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Irwin Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3 1926 in Newark New Jeresy Louis Ginsberg Allens dad was a published poet a high school teacher and a Jewish Socialist His wife Naomi was a radical Communist and nudist who went tragically insane in early adulthood A shy and complicated child growing up in Paterson New Jersey Allens home life was dominated by his mothers bizarre and frightening episodes A severe paranoid she trusted Allen when she was convinced the rest of the family and the world was plotting against her As Allen tried to understand what was happening with his mother he also had to struggle to comprehend what was happening inside him because he was consumed by lust for other boys his age He discovered the poetry of Walt Whitman the original Beatnik in high school despite his interest in poetry he followed his fathers advice and planned on a career as a lawyer This was what he had in mind when he began his freshman year at Columbia University but what he ended up doing was running around with a bunch of poets and the like including fellow students Lucien Carr and Jack Kerouac and friends William S Burroughs and Neal Cassady These delinquent young philosophers you might say were equally obsessed with drugs crime sex and literature Eventually Allen got suspended from Columbia for various small offenses He began hanging around with Times Square junkies and thieves mostly friends of Burroughs experimenting with Benzedrine and marijuana and cruising gay bars in Greenwich Village At this point in Ginsberg life he and Kerouac thought they were working towards some kind of great poetic vision which they called the New Vision Ginsburgs friends acted crazy in a sort of joyfull way that coupled with the real craziness of his mother whose condition continued to worsen until she was hospitalized for life and finally lobotomized Some people deal with insanity in the family
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