Poet, mystic, Buddhist, activist, psychiatric patient, professor - Allen Ginsberg contained multitudes. Before Howl, he was a private poet struggling with psychological trauma from living with his schizophrenic mother. In 1947, after taking time off from his studies at Columbia University, Ginsberg traveled to Dakar to attempt suicide due to his repressed homosexuality. In New York City, 1948, he hallucinated while reading William Blake's poetry, which solidified his decision to write poetry. In 1949, he was arrested as an accessory to theft and spent eight months in a psychiatric hospital. Ginsberg gained notoriety following the first public reading of Howl at the Six Gallery in 1955. Originally a private poem about homosexuality, the underside of New York City known to impoverished poets, and his psychiatric hospitalization, Howl defined the Beats. After Howl, Ginsberg became a public figure, a symbol of the counterculture, and one of America's celebrated poets.
beat movement, beat poetry, Ginsberg, Allen Ginsberg
Ducas, Lauren, "Allen Ginsberg" (2016). Beat Exhibit. 3.