Allen Ginsberg “America”
Allen Ginsberg wrote a poem called “America”. This poem is very long and typical of Ginsberg. He breaks the poem up into two stanzas with 40 lines in the first and 60 lines in the second. This poem is meant to be funny but at the same time talk about important events in American history. There is no rhyme scheme and is written in free verse, which is normal for Ginsberg’s poems. To truly understand this poem you need to know more about Allen Ginsberg himself. Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3rd 1926 to Louis and Naomi Ginsberg. He was born in Newark, New Jersey and lived in New York City until he died in April 0f 1997. His father Louis was a high school teacher and a published poet. His mother Naomi Ginsberg was a member of the Communist party, and suffered from seizures and mental illnesses such as paranoia. Growing up Ginsberg’s childhood was not the greatest. His mother would sometimes take him and his brother to communist party meetings. She also had periods of mental illness that greatly disturbed Ginsberg throughout his life. Ginsberg didn’t discover poetry until high school when he had to read Walt Whitman. After reading Walt Whitman, Ginsberg wanted to further study literature but his father advised him to do otherwise. Ginsberg studied law at Columbia College, but soon changed his major to English. While studying at Columbia College Ginsberg made friends with writers Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. All his friends were obsessed with drugs, crime, sex and literature. Ginsberg was openly gay and had many relationships. One of his relationships was with Neal Cassady. Ginsberg and his friends were crazy and were always in and out of trouble. This group of friends soon became known as the beat generation poets Ginsberg is credited with being the first beat poet. “Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs found inspiration in jazz music and the culture that surrounded it” (PBS). They supported drug use and used it for...
Cited: Charters, Anne. "Allen Ginsberg 's Life". Modern American Poetry. April 7, 2009 <http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/ginsberg/life.htm>.
PBS. "American Masters. Allen Ginsberg". April 7, 2009 <http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/ginsberg_a.html>.
Vendler, Helen. Poems. Poets, Poetry. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin, 2002.
Wikipedia. Allen Ginsberg". April 7, 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Ginsberg>.
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