The National Portrait Gallery is open to the public Wed - Sun, with timed-entry passes required for all visitors. On-site tours and events are currently suspended and all public programs will be online
"Poetry is not an expression of the party line," Allen Ginsberg noted, "It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does." Ginsberg, like his literary precursor Walt Whitman, was a poet of the self and its relationship to society. Once called the "laureate of alienation," he became a leading rebel of the Beat generation in the 1950s when his poem "Howl" led to a well-publicized obscenity trial. In the mid-1960s, he emerged as a prophet of that generation's counterculture; his poetry readings made him a celebrity, and he gave voice to new attitudes toward sexuality, drugs, ecology, spirituality, anarchism, and the Vietnam War. This 1967 broadside of Ginsberg's poem "Who Be Kind To" was designed by Wes Wilson, the influential designer of psychedelic rock posters.