Some Advice for Students

The Beat Generation was an important literary and cultural movement and, as such, it is often taught and studied in educational institutions around the world. Students from middle school to university are writing reports and essays on books like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and barely a week goes by that I don’t receive an e-mail from a curious student asking my opinion on the direction of their studies or looking for information about an obscure character in a Kerouac novel. While I’m happy to answer any questions about the Beats, I thought I’d put together a short guide for students just beginning their Beat studies. Continue Reading…

Review: Summer of Crud

Summer of Crud is a coming-of-age story that takes place on a road trip across America. It makes reference on a few occasions to the Beats and in fact appears to be an attempt to update Kerouac’s On the Road for the 21st century. However, while not a terrible novel, it certainly is no modern classic. Continue Reading…

Renegade Dreamers

Karen Kramer lives a stone’s throw from the intersection of Bleecker and MacDougal streets in Greenwich Village and has always been drawn to the Beat history that came out of that small crossroads. Her new documentary, Renegade Dreamers, celebrates the Beat and folk history that was born in the coffee houses of that legendary neighborhood and how it influenced a nation. Continue Reading…

Neal Cassady – 50 Years Since His Death

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Neal Cassady’s death. The Beat Generation icon is best-known as the inspiration for Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. However, although that portrayal of him will forever remain the definitive one, there was more to this man than Kerouac’s classic presents. Even a cursory glance at Kerouac’s other books show a more complex individual, and that’s before we get into recollections by his ex-wife Carolyn, or other friends and acquaintances like Allen Ginsberg, who knew both the man and the myth. Continue Reading…

New from Beatdom Books

Hello and a very happy New Year to our readers. At the end of 2017, Beatdom Books published two exciting new titles: Mickey Harper’s Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Rob Johnson’s Did Beatniks Kill John F. Kennedy? These rounded out an important year for Beatdom. Founded in 2007, this marked our tenth anniversary. We published a special edition of the journal in May and John Tytell’s second book with Beatdom, Beat Transnationalism, during the summer.

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4 Important Travel Destinations for the Beat Generation

The Beats were, in many ways, an international literary movement. Although in defining the Beat Generation, we tend to look at a core of three writers, expanding out to include others like Gregory Corso and “second generation Beats” like Diane di Prima, and they are all American. Sure, there were British artists inspired by the Beats, and India’s Hungry Generation, and all across the world youths writing poetry like Ginsberg… but in the end, the Beat Generation was an American movement. Only it wasn’t purely American: it was a bunch of Americans inspired by the outside world.  Continue Reading…

In the Sixties, by Barry Miles

Barry Miles’ name seems to pop up everywhere when you look back on Beat history. He’s written books on Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg, as well as a wonderful book on the Beat Hotel in Paris. But his work isn’t just confined to Beat history – it extends further into the wider counterculture of that era. He’s written books about the hippies, the seventies, figures like Frank Zappa and Paul McCartney, the British Invasion, and an entire history of the counterculture in London since WWII. It is simply extraordinary how often, when researching Beat or Beat-related history, Miles’ name comes up. Continue Reading…

Allen Ginsberg and the FBI (and Secret Service)

In 1965 Allen Ginsberg flew to Cuba as part of a major poetry event hosted by the Casa de las Americas. He was famously booted out of the country after offending his hosts. In fact, it was never entirely clear why Ginsberg was deported. He liked to say it was for protesting the illegal detention of homosexuals, but it’s more likely that it was a political move by the government to harm the image of Casa de las Americas. In any case, Allen’s outspoken nature meant he was unlikely to get along well under a totalitarian regime like Castro’s.  Continue Reading…

Win a Copy of Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Tomorrow we are releasing Mickey Harper’s new book, Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This is the latest in a long line of scholarly-yet-accessible titles from Beatdom Books – a publishing company dedicated to promoting the best Beat Generation scholarship. To celebrate the release, we’re giving away a free copy of the book.  Continue Reading…

Beatdom #19 Theme – Asia

Submissions are now open for Beatdom #19 and the theme shall be Asia. We will consider essays relating the Beat Generation to Asia, as well as poems, short stories, and artwork on the topic of Asia. We have selected this theme because it is wide enough to invite a good variety of research. Many of the Beat writers travelled to Asia and those who didn’t were often interested in Asian language, literature, or culture.

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