Archives For 2007

Women of the Beat Generation

History has not been kind to the women of the Beat Generation. Their presence is largely unknown to most casual readers, and considered largely unimportant to those who would delve a little further. Perhaps it is because the feminists that followed in the decades to come would deem women to be a valuable part of society, whereas the Beats, male and female, had little interest in playing any active role in society. The female Beats were interested in drinking, fucking and taking drugs, too, and that’s not an aspect of a gender worth highlighting when seeking inclusion in society. Continue Reading…

Walt Whitman and the Beats

It’s hard to read Kerouac or Ginsberg and not think of the father of American poetry, Walt Whitman. Well, it’s hard for me. I’ve spent four years studying American literature, and it’s hard to look at anything post-Whitman without thinking of him. Emerson called for an American poet, and Whitman answered, and then defined the criteria for future American poets. The American poet would be knowledgeable of books, but experienced in the life and nature of the continent. He (or she) would celebrate the grassroots of the New World and embrace the people and geography. Continue Reading…

Buddhism and the Beats

Jack Kerouac… “He was the first one I heard chanting the ‘Three Refuges’ in Sanskrit, with a voice like Frank Sinatra.” Continue Reading…

Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan

Ginsberg and Dylan are frequently viewed as a Jewish father and son. Certainly, they were close, and Dylan has often cited Ginsberg as a massive influence on his life and work, however, they were only fifteen years apart by birth and five by seminal publication. Of course, this is merely an affront to the more literal connotations of the father-son description of their relationship, and does not take anything away from the momentous influence the Beat poet had on the legendary songwriter. Continue Reading…