opinion | when allen ginsberg came to town

Author: Yuvi December 15, 2022  opinion |  when allen ginsberg came to town

The whole affair was set in motion when suddenly the dean of students, Father Richard Sherburne, received some background information about Ginsberg that he apparently did not like and announced that the reading would have to be cancelled.

The reasons were a bit vague. To be fair, Ginsburg did have a history of drug use and taking off her clothes in public at least once. But the fact that he was gay seemed to be the real problem. “As I remember things, the homosexuality caused the administration to cancel Ginsburg’s appearance,” said Kon Lehne, a leader of the student uprising we organized on behalf of free speech.

Conn, who is a novelist in Washington, has been a friend of mine all the years since then. At Marquette, we didn’t know anyone who was gay – well, of course we did, but none of them had come out at that point. Conn was far more involved in the political left than I was, and he told me that he was later chastised for admitting a homosexual to the Young Workers’ Liberation League.

But about Ginsberg. We staged a sit-in at Fr Sherburne’s office to protest the cancellation, to no avail. Eventually, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee agreed to host the poetry reading and a group of us performed, marching across town to the event.

“We will all eventually go to the same cross – there is no need for anger,” I remember Ginsberg telling the crowd. Still didn’t understand much of poetry, but when I heard a poem I knew a good comeback.

And I have to tell you, it was a turning point in my life. The first always saw itself as a moderate-within-the-work-system person. Looking back, I wonder how long it would have taken me to discover I was against the war in Vietnam if I had not been a veteran of the Ginsberg censorship fight.

My alma mater has also changed a lot since then. A while back I was invited to give a talk at Marquette – I think it was on books I’d written about women’s history. As I spoke, photographs from my time at the school flashed in the background, an unusual number of which included the sit-in at Father Sherburne’s office. In fact, I did other things too, but a good time was had by all.

Author: Yuvi

My name is Yuvi, I work as Sub Editor at newscinema.in

15 December, 2022, 5:23 am

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