Allen Ginsberg as Traveller
by David S Wills
Pub Date 01 Mar 2019
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Allen Ginsberg visited sixty-six countries during his lifetime. He travelled in order to explore the world, but each time he went abroad, he came back changed. These changes built up his personality and poetic style, essentially creating the countercultural figure the world came to know during the 1960s – the world’s most famous living poet and all-round peace icon.
Travel was not just a passion; it was essential to his development as a poet and activist. His most famous poems were products of travel and his core beliefs – from free love to world peace – were ones found while wandering through the wider world: without visiting Mexico in 1954, there would have been no “Howl”; without visiting France in 1958, there would have been no “Kaddish”; without visiting India in 1963, the image of Allen Ginsberg as a bearded hippie sage chanting mantras with finger symbols would simply not have existed.
In World Citizen, David S. Wills presents a new biography of Allen Ginsberg – one told through the prism of travel. Ginsberg’s life is recounted journey by journey, his development as a traveller meticulously recorded, and the influence of travel on his poetry explored in detail for the first time.