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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Call for Submissions: Beatdom #15
Mar25

Call for Submissions: Beatdom #15

The Beat Generation, it seems, dominated American culture between two major wars. The history books will tell you that they rose out of the Second World War, or as a the group emerged as a reaction to the post-WWII affluence of America. In fact, the Beats began as a circle of friends around Columbia University during WWII, and developing in the post-war era. Although not often dealt with in Beat literature, the war was of importance...

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Exiled on Beat Street
Feb17

Exiled on Beat Street

In 1957 Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky were in the midst of the obscenity trials in the US surrounding the publication of Ginsberg’s poem Howl. After being shunned by the clean-cut conservative American public, (who despised homosexuality and Ginsberg’s outspoken nature in the radicalised work) the pair went left to seek refuge in more liberal and artistic France. Eventually the couple sought exile with fellow Beat poet Gregory...

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Chelsea’s Ghosts Revisited
Oct30

Chelsea’s Ghosts Revisited

For literary types and students of Beat history who intend to invest a few cool million in real estate at the someday gentrified Chelsea Hotel, consider a few things. Yes, this was the home of Herbert Hunke and Gregory Corso, and Bill Burroughs and Ginsberg and Kerouac all stayed or passed through here and numerous writers and artists and near writers and near artists and every other type of, as Burroughs might say, “characters” from...

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Drinking from the Beat Menu
Jul07

Drinking from the Beat Menu

 Jack Kerouac Gin, whiskey, beer, cognac, and wine   According to his biographer, Michael Dittman, as a young construction worker (working on the Pentagon), Jack Kerouac would bring a pint of “gin or whiskey” to work every day. His early years appear mostly dominated by beer, which he would continue to drink – often as a chaser – for the rest of his life. However, through most of Beat history – from the early “libertine circle”...

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Review: This Ain’t No Holiday Inn
Jun14

Review: This Ain’t No Holiday Inn

This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995 By James Lough   New York’s Chelsea Hotel has a special place in American culture. It has surely been a home, or a home-away-from-home, to more influential artists than any other building in the nation. To list the famous names in American art and literature that have stayed there would require more words than can be devoted to one book review, and would serve...

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The First Fifty Years of City Lights
Feb17

The First Fifty Years of City Lights

One of the many rewarding aspects of editing Beatdom is that of reading a fine new piece of writing or viewing a great new art submission. Sometimes readers send works which are not intended for publication but are wondrous and shared simply for the joy of creation and pride in one’s own fine efforts (a vanishing thrill in an increasingly capitalistic society). The current buzz around Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-founder of the...

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Somebody Blew Up America: A Conversation with Amiri Baraka
Feb12

Somebody Blew Up America: A Conversation with Amiri Baraka

This interview originally appeared in Beatdom #12 – the CRIME issue. You can purchase it on Amazon and Kindle.   Amiri Baraka is Beat. He walked away from the scene in Greenwich Village, where he edited literary journals Yugen, Kulchur, and The Floating Bear from 1958-65. Working with Hettie Cohen, Michael John Fles, and Diane Di Prima, respectively, the journals brought new works by new names. Featured writers included...

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