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Elise Cowen and Allen Ginsberg Born to a middle class Jewish family in Washington Heights, New York, Elise Cowen wrote poetry from a young age, influenced by the works of Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Dylan Thomas. While attending Barnard College in the early 1950s, she became friends with Joyce Johnson (at the time, Joyce Glassman). It was during this period that she was introduced to Ginsberg by philosophy professor Donald Cook. The two discovered a mutual acquaintance in…

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Joyce Johnson, Kerouac’s lover for a time, was working on her first novel, Come and Join the Dance (Atheneum, 1962) when she met him. Her vivid and insightful memoir, Minor Characters (Houghton & Mifflin, 1983) depicts Beat generation life in full color. She describes the decisions she and her peers made at the time this way: “We were very young and we were in over our heads. But we knew we had done something brave, practically historic. We were the ones who dared to leave home.”

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Editorial illustrations for Italian GQ magazine accompanying the short story A Brutal Murder in a Public Place by Joyce Carol Oates

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