In their first meeting at the Pony Stable, Corso showed Ginsberg a poem about a woman who lived across the street from him and sunbathed naked in the window.Amazingly, the woman happened to be Ginsberg's girlfriend that he was living with during one of his forays into heterosexuality. There the woman proposed sex with Corso, who was still very young and fled in fear.The sunshine showed too, a key on the side of the window for me to get out.The yellow of the sunshine, also showed the key on the side of the window." These letters and the absence of a facility to recite kaddish inspired Ginsberg to write "Kaddish" which makes references to many details from Naomi's life, Ginsberg's experiences with her, and the letter, including the lines "the key is in the light" and "the key is in the window".It admonished Ginsberg to be good and stay away from drugs; she says, "The key is in the window, the key is in the sunlight at the window – I have the key – Get married Allen don't take drugs – the key is in the bars, in the sunlight in the window".In a letter she wrote to Ginsberg's brother Eugene, she said, "God's informers come to my bed, and God himself I saw in the sky.He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression and was known as embodying various aspects of this counterculture, such as his views on drugs, hostility to bureaucracy and openness to Eastern religions.
This poem is considered an autobiography of Ginsberg up to 1955, and a brief history of the Beat Generation through its references to his relationship to other Beat artists of that time.For example, "Pilgrim State, Rockland, and Grey Stone's foetid halls" is a reference to institutions frequented by his mother and Carl Solomon, ostensibly the subject of the poem: Pilgrim State Hospital and Rockland State Hospital in New York and Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.Ginsberg received a letter from his mother after her death responding to a copy of "Howl" he had sent her.Shortly after this period in Ginsberg's life, he became romantically involved with Elise Nada Cowen after meeting her through Alex Greer, a philosophy professor at Barnard College whom she had dated for a while during the burgeoning Beat generation's period of development.As a Barnard student, Elise Cowen extensively read the poetry of Ezra Pound and T. Eliot, when she met Joyce Johnson and Leo Skir, among other Beat players.Though Ginsberg was never a member of the Communist Party, Kerouac named him "Carlo Marx" in On the Road. Also, in New York, Ginsberg met Gregory Corso in the Pony Stable Bar.Corso, recently released from prison, was supported by the Pony Stable patrons and was writing poetry there the night of their meeting.His poem "September on Jessore Road", calling attention to the plight of Bangladeshi refugees, exemplifies what the literary critic Helen Vendler described as Ginsberg's tireless persistence in protesting against "imperial politics, and persecution of the powerless." In 1943, Ginsberg graduated from Eastside High School and briefly attended Montclair State College before entering Columbia University on a scholarship from the Young Men's Hebrew Association of Paterson.While at Columbia, Ginsberg contributed to the Columbia Review literary journal, the Jester humor magazine, won the Woodberry Poetry Prize, served as president of the Philolexian Society (literary and debate group), and joined Boar's Head Society (poetry society).Ginsberg claims he was immediately attracted to Corso, who was straight, but understanding of homosexuality after three years in prison.Ginsberg was even more struck by reading Corso's poems, realizing Corso was "spiritually gifted." Ginsberg introduced Corso to the rest of his inner circle.