence of Allen Ginsberg [manuscript], 1960-1963. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647877447

Allen Ginsberg was an American poet.

From the description of Allen Ginsberg collection. [1966]. (University of Victoria Libraries). WorldCat record id: 667848481

These documents were originally given to Robert Levy who died in 1993.

From the description of KADDISH and REALITY SANDWICHES : original and carbon corrected typescripts, galleys, and copy, 1953-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754864389

Bill Morgan (1949- ), bibliographer of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, collector of material by, about, and related to Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg, assembled these items.

From the description of Published photographs by Allen Ginsberg, 1955-2004. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 82372419

From the description of Published photographs by Allen Ginsberg: oversize, 1988-1996. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 82548637

From the guide to the Published Photographs by Allen Ginsberg, 1955-2004, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Rare Book Collection.)

American poet.

From the description of Resume, [1952?]. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 18668239

From the description of Allen Ginsberg letter, 1981 July 27. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 295169486

Poet, teacher.

From the description of Interview, October 10, 1971. (University of Toledo). WorldCat record id: 42019042

The reading was held at the Cinema Theatre (1122 N. Western Ave.) in Hollywood on a Saturday midnight. The theater no longer exists but during the 1960s it was the home of Movies Round Midnight, a regular weekend series featuring a variety of movies, emphasizing the new "underground" movies of that era. This was organized and run by the donor of the discs, Michael B. Getz. Occasionally they departed from the movie format to present a live show of special importance. The donor's recollection is that Allen had recently returned from Eastern Europe where he had been crowned King of the May in Prague. The recording was made by Bob Evans, the projectionist at the Cinema Theatre. The event was sponsored by Movies Round Midnight. The audience was approximately 500, the full capacity.

From the description of Poetry reading in Hollywood, ca. 1963. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122540809

Beat poet & literary innovator.

From the description of Allen Ginsberg papers, 1944-1991. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 265033265

Allen Ginsberg was an American poet best known for the poem "Howl" (1956) and as a member of the Beat Generation.

From the guide to the Allen Ginsberg Response to Fifth Ave. Vietnam Peace Parade Committee, 1968, (Ohio University)

Prominent Beat poet, best known for his poem "Howl" (1956); co-founded and directed, with Anne Waldman, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute in Colorado.

From the description of Letter, signed : to Peter Orlovsky "Tuesday, 10:15 am." (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 62718968

Allen Ginsberg, American poet and one of the founders of the Beat movement, was born in 1926, the second son of Louis and Naomi Ginsberg. His father was an English teacher, a poet, and a socialist; his mother was a communist and an active member in the Party; both were children of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Naomi also suffered from paranoid delusions and Ginsberg often stayed home from school to take care of her during her depressions. She entered several institutions for varying lengths of time and eventually had to be permanently committed. The experience of watching the decline of his mother's mental health made Ginsberg very sensitive to and uniquely qualified to deal throughout his life with people of varying mental states.

A good student despite his difficulties at home, Ginsberg entered Columbia in 1943 as a pre-law student, but with a strong interest in poetry. He contributed frequently to various student publications. He was expelled for one year in 1945 after he scrawled obscene phrases in the dust on his dorm window and was subsequently found in bed with Jack Kerouac. The issue of homosexuality was not brought up at his disciplinary hearing with the Dean, rather he was fined for having an unregistered overnight guest and for the obscenities, and expelled for one year in the hope that he might mature enough to continue his education.

Ginsberg promptly moved in with William Burroughs, who became his mentor, exposing him to readings far outside the narrow scope of Columbia's conservative literature department. While living with Burroughs, Ginsberg was also immersed in the New York underground drug, crime, and sex scene and became friends with Lucian Carr, Neal Cassady, and John Holmes, among others, as well as Kerouac who was also studying with Burroughs. Ginsberg returned to Columbia but continued his experimentation with drugs and writing forms. In 1947, Ginsberg dropped out of Columbia and took a merchant ship to Africa and back. Returning to East Harlem, Ginsberg suffered a sort of break-down and experienced a vision which gave him a glimpse of creative realms outside the norms of the material world. He and Kerouac, who had also had a conversion experience that year, turned to Buddhism and other Eastern influences, turning their backs on Western religion and the status quo.

In 1949 Ginsberg moved out of East Harlem and into downtown Manhattan where Herbert Huncke and several of his friends began storing stolen goods. The police raided the apartment and Ginsberg served eight months in the New York Psychiatric Hospital where he met Carl Solomon who offered further challenges to his convictions about poetry. Ginsberg continued to write the collection of poems later published in 1972 as The Gates of Wrath.

Through the 1950s Ginsberg traveled through Mexico and Cuba, and eventually reached California. He began studying Zen and other eastern philosophies and in 1956 he gave his first public poetry reading, performing Howl to a stunned audience. At the age of 29, Allen Ginsberg had produced a work of poetry that would speak to an entire generation.

Ginsberg traveled to Europe and Tangiers in the late fifties with his lover Peter Orlovsky and settled back in New York in 1959. He traveled to Peru in 1960 and in 1961 began a trip which lasted six years and took him through India, Eastern Europe, and parts of Asia including Vietnam. While visiting Gary Snyder in Japan, Ginsberg had another personal revelation, this one showing him that the way to alternative realms was not found by going outside of himself via mind altering drugs, but rather by looking inside himself through the use of meditation. The stories of his travels and of the Change were published in Planet News (1968).

From 1970 onward, Ginsberg's fame grew. He traveled around the country participating in peace rallies and sit-ins, and published widely. As his writing began to make money he set up a non-profit organization and donated the money to destitute writers, independent newspapers, and the legal defense of arrested peace protesters. He purchased a farm in upstate New York which he and various friends made relatively self-sufficient. He contributed lyrics to and performed with the punk rock band the Clash, performed with Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Tour, and jammed with John Lennon. He continued to teach, speak, write, and perform into the nineties. He died of liver cancer in 1997.

From the guide to the Allen Ginsberg Collection TXRC00-A13., 1944-1979, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) was born in Newark, New Jersey, and educated at Columbia University. Before achieving success as a writer, Ginsberg worked as a dishwasher, a welder and served in the Merchant Marine. Literary notoriety followed publication of Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems (1956) in the Pocket Poet Series of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books. This collection, which includes "Supermarket in California," "Sunflower Sutra," and "America," distinguished Ginsberg as a leading poet of the Beat movement. After 1956, Ginsberg traveled extensively, became involved with civil rights campaigns and war resistance movements, and continued to write poetry. One of Ginsberg’s most celebrated later poems is "Kaddish," a poem on the death of his mother collected in Kaddish and Other Poems, 1958–1960 . Ginsberg died on April 5, 1997.

Perkins, George and Barbara Perkins and Phillip Leininger. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature . New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

From the guide to the Allen Ginsberg poems and letters, 1959–1966, 1984, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was born in Newark, New Jersey, and educated at Columbia University.

Before achieving success as a writer, Ginsberg worked as a dishwasher, a welder and served in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Literary notice followed publication of Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems (1956) in the Pocket Poet Series of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Books. This collection, which includes "Supermarket in California," "Sunflower Sutra," and "America," distinguished Ginsberg as a leading poet of the Beat movement.

After 1956, Ginsberg traveled extensively, became involved with civil rights campaigns and war resistance movements, and continued to write poetry. One of Ginsberg's most celebrated later poems is "Kaddish," a poem on the death of his mother collected in Kaddish and Other Poems, 1958-1960 . Ginsberg died on April 5, 1997.

Born in New York City, American poet Gregory Corso (1930-2001) was a young associate of the Beat poets.

Corso spent his early years in and out of prison. During a sentence for robbery at Dannemora prison in upstate New York, he read and developed a passion for Percy Bysshe Shelley and Homer. When he was released from prison in 1950, he moved to Greenwich Village and eventually developed friendships with Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac.

In 1954, Corso moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and became a fixture of the literary underground. A group of Harvard students and intellectuals were so impressed with his poetry that they paid for the publication of his first collection, The Vestal Lady on Brattle .

Corso's first major book, Gasoline, contained poems written during his travels with Allen Ginsberg in Mexico and while he lived in Paris from 1957 to 1958. The volume, with its introduction by Allen Ginsberg, was published by City Lights in 1958. Corso's literary reputation was established in 1960 when he was included in the Grove Press Anthology, The New American Poetry 1945-1960 .

Corso died in 2001 and his ashes were buried next to the grave of Percy Bysshe Shelley in Rome.

Perkins, George and Barbara Perkins and Phillip Leininger. Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. American National Biography. 24 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

From the guide to the Allen Ginsberg letters to Gregory Corso, 1982-1985, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Biography / Administrative History

Irwin Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey to Louis and Naomi (Levy) Ginsberg. Louis Ginsberg, who died in 1976, was a high school English teacher and poet who was politically a socialist but socially conservative; Louis often disagreed with his son's writings. Naomi Ginsberg, a Russian-born Jew and a dedicated Marxist, died in a mental institution in 1956. Ginsberg documented his mother's illness and its impact on his life in "Kaddish for Naomi Ginsberg (1894-1956)", better known simply as "Kaddish".

Ginsberg and his older brother, lawyer and poet Eugene Brooks, grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. Ginsberg enrolled at Columbia University on a Young Men's Hebrew Association scholarship in 1943. Originally intending to major in prelaw, he changed his major to literature and studied with Mark Van Doren and Lionel Trilling, with whom he frequently clashed artistically.

The greatest influence on Ginsberg's artistic as well as personal development was his off-campus circle of friends, including most notably Jack Kerouac, a former Columbia student four years older than Ginsberg; and William S. Burroughs, who introduced Ginsberg to the literature of rebellion as well as illicit drugs, and who would publish in 1959 his surreal satire of American life entitled Naked Lunch. Herbert Huncke, John Clellon Holmes, Lucien Carr, and Neal Cassady were also part of this extended network of literarily-minded friends and comprised the core of the "Beat Generation", which would begin to surface as a movement in the mid-1950's with the publication of Ginsberg's "Howl" and Kerouac's bohemian-hobo novel "On the road".

Ginsberg's major personal problems rose out of attempts to deal with his homosexuality and with brushes-by-association with the law. In the aftermath of the murder of his friend David Kammerer by Lucien Carr in 1945, Ginsberg was suspended from Columbia for a year, during which he worked as a merchant marine, a Times Square restaurant dishwasher, and a reporter for a New Jersey newspaper. Returning to Columbia, he maintained an A-minus average and took his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948.

It was in 1948 that Ginsberg had, while masturbating, his first mystical experience, an auditory illusion in which he heard a supernal voice reading reciting from William Blake's "Songs of Experience".

Early the following year Herbert Huncke moved into Ginsberg's apartment after being released from jail. Huncke began using Ginsberg's apartment to store stolen property that he was selling to support his drug habit. When Huncke was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison, Ginsberg was circumstantially implicated and plead psychological disability to avoid a jail sentence. He was committed to the Columbia Psychiatric Institute for eight months. There he became friends with Carl Solomon, the "lunatic saint" to whom he would dedicate "Howl".

After his release from the Columbia Psychiatric Institute, Ginsberg moved in with his father and step-mother, Edith Ginsberg. During his stay, he met and befriended physician and poet William Carlos Williams, who impressed on Ginsberg the importance of paying attention to the world immediately around him and recording his observations in the rhythms of idiomatic American English. The model for such language was Neal Cassady, a high-energy athlete, ex-con, spellbinding, lyrical talker, and promiscuous bisexual.

Ginsberg remained in the New York City area until 1953, supporting himself mainly as a market researcher. He left New York City in December 1953 to follow Neal Cassady, who had married and moved to San Jose, California, and after visiting Cuba and the Yucatan, arrived in San Jose in 1954, where he lived with Neal and his wife Carolyn, until she evicted him after finding him in bed with her husband.

Ginsberg moved to San Francisco, acquired a live-in girlfriend, a well-paid job, and a middle-class apartment and tried living a life of middle-class domesticity. After a year of this, he decided, with his psychiatrist's blessings, to end the charade, quit his job, and move in with his boyfriend, Peter Orlovsky.

In San Francisco, Ginsberg became part of the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance, a literary circle including Kenneth Rexroth, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia, Robert Duncan, and Philip Whalen. In October 1955, Rexroth hosted a poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco in which Snyder, McClure, Whalen, Lamantia, and Ginsberg participated. Ginsberg read his newly written poem "Howl".

In 1956, Lawrence Ferlighetti published "Howl and Other Poems" in his Pocket Poets series. United States Customs officers and the San Francisco police seized the edition, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti was charged with publishing an obscence book. The court case, which Ferlinghetti won in 1957, gave the book immense publicity, and by the time the trial was over, Ginsberg was widely in demand for poetry readings.

From the 1950's on, Ginsberg based himself in New York, alternating between the Cherry Valley farm that he bought and a tenement apartment in Manhattan's Lower East Side, which he rented until 1996. He travelled extensively in Europe, Latin America, North Africa and the Asia as well as the United States. Into the 1960's he experimented heavily with drugs, including LSD under the guidance of Timothy Leary, partly as an aid to poetic creation. The first two parts of "Kaddish to Naomi Ginsberg (1894-1956)", published in Kaddish and Other Poems (City Lights, 1961), were written under the influence of a combination of amphetamines and morphine.

Around 1960, Ginsberg began seeking the counsel of Martin Buber in Israel and of holy men in India and emerged with a new attitude; he began to preach of the superiority of yoga and meditation over the use of drugs, but he did not rule out the usefulness of such pyschedelics as marijuana, peyote, and, occasionally, LSD. While he warned against the use of addictive drugs, he fought against the government's manipulation of the publicized danger of those drugs and campaigned for a liberalization of drug laws.

Ginsberg became a spiritual leader for the hippie and Yippie movements during the 1960's. Ginsberg invented the term "flower power" in 1965 and was the driving force behind the Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in January 1967. Later in the same year, he was arrested in an anti-Vietnam war demonstration in New York City, and during the demonstration at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago he was teargassed by police while trying to calm the crowd by chanting mantras. At the conspiracy trial of the Chicago demonstrators, known as the Chicago Seven, he testified for the defense.

The poems in Planet News : 1961-1967 (City Lights, 1968) constitute a poetic record of Ginsberg's travels in Eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, other parts of Asia, as well as in the United States. Included in the collection was "Wichita Vortex Sutra", inspired by his tour of midwestern universities. The collection The Fall of America : Poems of These States, 1965-1971 (City Lights, 1973) earned Ginsberg the National Book Award.

In 1974, Ginsberg helped to found the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics of the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, a Buddhist university where he continued to teach courses in poetry and Buddhist meditation until his death. In 1974 he was also inducted into the American Institute of Arts and Letters.

After the Vietnam War, Ginsberg concentrated his political efforts on exposing alleged CIA subsidization of drug trafficking; in attempts at reforming American drug laws; in environmental and antinuclear causes; in sexual freedom causes; and in speaking out against abuses of authority by governmental agencies including the FBI, CIA, and police forces. Ginsberg became an outspoken critic of the Reagan Administration's intervention in Nicaragua. He wrote "Plutonian Ode" for a demonstration at the Rocky Flats, Colorado, plutonium works.

Ginsberg lost hope for any salvation for America and took refuge in Buddhism under the guidance of Trungpa Chogyam, the Tibetan guru who supervised the Naropa Institute. In addition to instructing Ginsberg in Kagu Buddhist meditation, Trungpa served as his general adviser, in artistic as well as spiritual matters.

After publishing his books for years with small alternative-press houses, Ginsberg signed a $160,000 contract with Harper & Row for six books. The first, Collected Poems, 1947-1980 was published in 1984. White Shroud was published in 1986, bringing together the poems that Ginsberg wrote between 1980 and 1985, and Cosmopolitan Greetings was published in 1994.

Ginsberg made scores of recordings, including an album in the Spoken Arts Treasury of 100 American Poets (Volume XVI, 1969), William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience Tuned by Allen Ginsberg (MGM, 1970), First Blues : songs, and many poetry readings in limited editions. Other recent CD releases have included The Lion For Real (1989) and The Ballad of the Skeletons (1996), as well as collaborative efforts with Philip Glass, Hydrogen Jukebox (1993), and the Kronos Quartet, Howl U.S.A. (1996).

Ginsberg's books of prose include Indian Journals (1970), Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness (McGraw-Hill, 1974), Journals : Early Fifties-Early Sixties (Grove, 1977), both edited by Gordon Ball.

In 1960's, Ginsberg appeared in some of the most famous experimental films of the decade, including the well known Pull My Daisy. His longtime interest in the visual arts -especially photography, a practice encouraged by his longtime friend Robert Frank -have now been collected in two books, Photographs (1991) and Snapshot Poetics (1993). Ginsberg's photographs were also represented in a groundbreaking exhibit organized by the Whitney Museum of Art, "Beat Culture and the New America: 1950 -1965."

Ginsberg was a visiting professor at Columbia University in 1986-87, and he taught at Brooklyn College from the fall of 1987 until his death.

Allen Ginsberg died at the age of 70 on April 6, 1997 of a heart attack triggered by liver cancer, which had only been diagnosed a few days before.

Note: this biographical sketch draws heavily on the biography of Ginsberg published in the Current Biography Yearbook 1987.

Current Biography Yearbook 1987 New York : H. W. Wilson 1987 Miles, Barry. Ginsberg : a biography. New York : Simon and Schuster, 1989. Schumacher, Michael Dharma Lion : a biography of Allen Ginsberg New York : St. Martin's Press 1992

From the guide to the Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Allen Ginsberg, born Irwin Allen Ginsberg, grew up in Paterson New Jersey with his parents, Louis and Naomi Ginsberg and his brother Eugene Brooks. Both of Allen's parents were to be major influences on him and his work-- his father, a poet and high school English teacher, was one of his earliest and most constant readers and critics. His mother's mental illness would profoundly affect Ginsberg as well, though in a very different way, ultimately inspiring Ginsberg's poem "Kaddish: for Naomi Ginsberg 1894-1956."

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Ginsberg left Paterson for New York City when he was accepted to Columbia University as an undergraduate. He entered University in the Fall of 1943 and soon met fellow Columbia student, Lucien Carr who would introduce Ginsberg to Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. This group of friends would form the nucleus of the Beat Generation. Though a brilliant student, Ginsberg was expelled from Columbia in 1945 for scrawling an obscenity on his window and for engaging in homosexual sex. He did, however, return to the University the next year and completed his BA in 1948.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED After Ginsberg's graduation he remained in New York City and his apartment became a meeting place and crash pad for his group of friends, including Herbert Huncke-- a drug addict, petty thief, and Times Square habitue. When the apartment was busted containing Huncke's stolen goods, Huncke took the jail time, but Ginsberg was still implicated. Rather than go to jail, Ginsberg plead that he was psychologically unfit to stand trial and was sent to the Columbia Psychiatric Institute for an eight month sentence. It was here that he met Carl Solomon, to whom he would dedicate the poem "Howl."

BIOGHIST REQUIRED After he was released from the psychiatric hospital, Ginsberg remained in New York for a few years, starting to write and working odd jobs, before he moved to San Francisco in 1953. Once he was in San Francisco, he met a group of California artists and poets including Philip Whalen, Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and became involved in the San Francisco Renaissance movement that was taking place on the west coast literary scene. It was in San Francisco that Ginsberg first wrote "Howl" and read it for the first time at the 1955 Six Gallery reading hosted by Kenneth Rexroth. It was also in San Francisco that Ginsberg met Peter Orlovsky who would be his lover, collaborator, and companion throughout the rest of his life.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Ginsberg spent the next few years nominally based in New York City, but traveling widely. He visited William Burroughs in Tangier, Morocco and famously lived in Paris at "The Beat Hotel" at 9 Rue Git-le-coeur with Gregory Corso and Willaim Burroughs where he helped assemble Burroughs's The Naked Lunch manuscript. He and Peter Orlovsky spent the greater part of 1962-1963 in India. This experience would be the basis for his non-fiction book Indian Journals. He moved back to New York, living in both the city and a farm house in Cherry Valley in upstate New York where he based his non-profit artists' relief fund, The Committee on Poetry.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED In 1974 Ginsberg helped to found the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics of the Naropa Institute where he was also a member of the faculty. He returned to teach at his alma mater as a visiting professor in 1968 and took a teaching position at Brooklyn College which he retained until his death of liver cancer in 1997.

From the guide to the Allen Ginsberg papers, 1943-1991, [Bulk Dates: 1945-1976], (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


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