A Buddhist memorial service was held yesterday in New York City for poet and political activist Allen Ginsberg. He died this weekend at age 70 after a long battle with liver cancer.
Ginsberg was perhaps best known for his lifelong political activism and his work with the Beat poets and writers in the 1950s and 1960s, including Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and William Borroughs.
Ginsberg’s 1956 poem "Howl!" captured —- for many —the sentiment of the post— World War II period and prefigured a decade of rage and revolution that was to come.
But Allen Ginsberg was much more, and today on Democracy Now! we’re going to go to yesterday’s Buddhist memorial service to hear from those who knew him best.
TAPE: EUGENE GINSBERG, the brother of Allen, who was named after turn- of-the-century rail union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs.
TAPE: PETER ORLOVSKY, the lover and companion of Allen Ginsberg for more than 40 years and also a noted poet and writer. Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg met in 1954 after Allen had seen his nude portrait in a San Francisco art gallery.
TAPE: GREGORY CORSO, a poet, a writer and a friend of Allen Ginsberg since the early 1950s. He is the author of Elegiac Feelings American published in 1970, Gasoline published in 1958, and The Vestal Lady on Brattle published in 1955.
TAPE: ANNE WALDEMAN, a poet, performer, and editor. She is the co- founder with Allen Ginsberg of the Jack Kerouac Shcool of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. She’s the former director of the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church in the Bowery in Manhattan.
TAPE: AMIRI BARAKA, poet and playwright.