Olmsted at City Lights
Mar28

Olmsted at City Lights

Marc Olmsted, whose memoir, Don’t Hesitate: Knowing Allen Ginsberg, was published through Beatdom Books in 2014, will be reading at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco next Sunday. See the City Lights website for more...

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Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter” Finally Found
Nov24

Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter” Finally Found

“It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves.” - Jack Kerouac In 1950, Jack Kerouac read a 16,000 word letter written by his friend and muse, Neal Cassady, that was so revolutionary it caused him to abandon previous attempts at the project that would eventually become On the Road. His new...

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Joyce Johnson’s Novels Available From Open Road Media
Jul12

Joyce Johnson’s Novels Available From Open Road Media

Joyce Johnson is best-known for her 1983 memoir, Minor Characters, which focuses on the years 1957-58, and concerns the role of the marginalized woman in the Beat sphere. It is ironic, then, that she is often written off as Kerouac’s girlfriend and the woman who wrote about being Kerouac’s girlfriend. Indeed, Johnson is an accomplished novelist in her own right, and an important figure in Beat studies beyond being merely one of the...

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Allen Ginsberg’s Birthday (Suit)
Jun03

Allen Ginsberg’s Birthday (Suit)

Today would’ve been Allen Ginsberg’s 88th birthday. This is how he celebrated in 1965: “…took off all my clothes at 39th birthday party drunk singing and dancing naked, the Beatles came at midnight and got scared and ran away…” There is a longer explanation, largely culled from Barry Miles’ retelling, here. * Edit: In a brilliant turn of near-poetic irony, Facebook has deleted the above photo....

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This Is How We Die – A Burroughsian Play
May24

This Is How We Die – A Burroughsian Play

Christopher Brett Bailey has written and will perform in a new play, coming to the Oval House in mid-June. We highly recommend that our UK-based readers take a look. Here’s what they say: Savage, surreal, hypnotic and apocalyptic, THIS IS HOW WE DIE blends spoken word, storytelling, caustic humour and gutter philosophy into a dizzying exorcism of a world that is convinced it is dying. With echoes of Lenny Bruce, William...

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Naropa Turns 40
Apr17

Naropa Turns 40

This Sunday, April 20th, Naropa University – which was founded by Tungpa Rinpoche and was America’s first accredited Buddhist university – turns forty years old. Since the beginning, it included an English department known as the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, which was founded by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman. To mark the event there will be a reading at City Lights Bookshop in San Francisco –...

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Carl Solomon on NOT Publishing Jack Kerouac
Apr05

Carl Solomon on NOT Publishing Jack Kerouac

The following is from an interview with Carl Solomon, conducted by John Tytell in 1973. John Tytell’s collected interviews (with Ginsberg, Burroughs, Corso, Solomon, and Holmes) and essays on the Beat Generation will be published by Beatdom Books in 2014. Tytell is also the author of Naked Angels (one of the first books that took the Beats seriously as a literary movement) and Paradise Outlaws. * John Tytell: I understand that...

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CUT UP! An Anthology Inspired by the Cut-Up Method of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin
Mar21

CUT UP! An Anthology Inspired by the Cut-Up Method of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin

In Paris in the late Fifties the Beat Generation writer William Burroughs developed the Cut-Up Method. It involved taking a piece of finished text and cutting it into pieces – then rearranging those pieces to create a new text or work of art. Burroughs wrote that: “When you cut into the present the future leaks out.” His creative partner and pal Brion Gysin prophetically declared that: “All words are taped.” This...

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