Peter Orlovsky

Peter Orlovsky

Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010) was a poet and actor best known for his 40+ year relationship with Allen Ginsberg. Orlovsky grew up poor on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and dropped out of high school to work as an orderly in a mental hospital in order to support his family. He was drafted and served state side in the Korean War. He met Ginsberg in San Francisco by working as an artists model. The story goes that Ginsberg, having already seen a painting of Orlovsky, had fallen in love with him before they actually met. According to Bruce Weber “Ginsberg and Mr. Orlovsky wrote and spoke openly about their relationship, which they deemed a marriage. Because of Ginsberg’s prominence, the two men were social pioneers, the first gay ‘married’ couple that many people had ever heard of.” Although they were not monogamous, they remained committed to each other until Ginsberg’s death.

Click on the image to read excerpts of their love letters to each other.

Bruce Weber “Peter Orlovsky, Poet and Ginsberg Muse, Dies at 76” NYT


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