Allen Ginsberg

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Allen Ginsberg Biography

Irwin Allen Ginsber was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression. Ginsberg is best known for his epic poem "Howl", in which he celebrated his fellow "angel-headed hipsters" and harshly denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of ca ...

Allen Ginsberg Poems

1.
A Supermarket In California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the
streets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.

In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit
...

2.
Father Death Blues

Hey Father Death, I'm flying home
Hey poor man, you're all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going
...

3.
Homework

Homage to Kenneth Koch


If I were doing my Laundry I'd wash my dirty Iran
...

4.
An Eastern Ballad

I speak of love that comes to mind:
The moon is faithful, although blind;
She moves in thought she cannot speak.
Perfect care has made her bleak.
...

5.
Cosmopolitan Greetings

Stand up against governments, against God.
Stay irresponsible.
Say only what we know & imagine.
Absolutes are Coercion.
...

Allen Ginsberg Quotes

11 November 2014

who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish.

11 November 2014

My own experience is that a certain kind of genius among students is best brought out in bed.

11 November 2014

Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does.

11 November 2014

America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

11 November 2014

Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!

Allen Ginsberg Comments

Kelly Childs 04 March 2013

Why is Howl not part of his poems on this website, since it is actually his most famous poem?

47 25 Reply
Chris Lind 23 January 2013

@Ray Davis You know? I think this a good point. I enjoyed Howl and for the better part of month or so I've been trying to like Ginsberg, I wanted to, but I honestly feel like its laughably adolescent gibberish. Too many times I finish one of his poems and think...ooooook...great. Whatever.

21 45 Reply
Debbie Fein 22 January 2012

Hamish Morcom -his poems were wonderful. I dont think you understand poetry

33 33 Reply
Sayeed Abubakar 21 May 2012

He wrote a poem on our Liberation War 1971 standing on the street of my city Jessore. I feel proud of it.

34 27 Reply
Rick Flores 06 November 2013

I agree that Ginsberg was an underwhelming poet, and I do not think that it has anything to do with not understanding poetry. I'm not going to pretend to see the Emperors New Clothes, or Ginsberg's Good Poetry, as it were. I, too, tried to like him because I am a big fan or some of his buddies; Kerouac, Burroughs, and Kesey (not sure how chummy he was with Kesey, but you get the idea) . I was disappointed to say the least. I admit to having kind of a preconceived notion about what his poetry might be like, according to the company he kept. You can definitely tell that he was friends with Burroughs from the bizarre and gritty gayness in his poems. Definitely reminds me of Burroughs' Naked Lunch. But that's where the similarities end.

13 44 Reply
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0 0 Reply
Rosa Jamali 01 October 2019

America which has been written in the heydays of political turmoil in the US and at the brink of Vietnam War, from the early lines of the poem you see the poet is really concerned with the political life of his country and is developing an anti-establishment tone, mentioning the dates and events.

0 0 Reply
Michael Walker 28 August 2019

When I first read Allen Ginsberg's poems, like 'Howl' and 'A Supermarket in California', some years ago, they made a big impression on me. Some of his poems are first-rate: others are not. He did not need to use as many vulgarisms as he did. He was good enough without using profanity.

0 1 Reply
Neal Cassidy 02 March 2018

Can someone possibly repair the spelling of Allen's surname in the first line? The g has been omitted.

5 1 Reply
Nikolaus Legendre 16 December 2017

Where is Howl? I specifically wanted that one

5 2 Reply