Blood and Black Power on the Streets of Chicago
Nov14

Blood and Black Power on the Streets of Chicago

This essay originally appeared in Beatdom #15: the WAR issue. By Pat Thomas    “Black Power: Find out what they want and give it to them. All the signs that mean anything indicate that the blacks were the original inhabitants of this planet. So who has a better right to it?”    William S. Burroughs   August 26 -29, 1968 - Turmoil is brewing throughout the Democratic National Convention, in Chicago. Tired of defending a war he...

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San Juan de la Cruz
Nov05

San Juan de la Cruz

  . . .  “who studied . . . St. John of the Cross . . . ” [i]     His aloneness in a dungeon Imprisoned in cruel Spanish cell Con-tem-pla-tive and silent hell Meditative knees he fell Light and dark thus intertwined Lead to poetry sublime Ecstasy and agony Suffered his cross In crucified reality Found the light In deepest darkest night The obscure night of the soul Forever in eternity be told Mystic poet, mystic saint...

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Hubert Selby Jr’s American Dream
Oct26

Hubert Selby Jr’s American Dream

The American Dream is the unifying theme across the work of the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac wrote wondrous love letters while William Burroughs explored its often nightmarish landscape. However, Hubert Selby Jr. was the only writer to identify its failure while also providing an antidote to correct it. Hubert “Cubby” Selby Jr. was born in the dilapidated Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York in 1928.  He spent his formative years...

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Francis Thompson
Oct20

Francis Thompson

“Francis Thompson (!)” i “My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap. My days have crackled and gone up in smoke, Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.” “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson   Soul chaste First chastised by a chase Through London laudanum haze and haste Up and down and down and out Stop to have another taste Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide ii On this side of the great divide The hound and...

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War Upon War: The Second-Generation Beats and Postmemory
Oct15

War Upon War: The Second-Generation Beats and Postmemory

This essay originally appeared in Beatdom #15: the WAR issue.   by Katie Stewart     Most of the writers and artists to whom the label “Beat” was applied did not directly experience the horrors of war. Certainly, some of the older Beats of the original Columbia University circle had been in the firing line: Jack Kerouac, for one, shipped out in the merchant marines in the minefield of the Atlantic, and then joined the...

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Saint Francis
Oct07

Saint Francis

“I love St. Francis of Assisi as well as anybody in the world.” Desolation Angels Once a sybarite youth and reveler Dreams and visions and change of heart Lepers and beggars fevered new start Francis set to restore his Father’s house He threw and flung church gold away Bernardone beat and locked he stayed Francis turned from father’s ways And stood there humble, pure, and bare He wed himself to poverty and fast as fare To gain heaven...

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The Kid from Red Bank
Sep16

The Kid from Red Bank

“Count Basie’s swing arrangements are not blaring, but they contain more drive, more power, and more thrill than the loudest gang of corn artists can acquire by blowing their horns apart.” i Jack Kerouac Count, bink-bink! The Kid from Red Bank On the River Navesink Red Bank Boogie One O’Clock Jump Stomp and stamp and stump the band Give the man a mighty hand Tinkling keys Fats Waller knees William Basie’s simple swing Keep your flashy...

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The Beat Generation at War
Sep13

The Beat Generation at War

  From Beatdom #15 – Available now on Amazon as a print and Kindle publication: The Beat Generation is often viewed as apolitical, apathetic, selfish, and borne out of the post-WWII era of prosperity. They are viewed as rich kids who chose a bohemian lifestyle as a matter of fashion, as part of a teenage rebellion that went on too long, and inspired too many imitators, and eventually morphing into the beatniks and hippies...

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