Allen Ginsberg

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Allen Ginsberg standing on the roof of his 114th St. apartment in 1946 or 1947. Photo by "the guy who worked at the bookstore. Fat guy." [1]
See also Wikipedia's article about "Allen Ginsberg".

Allen Ginsberg CC '48 was a gay Beat Generation poet who wrote Howl.

Ginsberg attended Columbia on a scholarship from the Young Men's Hebrew Association of Paterson, NJ. In 1945, he joined the Merchant Marine to earn money to continue his education.

He was recognized as a literary talent early on by luminaries like Lionel Trilling and Mark Van Doren, with whom he kept in touch after graduation.[1] While at Columbia he edited the Columbia Review, wrote for Jester and was president of the Philolexian Society. He was also winner of the Woodberry Poetry Prize and, reportedly, a Philolexian Prize as well.

He was friends with fellow Beat writer Jack Kerouac and future historian Fritz Stern. He served as Stern's debate partner on the College Debate Council and founded the Roosevelt for President club with him in 1944. Ginsberg was to prove influential in persuading Stern to enroll in humanities classes, which caused him to rethink his intended career in medicine.

He was disciplined after writing the graffiti "Butler has no balls" (referring to University President Nicholas Murray Butler) in the grime of his dorm room window in Hartley Hall. After another infraction (letting Jack Kerouac sleep in his room), Ginsberg was suspended for a year.[2]

Ginsberg won a John Jay Award in 1993.

Ginsberg presides over a group of friends in Riverside Park, circa 1948