John Giorno was born in New York and graduated from Columbia University in 1958. Four years later, he met Andy Warhol, who became an important influence for Giorno’s developments on poetry, performance and recordings. He was the “star” of Warhol’s film Sleep. He has collaborated with William Burroughs, John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Mapplethorpe. In the decade of the 2000s he has collaborated with Rirkirt Tirvanija, Pierre Huyge, Elizabeth Peyton and Ugo Rondinone, who is his partner. He is the author of ten books, including You Got to Burn to Shine, Cancer in my Left Ball, Grasping at Emptiness, Suicide Sutra, and has produced 59 LPs, CDs, tapes cassettes, videopaks and DVDs for Giorno Poetry Systems. He founded the AIDS Treatment Project and is an important force in the development of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.