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release of a number of high profile movie adaptations (including Howl and On the Road), the publication of previously unpublished Beat works like The Sea is My Brother, and various major anniversaries (including the fifty years that have passed since Howl and On the Road were published,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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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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