Homosexuality has been like a koan—a Zen riddle—for me. Whole areas with my mother were screwed up and conditioned me in this way sexually. The riddle was: How do I deal with my homosexuality? Do I accept it or reject it or freak out, or do I go into it and find out what it is? Another problem: Is it something public? Anything that common is public; anything that happens to us is as good or bad as anything else as a subject for poetry. It’s actual. So I can write naturally about my own homosexuality. The poems get misinterpreted as promotion of homosexuality. Actually, it’s more like promotion of frankness, about any subject. If you’re a foot fetishist, you write about feet; or if you’re a stock-market freak, you can write about the rising sales-curve erections in the Standard Oil chart. When a few people get frank about homosexuality in public, it breaks the ice; then anybody can be frank about anything. That’s socially useful.

FROM THE PLAYBOY INTERVIEW WITH ALLEN GINSBERG

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