Photo taken San Francisco 1970s I think.
He went to Columbia University, first intending to study law, but during his freshman year he met Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and William S. Burroughs. He later said, “I think it was when I ran into Kerouac and Burroughs — when I was 17 — that I realized I was talking through an empty skull … I wasn’t thinking my own thoughts or saying my own thoughts.” Ginsberg left Columbia in 1948, traveled, and worked some odd jobs, and in 1954, he moved to San Francisco. He met poet Peter Orlovsky there; they fell in love and were partners until Ginsberg’s death. In October 1955, Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” at the Six Gallery. The next day, bookstore owner and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti sent him a telegram quoting Emerson’s letter to Whitman: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” “Howl,” which was written to be read aloud, revived oral poetry. Ginsberg said that it, along with the rest of his work, was autobiographical, and that at its core was his pain at dealing with his mother’s schizophrenia.
He said, “Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.”