Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet. Ginsberg is best known for the poem Howl (1956), celebrating his friends of the Beat Generation and attacking what he saw as the destructive forces of materialism and conformity in the United States at the time. Ginsberg advertised the event as "Six Poets at the Six Gallery." One of the most important events in Beat mythos, known simply as "The Six Gallery reading" took place on October 7, 1955. The event, in essence, brought together the East and West Coast factions of the Beat Generation. Of more personal significance to Ginsberg: that night was the first public reading of "Howl," a poem that brought worldwide fame to Ginsberg and to many of the poets associated with him. An account of that night can be found in Kerouac's novel The Dharma Bums, describing how change was collected from audience members to buy jugs of wine, and Ginsberg reading passionately, drunken, with arms outstretched. A taped recording of the reading of 'Howl' that Ginsberg gave at Reed College has recently been rediscovered and appeared on their multimedia website from 9am PST 15 February 2008.