Biographies of influential poets of the Beat movement.


A Block ILA 9 Honors Beat Generation

~Nathan Kosmin: Allen Ginsberg
~Clay Ewell: Lawrence Ferlinghetti
~Jessica Adams: Anne Waldman
~Eric McGowan: Gregory Corso
~Amanda Dennis: Joanne Kyger

Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg was one of the formative members of the Beat and hippie movements, as well as one of their most memorable characters. His poetry, often compared to that of other poets of the fifties such as Charles Olson, Robert Lowell, and Frank O'Hara, broke free of traditional American and European verse and meter (“Allen Ginsberg”) and helped bring Beat poetry into the public eye. His unique lifestyle emphasized the Beat ideals of spiritual and sexual freedom.
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey. He was the son of Louis Ginsberg, who was a fairly successful poet himself. His mother Naomi Ginsberg, however, was a member of the Communist party and became mentally ill due to a series of nervous breakdowns (Charters 60) and also suffered from paranoia. His mother “often trusted young Allen when she was convinced the rest of the family and the world was plotting against her” (Asher). Ginsberg deeply cared about his mother, writing one of his most famous and moving poems, “Kaddish,” about her death. Some of his poems also reflected her strong political ideals, such as the poem “America.” A
("Allen Ginsberg")
nother difficulty of Ginsberg’s adolescent life was dealing with his emerging homosexuality.
Ginsberg started his study at New York’s Columbia University in 1943, studying to become a labor lawyer. At Columbia, he fell in with a crowd of people including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and other important figures of the Beat movement. He began to develop more of an interest in poetry. He was suspended from Columbia twice, once for writing an offensive message on his window, and another for keeping stolen goods in his dorm (Charters 60). After he left, he continued to consort with the same group of friends, “experimenting with drugs and cruising gay bars in Greenwich Village, all the time believing himself and his friends would be working towards some kind of uncertain great poetic vision. He and Kerouac called this the "New Vision" (Asher). He also began to travel all over the country, helping to provide inspiration for Kerouac’s famous work On The Road, one of the Beat movement’s most famous literary works. While reading some of William Blake’s poetry, he had a hallucination of the poet’s voice reading the poems. It was this that inspired him to dedicate his life to poetry.
Ginsberg moved to San Francisco in 1954, where he met the poet Kenneth Rexroth, who helped him develop his style of free verse poetry, which follows no formal form or meter and sounds very similar to speech. He spent two more years writing before he released his first book of poetry, Howl and Other Poems, in 1956. Howl, the book’s namesake, was a long poem that is considered by critics to be one of Ginsberg’s best. It displayed his rantlike free-verse style and his criticisms of America, as well as his disregard for the conformist ideals of 1950's culture. He rose to fame after he was tried for obscenity over Howl and won the case. He used his fame to help spread his ideas, and quickly became one of the most prominent public figures of the Beat Generation (“Allen Ginsberg Bio”). Ginsberg traveled to Asia and discovered Buddhism during this time. He also started a long relationship with Peter Orlovsky. After Howl, Ginsberg entered a period of productivity and inspiration, releasing poems such as “Sunflower Sutra,” “America,” and others. When his mother passed away, he wrote the 56-page poem “Kaddish,” “a harrowing account of his mother’s illness and death” (“Ginsberg, Allen” 420).
Ginsberg’s lifestyle was a unique one. In a time of conformity, he opposed many traditional beliefs. He was open about his drug use and his homosexuality and wasn’t afraid to speak out on the subjects that mattered to him. As he traveled, this attitude got him kicked out of Cuba and Czechoslovakia, and gave him a reputation as an activist. His lifestyle was inspirational to the hippie culture, which grew from the Beat movement in the sixties. He became a very active figure among the hippies, appearing at countless protests and events such as the Human Be-in, a gathering of 30,000 people in Golden Gate Park in San Fransisco that is considered one of the seminal events of the hippie movement. He helped to spread the popularity of LSD and the psychedelic ideal, which were also central to the movement. He also helped fund the Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics in Colorado with Anne Waldman (Asher) which helps support Beat poetry and teach young poets.
Ginsberg remained active on the poetry scene up until he passed away on April 5th, 1997, due to liver cancer. His revolutionary style of writing influenced many poets, and modern free verse poetry was impacted by Ginsberg’s writing style and philosophies (“Modernist Free Verse…”). Ginsberg’s visions of freedom and his spread of Beat Generation ideals helped shape America as we know it today.

Works Cited
"Allen Ginsberg." Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography: The New
Consciousness, 1941-1968. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Biography
Resource Center. 28 Oct. 2008. Gale Research. 28 Oct. 2008
Allen Ginsberg Bio." The Allen Ginsberg Project. 28 Oct. 2008
Asher, Levi. "Allen Ginsberg." American Museum of Beat Art. 28 Oct. 2008
"Ginsberg, Allen." Contemporary Poets of the English Language. Ed. Rosalie
Murphy and James Vinson.
"Modernist Free Verse Poetry." SHS Poetry A Block. 28 Oct. 2008. Springfield
Township High School. 28 Oct. 2008. <>.
The Portable Beat Reader. 1992. Ed. Ann Charter. N.p.: Penguin, 1992.

"Allen Ginsberg." Beat the Devil. 28 Oct. 2008.
< dedication.html>.
Critical Analysis of "Howl"

Gregory Corso

It’s peculiar how words written on a paper can mean so much and change history. During the Beat Generation many poets expressed their opinions of society and life in general in the form of poetry. These poets included Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Anne Waldman, and Gregory Corso. People read the works of these poets and saw that life could be more than the average, suburban, American life. Throughout his life, Gregory Corso refused to accept the norm, and through poems he helped change the way people thought during the Beat Generation.
Corso was born on March 26, 1930 during the beginning of the Great Depression in Greenwich Village, New York (Asher). Corso’s parents, Michelina and Samuel Corso, were two teenage Italians who didn't seem to care much for him. In fact, only one month after his birth, his mother flew back to Italy, abandoning him. He was juggled around orphanages for years and had a brief stay at a mental hospital under observation until his father took him back when he was eleven (“Gregory Corso”). Two years later, things weren’t going well for Corso living at his father’s house, so he decided to run away. However, he was caught and enrolled in a boy’s home until the age of fifteen. His teenage years continued to go in the wrong direction when he was held in prison for months as a material witness for a robbery (“Gregory Corso”). Afterwards, he was returned to his father where he proceeded to run away once more. Then when it seemed that things couldn’t go much worse for Corso, he was caught stealing, yet again, this time serving a three year sentence at Clinton Prison (“Gregory Corso”). This could possibly have been the turning point in Gregory Corso’s poetic life, for it was in prison where he first began studying poetry.
After being released from prison, Corso was somewhat educated with poetry after reading works of Stendahl, Shelly, and Thomas Catterton (“Gregory Corso”). Shortly after being released from prison he went to a bar in his hometown of Greenwich Village. This is where he met one of his biggest influences and the leading figure of the Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg (Asher). Ginsberg took a liking to Corso and introduced him to Mark Van Doren, a Columbia college professor who was impressed with Corso’s work and told him to continue writing. Corso spent a year on a freighter then shockingly with his criminal record, moved to Boston and attended Harvard University, which is known as one of the best colleges in the country (Miles). Here he studied and studied, spending hours upon end in the library. He wrote poems that were published in the Harvard Advocate and gained reputation on the campus. One year later, in 1955, he wrote his first book of poetry, The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other Poems, however, it didn’t attract as much attention as Corso had wished. After The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other Poems failed, Corso traveled throughout Europe. Many said that he was relying on the reputation of Allen Ginsberg so that his works would get published (Miles).

One year later, he met up with Allen Ginsberg in San Francisco who introduced him to the other two most well-known poets of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs (“Gregory Corso”). There he wrote and performed many of his poems, officially establishing himself as one of the four main poets of the Beat Generation. After his stay in San Francisco, he moved to Paris for a year. In Paris, he composed many of his poems that were included in his book Gasoline, which was publicized with the help of Allen Ginsberg (“Gregory Corso”). In 1959, Time Magazine wrote an article involving Corso describing him as a “cold-shouldered shaggy beatnik” (“The Non-Beatniks”). He moved back to the United States writing more pieces such as The Happy Birthday of Death which includes perhaps his most famous poem “Bomb.” This was somewhat of a love-poem to atomic bombs that was written in the shape of a mushroom cloud (Asher). Another work received attention was Long Live Man.
Corso grew older, and continued to travel the world. He settled down for a short time and married a woman named Sally November and became a teacher at the State University of New York, in Buffalo (“Gregory Corso”). While teaching at SUNY, Corso began abusing heroin which he admittedly said ruined his poetry career and robbed him of his talent (Miles). Corso and his wife Sally got divorced, then immediately afterwards Corso lost or abandoned his teaching position for refusing to sign a contract confirming that he was not a member of the Communist party. Three years later in 1968, Corso was remarried to a woman named Belle Carpenter which ended as his first marriage did, in divorce (Miles). One year later Jack Kerouac passed away and Corso wrote a collection of poems as a tribute called Elegiac Feelings American. He then continued to write poems preparing for another book to be released in the 1970’s, but all of those works were stolen (Miles). His next poetry collection looked back on all the times that Corso recognized he wasted, abusing himself with heroin. It was called Herald of the Autochthonic Spirit, and was released in 1981. Corso’s long time friend, Allen Ginsberg passed away and a memorial was held in 1996. When Corso went up to the podium to say a tribute to Ginsberg, people expected a beautiful poem but all he said was “toodle-oo” (Asher). Corso had a long and eventful life, having five children by three different marriages (“Gregory Corso”). He passed away January 17, 2001 at the age of seventy to cancer.
Corso’s life was not the normal life by any means, but he probably would not have wanted it to be. He spent his life with Ginsberg and the rest of the Beats, changing the way people thought, giving them a different view life. He saw that America was becoming to much of a “utopia,” with every family moving out to the suburbs, having two to three children, the father bringing home money while the wife did house chores. He recognized that there was more to life than that. His works are still seen as some of the best ever written and are studied to this day. Gregory Corso left his mark in this world and will never be forgotten.

Works Cited
Asher, Levi. “Gregory Corso.” Literary Kicks. 27 Oct. 2008 <‌GregoryCorso/>.
“Gegory Corso.” Academy of American Poets. 23 Oct. 2008 <‌poet.php/‌prmPID/‌409>.
Miles, Barry. "Beat Scene:East and West." The Beat Generation. Vol. 1.
“The Non-Beatniks.” Time Magazine 8 June 1959. Rpt. in Times. TIME. 27 Oct. 2008 <‌time/‌magazine/‌article/>.

Corso, Gregory. Elegiac Feelings American. 29 Oct. 2008

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Although Lawrence Ferlinghetti wasn’t the creator of the Beat movement, he had a prominent voice, along with Allen Ginsburg and Gregory Corso. Ferlinghetti’s rebellious, opinionated way of writing was highly eminent and essential to the diffusion of the Beat Generation. These poets did not just express their grievances; they showed people how to value life in new ways that they have never even imagined.
Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, New York on March 24, 1919. He was born into an Italian-Portuguese, immigrant family. Ferlinghetti’s father died before he was born and his mother was sent to an insane asylum immediately after his birth (“Lawrence Ferlinghetti”). He was raised by his French Aunt and spent the first five years of his life in France. French was his first language and he didn’t learn English until he came back to the United States at the age of five. Although he was an eagle scout, a prestigious honor, Ferlinghetti still had a tendency to surround himself with the wrong people. In his teenage years he joined a street gang called the “Parkway Road Pirates.” It was his association with groups like this that led to an arrest for petty theft while he was a teenager (“Asher”). But the disturbed youth was soon turned on to literature by a woman named Sally Bisland. She handed him a book of French poet, Charles Baudelaire poems and at that point, Ferlinghetti had discovered the key to his future.
After Ferlinghetti finished high school, he soon attended the University of North Carolina formally known as UNC. At UNC he earned his B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) and then joined the United States Naval Reserve shortly after. He slowly made his way up the ranks and was a Lieutenant Commander during the Normandy Invasion. But when the war came to an end Ferlinghetti decided to put his military life aside for literature. He started to work for Time magazine but was unsatisfied. He decided to go back to college and earn more degrees. In 1948 he attained an M.A. (Masters of Arts) from Columbia University. From there he went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Paris, in 1949.
Then Ferlinghetti moved to San Francisco in 1950. As he was getting settled in, he took a job as a French teacher for adults. Meanwhile, he was a painter and wrote a lot of art criticism. In 1952 he and a man named Peter Martin founded the City Lights Bookstore, which was the first all paperback book store in the nation (“A Brief Biography…”). With the heavy burden of running a new renowned book store, Ferlinghetti could not teach French any longer. So after three years as a French teacher he put that life behind him. The City Lights book store started publishing the Pocket Poets Series which was Ferlinghetti’s poetry collection, otherwise known as Pictures of the Gone World. Sections of this series were famous pieces that are commonly known today such as Allen Ginsburg’s Howl. These poems led to the arrest of Lawrence Ferlinghetti on charges of publishing obscene material. In fact beat poets never avoided any vulgar or obscene material. Major publicity came to the Beat Generation during his very controversial trial. The attempt to convict Ferlinghetti failed, and he and Ginsburg became known as international literary idols. Before the trial, about fifteen hundred copies of Howl were printed. But by the end of the trial there were over ten thousand copies being printed nationwide. Ferlinghetti was not only being looked at as a great publisher; his poetry also spoke wonders about him. He became a public figure after he created “outsider music” which was poetry readings combined with jazz music. This type of poetry expanded his fan base adding more contemporary poetry readers. Throughout all of his years as a poet Ferlinghetti repeatedly stated that his work should be heard rather than seen on a page (“Lawrence Ferlinghetti”).
All in all, Ferlinghetti was known as one of the more politically minded people of the beatniks. His strong pacifist beliefs are a result of his military experiences. This was also a reason why he was so passionate in his poems. A lot of people could tell how wise and experienced he was by reading his poems. That’s one of the main reasons why Ferlinghetti’s work is still read in classrooms and universities to this day. Each of his poems had their own style. He had a more formal structure to his poems than that of the other Beat poets. He influenced people by showing that beatniks were not just people off of the street. He showed that the Beat writers had a sense of intelligence and that their whole movement wasn’t just about excessive drug and alcohol use. He was the brains behind the Beat movement. His book, A Coney Island of the Mind, is still the most popular poetry book throughout the U.S. It has been translated into 9 different languages and there are almost one million copies printed (“A Brief Biography…”). Ferlinghetti has also recently earned highly admirable awards in 2003 such as the
Robert Frost Memorial Medal, the Author’s Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a truly remarkable figure during the Beat Generation who influenced many and created compositions that to this day are respected and honored.

Works Cited
Asher, Levi. “Lawrence Ferlinghetti.” Beat Museum. 2003. 26 Oct. 2008‌index.html.
“A Brief Biography of Lawrence Ferlinghetti.” City Lights Books. 2008. 26 Oct. 2008‌ferlinghetti/.
“Lawrence Ferlingetii.” The Beat Page. 2008. 28 Oct. 2008 <‌beatpage/‌writers/‌ferlinghetti.html>.

Works Cited (Critical Essay)
Helms. “Ferlinghetti Critisism.” Poetry For Students. 2008. 11 Nov. 2008 <>
“Jack Kerouac: Voice of a Generation on the Open Road.” Evesmag. 2008. 16 Nov. 2008‌kerouac1.htm.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Photograph. 2008. PoemFinder For Schools. Gale. Springfield Township

Anne Waldman

In the midst of the Beat Generation there were many important poets that influenced society. A beatnik woman by the name of Anne Waldman was included in this altering point in history. She was a woman who grew up with the influence of many poets during her own generation and soon grew to become one who impacted the people around her just like poets influenced her when she was young. Anne Waldman lived with poetry all her life, influenced many, and accomplished many things that continue to influence people to this day.
First and foremost, Anne was born in 1945 in Millville, New Jersey and during her childhood she was exposed to a number of influences. Waldman grew up in the West Village of Manhattan on Macdougal Street where she attended Anne_Waldman.jpg
Quaker High School Friends Seminary, but got interested in Buddhism after being exposed to it by other poets during her time (“Anne Waldman” 1). She then started to write, in a little notebook, her poems which demonstrated the influence of E.E. Cummings, Keats and Yeats, and Walt Whitman (Charters). Anne also took part in writing stories and plays and sent them to magazines like The Village Voice and The Evergreen Review (Zott). Throughout the beginning of her youthful years, Anne Waldman was linked to numerous influential people who impacted her and her writing. For instance, Anne Waldman lived by Gregory Corso, another influential poet during the Beat Generation. Corso had a friend named Martin Hersey who was the son of John Hersey, a novel writer whom Waldman had additional connection to (Charters). Anne also knew another influential figure, Anghelos Sikelianos. He was a poet and the step-father of Waldman’s mother. He additionally participated in the Delphic Ideal Community in the 1930s which centered on a belief that art such as Greek drama had the ability to ‘save mankind’ (Zott). This poet exposed Anne to others who took part in the Delphic Ideal Community. At age eighteen she visited Greece and Egypt. In 1965, Waldman went to the West Coast and traveled to Mexico as well (Charters). All of these visitations expanded her writing ability. Also, while she was editing SILO Magazine and observing poetry beside Howard Nemerov and other comrades, Anne Waldman had the influence of Jonathan Cott, a friend who encouraged her to go to Berkeley for a convention (Zott). There, she attended the Berkeley Poetry Conference where she got in touch with another novel writer named Lewis Warsh who had a lot in common with Anne (Charters). Soon, Anne Waldman took larger strides to a huge career of poetry following the impact of so many influential people of her young life.
Furthermore, Anne continued to strengthen her love for writing into her adulthood. She attended and graduated at Bennington College in Vermont, receiving her B.A. for English Literature (Murphy). Anne enjoyed reading novels and examining the heroes of those novels. One hero who influenced her most was Jack Kerouac. In many of her literary pieces she mentions a lot about Kerouac and the impact of his own writings. In "Notes on Sitting Beside a Noble Corpse," and "One Inch of Ashes," Waldman writes of Kerouac following his death. In one of her works she noted, “And I write because it’s all fleeting and we’re all going to die and my poetic duty is to make this experiment holy” (Charters). Kerouac greatly influenced her, and it is represented in many of Anne’s writings. Another influence on Waldman was drugs and Lewis Warsh. For the first time, Anne experimented with LSD while with Lewis and had a hallucination. Anne visualized a sign urging her to do something useful and immense with her life (Zott). And in 1963 she did just that when her and Lewis founded a magazine called Angel Hair, which was named after what Jon Cott said; “Angel hair sleeps with a boy in my head” (qtd. in Zott). The magazine was different from the others in design and material. It represented many beliefs and ideas of the Beat Generation that drifted away from the normal ways of society. Anne Waldman was just beginning her life as a true beatnik.
In addition to Anne’s influences, she used everything she learned and accomplished a myriad number of goals. Waldman then moved to New York City where she took a job working with The Poetry Project getting paid $6,000 a year (Zott). From 1966 to 1978, she worked alongside Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso on the project where they developed an academy called the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in 1974 (“Anne Waldman”). In New York, her apartment was used as a salon for many discussions regarding music, clothes, drugs, ideas, political affairs, and events taking place such as the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, and Bobby and John F. Kennedy. At this time Waldman also constructed more than forty books, and she created pamphlets which challenged the American ideals, were full of soul and confessions, and took a more relaxed position on the subjects of people and places (“Anne Waldman”). Not only did she include ideas opposing the “regular American,” she also included Buddhism beliefs and other cultural matters (Zott). Some of her books include In the Room of Never Grieve: New and Selected Poems, Dark Arcana/Afterimage or Glow, Vow to Poetry, Marriage: A Sentence, and Kill of Cure (“Anne Waldman”). Her other accomplishments included developing an Allen Ginsberg Library, an Environmental Studies Program, a World Wisdom Chair, and Study Abroad programs in many different places around the globe. Anne also helped create Project Outreach where people worked with AIDS victims, had workshops at nursing homes, and dealt with middle schools and homeless shelters. Waldman worked with other poets on these various projects that were brought about to teach poetry and help society.
Since she made so many accomplishments that were a huge part of the Beat Generation and society, Anne Waldman received many awards such as the Dylan Thomas Award in 1967, The Poets Foundation Award, The National Literary Anthology Award, and The Shelley Memorial Award in poetry. Waldman was also given grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts (“Anne Waldman” 1). All of these awards show her influence on society and the appreciation of those who were exposed to Anne Waldman’s works. With her writings and her appearance Anne encouraged the younger generation to fight for their dreams to be discovered or to become great poets like her. During the post-modern and post-New American Poetry era, Anne persuaded young people to get involved in literature and became one of the influences like those who impacted her when she was young (Zott). “We created a world in which we were purveyors, guardians, impresarios of a little slice of poetry turf, making things, plugging in our youth, offering the gift of ourselves to help keep the ever-expanding literary scene a lively place. And it was,” exclaimed Anne Waldman (qtd. in Zott). Anne additionally wrote To a Young Poet in which she instructs poets to write about whatever they felt they should write about. She was greatly connected with the younger poets and influenced many others during her time.
Anne Waldman lived her life experiencing the impacts of a large number of poets and novelists during her youth. She used their influences upon her and her education of the world around her to become the poet she was during the Beat Generation. She completed a number of accomplishments and wrote books which influenced a younger group of people. Today, she continues working with poetry. Anne was recently appointed the director of the M.F.A. Writing and Poetics program located at the Naropa Institute (“Anne Waldman”). She is a woman who stood against the customs of the “regular American” and is now living a life that she enjoys and feels like living instead of a life that she is obligated to live only because it flows with the mainstream American.

("Anne Waldman Holding a Book")

Works Cited
"Anne Waldman." The American Museum of Beat Art. 23 Oct. 2008 <>.
"Anne Waldman." 2008. Acad. of American Poets. 23 Oct. 2008 <>.
Charters, Ann. "Anne Waldman." Beat down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation. New York, 2001. 588-596.
Murphy, Rosalie. "Waldman, Anne." Contemporary Poets of the English Language. New York: St. Martin's, 1970. 1135-1136.
Zott, Lynn M. "Anne Waldman (Essay Date March 2002)." The Beat Generation: A Gale CriticalCompanion. Vol. 1. New York, 1969. 307-311.

"Anne Waldman." The American Museum of Beat Art. 2003. 28 Oct. 2008
"Anne Walman Holding a Book." Blue Flower Arts. 28 Oct. 2008

Joanne Kyger

Throughout the Beat Generation, there were a number of Beat poets that were women. One included a young lady, Joanne Kyger. Joanne Kyger was born on November 29, 1934 in Vallejo, California. During her childhood she traveled to many places because of her fathers military status in the Navy. He was a Naval Officer, so their family took trips across the country and even across the world. They settled in places all troughout the US and China. When she was fourteen, her father and her chose to live and settle in Santa Barbara.
She began writing at a young age and continued writing until she reached college. Her first poem was at the age of five years-old where it was published at her school. When Joanne grew older she attended the University of California in Santa Barbara, she was introduced to modernist poets, whose own works had a great influence on her own writings. She left college one credit short of a degree, but took what she had learned and moved to San Francisco.
Kyger’s writings were mostly influenced by other writers; she used other poets' style of writing and styles from other generations and movements. For example, the modernist movement influenced her writings in college. Also in her writing “The Tapestry,” she took poets' works from the San Francisco Renaissance, and she utilized these style to create her own ideas for her poetry. “'The Tapestry' and the 'Web'…when she was involved with other poets of the San Francisco Renaissance” (Zott 167). Ideas in "The Tapestry" were taken from Homer’s the Odyssey and Paterson by William Carlos Williams. While writing "The Tapestry and the "Web," she met her second husband, Jack Boyce, and became married in 1968 after the divorce with her first husband. As for her first husband, his name was Gary Snyder. Both Boyce and Snyder were aspiring poets. Snyder met her while studying Zen Buddhism (a main topic for Kyger), and met Boyce when she traveled to Europe. Religions, examples from other poets, and marriage, were remarkable inspirations for Joanne Kyger.
In Zen Buddhism, “… enjoy readership among Zen Buddhist themes, the beats, native American mythology, and travel.” (Zott 168). In this quote it demonstrates how Kyger did stick to one subject. Kyger looked at many different ideas. “Critics have noted that Kyger does not fit neatly into any one category or literary movement” (Zott 168). She did not just experiment with one idea and never left any idea until the movement was over. This led her life with her actions of getting her food when she wanted, experimenting with everything, and admiring our earth.
With Zen Buddhism, Kyger found a peaceful muse for her writings. Because of her focus on Zen Buddhism, she found a creative way to sustain her mind. She even met one of her husbands, Gary Snyder, in research on Zen Buddhism. It had helped her with her poems, her first husband, and enlightened her of the Buddhist faith. All of those different writings played into how she got her ideas for new poems. Some just came to her, but others she had to look back on previous subjects. “Exemplary of Buddhist consciousness in beat writing” (Zott 18); by this they meant how Joanne Kyger took into consideration how to comprehend the Buddhist faith and write about it.
Joanne Kyger, in her lifetime, met many historical figures from different movements. These include, Donald Allen (who helped her publish her book of poetry), Allen Ginsberg, Lew Welch, Ed Sanders, and many others of the Beat Generation. With the assistance from these people, especially the publisher Donald Allen, she published her book Japan and the Indian Journals. These “…are considered by many to be important documents of the Beat era, as they offer a uniquely female perspective on the time.” (Zott 168)
In Joanne Kyger’s experience in poetry, her works consisted of poems drawn from other writers, religions, and had a “unique female perspective” on her subjects. Her works include, Places to Go, Just Space, Mexican Blonde, Up My Coast, The Tapestry and the Web, Japan and Indian Journals, and many more. She wrote about her researched religion of Buddhism, and wrote about the marriage and divorce of her two husbands. She impacted the generation because her style had a female twist, and the fact that she was part of so many movements in her time brought a great deal to the Beat Generation.


Works Cited
Zott, Lynn M. The Beat Generation: A Gale Critical Companion. N.p.: Gale, 2003.

Works Consulted
Lawler, William T. Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons, and Impact. Santa Barbara,
California: ABC-CLIO, 2005.

Russo, Linda. "Joanne Kyger Photograph." Jacket Magazine. Apr. 2000. 29 Oct.
2008 <>.

"Basic Font." 16 Nov. 2008 <