The Beat Rap Sheet
Dec22

The Beat Rap Sheet

But yet, but yet, woe, woe unto those who think that the Beat Generation means crime, delinquency, immorality, amorality … woe unto those who attack it on the grounds that they simply don’t understand history and the yearning of human souls … woe in fact unto those who those who make evil movies about the Beat Generation where innocent housewives are raped by beatniks! … woe unto those who spit on the Beat...

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Billy Burroughs: Gentleman Farmer
Nov10

Billy Burroughs: Gentleman Farmer

The notion of Burroughs as a farmer – even an inept one – may not sit right with readers of his work, or those familiar with the history of the Beats. Yet before he was William S. Burroughs the writer, he was Billy Burroughs the farmer, and this period in his life – although largely overlooked by biographers – greatly impacted his literary output. When you look closely at his work, the short period he spent as a farmer in the...

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William Blake and the Beat Generation
Oct30

William Blake and the Beat Generation

William Blake’s influence on the Beat Generation is arguably more significant than that of any other writer or artist. Most notably he was Ginsberg’s “guru” and the “catalyst” for his poetry, and even warranted a mention in “Howl”. Blake supposedly appeared to Ginsberg in 1945 and read “Ah Sun-flower”, and again in 1948 when Ginsberg was reading “The Sick Rose”. He explained, I was never able to figure out whether I was having a...

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Excerpt: CBGB Was My High School
Oct25

Excerpt: CBGB Was My High School

by G.K. Stritch – find it on Amazon The Mudd Club turned out to be a bittersweet place where I had my cherished camera stolen.  It was dark and so packed you had to be on your guard, but that didn’t deter us.  Jill, Daniel, and I went often.  Our friend Richard Smith worked there, so not only did he let us in, but we didn’t pay either.  The other hopefuls who awaited entrance looked at us longingly, in secret, as we,...

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The Weird Cult: How Scientology Shaped the Writing of William S. Burroughs
Mar04

The Weird Cult: How Scientology Shaped the Writing of William S. Burroughs

“Scientology was useful to me until it became a religion, and I have no use for religion. It’s just another one of those control-addict trips and we can all do without those.”   This essay would be a lot easier to write without using the word “Scientology”. The Church of Scientology has given itself such a bad name over recent decades that it has become almost a swearword, or perhaps the name of a cheesy soap opera. You can’t...

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Many Loves
Apr19

Many Loves

by Dr Madhu Mehrotra and Geetanjali Joshi Mishra “Resolved to sing no songs henceforth but those of manly attachment” -Walt Whitman “Longing is a better muse than satisfaction” says Regina Marler the author of ‘Queer Beat: How the Beats turned America onto sex’ and this is very true with regard to the nucleus of the generation which broke all rules of hegemonic, heterosexual, square society, a generation that questioned procreation...

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Banned Books Week & the Beats

For those of you who don’t know – and that won’t be many in this age of Twitter & Facebook – it is Banned Books Week. This valuable celebration of the First Amendment was begun in 1982 Judith Krug, and is celebrated annually in the last week of September. During each Banned Books Week we are asked to celebrate books whose freedom has been ensured by the First Amendment and to remember those titles against...

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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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