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release of a number of high profile movie adaptations (including Howl and On the Road), the publication of previously unpublished Beat works like The Sea is My Brother, and various major anniversaries (including the fifty years that have passed since Howl and On the Road were published,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