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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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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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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Peter Orlovsky, a Life in Words: Intimate Chronicles of a Beat Writer
Apr14

Peter Orlovsky, a Life in Words: Intimate Chronicles of a Beat Writer

Here at Beatdom we have always had a fondness for Peter Orlovsky, and were surprised and delighted to hear about this brand new – and overdue – publication, Peter Orlovsky: a a Life in Words. Orlovsky is known as “Allen Ginsberg’s lover” or his husband, friend, life-partner, or whatever relationship is attributed to them by whatever scholar or journalist. But what we forget is that, while certainly no...

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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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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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Beatdom #7 on Kindle
Mar03

Beatdom #7 on Kindle

One of our most successful issues of Beatdom was the 7th, released way back in 2010. This was the music-themed issue, and contained some wonderful essays about the influence of music on the Beats, and the influence of the Beats on music. (You can read more in our archives.) Beatdom #7 has long been out of print, but fear not – it’s back to life on Kindle! That’s right, since Beatdom #10 we have been using Kindle to...

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Dostoyevsky’s Heavenly Christmas Tree
Dec21

Dostoyevsky’s Heavenly Christmas Tree

For “electronic laser TV generations that don’t read Dostoyevsky” quoth Allen Ginsberg Fyodor, Fedor, Feodor Dostoevski, Dostoievsky, Dostoevskii, Dostoevsky, Dostoyevsky was a psychologist, pardon, novelist His Christmas story is about a six-year-old boy, perhaps younger than six The boy is in a great city Alone with a sick mother In a cold damp cellar Starving He touches his mother So cold is she Dead cold It’s dark in the cellar...

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