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The Influence of Walt Whitman on Allen Ginsberg Allen Ginsberg was regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Beat Generation. His Beat Bop badass attitude towards non-conformity and America made his writings energized and engaging for any reader. Amidst the Cold War inflicted 1950’s, Ginsberg’s politic views, non-conformity, sexuality, and radical poems set him apart from others of his time. Ginsberg’s actions influenced many great entertainers of today, but Ginsberg himself was also influenced. After examining the works of Allen Ginsberg, it became apparent that there was a driving force behind his writings. Walt Whitman’s sexuality, literary devices, view of America, and political views had a dramatic impact on the writings of Allen Ginsberg. While in high school, Ginsberg was first exposed to the writings of Walt Whitman. Ginsberg was immediately drawn to the passion with which Whitman wrote. Ginsberg related to Whitman because they were both homosexuals (Foster 86). In reading Whitman, Ginsberg connected with him and was thus able to come to terms with himself; he began to accept his own sexuality, which is evident in his writing. Whitman inspired Ginsberg by embracing and accepting his homosexuality in a time when society did not. Because of Whitman’s shamelessness, Ginsberg was open himself. In one of his earliest poems, “Howl”, Ginsberg truly expressed himself and wrote lines such as, “…who howled on their knees in the subway and were/ dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts/ who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly/ motorcyclists, and screamed with joy…” (Poem Hunter). Throughout his entire career, Ginsberg wrote what he felt and refused to conform to society. In his later poem, “Death & Fame”, Ginsberg continued to exhibit his homosexuality and self-confidence
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when he wrote, “… I felt more love from him at 19 than ever from anyone…We’d lie under covers gossip, read my poetry, hug & kiss belly to belly / arms round each other…” (Poem Hunter). From the beginning of his career until the end, Ginsberg expressed complete acceptance of himself and his sexuality both artistically and publically. Whitman’s collection of poetry,
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This note was uploaded on 05/07/2008 for the course ENGLISH 1050 taught by Professor Yeass during the Spring '08 term at Villanova.

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