Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was a leading American poet who gained notoriety in the 1950s and ’60s through his association with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance.
One of the most controversial poets of his time, his book Howl and Other Poems faced an obscenity trial in 1957 and became one of the most widely read poems of the 20th Century. In the ’60s and ’70s, Ginsberg studied under gurus and Zen masters.
He went on to co-found the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Colorado and later became a Distinguished Professor at Brooklyn College.
In this interview by Barry Silesky, Ginsberg espouses concentrating on work rather than chasing success. “What is always interesting is the revelation of the personal,” he notes.
A historical interview originally recorded in 1988 and re-edited in 2004 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.