Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 - April 5 1997) was an American Beat poet born in Paterson, New Jersey. Ginsberg's poetry was strongly influenced by modernism, the beats and cadence of jazz, and his Buddhist faith. In addition, he formed a bridge between the Beats of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s befriending, amongst others, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Bob Dylan.
His principal work, "Howl" (ISBN 0872860175), was considered scandalous at the time of publication, due to the rawness of the language, which was frequently explicit. Shortly after its 1956 publication by San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore, it was banned for obscenity. The ban became a cause célèbre among defenders of the First Amendment, and was later lifted after a judge declared the poem to possess redeeming social importance. Ginsberg's liberal and generally anti-establishment politics attracted the attentions of the FBI and he was regarded by them as a major security threat.
Ginsberg's other major works include "Kaddish" (ISBN 0872860191), a meditation on the death of his mother, Naomi Ginsberg, and "Hadda be Playin' on a Jukebox", a poem revolving around certain events of the 1960s and 1970s. "Plutonian Ode" (ISBN 0872861252) is a poem against nuclear weaponry.
He was also a member and vocal supporter of NAMBLA.
List of works