The Beats and the Beatles: two sides of the same coin
May26

The Beats and the Beatles: two sides of the same coin

“If two things are two sides of the same coin, they are very closely related although they seem different” – The Cambridge Dictionary Introduction As one might guess, the name of the world’s most successful (Hotten) band in history – the Beatles – does not completely incidentally sound so similar to that of the influential group of writers that called themselves the Beat Generation. What one might not guess, however, is...

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The Dharma Bums: Judging a Book by its Cover
Mar03

The Dharma Bums: Judging a Book by its Cover

On Dave Moore’s wonderful Beat Generation Facebook group – a partner to the very active Jack Kerouac group – there is at present a thread discussing the following cover for Jack Kerouac’s classic, The Dharma Bums. (The discussion actually revolves around the front cover and not the whole jacket as featured above.) The person who originally posted the cover remarked that it was the, “Worst cover...

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Reconsidering the Importance of the Joan Anderson Letter
Dec16

Reconsidering the Importance of the Joan Anderson Letter

It’s been an exciting few years for fans of the Beat Generation. Since Beatdom was founded, we have seen the release of a number of high profile movie adaptations (including Howl and On the Road), the publication of previously unpublished Beat works like The Sea is My Brother, and various major anniversaries (including the fifty years that have passed since Howl and On the Road were published, as well as the centenary of the birth of...

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Borne out of War: The British Beats
Dec04

Borne out of War: The British Beats

This essay originally appeared in Beatdom #15 – the WAR issue. For about ten years after World War II Britain was a grey place. When Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady were gallivanting around the United States, the UK was recovering from Nazi bombing raids. Kids played in bomb craters and air-raid shelters. You could still find shell casings among the rubble and there were wrecked German Messershmitts in the fields. The big kids got...

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Jean-Louis Wept
Dec03

Jean-Louis Wept

“I cried in the Cathedral of the Savior to hear the choir boys sing a gorgeous old thing, while angels seemed to be hovering around—” Jack Kerouac, “Big Trip to Europe” Jean-Louis wept Affects and effects Choir boys sang Sending a pang In lonesome heart Romanesque art Lonesome travels One unravels Cezanne’s greens Baptistery scenes Smokyblue hills Rust reds fulfill Road visions Vermouth rhythms Lucid liquid diamond Infants...

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Lonesome Thanksgiving
Nov27

Lonesome Thanksgiving

from: Our Year in Downtown Red Yesterday’s sunshine and spectacular seventy degrees are replaced by rapidly plummeting temperatures and the forecast for Thanksgiving: a nor’easter that may include inches of snow. I hope that storm goes way out to sea, so travelers and families and friends can celebrate a happy holiday without worry about the weather and driving. Robert and I look forward to his lovely sister’s traditional Mayflower...

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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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