Best known as the originator of Performance Poetry in New York, John Giorno elevated the spoken word to a high art form. Since 1960, he has been one of the most innovative and influential figures of 20th century poetry. In 1965 he founded Giorno Poetry Systems, which innovated the use of technology in poetry, utilizing electronic and multi-media and creating new venues to connect poetry with new audiences. Giorno also makes lithograph and silk-screen Poem Prints and for more than forty years, he has been a practitioner of Buddhist meditation in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
In 1984 Giorno founded the AIDS Treatment Project, helping people with AIDS by giving cash grants for emergency situations, such as food, nursing and medicine not covered by Medicaid. From the early 1960s, Giorno was a close friend and confidant of Andy Warhol and in 1963 he was the subject of Warhol’s first film, “Sleep”.