Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American Beat poet born in Newark, New Jersey. Ginsberg is best known for Howl (1956), a long poem about consumer society's negative human values and the self-destruction of his friends among the beat generation.
Ginsberg's poetry was strongly influenced by modernism, romanticism, the beat and cadence of jazz, early English prose-poetry, his Kagyu Buddhist practice and his Jewish background. He considered himself to have inherited the visionary poetic mantle handed from the English poet and artist William Blake on to visionary poet Walt Whitman and the modernist William Carlos Williams, a fellow New Jersey resident with whom Ginsberg had visited several times. Williams was considered by a variety of sources to have "mentored" Ginsberg and introduced him to various figures in the then-infantile San Francisco poetry scene, kickstarting what would become the Beat Generation. The power of Ginsberg's verse, its searching, probing focus, its long and lilting lines, as well as its New World exuberance, all echo the continuity of inspiration which he claimed as his own.