Life and Work of Allen GInsberg

June 03, 1997


Katherine Eban

Investigative reporter and writer for several national publications. Her latest article is "Rorshach and Awe" published exclusively on

Brad Olson

Assistant Research Professor at Northwestern University. He is a founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical APA and is also the Chair of Divisions for Social Justice, a collaboration of 13 APA divisions promoting a greater emphasis on social justice in the field of psychology.

Poet and political activist Allen Ginsberg died earlier this year
at the age 70.

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 pre-figured a decade of rage
and revolution that was to come.

But Allen Ginsberg was much more. And to mark his birthday today,
we’re going to replay a special retrospective on Allen Ginsberg’s
life that we did here on Democracy Now! on April 8th.

It begins with a Buddhist memorial service held in New York City
shortly after Allen died.

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: AMIRI BARAKA, poet and playwright.

Segment Subjects (keywords for the segment): Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso, Amiri Baraka, Anne Waldman