"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz, ..."
This is the opening to the centerpiece of the Beat Movement, Allen Ginsberg's "Howl", and it is this poem that has inspired some many to write.
Allen Ginsberg was born in Newark, NJ in 1926, and he received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1948. Throughout his lifetime Ginsberg focused mainly on two topics, politics and mysticism. To obtain politicial change he joined up with hippie movement, and to obtain mystical change to used substances like marijuana and benzedrine. His biggest influences were William Blake and Walt Whitman. He has, on several occasions, been called the Walt Whitman of his generation. Ginsberg, throughout his twenties, enjoyed wild life that was mostly encouraged by his new friends Burroughs and Kerouac, but ultimately lead to a creative output that lasted his entire lifetime.
There was a great article written about Ginsberg in the Houston Chronicle earlier this month. The best is regarding Ginsberg mentality is "he shouldered the task of personally living through the traumas facing his society."
Hum Bomb? (Lebanon 2006 Edition)
Poems online: here or here (for "Howl")
Great Detailed bio: here