Poetry Garden


1645 Milvia Street map it


This garden honors Berkeley’s many innovative poets, poetry presses and publications, and their creative legacy. It was dedicated in 1999 on the second anniversary of “Beat” poet Allen Ginsberg’s death. Through their writings, the nonconformist “Beat” poets sought liberation from traditional social, political, artistic, and personal conventions. Ginsberg lived across the street in a now demolished house at 1624 Milvia Street while writing, among other poems, parts of his once-banned work Howl!. “Beat Generation” writer Jack Kerouac lived for a time in a “rose-covered cottage” on Berkeley Way, and Poet Robert Duncan also lived in this neighborhood during the 1950s.

The creation of the garden was a joint effort of students, teachers, and parents from the Berkeley Arts Magnet at Whittier School together with neighbors and the City of Berkeley.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

  • Allen Ginsberg (1985), courtesy MDCarchives.

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society