Allen Ginsberg: Contribution as American Poet

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      Born in Newark, New Jersey, Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), attended Columbia University and served in U.S. Military Sea Transport Service. He also worked as a market researcher and the book reviewer of Newsweek before establishing himself as a poet and freelance writer. His first collection was Howl and Other Poems (1956) which secured his reputation as the leader of the beats. His other collections include Kaddish and Other Poems (1958-1960), Reality Sandwiches (1953-1960), Planet News (1964), Wichita Vrotex Sutra (1966), Ankor Wat (1968), The Fall of America - Poems of these States 1965-1971 (1972), Mind Breathes: Poems 1972-1977, Poems all Over the Place (Mostly Seventies (1978), Straight Heart’s Delight: Love Poems and Selected Letters (1980). Collected Poems 1947- 1980 (1984) and The White Shroud - Poems 1980-1985 (1986).

      Ginsberg’s verses derive its long cadenced line from William Blake and Walt Whitman to whom “A Supermarket in California”. In a kind of comic tribute in verse, he also wrote two plays, Kaddish (1972) is more important and several volumes of miscellaneous prose and letters including Allan Verbatium: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness (1974) and Journals, Early Fifties, Early Sixties, (1977) both were posthumously edited by Gordon Ball. In his poetry, once he declared simply “War is black magic” when he took art in the demonstration against American involvement in Vietnam. For him, poetry was a catalyst to visionary states of mind and he was assisted in his pursuit of a visionary goal by mystical experience he while still young. At first he tried to insert his prophetic vision into what he later termed "overwritten coy stanzas". Then he found Whitman's long line as an appropriate precedent a possible vehicle for what he called" my romantic-inspiration-Hebraic - Melveilian bardic breath". Jack Kerouac advised him on this verification line.

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