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Today in Literature

June 3, 2009

3 June 1926:  Prominent beat poet Allen Ginsberg was born on this day in Newark, NJ.  He worked in the marketing business in both New York and San Francisco after graduating from Columbia University but, in 1954, he cut his ties with that life and devoted his attention to writing, drugs, and William Blake.

In New York, Ginsberg associated with other great beat figures like Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cassady.  Ginsberg’s best known poem, “Howl,” holds a special place in my heart.  I first encountered the work in the American Lit. II course in my undergrad and was instructed that we had to option of not reading it, if it would possibly offend us.  For some reason, forging ahead and reading the poem despite possible offense (there, of course, was none) solidified in my mind that I belonged in an English department.

“I’m with you in Rockland”

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