drawing by Marty Carey
drawing by Marty Carey

Allen Ginsberg, the author of “Howl,” “Kaddish,” and numerous other stunning poems that brought Jewish and homosexual content, as well as outrage at the inhumanity of modern American capitalism, to the forefront of American intellectual consciousness, was born (first name Irwin) in Newark, New Jersey on this date in 1926. Ginsberg became the most enduring and famous of the “Beat” generation of writers and artists, and helped create bridges between 1950s bohemianism and the 1960s counterculture. He was a dedicated Buddhist practitioner, a peace activist, a sexual omnivore, an excellent photographer, an advocate and ally of many creative people, a winner of the National Book Award (1974), a singer and harmonium player, a hypochondriac, a defender of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, a champion of free speech, a defender as well as a critic of communism, an advocate of consciousness-raising drugs, a 20th-century reincarnation of Walt Whitman, and an inspiring liberationist.

“America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.” —Allen Ginsberg