This site is about the beat generation (and beyond), which began in the early 1940s with Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Lucien Carr, Herbert Huncke, Joan Vollmer Adams, Edie Parker, John Clellon Holmes, Allen Ginsberg, and a few other friends and writers. By 1955, Ginsberg and Kerouac headed out to San Francisco, where Ginsberg read “Howl” at the Six Gallery. This reading also included Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Michael McClure, Kenneth Rexroth, and Philip Lamantia. The East and West Coast poets that fell into the newly expanded beat generation were under a growing bubble that would include a bunch more poets and artists–the Black Mountain College Poets, San Francisco Renaissance Poets, New York School Poets, Berkeley Poets, Bolinas Poets, Language School, and post-beat phenomena such as Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters. We can’t forget to mention Neal Cassady, the driver behind many road trips and books. What has tied these writers together into one entity is more abstract than concrete, but Kerouac’s novels, various biographies, selected letters, and poetic devotions among friends have documented a movement that Kerouac termed “the beat generation”. Be sure to read What is the beat generation for a more in-depth look.
This blog is a resurrection of my old Beat Generation News site from the mid-1990s to 2001. In 2000, I began publishing Jack Magazine and helping with Big Bridge Magazine. Much of the old “beat generation news” content went up at Jack, but a lot of it did not. I feel it’s still a good resource for scholars and others interested in the beats, and I love the easy accessibility and structure of blogging, so have reorganized the old site into this blog. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me. I am interested in transforming this site into an interactive one, which will be editable by others. Let me know if you’d like to be a contributing editor.
I want to thank all these people for their never-ending creativity and study, and helping with this site in the last decade: Adrien Begrand, Dave Moore, Larry Keenan, Gordon Ball, Andrew Lampert, Tony Trigilio, Michael Rothenberg, Jason Eisenberg, Henry Ferrini, Laki Vazakas, Hammond Guthrie, Patricia Elliot, Matthew Frondorf, John Sokol, Rinalda Rasa, Bill Hotchkiss, Em Franco, George Wallace, Michael Largo, Bob Marvin, Michael Estabrook, and many others.