03 June 2019

3rd June 1926 - Allen Ginsberg born


Allen Ginsberg was born on 3rd June 1926, and became one of the leaders of the Beat Generation with his poetry and attitude. He had experience of mental health issues from an early age with his mother. He went with her to therapy, and visited her in mental institutions, and authorised her lobotomy.

For her he wrote 'Kaddish for Naomi Ginsberg'. (Kaddish is a Jewish prayer.)

Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village,
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I've been up all night, talking, talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues shout blind on the phonograph
the rhythm, the rhythm -- and your memory in my head three years after ...

He dedicated his most famous poem 'Howl' written in 1956 to Carl Soloman, a friend and inmate at Rockland Institution with whom he showed his solidarity. All the lines in part 3 begin with 'I’m with you in Rockland'. Carl was a essayist, and editor who Ginsberg described as one of the best minds in the opening line of the poem

'I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness..'

Here are a few lines from part 3

Carl Solomon! I’m with you in Rockland
where you’re madder than I am
...
I’m with you in Rockland
where you imitate the shade of my mother
...
I’m with you in Rockland
where fifty more shocks will never return your soul to its body again ...
...
I’m with you in Rockland
where you accuse your doctors of insanity ...
...

The full poem can read at Poetry Foundation.

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