The Second Wave of American Interest in Japanese Culture: Alan Watts, Jack Kerouac, and Gary Snyder
Oct14

The Second Wave of American Interest in Japanese Culture: Alan Watts, Jack Kerouac, and Gary Snyder

by Charlie Canning Photos by John La Farge and David S. Wills   Since the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1853, the United States and Japan have had a long and varied history. Initially, the United States wanted trade with Japan to extend American influence in Asia as well as to compete with Britain, Russia, and France. These were mercantile and political concerns that had little to do with Japan as an extant civilization with something to...

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Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face: Favorite Saint of Gabrielle Ange L’Evesque Kerouac
May11

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face: Favorite Saint of Gabrielle Ange L’Evesque Kerouac

Thérèse Martin (1873-1897) was four years old when her mother died. She entered the Carmelite convent at Lisieux, France, at the age of fifteen and took the name Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. (Thérèse’s five sisters also became nuns.) She died at the convent when she was twenty-four. Thérèse was canonized in 1925 and would have been fifty-two years old. In 1997 Saint Thérèse was made a Doctor of the Church and...

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American Zen
Feb21

American Zen

Zen Buddhism is nearly impossible to write about. The use of words and logic to explain Zen are in opposition to its nature, one free of such restrictions. The question then arises: how can we know the principles of Zen if we can’t directly talk about them? The solution is that we study the principals of Zen, which are contrivances, to forget them in order to move closer to Zen. The point of such a contradictory exercise is to provide...

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Eating the Beat Menu
Jul03

Eating the Beat Menu

Words by Nick Meador Illustration by Kaliptus (from issue 10, available at Amazon) Jack Kerouac’s books contain such a variety of subjects, styles, and voices that his readers have never shared many common characteristics. On the surface, many of Kerouac’s books seem to exude a tone of rebellion against mainstream culture and everything that comes with it, be it business, government, or religion. This voice speaks to the...

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Tristessa: Heavengoing

by Paul Arendt   Jack Kerouac’s surroundings invariably affected his writing style. Narrator Leo Percepied’s voice in The Subterraneans reflected Kerouac’s emergent interest in psychology, and the author’s vision of the stream-of-consciousness as a frantic and self-conscious purge. This interest in psychology found its way into Kerouac’s aesthetic. The result was a manic prose. The narrator tore into his thought patterns and...

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Issue Ten: Religion
Sep26

Issue Ten: Religion

Another issue, another controversial topic. The Beats were no strangers to religions and spirituality, and as such it is only logical that we devote an issue of the magazine to exploring this relationship. Whether it’s the conflict between Kerouac’s Catholicism and his Buddhist leanings, or Ginsberg’s long quest for enlightenment, we want to know what you think. Any essays exploring these ideas, or any relationship...

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Happy Birthday, Bob Kaufman!

On this day in 1925, Bob Kaufman was born. From Beatdom Issue One: Bob Kaufman: The Unsung Beat Overview It always baffles me to find Bob Kaufman omitted from a great many books and documentaries and websites and talk about the Beat Generation. For me, Kaufman is the embodiment of Beat. That is not to say that the more well known names and faces did not embody the spirit they are most widely credited with creating and fulfilling, but...

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First Thought, Best Thought?

It could be argued that immediacy was the style of the Beats. Certainly it was Ginsbergs’, and Kerouac professed to be driven by “Spontaneous Prose.” In the years following World War II improvisation and free-flowing first thought were integral to art. Jackson Pollack, Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie… It wasn’t just the Beats. These artists were screaming in the face of a crushing conformity, and it was their apparent spontaneous...

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