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Allen Ginsberg’s Magical Evolving Visions

“It was only six months after the lobotomy that Allen Ginsberg began to have visions. He was living by himself in an East Harlem apartment subleased from a friend in the divinity school. Ginsberg was single, gay but closeted, and apart from his friends. He hadn’t managed to fulfill his dream of himself as a writer. And he was trying to live with himself after authorizing a psychiatrist to cut into his mother’s brain presumably to save her life – a life that neither she nor he thought there was much chance of salvaging, given the horrible price that her chronic severe psychotic illness had already exacted.”

In the Moment

Stevan Weine

For nearly fifty years Allen Ginsberg told readers and listeners that his efforts to change writing and society we’re ignited by the mystical visions he had in 1948, at the age of 22, in which he heard the voice of William Blake reciting “Ah Sunflower.” At the time he journaled: I was staring out of the window when I saw a vast gleam of light cover the sky. The bowl of heaven was suffused with an eerie glow.

In a 1965 interview published in the Paris Review Ginsberg gave the most explicit description of the visions. This time he said: “…suddenly, simultaneously with understanding it, heard a very deep earthen grave voice in the room, which I immediately assumed, I didn’t think twice, was Blake’s voice.” Several other small published pieces briefly mentioned visions with a voice, but none before 1960. The Paris Review interview became…

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Filed under: Beat Generation, Essays

About the Author

Posted by

Oi ! I’m Jeremiah Walton. For the past ~3 years I’ve been bopping around the U.S. between hitchhiking + rubber tramping, running traveling bookstore Books & Shovels + indie publisher Nostrovia! Press. My focus is in-person distribution at open mics + features + busking. Word of mouth is a fulfilling & feels to be a more intimate promotional process. I’ve featured at the NYC Poetry Festival + San Francisco Lit Crawl + Snoetry Cleveland + Beast Crawl Oakland + This Lil Lit Fest + street corners across the country. There’s a handful of my books floating around the country, but most recently is “From Here Til Utopia” (Ghost City Press). Raccoons + coyotes are my companions. Hope you dig the poems, much love, thank you❤

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