Arts & Entertainment

Poetic License (and Leases)

by Mallory Passuite, 02/15/2012

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  • The Beats
    As World War II ended, the Beat Generation drew together, discontent with mainstream politics and culture, at New York's Columbia University. Allen Ginsberg's 1956 poem "Howl" is often considered the rallying cry of a generation.

    After attending Columbia, Ginsberg remained in New York and over the years lived in several apartments throughout the East Village—including the one-bedroom walk-up at 437 E. 12th St. where he lived for two decades, from 1975 to 1996, with partner Peter Orlovsky. It has been said that Ginsberg was listed in the phone book and would often meet callers for coffee at the nearby Veselka. His mark on the East Village remains evident in many ways, including the Howl! Festival, held in Tompkins Square Park each summer.

    Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs were also part of the Beat poetry scene, though both are known more for their novels. (While writing On The Road, Kerouac spent time at Dylan Thomas' old standby, White Horse Tavern.) Other notable Beat Generation poets in New York include Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso and Bob Kaufman.

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