Allen Ginsberg's Poetry


Allen Ginsberg's poetry reflects both the era in which he began to write it and the psychedelia that allowed him to accept his own work as an expression of a higher truth. Usage of the word "psychedelia" refers not only to psychedelic drugs, such as peyote and marijuana, but to any purposeful outside attempt made to alter the workings of the mind. Ginsberg's delving into Zen Buddhism, use of chanting to focus the intellect, and purposeful disregard for the standard rhythmical and metrical devices found in most poetry up until that time all contributed equally as much as his use of chemical substances to the uniqueness of his work.

The beginning of Ginsberg's poetic career comes at the beginning of his career at Columbia University, where despite his own preference for a career of a literary nature, he followed his father's advice and began a curriculum of studies in a major as a labor lawyer. In December of 1943, however, Ginsberg met Lucien Carr, who introduced him to William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, unwittingly creating the trio which would later give birth to the Beat movement in literature and social philosophy. After switching his major from law to literature, Ginsberg began meeting with...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1664 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10754 literature essays, 2696 sample college application essays, 631 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in