Irwin Allen Ginsberg (ˈɡɪnzbɜːrɡ; June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet and writer. As a student at Columbia University in the 1940s, he began friendships with William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, forming the core of the Beat Generation. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism, and sexual repression, and he embodied various aspects of this counterculture with his views on drugs, sex, multiculturalism, hostility to bureaucracy, and openness to Eastern religions.
Best known for his poem "Howl", Ginsberg denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. San Francisco police and US Customs seized copies of "Howl" in 1956, and a subsequent obscenity trial in 1957 attracted widespread publicity due to the poem's language and descriptions of heterosexual and homosexual sex at a time when sodomy laws made (male) homosexual acts a crime in every state. The poem reflected Ginsberg's own sexuality and his relatio