Saturday, 4 October 2014
Bugs (pictured here with John Giorno) interviewed John Giorno for the January 24, 2008, cover story of Montreal's HOUR magazine
John Giorno remembers the moment he met Allen Ginsberg like it was yesterday. It was 1958, and they were both attending a reception at Columbia University where Giorno was a student and editor of The Columbia Review.
Giorno idolized Ginsberg, a Columbia grad whose landmark 1956 poem Howl is one of the principal works of the Beat Generation, along with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch.
"I was just awestruck – On the Road had come out a year earlier. I was speechless. He looked like a tanned Marlon Brando! He leaned forward and spoke in my ear and I’m thinking, ‘Jack Kerouac’s lips have just touched my ear!’ I still don’t understand what he said!"
Giorno, now 72, would become lifelong friends with Ginsberg, Kerouac and later Burroughs, so much so that the internationally acclaimed poet has become known as one of the last living sons of the Beat Generation. "I’m a bit younger than all of them, that’s why I’m a son. But it’s one of those meaningless titles."