World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller


David S. Wills explores the life and work of Allen Ginsberg through his extensive travels and travel writing.




Allen Ginsberg was one of the most recognisable public figures of the 20th century, and one of the most important American poets of all time. Yet he was also a seasoned traveller, capable of spending months or even years on the road, surviving on his wits.

For Ginsberg, travel was more than a frivolous hobby; it was something that shaped him as a poet, an activist, and a person. Without visiting Mexico in 1954, there would have been no “Howl”. Without visiting France in 1958, there would have been no “Kaddish”. Without visiting India in 1963, the image of Allen Ginsberg as a bearded hippie sage chanting mantras with finger symbols would simply not have existed.

In World Citizen, David S. Wills presents a new biography of Allen Ginsberg – one told through the prism of travel. Ginsberg’s life is recounted journey by journey, his development as a traveller meticulously recorded, and the influence of travel on his poetry noted for the first time.

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