Allen Ginsberg was an influential American poet of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. His poems were often political, expressing his strongly held beliefs against war, materialism, and sexual repression (to name a few). The writing of Ginsberg expressed a revolutionary moment in American poetry. He was angry with America, his home that had disappointed him, and was arrested on numerous occasions for protesting. In this excerpt below from the poem “America,” we see where it all started to go downhill.
When Ginsberg died in 1997, his good friend William Burroughs remembered him as “a great person with worldwide influence.” To get a larger picture of him as a poet and a person, I recommend listening to a recording of one of his readings, like this one here for “America.” You could even put it on in the background to go along with the visuals below.