About


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The last gathering of poets and artists and City Lights; photo, Larry Keenan

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.

Cadets reading “Howl”, photo by Gordon Ball

Evolution

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.

Credits

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.

10 thoughts on “About

  1. As a former reader of your Beat Generation News -site (and Jack Magazine) I was very happy when I found this new site. I wish things will go well!

  2. Editor, You may consider posting author information so students, like myself, can correctly cite your work. Corporate authors can be confusing! If not, then you should post a citation on how you would like your stuff referenced (cited, given-credit-to).

    Respectfully,
    A concerned non-plagiarizer

  3. Hello editor whomever,
    I am a sixteen-year-old sophomore in Montgomery, Alabama and I am independently studying the Beat Generation (preferably Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac’s poems). There are many sites that claim to know the history of the Beat G. How do I know if your site is full of accurate information, and how could you obtain said knowledge, especially taking into consideration that all of the poets are (regrettably) dead? I don’t mean to undermine your abilities, I’m merely a concerned student/ eager Beatnik enthusiast. I admit, your site is impressive, but I just want to know if this is the real shiz, or if you’re making it up from Wikipedia.
    Forever a Beatnik,
    Evelyne R. Entrange

  4. Hi Evelyne,

    I think this site was around before Wikipedia, at least before it became popular. I read a lot of books by beat generation authors, read some anthologies, interviewed people, was on an old mailing list (back when listservs were more popular than they are now), and got a lot of information from biographies and library type of research. When I first started reading these authors, William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen, and others were all alive. Nobody can guarantee 100% accuracy about anything. Scholars research and come up with as much knowledge as they can get from letters, auto-biographical writings, third-party witness, etc. I draw from a lot of this published information. I don’t really have time for this site as much as I used to, but I think it’s a good springing board for anyone interested in learning about the beats. By the way, most of them disliked the term “beat generation” (though Jack Kerouac coined the phrase), and I don’t think any of them liked the term “beatnik”, which was a rather derogatory and stereotypical title.

  5. BEATLICK JOE SPEER DIED TWO YEARS AGO, HIS BEATLICK PRESS DID 20 YRS INTERVIEWING THE BEST OF THE BEATS NOW ONLINE BEATLICK.COM…HIS BOOK “backpack trekker: a hitchhikers guide to the 60′s”( @ AMAZON) A MUST READ FOR THE BENT AND TWISTED…AS WELL AS THE NOVICE POKESTERS…BEATLICK PRES IS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS AND ARGUMENTS ABOUT….

  6. Hi,
    I am an English Artist and Beat freak.
    I have recently completed a set of 12 images (collage/mixed media) inspired by HOWL as well as setting up a website to publish them.
    I wondered if you might take a look and perhaps point me in the direction(s) necessary to share the work with other Beat heads?
    http://www.micklangelo.com

    Thanks for your time and any assistance/ideas you may offer.
    Mick

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