Allen Ginsberg facts for kids
Allen Ginsberg in 1978
|Born||Irwin Allen Ginsberg
June 3, 1926
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||April 5, 1997
New York City, U.S.
|Education||Columbia University (B.A.)|
|Literary movement||Beat literature, hippie
|Notable award(s)||National Book Award (1974)
Robert Frost Medal (1986)
|Partner(s)||Peter Orlovsky (1954–1997; Ginsberg's death)|
Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet and author, who was part of the Beat Generation movement of poets in the 1950s. He was a friend of writers Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, and later made friends with musicians Bob Dylan, Donovan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and many other celebrities.
Ginsberg's most famous work was called Howl, and was a long poem about the social conditions of the United States in the 1950s. It began with the words "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness." It went on to describe the frustration felt by many Americans, young people and minorities in particular. There were problems in the country, such as prejudice and intolerance, that needed to be spoken about. Ginsberg published the poem, and also performed it at public poetry readings.
A few people did not like Howl, or the graphic language Ginsberg used. They tried to have Howl banned, and Ginsberg prosecuted (given a court trial, then either fined or put in jail). Ginsberg went to trial, and the judge decided Howl was an important work, and told the truth about America at the time. The judge rejected the ban and cleared Ginsberg, who could then continue to publish and perform the poem.
Ginsberg became involved in social causes through his work, and through the famous people he met. He grew up in the Jewish faith, but later became a Buddhist. He was a homosexual, and his longtime partner was another poet, Peter Orlovsky. He also had a long relationship with Neal Cassady, who appeared as "N.C., secret hero of these poems" in Howl.
Ginsberg died in 1997 of liver cancer.
Images for kids
Portrait with Bob Dylan, taken in 1975
Allen Ginsberg Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.