Straight Around Allen

Today we are delighted to announce the release of Straight Around Allen: On the Business of Being Allen Ginsberg, by Bob Rosenthal. This intimate and poetic memoir brings the reader into the life the work of Allen Ginsberg like no other.

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Angry Young Men Become Nice Old Men: A Review of Don’t Hide the Madness

In March, 1992, Allen Ginsberg visited his old friend, William S. Burroughs, at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. He recorded ten ninety-minute cassette tapes of conversation for his long-time musical collaborator, Steven Taylor, to transcribe. The purpose was to gather suitable material for a short article. However, a few decades later the tapes surfaced once again and Taylor decided that the result warranted its own book. Continue Reading…

The Revised Boy Scout Manual: Burroughs on Fake News and Scientology

Ohio State University Press has recently published a “lost masterpiece” by William S. Burroughs, called “The Revised Boy Scout Manual”: An Electronic Revolution. This book is not exactly a “lost” piece of writing in the truest sense; rather, it has been put together from various sources, many of which actually have been previously available to the public. (Indeed, the process of putting this short book together was complicated enough to necessitate a lengthy explanation as part of the book’s foreword.) The result is an interesting and rather familiar text, valuable to Burroughs scholars and fans, but probably not a “masterpiece” like Burroughs’ novels. What it is is a heavily annotated guide to everything that interested the author in the late sixties and early seventies – Scientology, Mayan codices, cutups, tape recorders, the concept of language as a virus, and much more. Continue Reading…

From Fitzgerald’s Green Light to Thompson’s Wave

Hunter S. Thompson is one of those literary figures who, like the Beat Generation writers, divides opinion. His controversial books inspired legions of fans, and more than a few critics. As with the Beats, Thompson is often viewed as an outsider and a rebel; his contributions to the literary canon seen merely as a quirky commentary on a weird stage in American culture. Even among those who admire his work, there is no real consensus on what exactly made him great. Continue Reading…

Tyrannus Trump

For my birthday twin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti—I treasure the copy of your Tyrannus Nix? that you signed for me on one of our birthdays over 20 years ago. My poem’s title does not end in a question mark because with Trump there is no question. He quests for tyranny. Continue Reading…

On the Road with Cassadys, and Furthur Visions

Sept. 5th 1957 — Jack Kerouac’s On The Road published

Sept. 5th 2018 — Brian Hassett’s On The Road with Cassadys published

The third book in Brian Hassett’s Beat Trilogy has just been released — On The Road with Cassadys, and Furthur Visions. Continue Reading…

Review: Translating the Counterculture

Erik Mortenson’s Translating the Counterculture: The Reception of the Beats in Turkey examines the way the Beat Generation is taught, enjoyed, understood, and translated in Turkey, where he lived and worked for many years. Continue Reading…

‘The Personal is Political’[1]

The moves of Beat women to reclaim bodily freedom and space through performative poetry

‘The woman’s body is the terrain on which patriarchy is erected.’ (Rich, Of 55)

 

In 1950s post-war America, women’s opportunities were largely confined to the domestic realm. Western society was ‘a culture of containment, with women and black people its objects’ (Breines 10). Omnipotent sexism ensured that ‘all women – shall remain under male control’ (Rich, Of 13), and ‘in the most fundamental and bewildering of contradictions’ society has ultimately alienated women from their bodies by ‘incarcerating us in them’ (13). Women’s bodies are misunderstood and repressed in patriarchal society, but the Beat women fought against these misconceptions through choosing to live outside of society’s ideals and exploring pre-patriarchal femininity in their poetry. In exploring the ‘authentic’ self, they could re-establish new modes of being female outside of cultural rules. They negotiated the body and the spirit in Diane di Prima’s sense of materialising the spirit so that it ‘fills everything’ (Calonne 44). In this way, the personal becomes political as their self is embodied and extended to public space through their performance of poetry. Although not all Beat women were able to publicise their poetry as the more well known Beats Anne Waldman and di Prima were, it is important to examine how they re-imagined their bodily potential and their given space through a creation of a female-identified poetic voice. For, ‘the only war that matters is the war against the imagination / All other wars are subsumed in it’ (di Prima, ‘Revolutionary…’, 34-35). Continue Reading…

The Buddhist Beat Poetics of Diane di Prima and Lenore Kandel

Beatdom Books’ latest publication, Max Orsini’s The Buddhist Beat Poetics of Lenore Kandel, was released on August 1st. Continue Reading…

After Me, The Deluge: Considering Kerouac’s Final Statement

An artistic and introverted spirit, Jack Kerouac never set out to become the leader of one of the greatest literary movements of the 20th century. He only wished to achieve his own sense of enlightenment and share his journey with his friends, hoping to help them achieve their own form of enlightenment by expressing their truths through fiction and poetry. However, as news of his radical novel, On the Road, spread like wildfire through the nation, Kerouac was thrust into the spotlight as the poster boy for the Beat Generation and the counterculture movement it spawned. As he grew older, Kerouac became jaded and reclusive, rejecting many would-be counterculture artists and writers who cited him as an inspiration for their own works. His final essay, “After Me, the Deluge”, was a sarcastic, biting piece that best expressed his feelings of resentment and disgust towards the “hippie-yippie” lifestyle that was becoming popular among the youth. Although the long-winded sentences and provocative vernacular were consistent with Kerouac’s earlier writings, the acerbic tone and disdainful jeers, as well as the clear lack of interest in the Beat movement that he had once so zealously championed, weakened the message of “After Me, the Deluge” and made it a poor close to his literary career. Continue Reading…