Pulling Our Daisy: The Illusion of Spontaneity
Apr11

Pulling Our Daisy: The Illusion of Spontaneity

1959 was an important year in Beat Generation history. It was the year that William S. Burroughs published Naked Lunch from Paris’ Beat Hotel, that the Beats were first profiled in Life magazine, and the year the MGM released a sensationalist cinematic nightmare called The Beat Generation. In the previous three years, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac had shattered the notion that young people must conform to strict social codes, and...

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Why Can’t They Get It?
Feb23

Why Can’t They Get It?

By Neil Reddy Originally published in Beatdom #14   There are two questions that have to be asked about Beat movies. What do we want and why can’t they get it right? If we’re looking for Beat movies as in expressions of the flow and rhythm of Beat poetry and Jazz Bebop, then you have to go to the source material: Pull My Daisy (1959), or The Flower Thief (1960), or Howl (2010). If you want to get derivative, try any college arts...

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Exiled on Beat Street
Feb17

Exiled on Beat Street

In 1957 Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky were in the midst of the obscenity trials in the US surrounding the publication of Ginsberg’s poem Howl. After being shunned by the clean-cut conservative American public, (who despised homosexuality and Ginsberg’s outspoken nature in the radicalised work) the pair went left to seek refuge in more liberal and artistic France. Eventually the couple sought exile with fellow Beat poet Gregory...

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Go… the Summer, Fall, and Winter of Discontent
Feb12

Go… the Summer, Fall, and Winter of Discontent

The summer, the fall, and the winter of discontent, shovel after shovel of snow that turns to filthy slush, as in slush pile (publishers’ slush piles) . . . the discontent of youth, the discontent of marriage, the discontent of writers, the discontent of New Yorkers, and the discontent that turns to temporary joy at the nightclub The Go Hole. “Go! Go!” and “gone.” The discontent of life right from the beginning, as whimsically stated...

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Best Dream and Book of Dreams
Jan24

Best Dream and Book of Dreams

The best dream I ever had brought me joy. (My best friend of more than twenty years died. That’s not the dream; that’s real life.) The dream: The phone rang, a wall phone. I picked up and heard Matt’s calm, cheerful voice saying hello. How are things there, Mattie? I asked. Pretty good, he said (that was always his highest compliment). So glad to hear that, Matt, so glad that things are pretty good on the other side . . . and that...

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Paterzen: The Paterson Free Public Library
Jan08

Paterzen: The Paterson Free Public Library

“He [Cody] decided to start reading books in the library so he would never be a bum, no matter what he worked at to make a living, which was the decision of a great idealist.” i The Paterson Free Public Library, also called the Danforth Memorial Library, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1905 and designed by the architect Henry Bacon—the same architect of the Lincoln Memorial; this was Allen...

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Drunk and Disorderly: Charles Bukowski in Hollywood
Dec01

Drunk and Disorderly: Charles Bukowski in Hollywood

by Chris Dickerson   Charles Bukowski never considered himself part of the Beat Generation; in fact, he frequently disparaged the idea. He wasn’t a joiner, he didn’t like drugs (except booze), and while the Beats haunted San Francisco or New York’s Greenwich Village, Bukowski clung proudly – often on wobbly drunken legs – to his hometown, Hollywood, California. So Bukowski prowled Hollywood, its dive bars and run-down rooming...

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Trek to the Berg
Nov30

Trek to the Berg

The things I do in pursuit of the true Jack Kerouac . . . it’s always daunting driving into New York City from the landscaped suburbs over the George Washington Bridge down the Henry Hudson Parkway passing 115th Street by the river (the scene of the David Kammerer murder) continuing south to the lower numbered streets and then finding and squeezing into a parking space, not ever knowing for sure if the car will be there when we get...

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